Classes on Martial Arts Kickboxing Krav maga Tai Chi Bruce lee Jeet Kune Do Women Self Defence Training in Mumbai
How JKD Changes Lives
JKD Thesis
By Preethi SK, Female, 29 yrs, Brand Manager

The struggle : 1985 - 2006
My JKD journey began one sleepy afternoon in July 18 months ago. I had completed 5 years of working, and had finally seen the end of my student debts.
Yet, I felt like I was just existing, and letting life push me around. The weekdays seemed like a chore, I was constantly bored and tired. The weekends seemed like Manna, but when they did arrive, they left in a tearing hurry, and I was back to work on Monday asking myself where the time went, and questioning the way I spent it.
Every time I reflected on my life, it seemed like I had lost the spirit and energy with which I had started it. My work was supposed to be a matter of choice and personal fulfillment, right? So why did I feel like I was trapped in a morass? Why did I feel like life had taken over me? Like I didn’t know who I had become? When I had imagined my future in college, I was supposed to have become a better person - I was to have lost weight, become more confident, become surer of myself, and only do things I wanted to do. Yet, here I was, the anathema of what my youthful self wanted to be, with no way out.
’Enough is Enough!’ , I thought to myself. "I’ve spent 5 years existing and paying off debts". "Its time I spent some energy and time on myself". So I sat down with a mental list of things I wanted to do with myself.
1) I wanted to look at myself in the mirror without flinching
2) I wanted to walk in a deserted alley without turning to look back
3) I wanted to run up a flight of stairs without losing breath
4) I wanted to have an inexhaustible source of energy
5) I wanted for once in my life to start something and complete it
6) I wanted to have a better relationship with my husband
7) I wanted to be a better and bigger person
8) I wanted to shape my life and not blame it on destiny, luck, poor bosses, or unfair circumstances
9) I wanted a big achievement - where I could look back and say I did this
I looked at my list, and decided to tackle the most obvious things first. I wanted a great body. I was sick off my apologies to myself whenever I looked at myself. I was sick of mentally discounting any compliments I received. I was sick of my inability to stick to a diet or a gym. I had poured thousands of rupees down the drain by enrolling for diets and exercise programmes and not sticking to them. I was sick of the remarks my well-meaning relatives made whenever they met me. I was sick of being around my handsome husband and being the ’ugly one’. I felt sure anyone who met us as a couple was secretly commiserating with my husband.
I told myself I had tried everything – diets, walks, gyms, nothing seemed to work. Maybe I had an incurable disease? An endocrinal problem?
My lack of confidence in myself had built up into a monstrous disease. I had become a clingy, whiny person looking for affirmation. My impossible demands from my husband led us to terrible fights where I would lash out with every weapon at my disposal - tears, arguments, sulks, threats. Nothing he said to me made a difference. I was rapidly becoming a cynic, who discounted his compliments, protestations of love, and well-meaning gestures, constantly looking for signs of fatigue from his end.
So here I was, one desultory afternoon. I had had one of my bursts of energy, and I told myself, I was going to wholeheartedly try something new. My husband had been reading this new bock, which was an autobiography of Bruce Lee. My childhood resurfaced...
1988.."Amma (Mother), I want to join Karate class".."No, Karate is un-lady like..pay more attention to your dance classes"..
1990.."Preethi, you have just gotten fatter every year..If it continues like this, your parents are going to have a tough time marrying you off"
1993.."Preethi, I love you..Will you be my girlfriend?"
1994.."How dare you not meet me for 4 days, you bitch? I’m going to teach you a lesson!!"
1995.."Anna, this man has been treatening to kill me.."
  • "You must have made this happen..We have been too lenient with you"
  • 1996..I feel ugly and helpless..Boyfriend 2
    1999..I feel ugly and lonely..Boyfriend 3
    2001..I feel ugly and lonely..Boyfriend 4
    "Preethi I love you.."
    "Preethi, you are beautiful"..
    "Preethi I want you in my life"..
    An endless cycle of seeking peace and security, of wanting something I thought I couldn’t give myself..
    This had to stop. I had to become a strong person. I would not spend the rest of my life depending on another person to give me strength. I would not spend the rest of my life getting another person to convince me that I deserved happiness.
    Google to the rescue! I was sure I wouldn’t find anyone teaching Jeet Kune Do in India. I decided I was going to google and then join my neighbourhood gym - maybe this time my burst of energy would last longer??
    What’s this I see? JKD? Being taught in Mumbai? At UCCA, Unarmed Commando Combat Academy, teaching JKD in India & Asia, At convenient timings? Probably a fly-by-night operator.. I dialed the number rather nervously, dreading and hoping simultaneously that no one would pick up the phone. Ok, someone did pick up the phone, and asked me to come by to see them.
    It was the next Sunday..I told my husband, who was instantly enthusisastic about joining as well. We set off to andheri to UCCA, as the voice on the phone described the place, and walked in..
    ..To a scene of chaos..To a room full of men..sweaty, aggressive , fighting..My stomach started to churn..I remembered the beating..the way my body ached..my nose which was never the same..my parents when they found out..my jailbird like existence afterwards..The series of boyfriends afterwards..I decided not to join this place..
    To shape yourself, you have to break the mould first..Aug 2006 - March 2007
    Sundays were torture..First the commute..an hour at best..Then the strain on the body..and just when it was getting over, the torture test..(My Teachers, Prof. Rao & Dr. Seema)
    "May I leave, Sir?"
    "Of course, just after you spar for just 5 minutes"..
    Why? Why did I have to join this class? Why can’t people leave me alone? Why must I be beaten up again and again and again? Wasn’t the time when I was 15 enough for the universe?
    But yet, in every small victory, in every large defeat, in every tear I shed, my teacher was with me..
    .."You can do it Preethi.."
    .."You are a strong woman , You can do it.."
    .." being a woman does not make you weak.."
    .."Good ability to handle punches to the stomach..You have strong muscles.."
    .."You are not here to become a physical fighter..You are here to become a mental fighter.."
    .."Don’t close your eyes, face the punch.."
    .."Don’t run away, stay and fight.."
    .."You are not 15, you are not being beaten up by a psychotic man. This is the arena you have chosen.."
    .."No body is going to hurt you here..I just want you to fight back.."
    And the mould started to break..
    "I can’t do it".."I may be able to do it"..
    "I have no determination".."I have some determination"..
    "I am a weak cissy".."I can get hurt, cry and come back to the fight"..
    "I am afraid".."Its okay to be afraid…Its not okay to not even try"..
    "I am no good".."I am some good"..
    "I have no will power".."I am going to a class of pure torture every week..I have some will power"..
    "I am powerless to control circumstances".."I can choose my response to circumstances"..
    "I am a cog in the wheel".."I choose the wheel, and choose to be a cog"..
    "I can’t walk alone after dark".."I am free"..
    "You don’t love me".."I love you"..
    "Do you think I’m beautiful?".."I feel good about myself"..
    "Am I looking fat in this dress?".."I like the way I am looking today?"
    "I’m never going to lose weight".."I’ve lost weight when I wasn’t looking!"
    "I’m sorry I came in late again..." "Hi, I’ve been here since 8.45 am"..
    "I have another late night at office..I only started working in the afternoon".. "Bye, I’m off at 6.30 pm"
    "I haven’t taken a vacation in 5 years for more than 4 days".."I’m off for 3 weeks this September"..
    "I’m trapped in this job. I wish I didn’t have to support my parents..." "I love my job. I’m glad I’m able to provide my parents with comforts"..
    "Oh god, we’ve run out of money again. Why are you so irresponsible?".."We’ve run out of money? No problem, I’ll pick up money at the ATM / tell him to come back / pick this up tomorrow/....../....../....../......"
    "I have terrible stomach cramps / I am feeling sick / ..I’m not going to work today"..I haven’t taken sick leave in a year!"
    "I’m feeling depressed, I think I’ll go shop".."Isn’t it a beautiful day today? Let’s go for a walk"..
    "Why do we have to go to class on weekends? We just have 2 days to recover from office. It’s just not fair".."What a beautiful morning! Saturdays are fantastic.,.I had a great class today..Let’s go catch a movie now"
    Creating Me--------------April 2007 - Till the End
    I am free...
    I am free...
    I am free...
    I am free...
    To be who I want to be..
    To be proud of who I am..
    To laugh and cry without shame..
    To give without expecting..
    To receive without worrying..
    To trust myself..
    To know that I am strong..
    To know that I will fight..
    To know that I will not give up..
    I feel like I’ve walked out of prison..
    A prison that was lovingly created by me..
    With bars stronger than anything found on this earth..Bars of fear..
    JKD is not a physical art.
    When I punch my opponent, I punch my doubting self.
    When I kick the bag, I kick away my fears.
    When I receive a blow, I build my strength.
    When I execute a perfect front kick after 20 bad kicks, I demonstrate my persistence.
    When I look at the bruise on my foot that I’ve got after practicing repeated hook kicks on the bag, It is my medal of honour.
    For in being adaptable like water, I have learned strength to overcome any circumstance.
    In being flexible, I have learned to use my Yin; to stay cool and to believe that every situation has an answer
    In being simple, I have learned to free my mind..I have learned not to waste my energy on ifs and buts..
    In being direct, I have earned respect from the people around me..I am learning to be proud, and hold my head high without fear..
    In being effective, I am learning to get what I want, on time, every time..
    In being open-minded, I have learned..that my way is not the only way..and that what works for everybody may not always work for me..
    I have learned pure joy.. of creative expression, of beauty of form, of strength, of discovering myself..
    I have learned to be at peace..not to struggle, to give in gracefully, to be happy, to be cmposed, to be calm..
    I have learned to be at peace..not to struggle, to give in gracefully, to be happy, to be cmposed, to be calm..
    I feel free..
    "Into a soul absolutely free,
    Even the tiger finds no room
    To insert its fierce claws"

    (Modified from the Tao Of JKD)
    UCCA is the Best!
    Preethi
    (Hopefully a Tiger, Aspiring to be a Bison soon)