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Question: What is Jeet Kune Do?
Answer: The art of Jeet Kune Do is not a style of martial arts but rather a system of attributes and training methods developed by Bruce Lee.
At our kung fu school we don’t teach jeet kune do, because JKD was specific to Bruce Lee. Someone who truly understands Jeet Kune Do knows that Jeet Kune Do is not a style but a way of thinking. Instead we like to say we teach JKD Concepts
Bruce Lee’s “Way”
Bruce Lee developed his personal way of fighting which he labeled as Jeet Kune Do or “the way of intercepting fist” He believed that fighting using particular styles of martial arts would limit what the fighter could do in the fight. Thus styles were limitations to the practitioner of martial arts. Bruce lee believed that every individual must develop their own unique style of fighting based on what works for them.
The growth of the individual as a fighter and martial arts practitioner is at the heart of Jeet Kune Do. The Jeet Kune Do student will not try to imitate Bruce Lee or even attempt to follow in his path. Rather the Jeet Kune Do student strives to find their own path of self discovery and self learning to develop their personal Jeet Kune Do.
The Jeet Kune Do student is free to adopt all or none of Bruce Lee’s teachings. If they were to discard all of what Bruce Lee originally taught, they would still be practicing Jeet Kune Do.
Some of the concepts involved in Jeet Kune Do are:
- Using no way as way. – Don’t have preconceived notions about anything. This statement is embedded in the Jeet Kune Do logo. It was also used by Bruce Lee often to describe JKD
- The art of Jeet Kune Do is simply to simplify
- If people say Jeet Kune Do is different from “this” or from “that,” then let the name of Jeet Kune Do be wiped out, for that is what it is, just a name. Please don’t fuss over it. – Don’t get hung up on labels and parameters. JKD is alive and therefore always changing; don’t try to box it in.
- Simultaneous parrying and striking
- Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow, or it can crash! Be water, my friend.
- From form to formless and from finite to infinite. – Don’t be confined by limitations and forms. By not having specific form all forms can be included.
- To reach me, you must move to me. Your attack offers me an opportunity to intercept you.
Jeet Kune Do seeks to free the student of restriction or “ways”. One of the main tenets of Bruce Lee’s art is “To have no way as way”. this was one of Bruce Lee’s most famous quotes. in fact student of Jeet Kune do are EXPECTED to modify and change the techniques they learn and experiment with what works for them.
Actual training in the art of Jeet Kune Do, includes the learning of many different styles. However in order to keep the styles from becoming just a collection of different techniques, the Jeet Kune do practitioner learns concepts rather than a set pattern.