Jeet Kune Do (JKD, “the way of the intercepting fist”) is Bruce Lee’s styleless style, a revolutionary striking art. I use this term because in JKD we try to keep the game ’stand up’ and not take it to the ground, though we do deal with take downs and standing up from the ground as well.
If we search the historical roots of this art, we will find first of all wing chun, boxing, fencing, savate and Filipino martial arts. These arts were the source material which helped Bruce Lee grow and develop as a martial artist. But he also looked beyond the traditions, and didn’t bind himself to any of them. This is actually a very natural process of evolution.
JKD is also a philosophy…a mental attitude. Understanding this is as important as the physical part. Practicing any art has a common goal: to understand life better. So the art is a tool which we use to better understand our roots. Martial Arts have much value in this way, because sooner or later the practitioner will understand that the “enemy” is not something external, but actually our own ego.
“Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.”
Bruce Lee revolutionized martial arts. To do that he needed a messianic character, a willingness to question everything and go back to the real values, to the source. He had a great vision and deep knowledge and he lived in a special era, when the old structure started to fall apart, and there was a real opportunity to look beyond the stereotypes.
His influence on the world of martial arts can hardly be overestimated. Boxers like Sugar Ray Leonard or Manny Pacquiao, MMA fighters like Jon Jones and Conor McGregor consider Bruce Lee their idol, and use his wisdom to be better at their own arts.
In JKD training the technical material has three main parts:
- Boxing & Kickboxing
It is based on different fighting distances, each of which gives different opportunities. In the beginning we practice these three parts individually, then later emphasize switching quickly between them, as the fighting distances change suddenly and randomly.
There are also some skills which are essential for a warrior: balance, timing, rhythm, mobility, explosiveness, good structure, sensitivity, economical movement, physical and mental flexibility – just to mention a few.
After learning good, strongly based technical work, we start to work on strategy because without a good plan, it is hard to find one’s way out of the woods.