Jeet Kune Do means Way of the Intercepting Fist, and is the martial arts style that Bruce Lee developed to combine what he had discovered after spending years studying every popular fighting style available to him. Although his background was in kung-fu (Tai Chi, Wing Chun) he studied high kicking styles, wrestling, Western boxing, karate, Jujitu, fencing and many others. So, what is Jeet Kune Do, if not just a mish mash of all martial arts?
Bruce Lee actually said the following about Jeet Kune Do, mostly to quell the increasing attacks on the system (many thought he was arrogant to develop “his own” style:
“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 moulds. My movements are simple, direct and non-classical. The extraordinary part of it lies in its simplicity. 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. 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.” – Bruce Lee, 1971
So, it is clear then, that Jeet Kune Do is simply everything, and at the same time nothing. Some would say that it is the root of the MMA (mixed martial arts) philosophy. Breaking down the barriers between martial arts styles. MMA fighters are possibly the most serious martial artists today. Rather than dwell on the childish “my style is better than your style” attitude, they go out, and tackle all styles, and determine first hand which parts of which styles work against an opponent who is training and learning in the same way. Style is not important, winning is. To win, you have to be the best, and be able to fight against anything.
So, what are the core philosophies of Jeet Kune Do?
- The fighting concepts of Wing Chun are followed, i.e. the centerline, gates, vertical punching
- For speed and stability, Western Boxing stances are used
- A fighter should do whatever is necessary to defend himself
- Stronger striking hand in the lead, with his weaker hand back
- Apart from the boxing stance, no others are consciously used – let the training guide your instinct
- Learn to adapt to the constant changes and fluctuations of real combat – not forms
The Principals of Jeet Kune Do
- The best defense is a strong offense
- The principal of interception
- Learning to intercept by learning to understand an opponents body language, predict his movements. This is taken from Japanese sword fighting training
- “Absorb what is useful; Disregard that which is useless”
- Economy of motion – waste no time with fancy moves
The Techniques of Jeet Kune Do
- Stop hits & stop kicks – this means to never block an attack. Always aim to strike your opponent. Some kung-fu systems, such as Southern Praying Mantis, use this method.
- Simultaneous parrying & punching – In addition to stop hits, never just parry, always strike at the same time. This is fast and takes your opponent by surprise. Waste no time
- No high kicks – many styles teach high kicking. However, in a real fight it is very dangerous. You are off balance, and invariably leave your groin undefended. A sure way to lose a fight.
- Learn the 4 ranges of combat:
Jeet Kune Do’s Five Ways Of Attack
- Single Angular Attack (SAA) and its converse Single Direct Attack (SDA).
- Hand Immobilization Attack (HIA) and its counterpart Foot Immobilization attack, which make use of “trapping” to limit the opponent to strike again with that arm or leg.
- Progressive Indirect Attack (PIA). Attacking one part of the opponent’s body followed by attacking another part as a means of creating an opening.
- Attack By Combinations (ABC). This is using multiple rapid attacks as a means of using volume of attack to overcoming the opponent.
- Attack By Drawing (ABD). This is creating an opening with positioning as a means of counter attacking.
Three Parts of Jeet Kune Do
- Efficiency – An attack that reaches its mark without detour
- Directness – Straight to the point
- Simplicity – Thinking in an uncomplicated manner, flowing like water.
Jeet Kune Do Workouts
Martial arts training is the workout in itself. However, Bruce Lee trained extensively in addition to his many martial arts classes. Jeet Kune Do, like mixed martial arts, requires function training, including bodyweight circuit training, functional strength training (compound exercises, power-lifting techniques), kicking drills, punching and boxing drills, bag work, ground work, running, sprinting, endurance training, and flexibility training.
- The Bruce Lee Workouts
- Bruce Lee’s Kickboxing Workouts
- Bruce Lee’s diet
- The Art of Expressing the Human Body – Book Review
To “do Jeet Kune Do” today, you simply need to attend an MMA class, or learn several styles and focus on what works for you. Jeet Kune Do is about breaking down barriers, not creating new ones. So called Jeet Kune Do schools are teaching a system now. Students need to remember that they have to break away from all systems, and find what works, and what fails, for them. Be like water my friends, flow! Or as the Gallagher brothers said, “You gotta roll with it, You gotta take your time, You gotta say what you say, Don’t let anybody get in your way”. I am sure that this lyric is in reference to the Way of the Intercepting Fist.
Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method: The Complete Edition – Book Review
Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method is an excellent illustration of the various techniques and skills that Bruce Lee mastered. Originally this was released as a series of books, but now it is available in one handy volume. It also features updated photographs, a new chapter written by Ted Wong (one of Bruce’s students) and a new introduction by Lee’s daughter, Shannon Lee.
Bruce Lee was a legendary martial artist, both on screen and off. Unlike many martial artists that appear on screen today, his was a trained fighter, not just a choreographer. He believed in removing form from martial arts, and to use any techniques that worked, and this is the basis of his method, Jeet Kune Do. This book covers all aspects of journey, from his martial arts workouts, his complimentary weight training, research, and his philosophy.
The four individual volumes are:
- Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method, Vol. 1: Self-Defense Techniques
- Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method, Vol. 2: Basic Training
- Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method, Vol. 3: Skill in Techniques
- Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method, Vol. 4: Advanced Techniques
One of the best features of this new hardback version is that the photographs have been restored to such a great level of detail. The book looks fresh, as if it was written this year, and not in the late 1970’s. The publishers have created a new layout and positioned illustrations and text in such a way that it is easier to follow Bruce’s line of thought and understand his principals and techniques than it was in the first editions. Although Bruce Lee’s methods have not been changed, the quality of the publishing industry has. This is what makes this new hardback edition such a treat. It is now even easier to learn Bruce Lee’s methods from his writings and illustrations than ever before!
This book is essential in any martial artists collection. Just as Bruce Lee combined the best parts of many different systems to create his own, his methods and understanding of human anatomy and fighting can benefit all martial artists.
Also available in other bookshops.