The Enigma Of Paul Vunak

Victor ChenContributor IIJuly 22, 2010

It has been over a year, if not longer since I wrote my last article on Bleacher Report. Having went overseas during that time and just being mentally occupied with what I call "life", I am back with a brand new perspective on the topic of mixed martial arts and real street self-defense.


But in order to share my new perspective, I will introduce someone who I think everyone should know about and if fortunate enough, train with. He is the founder of the Progressive Fighting System and has been ranked by Black Belt Magazine as one of the most deadliest men on planet earth-Sifu Paul Vunak.


Who is Paul Vunak and what does he have to do with MMA you may ask? Sifu Vunak is the only "JKD" person who started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was not even heard of outside of Brazil. Sifu Vunak realized the importance of the ground game upon meeting and training with Rorion, Royce and Rickson Grace.


Sifu Vunak trained and is certified in the Filipino martial arts under Guro Dan Inosanto, Bruce Lee's protege. He is the founder and head of the Progressive Fighting Systems and probably best known for developing the R.A.T (Rapid Assault Tactics) program for the U.S. Navy SEALS.


Paul Vunak and MMA go hand in hand because he has been the key component to bringing Bruce Lee's art of Jeet Kune Do into today's real world of combat. He has bridged the gap on how to break down the "MMA Matrix" with traditional arts of Wing Chun (specifically trapping), the destructive combat proven art of Filipino Kali, the power and finesse of boxing and Muay Thai, the ground equalizer of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu-the Filipino art of Kino Mutai and the core of the R.A.T. program-headbutts, knees and elbows. 


Combining these all together work wonders in a street fight. Why don't we see some of these arts used in the UFC you may ask? There is a difference between MMA as the sport and real combat on the streets. Sifu Vunak has blended JKD with MMA and stressed the realities of a street fight that involves weapons and mass attacks.


MMA is a sport with referees, time limits, and cornermen to ensure safety of the fighters. Out in the streets, these luxuries do not exist. When was the last time you heard of a street fight where a referee separated the fighters because of a poke in the eye?


The point I am making here is to bring a new perspective for any martial artist training in any style. I realized that time and time again in my own training where what works in the ring may not necessarily translate effectively in the street. Sifu Vunak said it best that "fighters may be great at what they do but when put into the confines of a street fight, one mistake and they could lost badly."


Sifu Vunak recently held a 2 day seminar in Southern California where I was fortunate to have been a part of. You can feel the compassion he brings to every participant, new or old. He carefully dissects the course for the 2 days, emphasizing on the core principles of the R.A.T., Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with a kino mutai flow, weapon drills and the focus on breaking the MMA matrix using the fighting range that most fighters are not aware of-trapping range. 


I worked on improving my entry into trapping range in the MMA matrix. The hubad drills and traps Sifu Vunak displayed were just spectacular. My personal favorite is the weapons portion of the seminar. There is so much misinformation about knife fighting but Sifu Vunak reiterates the key to surviving any weapons fight is to "defang the snake."


Assisting him are his two disciples-Sifu Thomas Cruse and Sifu Harinder Singh, both equally dangerous in their own right and also magical to watch. Sifu Cruse has been with Sifu Vunak for over 30 years, being his go-to guy training the SEALS and government agencies. He knows first hand what Sifu Vuank is capable of in a real fight.


Sifu Singh helped create the new Descendants of the Master's program (D.O.M), the new and updated version of the Progressive Fighting Systems. This new network allows people worldwide to connect and train with Sifu Vunak, Cruse and Singh.



Those who have read my previous work know I train in MMA and love it dearly. Anyone who can step into the ring or cage and go one-on-one is a true testament to what a warrior is. What I am stating here is bringing that same fighting spirit and having an open mind to taking what is useful for oneself. This is the essence of Bruce Lee's  philosophy.



Whether one trains in MMA or the traditional arts, building martial arts attributes is a lifelong spiritual and learning process. Real combat-the skills to help you survive a street fight can be and should be able to acquire in a short time. This is what Sifu Vunak created for the U.S. Navy SEALS. Fast and effective tools for the military paradigm now transferable to you and your loves ones.


For more information, please go to