The “Roots of Combat” System

Roots of Combat

“Seek to understand the root. — It is futile to argue as to which single leaf, which design of branch, or which attractive flower you like; when you understand the root, you understand all its blossoming.” – Bruce Lee

The idea that gave birth to the “Roots of Combat” system is a simple concept from something I remember reading from Bruce Lee. Paraphrasing, “the question of style becomes meaningless when one understands the roots of combat.” What that means is, when you understand what applies across disciplines and without disciplines, you understand a root, which is a fundamental concept that applies across all disciplines, and is not bound by rules or only useful due to particular restrictions.

For example, timing is a concept that applies across all combat sports. The man with superior timing has an advantage in sports as diverse as Fencing, Muay Thai and Boxing, and every sport in between.

A root can be applied regardless of the number of weapons. For instance, when you really understand how to create gaps by attacking high and low to move the mind, gaps can be made using only a jab. If your opponent has better timing and control of distance than you, if he is able to hit while you are exposed, and avoid being in danger himself, he can beat you with only a jab, regardless of how many different things you can throw at him.

“What we are after is the ROOT and not the branches. The root is the real knowledge; the branches are surface knowledge. Real knowledge breeds “body feel” and personal expression; surface knowledge breeds mechanical conditioning and imposing limitation and squelches creativity.”

What the Roots of Combat system produces is a framework for problem-solving and continuous development. Once you understand how to construct combinations, how to control the various physical dynamics (for example: timing, distance, angle, elevation in striking), how to identify and apply tactical options, and the various mental models we use, you can plug in any problem and develop your own solution.

Your solution is going to be fairly unique to you. You may not figure out the same solution I do, which doesn’t make your or my solution any less valid. As you develop more and more solutions, your style becomes more and more unique. It becomes a unique, distinctive expression of your creativity, your understanding of the roots, and your personality. Your style becomes an expression of who you are.

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