MY JOURNEY FROM JKD TO SJD
I as well as a lot of people back in the “day”, were interested in martial arts, intrigued by top martial artists like Chuck Norris, Bennie the “Jet”, and of course Bruce Lee. Their skill was great. Of course, Bruce Lee being in the movies his physical strength, agility, and quickness on screen seemed unreal. How could he move and strike so fast? His physical genius was way beyond his time. While looking through Black Belt magazine one day, I noticed there was a school directory in the back, a school located in Milpitas CA. The schools’ name was called Khozairy Academy of Martial Arts. The school taught Jan Fan Gung Fu/JKD. Intrigued by my “luck”, (Is anything really luck) a local school teaching Bruce Lee’s art. I had studied Tae Kwan Do, for a couple of years but did not think it was very practical. I wanted to learn an art that was practical so if I did get in a fight I could defend myself. I decided to take a look at this school and see if it was a good fit for me. I did not want to study Kata’s any longer, though they are good for what they are, an exercise in movement.
I was impressed when I visited the school; the depth of knowledge the instructor had and the arts full fighting range! I decided to sign up and get into this marital art. I liked the material; it seemed practical no traditions just for traditions. So I began to learn Jun Fan Gung Fu/JKD. The material was taught by Sifu Khozairy. He usually did a quick demo or gave instructions on how to perform the skills we were practicing for the day. It was fast paced, unless the whole class did not get the material. Then Sifu would stop and explain it or write out the concepts on a white board for us to understand better. There were a lot of students so not too much individual attention in class, but both Sifu and his wife Simu Khozairy were always there for the students outside class time no matter what. It was a nice place to train and a Sifu who cared for you as a student not just for your money. The material was straight forward however the concepts did take some time to understand. We had to think and process what we were being taught. What a concept; to think and process using our brains not just simply follow movements! We even were able to ask questions at the end of each class if we did not understand something. I did notice Sifu had very strict beliefs on what he believed in, mainly a Christian world view. He taught people were made up of physically, mentally, and spiritually beings. It’s basically a three-fold concept struggling to compete with one another. When one is not developed properly all are out of sync. He explained how we believe effects how we perform as marital artists. Though I never recall Sifu directly preaching his faith during class time, his material was taught and backed by scientific and biblical concepts. This art began to open up my beliefs. To question all things, not just accept but to exam issues, and physical processes. “Test all things, in light of scripture”! When I was learning Tae Kwon Do I never even thought about questioning the art form or traditions. This art form was definitely different.
It seemed some of the material appeared to be guarded. Especially when we asked about the different phase training, not a lot of information was given about that until you had to experience it. Wow, what a wake-up call, the first time a student got the chance to take the Phase 1 test to promote into Phase 2. It really opened my eyes on what I thought I was learning about the art. The test really changed my approach on how I studied, learned, and performed the art.
Over time, Sifu decided to inform all of us that he had changed the name of his art form to San Jieh Dao,” The Tri-Fold Way”, instead of Jun Fan Gung Fu/JKD. All of the students began to worry that the art form would change and the material would not be “Bruce Lee’s” original JKD. And they were right; Sifu art form had changed due to his world view. Sifu informed the students the art form he has been teaching was the same, however; the name now reflects what the art which he had already was teaching. For me it did not bother me since I enjoyed the teachings, it matched what I believed, physically, mentally, and spiritually. Having an objective standard, it all was tied together. Understanding why we did what we did, and how we trained made sense, the body only works the way its biomechanics work. The simplest and safest movement used. No fluff!
Unfortunately, I had to take a job and I had to leave my training for 6 months or more, eventually the school had to relocate to the Sacramento area. I attempted to visit and train with Sifu when I could. Sifu also had classes in parks closer for students if they still wanted to train with him, but unfortunately the school did close. It seemed it was the end of my training with Sifu in the area of San Jieh Dao. It did not seem fair initially, but I knew things happen for a reason. You never know how things turn out until your journey ends. I thought my training in San Jieh Dao was over, however when God starts something he usually finishes it and I was not done in learning this art form.
But like in life, there are ups and downs, good times and bad, our path takes turns but it does not always mean it’s over. After ten years later, Sifu came back to the Bay Area and opened up his San Jieh Dao school in Santa Clara CA. I signed up and am currently training with Sifu, his methods have been refined, his openness with the art explained, and his physical art is based on an objective standard. If you keep the faith and endure, all things happen in God’s timing. So the journey continues and it’s not over!