About SIFU Rob Doggett
often people find an instructor or guru and follow everything they say without question. please don't do that.
this training background is provided for your information ONLY.
my hope is that you test everything for yourself AND FOLLOW YOUR OWN PATH REGARDLESS OF WHO IS POINTING THE WAY.
"Like a finger pointing..."
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Here are a few to give you an idea of Sifu Rob's training background and experiences, but honestly, he'll tell you none of this crap matters much. Regardless of how experienced or qualified your Sifu (Teacher) may be, you're still the one who has to try out the techniques for yourself, absorb it, see if it works for you, and make it your own or not.
Rob is a JKD Full Instructor certified under Beale's Combatives and Sifu Kevin Beale in the lineage of Sifus Bob Bremer (original student of Bruce Lee), Jim Sewell (original student of Bruce Lee), and Tim Tackett (2nd generation student of Bruce Lee under Dan Inosanto) teaching Jeet Kune Do (JKD) as passed down from Bruce Lee through his students in the Los Angeles school until 1973. In addition, he earned his Senior 1st and 2nd rank in both Chinatown Jeet Kune Do and JLJFI Jeet Kune Do. Rob is also a certified USA Boxing coach and certified O.M.A.F. Kickboxing Coach. He is affiliated with multiple martial arts organizations including Mick Thornton's B.O.T.M.A. and SoCal Applied Wing Chun Academy.
However, he started martial arts nearly thirty years ago studying Northern Praying Mantis Kung Fu. In 1998, he transitioned to Wing Chun Kung Fu, the original martial art of Bruce Lee. He's had the opportunity to study multiple martial arts with renowned masters from all over the world from Japan to Korea to Hong Kong and elsewhere.
Photo: (Sifu Rob with Sifu Leung Yin of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association) Sifu Leung was very humble and worked with Rob on Wing Chun during his visit to Hong Kong. Rob's grateful for his hospitality which can be rare in Hong Kong!
Sifu Rob's Story:
"Jeet Kune Do has a very deep meaning in my life, more than kicks and punches. While I grew up inspired by Bruce's movies, it wasn't until college that I really discovered Bruce's philosophy as expressed in JKD. Unfortunately, I went through an incredibly painful experience during this time.
Many people come to martial arts to learn how to defend themselves and others after experiencing physical violence. For me, my experience was more emotional/psychological. If you're human, you can relate to pain regardless of the form it comes in. It seems to be a common experience most of us can relate to. During this time, I had Enter the Dragon on the old VHS tape (when technology was good). Anyway, I'd pop that into the VCR (foreign term if you're younger than 30)."
"At the beginning, there were special features, one of which was Bruce's "lost interview' with Pierre Berton. In this interview, Bruce espoused his own thoughts and experiences particularly with regards to trying to be both Chinese and American, when all he really desired was to be viewed as a human being (watch the interview, it's very insightful). He spoke about how he was being a robot or very mechanical at different times in his life, it was easy for him to be flashy, but to truly express himself was a difficult thing.
Previously, and even today, one rarely hears anyone speak in those terms about expressing one's self. Most gurus and inspirational leaders seek followers who conform, change, or blindly follow whatever the accepted doctrine or ideology happens to be. As martial artists, we're supposed to be strong, fearless, perhaps even emotionless, yet Bruce, the badest man on the planet at the time, expressed these very human emotions and vulnerabilities.
He expressed the very thing I couldn't find the words for. I discovered that my own pain was a result of not expressing who I am and conforming to those around me. I realized 'the medicine for my suffering I had within me from the very beginning but I did not take it. My ailment came from within myself, but I did not observe it until this moment. Now I see I will never find the light unless, like a candle, I am my own fuel.'"
Photo: (Left to right: Sifu Rob with Sifu Ip Chun, son of Ip Man, Bruce Lee's teacher. Next to him is Sifu Duncan Leung, founder of Applied Wing Chun, disciple of Ip Man. At the end is Sifu Nick Banks, Applied Wing Chun Okinawa.) Sifu Rob took advantage of the opportunity to train at Ip Chun's school in 2016. This was not just a photo-op. In his own words, "Like many schools in Hong Kong, the class structure was very open. Usually, you just find a partner and do Chi Sao (Sticky Hands) after you warm up with forms." He worked out with one partner while there who was pretty good. What was interesting about training in Hong Kong was that the Wing Chun really was not much different from what you experience in the United States or elsewhere. Often, we think if we go to the source like Hong Kong, the teaching will be pure and better. However, Rob visited 8 different schools in Hong Kong and found that on average, it was not really better over there than in the U.S. So, if you desire to visit Hong Kong, definitely do so, but don't expect the training to be significantly different. He went to better understand Bruce's experience, why he developed Jeet Kune Do, and how it branched out from Wing Chun.
Photo: (Left to right: Sifu Tim Tackett, Rob Roy McGregor, Sifu Rob Doggett, Sifu Kevin Beale, Sifu Jim McCann, Sifu Mick Thornton.) In terms of JKD, these gentlemen have directly or indirectly had the greatest influence on Sifu Rob's progression in the art of Jeet Kune Do. In particular, Sifus Kevin Beale and Mick Thornton have taken the time over the years to develop his knowledge and application of JKD primarily through 1-on-1 lessons and small group classes. Sifu Beale has a wealth of knowledge with a background training championship boxers and holding instructorships in Jeet Kune Do, Bujutsu Kempo, Pacific Archipelago Combatives, Aiki-Jitsu, and Close Quarter Combatives. Sifu Mick Thornton is a JKD Full Instructor, Founder of Blending of the Martial Arts, and member of both the Philadelphia Historical Martial Arts Hall of Fame and World Karate Union Hall of Fame. He has extensively trained in JKD, Filipino Martial Arts, and Combatives.
Photo: (Amateur Kickboxing Fight - Okinawa).
"I would be remiss if I did not highlight my Okinawan kickboxing family. I was with this band of brothers for nearly 3 years. Although JKD is an art for real violence on the street, these guys helped me apply JKD in the ring."
Photo: (Left to right: All family).
The next best thing to being in a real no holds barred fight is competitive sport fighting such as kickboxing where real danger still exists (you can get knocked out or injured). It was important to Rob to apply JKD in an actual fight, not just sparring. He wanted to make sure not only that it worked, but that he could make it work when it counted. "You never know until you have someone trying to knock your head off! It was a unique experience fighting in Japan. The mentality was different from what some experience in the United States. In America, the usual motto is to hit and not get hit. However, in Japan, perhaps due to the heavy influence of Kyokushin Karate and other Karate styles, they don't mind getting hit as long as they can hit you back harder! This gym was special with many former local champions training together. It was always hot, always sweaty, and you always left sore!"
Photo: (with Taekwondo Grandmaster Kim Yeon Kyung).
Sifu Rob also went to South Korea to train with whoever he could find and he found Grandmaster Kim, a 9th Dan Black belt in Taekwondo. From him, Rob learned how to kick faster, stronger, and higher. One of Bruce Lee's friends and influences was Master Jhoon Goo Rhee, known as the Father of American Taekwondo. Grandmaster Kim is also a legend in his own right in South Korea. (Rob always tells the story of how Grandmaster Kim made him do 250 sit ups)
Photo: (Left to right: Sifu Don Presto, Sifu Duncan Leung, Sifu Rob Doggett).
In terms of providing Rob with the basis from which Bruce developed Jeet Kune Do, Sifu Don Presto had the greatest influence on his understanding and application of Wing Chun Kung Fu. From him, Rob learned the proper structure and form in Wing Chun, how to generate power in a short distance, and advanced trapping. According to Jesse Glover, Bruce's first student in America, many practitioners lack power in their application because they don't understand how to generate power the way Bruce did from his knowledge of Wing Chun. Rob would train with Sifu Don at 5am during the weekdays and a little later on the weekends. They mostly trained through private lessons as there weren't many people who either heard of the class or found them. "It was an incredible experience and I'm forever grateful for the lessons Sifu Don has taught me in order to improve both the trapping and power elements of JKD."
Photo: (Training with Sifu Chien Yeh and his class, Yokohama, Japan).
Sifu Chien Yeh was the first to bring Wing Chun to Japan. He's a student of Lo Man Kam, nephew to Ip Man. "It was excellent training with his students and learning from each other. His students were all very friendly although many did not speak much English. Like Hong Kong, it was mostly Chi Sao although we did do some drills as well. I also learned Sifu Chien Yeh is an excellent chef! If you're ever in Yokohama, go see him!"
Photo: (Dre and Paco). Dre was Sifu Rob's first student on Okinawa. He went through most of the JKD fundamentals and sparring before moving away. Rob was happy to run into him again after winning his first amateur fight. He's an incredible individual with unlimited potential.
Photo: (Sifu John Wong Hung, son of Wong Shun Leung, senior classmate to Bruce Lee under Ip Man). Sifu Wong is among the best Wing Chun instructors in the world today. Among the 8 schools Rob visited, he was the most humble and welcoming. That may sound normal, but in Hong Kong, Sifus can be very suspicious of visitors! "It's just like in the movies! I can't tell you how many schools I went to and was turned away or was only allowed to train elementary movements because they didn't know me or was bitter toward my lineage of Wing Chun. It's crazy, but Sifu Wong was not like that and his students were extremely helpful. I learned a lot from them about structure, alignment, trapping, and getting to the centerline. Thank you, Sifu Wong!"
Photo: (With Sifu John Kang, a student of Sifu Lo Man Kam) Sifu John first started Rob in Wing Chun Kung Fu back in 1998. From him, Rob learned relaxation, the use of energy and sensitivity, tactile awareness, and the basics of Chi Sao (Sticky Hands).
Photo: Our Jeet Kune Do Family with Sifu Mick Thornton! These are all founding members and have been with our local school since the beginning. "Really can't say enough about these guys. Not pictured here, but still founders are James, Kane, Ben, Nick, Michael, Marlon, Daniel, Melvin, Malachi, and Josh. They train hard, but most importantly, we're all family." That's what makes our group what it is. In the words of Bruce, "Under the sky, under the heavens, there is but one family." That's what our JKD is all about, dedication, family and community.