People are still
trying to define JKD in terms of a distinct style, i.e. Bruce
Lee's Gung-Fu, Bruce Lee's Karate, Bruce Lee's Kick-Boxing or
Bruce Lee's Street Fighting. To label JKD as Bruce Lee's martial
art is to miss completely its meaning; its concepts simply cannot
be confined within a system. To understand this, a martial artist
must transcend the duality of the "for" and "against" and reach
one unity which is without distinction. The understanding of JKD
is a direct intuition of this unity. Truth cannot be perceived
until we have come to full understanding of ourselves and our
potential. According to Lee, knowledge in the martial arts ultimately
Jeet Kune Do
is not a new style of Karate or Kung Fu. Bruce Lee did not invent
a new style, or a composite, or modify any style to set it apart
from any existing method. His main concept was to free his followers
from clinging to style, pattern or mold.
It must be emphasized
that Jeet Kune Do is merely a name - a mirror in which we see
ourselves. There is some sort of progressive approach to its training
but, as Si Gung Lee said, "To create a method of fighting is pretty
much like putting a pound of water into wrapping paper and shaping
it." Structurally, many people tend to mistake JKD for a composite
style, because of its efficiency. At any given time, JKD
can resemble Thai boxing, or Wing Chun, or wrestling or Karate
or any Kung Fu system.
Si Gung Lee, the efficiency of style depends upon circumstances
and range of distance. The important factor is not technique,
but the range of its effectiveness. Just as a grenade is used at
50 yards, a dagger is used in close. A staff for example, would
be the wrong weapon to bring into a telephone booth to fight, whereas
a knife would be appropriate.
Jeet Kune Do
is neither opposed to style, nor is it not opposed to style. We
can say it is outside as well as inside of all particular structures.
Because JKD makes no claim to being a style, some people conclude
that perhaps it is being neutral or simply indifferent. Again,
this is not the case, for JKD is at once "this" and "not this."
A good JKD
practitioner rests in direct intuition. According to Si Gung Lee,
a style should be like a Bible with principles and laws which
can never be violated. There will always be a difference with
regard to quality of training, physical make up, level of understanding,
environment, conditioning, and likes and dislikes. According to
Si Gung Lee, truth is a "pathless road"; thus JKD is not an organization
or an institution of which one can be a member. "Either you understand
or you don't, and that is that," he said.
like life itself, are a constant, non-rhythmic movement, as well
as constant change. Flowing with this change is very important.
Finally, a Jeet Kune Do man who says JKD is exclusively JKD is
simply "not with it." He is still "hung up" on his own self-closing
resistance, anchored down to reactionary pattern and, naturally,
is still bound by another modified pattern and can move only within
its limits. He has not digested the simple fact that the truth
exists outside of all molds and patterns. An awareness is never
exclusive. To quote Si Gung Lee, "Jeet Kune Do is just a name,
a boat to get one across the river. Once across, it is to be discarded
and not to be carried on ones back." I feel that students should
be taught experiences as well as technique. In other words, a
Karate practitioner who has never boxed before needs to experience
sparring with a boxer. What he learns from this experience is
strictly up to him. According to Si Gung Lee, a teacher is not
the giver of truth; he is merely a guide to the truth and the
student must discover the truth for himself.
picture Si Gung Lee wanted to present to his pupil was that, above
everything else, he must find his own way. He always said, "Your
truth is not my truth and my truth is not yours." Si Gung Lee
did not have a blueprint, but rather a series of guidelines to
lead you to proficiency. Using equipment, there was a systematic
approach in which you could develop speed, distance, power, timing,
coordination, endurance and footwork.
Do, for Si Gung Lee, was not an end in itself, nor was it merely
a byproduct; it was a means of self-discovery. In other words,
it was a prescription for personal growth; it was an investigation
of freedom - freedom to act naturally and effectively not only
in combat but in life. In life, it means to absorb what is useful,
to reject what is useless and to add specifically what is your
own. I believe to better understand JKD you must observe and better
yet, experience Judo, Jujitsu, Aikido, Western boxing, some kicking
styles, Chinese systems of sensitivity such as Wing Chun, the
elements of Kali and Eskrima, with the elements of Pentjak Silat,
Thai boxing, French Savate and Bando, and understand the strengths
and weaknesses of each. It is nor necessary to study all of these
arts, only to understand the high and low points of each, as well
as the range, distance and effectiveness of each. It would
be impossible to study every style in detail, but if you can get
the essence, you can capture the style. Or, as Bruce used to say,
"I hope martial artists are more interested in the root of martial
arts and not the different decorative branches, flowers or leaves.
It is futile in argue as to which single leaf, which designs of
branches, or which attractive flower you like; when you understand
the root, you understand all it blossoming."