Bruce Lee's Fighting Style Heads to Williamsburg

By Meredith Hoffman on May 1, 2012 9:05pm 

WILLIAMSBURG — Fists of fury are about to fly on the streets of Brooklyn.

Martial arts enthusiasts can learn the ways of the small, but mighty Bruce Lee when New York Martial Arts Academy opens in the neighborhood this month.

"The reason was simple," said the academy's director Dino Orfanos 51, of Lee's fighting invention, Jeet Kune Do. "He was a small man and there were a lot of big Americans around."

Jeet Kune Do, which Orfanos already teachers at NYMAA in Little Neck, Queens, forgoes set rules and moves and uses "kinetics and physics" for the most effective form of self defense.

"You have to learn how to hit hard. We use lots of pad work and power endurance as supposed to sitting and doing forms," said Orfanos, who opened the Little Neck studio in 1994. "There are no belts, no visible ranking system. We believe your skill will tell people how good you are."

Orfanos, who first learned martial arts as he was growing up in Astoria, Queens, practiced Shotokan Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and Hatiko before he discovered Jeet Kune Do at the former NYMAA studio in Flushing, Queens, which opened in 1985.

"I was like, 'I want to do this for the rest of my life,'" he said. "We're the oldest school in the Tri-State area to teach Jeet Kune Do."

There are only a handful of Jeet Kune Do schools in the state, but Orfanos insisted that the martial art—which he said inspired the uber-popular Mixed Martial Arts—was the best.

The Williamsburg studio, which starts classes May 15 after a renovation of the 8,500-square-foot space on North 8th Street and Bedford Avenue, will also include Brazilian jiu jitsu, kickboxing, women's only self defense classes, kids' classes, and yoga, he said.

Next week new students can sign up for classes for $189 a month with the first two months free, Orfanos said. Usually the monthly price is $199.

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