Jeet Kune Do - Way of the intercepted fist
Jeet kune do - means way of the intercepted fist - has been developed by Bruce Lee in 1967. As opposed to many other martial-arts-styles there are no constitute sequences building up an own jeet kune do style.
Jeet kune do (JKD) is uncommited, JKD is freedom. It owns everything but is of nothing better (it means, that it owns technics of all styles but is not constituted to their rules). Those, who understand the meaning of JKD, are mostly interested in the freeing power if it is used as a mirror to self-knowledge.
Many people tried to define JKD as a special style in the past: Bruce Lee's kung-fu, Bruce Lee's karate, Bruce Lee' kickboxing, Bruce Lee' system for streetfighting. To declare JKD as Bruce Lee's fighting-style means to completely misunderstand Bruce Lee's concern.
The contains of JKD can't be forced into a single fighting-system. To examine this, a fighter has to conquer the pro and contra and quest for the entity beyond simple confrontation. To comprehend JKD means to emotionally realise this point. Bruce Lee said: Knowledge in martial arts finally means self-knowledge.
It has to be pointed out that JKD is only a name, a mirror reflecting ourselves. There exists something like a progressive way to advance the JKD-sparring, but as Lee said: To develop a fight-style is like packaging water into kraft paper and trying to shashape it. Many people misunderstand the structure of JKD because of it's high effectivity and consider it as a composition of styles. And as a fact it can be similar to thai-boxing wing chun, wrestling or karate in every situation.
The armature looks like the philipine kali/escrima and in the distance-fight it reminds of the northchinese kung-fu or savate. Lee means, the effectivity of every style depends on the circumstances and the distance. a soldier uses a handgranade on a distance of 50 metres but a dagger for the infight. a staff is the wrong weapon for fighting in a phone booth, a knife would be the right choice.
JKD is not for or against the idea of a style. It moves inside and outside of a special structure (of all styles). Just because of the fact that JKD can not be seen as a style, some come to the result that it is neutral or desinterested in this question. Once again, this is not the case because JKD is "this" and "not this" at the same time (this association comes out of the chinese ying and yang).
A good JKD-fighter starts his moves intuitively. Lee said a style should not be like a bible, which principles and laws are never allowed to be broken. There are always differences in the quality of the training, the physical shape, the mental ability, the environment and the preferences between single persons. Bruce said: The truth is a road without a track and as a result, JKD is not a institution or organization you can become a member of. Either you understand it or not - that's it.
When Bruce teached a chinese kung-fu-system (shortly after his arrival in the u.s.a.), he ran a martial-arts-school, but after this short period he abandoned the belief in a special system or style, no matter if it was chinese or different. One the one hand lee said it probably would be necessary to build up some kind of organization to reach the masses, on the other hand he gave up on this idea for his teaching.
Anyway, some kind of preconceived move-sequences had to be worked out to reach the constantly growing number of his pupils. And as a result of a fighting-organization, a lot of members would be forced into a system and they would be prisoners of systematic drillinstructions.
This is the reason why Lee only preferred a small amount of pupils. Such a learning method desires constant and advertant observation of every single pupils to build up the necessary relation between teacher and pupil. Lee often declared: A good teacher lets his pupil see the truth by showing him his vulnerability and forcing him to recover himself from the inside and from the outside to be one with his being.
The martial art is, like life itself, a river in a constant and arhythmetic float, being in a constant change. To float with this change is very important. And so every member of JKD, who says JKD means only JKD, is simply not in this flow. He is stuck in this narrowness. Such a person has simply not catched the fact, that truth lies beyond every pattern and restricting shapes. Consciousness is never exclusive (it means it can not be limited). To cite Bruce: JKD is only a name, a boat carriying us over the river. Arrived on the other side, it is left behind and not packed on one's back.
At 1982, the JKD-concept was teached only at three places: the Filipino Kali Academy in Torrance, California, in Charlotte in North Carolina (where Lary Harstell teached some pupils) and in Seattle Washington (under the direction of Taki Kimura). The main part of the JKD-concept has been teached in Torrance, at the school of Richard Bustillo and Dan Inosanto. It`s organized by the precondition, that every JKD-member has to make different experiences. Pupils of the courses of phase 1 and 2 of the Filipino Academy are teached in western boxing and Bruce Lee's method of kickboxing - jun fan.
Bruce Lee said, a teacher is not the one to mediate a truth, he's just leader to the truth, every pupil has to find by himself. In general view Lee tried to mediate, that the pupil has to find his own path to the truth. He never hesitated to say: Your truth isn't mine, and my truth is not yours.
Bruce never had a plan, just some directives to lead pupils to ability. Through the use of training-equipment, there was no systematic lead to the development of speed, feel of distance, strength, timing, coordination, endurance and footwork.
But JKD never meant end in itself and never was a byproduct of his studies in martial arts, it was a path to self-knowledge. JKD was e receipt for personal growth, it was a discovery of freedom - not only freedom in a fight, the freedom to act naturally and effectual in life. In life, we take the useful, discard the useless and expand our experiences by our choice. Bruce Lee always wanted his pupils to task with judo, jujitsu, aikido, western boxing. He wanted them to experience sensitive chinese systems like wing chun and the elements of kali, escrima and arnis to discover the strengths and weaknesses of all these methods.
No style is outmatched and no one is inferior. This is the spirit of JKD, to be unattached and free. In a fight, no style should be used as a style, no path as a path and no narrowing should be the only one. JKD is the simple being. Or, to use the words of a zen-principle: In a landscape of spring, there's no better or worser. The blooming boughs grow, some long, some short.