The Jeet Kune Do

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Jeet Kune Do (“Way of the Intercepting Fist”), also Jeet Kun Do or JKD, is a martial arts system developed by martial artist and actor Bruce Lee.

In 2004, the Bruce Lee Foundation decided to use the name Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do to refer to the martial arts system that Lee founded. “Jun Fan” was Lee’s Chinese given name, so the literal translation is “Bruce Lee’s Way of the Intercepting Fist.”

Jeet Kun Do or JKD, is the martial arts “combat system” developed by Bruce Lee. Recently, the name used has been changed by some of its adherents to Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do “Jun Fan” being Lee’s Chinese given name, therefore the literal translation is “Bruce Lee’s Way of the Intercepting Fist.”

Jeet Kune Do As developed and practiced by the late Bruce Lee, has much to offer today’s martial artist. No matter the style, build, or personal ability, JKD is a system designed for the human body. This being the case, anyone can benefit from Bruce Lee’s teachings.

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Jeet Kune Do is Bruce Lee’s combat philosophy which he created after his research into fighting styles which had originally lead to the creation of Jun Fan Gung Fu.

Lee emphasised that Jeet Kune Do was to be understood as a process, not a product (another way of stating the claim that Lee’s interpretation was different from others’ interpretation of the term “martial art”).

The art of JKD is difficult for many to grasp if it is taught in a manner shrouded in mystery, as is the case in most situations. For this reason the World Jeet Kune Do Federation was formed to clear up the mess and allow each and every individual to practice and learn the real art, and to gain legitimate martial art rankings for their hard work and dedication.

There have been many attempts to bring the styles instructors and associations together as one, none of which has ever succeeded. Today there are two basic JKD systems to choose from.

The original JKD, and JKD concepts. The original JKD is as its name implies the core art as founded. The concepts rely on other arts in an attempt to improve Lee?s system. Neither is better than the other, only different. The original art itself is a modification of Lee’s first martial art style of Wing Chun Kung Fu. So many modifications in fact that it is very hard to see some of the similarities of the two systems.

The blocks and hand manoeuvres such as grabbing, sticking, and energy techniques have their roots in Wing Chun but the finished product is pure JKD. JKD has had such an influence in the martial art word the even the core art of Wing Chun has adopted JKD sparring techniques. The second of the three arts in the core of original JKD is French Fencing. Who can deny the speed and agility in the art of fencing? The footwork is a combining and modifying of fencing, Wing Chun, boxing movements, placements and displacements. And the final art of Western or American Boxing for the Muhammad Ali hand manoeuvres and punches.

JKD has long since been known as the style of no style, but this term has been overused and to a great extent exaggerated to “allow” others to teach JKD without using actual Jeet Kune Do techniques under the guise of defining the art as anything you want to make it. The art, which was formed by Lee in various stages, was finally named in the late 60’s. While continuing to deny that JKD was a “style” he began to show his system to the public with great skepticism from the martial arts community and various Chinese individual who found his teachings to be discourteous to tradition.

While it is nothing in the martial arts for a founder of a martial art style to be young (most founders / grandmasters of famous Chinese and Japanese systems were in their 20’s) Lee’s instruction of non-Chinese had the elders in an uproar. He was a pioneer in many different aspects in the martial arts. One of his famous quotes was Jeet Kune Do is only a name so don’t fuss over it, but if he gave so little importance to the name why would he want it on his grave marker. This act would certainly lead one to believe that this name was important, and that it had significant meaning to him and the style known as Jeet Kune Do.

Bruce Lee said: “I have not invented a “new style,” composite, modified or otherwise that is set within distinct form as apart from “this” method or “that” method. On the contrary, I hope to free my followers from clinging to styles, patterns, or molds. Remember that Jeet Kune Do is merely a name used, a mirror in which to see “ourselves”. . . Jeet Kune Do is not an organized institution that one can be a member of. Either you understand or you don’t, and that is that. There is no mystery about my style. My movements are simple, direct and non-classical. The extraordinary part of it lies in its simplicity. Every movement in Jeet Kune-Do is being so of itself. There is nothing artificial about it. I always believe that the easy way is the right way. Jeet Kune-Do is simply the direct expression of one’s feelings with the minimum of movements and energy. The closer to the true way of Kung Fu, the less wastage of expression there is. Finally, a Jeet Kune Do man who says Jeet Kune Do is exclusively Jeet Kune Do is simply not with it. He is still hung up on his self-closing resistance, in this case anchored down to reactionary pattern, and naturally is still bound by another modified pattern and can move within its limits. He has not digested the simple fact that truth exists outside all molds; pattern and awareness is never exclusive. Again let me remind you Jeet Kune Do is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one’s back”.