Monday, October 12, 2009

Chinese Martial Arts, Bruce Lee, "The One Inch Punch"

Bruce Lee; (27 November 1940 – 20 July 1973) was a Chinese American actor, martial arts instructor, philosopher, film director, film producer, screenwriter, and founder of the Jeet Kune Do martial arts movement. He is considered one of the most influential martial artists of the 20th century, and a cultural icon.

Lee was born in San Francisco, California in the United States, to parents of Hong Kong heritage but raised in Hong Kong until his late teens. Upon reaching the age of 18, Lee emigrated to the United States to claim his U.S. Citizenship and receive his higher education. It was during this time he began teaching martial arts, which soon led to film and television roles.

His Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films elevated the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim, and sparked a major surge of interest in Chinese martial arts in the West in the 1970s. The direction and tone of his films changed and influenced martial arts and martial arts films in Hong Kong and the rest of the world as well. He is noted for his roles in five feature-length films, Lo Wei's The Big Boss (1971) and Fist of Fury (1972); Way of the Dragon (1972), directed and written by Lee; Warner Brothers' Enter the Dragon (1973), directed by Robert Clouse; and The Game of Death (1978), directed by Lee.

Lee became an iconic figure known throughout the world and remains very popular among Asian people and in particular among the Chinese, as he portrayed Chinese nationalism through his films. While Lee initially trained in Wing Chun, he later rejected well-defined martial art styles, favoring instead to utilize useful techniques from various sources in the spirit of his personal martial arts philosophy he dubbed Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist).

One Inch Punch
It is commonly believed that the One inch punch skill comes only from the Wing Chun system of kung fu. However, it is present in many styles of Southern Chinese martial arts. As a general rule, Southern Chinese martial arts rely mostly on hand techniques from very close quarters (as opposed to Northern Chinese martial arts which focus more on kicking techniques from medium to long distances). Because the Southern styles martial artists were often fighting nose-to-nose with their opponents, they had to learn a way to deal out punishing blows even while almost touching their target.

The one inch punch is a skill which uses fa jin (translated as explosive power) to generate tremendous amounts of impact force at extremely close distances. When performing this one inch punch the practitioner stands with his fist very close to the target (the distance depends on the skill of the practitioner, usually from 0-6 inches). A quick movement of the wrist produces the force needed, the wrist is held with the knuckles facing out on a horizontal axis, the wrist is then moved up and a strike is produced with the bottom two knuckles. The target in such demonstrations vary, sometimes it is a fellow practitioner holding a phone book on the chest, sometimes wooden boards can be broken.

The one inch punch was made popular in the west when demonstrated by Bruce Lee at Long Beach International Karate Championships in 1964. Bruce Lee learned the technique from his Wing Chun training in Hong Kong. He used the art of Wing Chun as his basis of the art he founded, Jeet Kune Do.

In the television show Mythbusters episode "The One Inch Punch", the technique was tested quantitatively using a force gauge. For comparison, it was matched against a conventional punch thrown with a full wind-up by Jamie Hyneman. The one inch punch was delivered by Anthony Kelly, a ninjutsu practitioner who had learned the technique from one of Bruce Lee's students. The conventional punch measured 325 pounds of force while the One inch punch measured 153 pounds. In the absence of a safe method of testing against a human being, the hosts deemed it "plausible" as a combat technique, if the user had proper training and experience.[1]

In the television show Stan Lee's Superhumans, the Shaolin monk Shi Yan Ming demonstrated his one-inch punch on a crash test dummy. The testing showed it was 1.7 times more powerful than a 30mph crash

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