Jeet Kune Do or JKD is the
art of style that the late Bruce Lee created. It is a fascinating art that is a collection of
many different martial arts styles. Eclectic means different systems were used as sources
and pieces were selected from them to create something new. Eclectic is a
commenly used to describe it and it is very appropriate.
Jeet Kune Do has its
origin in Wing Chun Kung Fu. Viewing Bruce Lee in his movies confirms that many of
hismoves are clearly Wing Chun movements. He modified them somewhat for
fighting while not in a classical horse stance and for the camera’s sake.He added boxing and various kicks that went beyond the original or mother art from Wing
Chun and the evolution of his new style began.
Bruce studied other
martial arts and took new movements that he found to be very useful and then melded them into
his system. At one point he was asked what it was that he was teaching and he could not call it Wing Chun
since it had other fighting elements to it so he called it Lee Jun Fan. That was his name in Chinese and it
made sense because it was something he was creating. In effect it was Bruce Lee’s style!
At one point he thought he
was undeaftable and he was very good. That is until he went against a judo/wrestler name Judo
Gene LaBell. Everytime Gene got his hands on Bruce, Bruce had a healthy dose of humility and ended on the
mat. That brought about the addition of wrestling or grappling to his expanding style.
Dan Inosanto and Bruce met
and became very good friends. Dan had a black belt in Karate and was ready to grow with the
new fighting techniques that Bruce had to share. In time Dan had learned Phillipino arts of Kali, Arnis and
Escrima and shared them with Bruce. Bruce was content with his evolving style and did not accept his offer.
The reality is that the Phillipino arts already had evolved into what Bruce was developing. There were some
footwork differenced but both were similar in concepts of using many different techniques for fighting,
trapping, kicking, grappling/wrestling and weaponry.
After Bruce died Dan
Insosanto continued Bruce’s expansion of Jeet Kune Do and studied more arts as they became open to study. Muay Thai was one of these arts as was
joint locks from Jui Jitsu. Then when a very new style became open he was fortunate to be one of a handful to
study Buktari Negara Silat. In time this was also added.
Jeet Kune Do begana new era in martial arts fighting
and philosophy. Gone was the idea that you had to learn only one style and stay within its framework. Now you
are allowed and even encouraged to add fighting elements from other styles. As styles melded together a new
world of fighting came about and is now simply termed Mixed Martial Arts or MMA. There is a lot of action in
this world of MMA but the majority of it is focused on grappling or ground work. It even has coined a phrase
for beating on your opponent while you are on top and your opponent is on the mat. It is “ground and pound”
and it is appropriately termed. With this type of fighting the smoother and sophisticated moves are gone and
replaced with brutal smashing and grinding.
In many ways the new era
of mixed martial arts is nothing more than Jeet Kune Do simplified down to a few punches with
some Muay Thai Kicks followed by a lot of wrestling. Both value real fighting as something to be simplified
and only doing what is needed to win.
Here at Kung Fu Warriors
the concept of Jeet Kune Do is the driving force to the fighting techniques
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