Jeet Kune Do Branches

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Although Bruce Lee officially closed his martial arts schools two years before his death, he allowed his instructors to teach privately. Since his death, Jeet Kune Do has split into different groups. There are two major branches:

  • The Original (or Jun Fan) JKD branch, whose main proponents are Taky Kimura, James Lee, Jerry Poteet, and Ted Wong; these groups principally teach just what Bruce Lee taught, and encourage the student to further develop his or her abilities according to Bruce Lee’s teachings.
  • The JKD Concepts branch, whose main proponents are Dan Inosanto, and Larry Hartsell; these groups have continued to modify Jeet Kune Do, under the philosophy that it was never meant to be a static art but rather an ongoing evolution, and have incorporated elements from many other martial arts into the main fold of its teachings (most notably, grappling and Kali / Escrima material).

To understand the branches of JKD it is important to understand the difference between the two “types” of Jeet Kune Do:

  • A. JKD framework This type of JKD provides the guiding principles. Bruce Lee experimented with many styles and techniques to reach these conclusions. To Lee these principles were truisms. The JKD framework is not bound or confined by any styles or systems. This type of JKD is a process.
  • B. JKD Personal Systems This type of JKD utilizes the JKD framework along with any techniques from any other style or system to construct a “personal system”. This approach utilizes a “building blocks” manner in which to construct a personalized system that is especially tailored to an individual. Lee believed that only an individual could determine for themselves what the usefulness of any technique should be. This type of JKD is thus a product.

Lee believed that this freedom of adoption was a distinguishing property from traditional martial arts.

There are many who confuse the JKD Framework with a JKD Personal System (IE. Bruce Lee’s personal JKD) thinking them to be one and the same. The system that Bruce Lee personally expressed was his own personal JKD; tailored for himself. Before he could do this, however, he needed to first develop the “JKD Framework” process. Many of the systems that Bruce Lee studied were not to develop his “Personal JKD” but rather was used to gather the “principles” for incorporation in the JKD Framework approach.

Jeet Kune Do Branches

The uniqueness of JKD to Lee is that it was a “process” not a “product” and thus not a “style” but a system, concept, or approach. Traditional martial arts styles are essentially a product that is given to a student with little provision for change. These traditional styles are usually fixed and not tailored for individuals. Bruce Lee claimed there were inherent problems with this approach and established a “Process” based system rather than a fixed style which a student could then utilize to make a “tailored” or “Personal” product of their own.

The two branches of JKD differ in what should be incorporated or offered within the “JKD Framework”. The Original (or Jun Fan) JKD branch believes that the original principles before Bruce Lee died are all that is needed for the construction of personalized systems.

The JKD Concepts branch believe that there are further principles that can be added to construct personalized systems. The value of each Branch can be determined by individual practitioners based on whatever merits they deem important.