Sunday, December 15, 2013

Jeet Kun Do For Dummies: Volume 2

Volume 2: 
 After exchanging fists as an acceptance for a challenge with a fellow Shaolin Gung Fu practioner, Wong Jack Man,  Bruce was deeply discouraged by the fact it took him three minutes for him to dispatch Wong. This event altered Bruce's entire mindset towards martial arts. Suddenly, he began to question whether or not traditional martial arts were actually as effective as their practitioners claim to be.  Through a period of deduction, Bruce concluded that the traditional martial arts were far too rigid or conventional to be practical on the street. Furthermore, these systems as well as methods implemented in traditional martial arts were catered for one specific situation. In real life, anything is bound to happen.  He realized that these orthodox martial arts, such as Wing Chun, prevented him from reaching his full potential as a martial artist. He made the decision to abandon the traditional martial arts. By doing so, Bruce embarked on a journey in discovering his own style that would not only incorporate various disciplines but would also contain no limitations.

In Jeet Kun Do, the  primary idea emphasized is rejuvenating yourself from all that is faulty. In other words: "Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own." In definition, only use what works.The physical aspects of JKD are the gradual development of speed, reflexes, timing, coordination, and power. Another idea is the theory of adaptation through self-discovery. Jeet Kun Do always evolves but still retains it's structure of boxing, fencing, and Wing Chun. New techniques are introduced as the world progresses. To stick with what you have totally goes against what Bruce Lee believed in. Bruce exposed his mind to new methods of fighting in order to become more effective and elusive within means of combat.

A notable quote from a mixed martial artist, Georges St. Pierre( GSP) states that " Fighting is not just physical, it's about who has the most knowledge." This quote bears a close resemblance to the idea that an martial artist must always evolve( be willing to accept new systems) and be ahead of his or her game or face certain defeat by a more skilled opponent. Jeet Kun Do values the idea of evolution dearly as much as the concept of being practical.

Video of the said quote:

Alternate link to video:

Link explaining intently how Jeet Kun Do evolved over a short matter of time:

In terms of fighting, the method is in the actual name itself. Jeet Kun Do's meaning is the art of the intercepting fist. Bruce literally took the methods and techniques from fencing and boxing and merged the two arts together the form the basis of his individually made style. However, he did not take techniques and just tossed them together like a salad. Bruce put his time and effort in studying/testing every part of fencing and boxing, to the point where he could strip the discipline's fundamentals. The Jeet Kun Do stance, foot work, and point of contact adopted by Bruce were all based off of fencing. A key principle in fencing is the stop-hit method. It ironically shares the same idea of how to engage an opponent with Jeet Kun Do. Stop hits is basically a method of catching your opponents attention and instincts in a specific state so you could be able to intercept him at his most vulnerable way of entry- the offensive attack. There are no specific blocks use in JKD. Most of the defensive measures revolve on trapping and countering, techniques based off the stop-hit method. 

As for the the exertion of power and the movement of ligaments, Bruce turned to the boxing- to which many people refer to as " the sweet science." Bruce studied many boxing matches involving Muhammad Ali and Jack Dempsey,  notorious boxers of that decade in the twentieth century. He was impressed by Ali's ability to move effortlessly across the ring without sacrificing technique. Who would have believed such basic and brutal movements would be so effective? Well, Bruce was one of those people. The JKD vertical-wrist jab( or straight blast) , appropriate positioning of strikes, surface of striking, the rotation of the hips to generate power, and the chain of kinetic hits on impact all created from boxing. 

Then, Bruce began studying an art that focused mainly on kicks. He turned to Tae Kwon Do, which contains the most kicks out of any martial arts. He learned these kicks and put them into memory by cross-training with Jhoon Rhee, a tenth-degree black belt( the highest belt reached) in Tae Kwon Do and recognized as the father of American Tae Kwon Do, which was introduced in the United States by Rhee himself just after immigrating to America. 

Bruce still used his beloved Wing Chun, which provided the many trapping( parrying) techniques, debilitating kicks, and an economic way of punching, which contradicts boxing since it requires the mass generation of power.

Using all these techniques and classifying them as part of his endless arsenal of weapons, Bruce was on his way of becoming a great martial artist.

Even though JKD is heavily based off of boxing and fencing, it pays no loyalty to either of the styles. Each technique taken went through the process of scientific experimentation, from analysis to testing in real-life situations. 

Bruce believed that a real martial artist had the ability of truly expressing himself. To be like water, flowing without disruption. Jeet Kun Do was Bruce Lee's main contribution that still makes it mark on the martial artists of this generation. It is especially popular among mixed martial arts, the fastest growing professional sport in the world. Aside from his movies, it should be undisputed that the Jeet Kun Do is apart of Bruce's nonperishable legacy.

Videos of Bruce Lee's own interpretation of the deciphering of JKD:

Courtesy of the official UFC website:

A description of JKD-



Many consider Jeet Kune Do's founder, as one of the world's first Mixed Martial Artists. Bruce Lee developed Jeet Kune Do in 1967. Bruce Lee referred to Jeet Kune Do not as a system, but as name he gave his philosophy of freeing yourself from styles and patterns. On the whole, Jeet Kune Do is a philosophy for life, not just combat. Applied to combat, the idea is to use what works and abandon "styles" as they limit your ability to be prepared for a fight. It also noted that what works for one person may not work for another. Jeet Kune Do requires constant training to be ready for anything. Jeet Kune Do is about evolving, and that's what MMA fighters have to do to compete at such high levels.
( My own quick fact to clarify some misconceptions and distortions of info on JKD)  * As scene in the picture below, the style of Jeet Kun Do was influenced largely by the presence of many Asian martial arts, Wing Chun being the main discipline. However, the origins of the philosophy itself originated from America. 


  • Bruce Lee would tell students to "be like water" because they should be as flexible as possible
  • Students are taught to attack when the opponent is preparing to attack you
  • The effectiveness of JKD is dependent on a fighter's ability to react in a split-second

The signature side kick from Tae Kwon Do that is utilized in Jeet Fan Gung Fu ( the actual style using the JKD method created by Bruce.)


  1. Jet Kun Do is a very interesting way of martial arts. I have on thing in my mind and it is why did Burce lee make this style

  2. Many people identify with Bruce as a movie star, which indeed is correct. But what many people don't know is his love for martial arts. He started training in Wing Chun when he was just a kid. This served as his base style before immigrating to America. After settling in San Francisco for a while, he opened the Jeet Fun Gung Fu school. This however angered the elders of China Town which disproved of his decision to teach Westerners gung fu. This caused conflict between Bruce and the traditional gung fu practitioners. Wong Jack Man, a practitioner of Shaolin Gung Fu, was sent by the elders to challange Bruce to a sparring contest. The deal was: If bruce one, the elders would leave him alone and he could remain teaching Caucasians. If he lost however, Bruce would have to cease the teaching of Gung Fu to other races. The fight lasted 5 minutes and Bruce managed to get Wong to the ground and pummeled him until Wong submitted. Bruce however was shocked by how long it took for him to take down Wong. This eventually lead to his refinement of styles as stated in the following article.