"Having no way as the way. Having no limitation as your limitation."

Bruce Lee

Wing Chun, Jun Fan, Jeet Kune Do, JF/JKD

First some other Bruce Lee references on the net

Black Belt Magazine's Bruce Lee related Articles

Jeet Kune Do

From Black Belt Magazine, August 1995  p.42-44

Dan Inosanto Returns to Black Belt

In February of 1967 Bruce Lee awarded him a third rank in jeet kune do (JKD) , the level that Bruce considered necessary to teach JKD. To this day, Inosanto is the only individual to receive a third rank in JKD from Lee.

The only man senior to Dan Inosanto is Taky Kimura, who is ranked 7th in JKD and who has personally ranked Dan rank 6 in JKD. Rank 8 is reserved forever for Bruce Lee as the founder of the art.

BB: Were there certain topics you learned from Lee, but couldn't impart to other students?

INOSANTO: There were 13 things I could teach on the classical list, and that was it. He used to say that under no circumstances could I teach:

 Double pak sao(slap block)

Pak Sao bil jee (slap block/finger jab)

Pak sao lop sao (slap block/grabbing hand) 

were big big secrets. He was the head man, so I kept it exactly the way he wanted me to teach it.

NOTE: The restricted techniques were all PURE Wing Chun.

Plagarism Warning

 

None of it is original work on my part--so take it with a grain of salt. 
Note: This article was found on the internet and has been edited.

--Note. This will be including some quotes from the book Tao Of Jeet Kune Do. For those of you who are not familliar, the Tao Of Jeet Kune Do is a book Bruce had started to write before his death, on his ideas and thinking. He died before it was able to be finished, so alot of it is actual reprints of Bruce's personal notes gathered through the years including his drawings. It is not meant as a "how to" book, but simply as "one man's way of thinking and as a guide" as is said in the introduction. In an attempt to maintain the integrity of the quotes, I have included them in the context in which it was presented in the Tao.


Jeet Kune Do is NOT a system. A system is a formula or an established procedure used to attain an end. The Do in JKD means Art. An art is open to interpretation and expression. In Bruce's own words in a letter to Hawkins Cheung "No, I did not mean to create another style. JKD started out as my expression of Lop Sao."

JKD, being an ART, lies over the realms of system AND concept.

It lies in the realm of system because as was found, a person's techniques should be governed by Conservation of Movement, Non Telegraphic movements, and overall effectiveness, among others.

It lies in the realm of concept, because each of those points applies differently to different people. Reason being because the way a person might do a non telegraphic movement might differ because of his body structure or attributes. His "expression" of non telegraphic movement will be different because of this.

Because of this, a person in JKD is not "developing" techniques in a "restricted" set of guide rules or formulas. JKD is a more of a process of striping away what is there rather than learning. You are "recovering" things that have been with you all the time and have been lost or distorted by misguided manipulation or conditioning in every day life.

You have the desire to transcend that of petty technique and ideas. To forget everything you learn, and will learn. Your subconscious then takes over, and will assert "answers" spontaneously.

"To float in totality, to have no technique, is to have all technique."

It is a growing process to reach that of JKD. The above quote should not be perceived as actually learning something and forgetting it, but similar to the statement a gentleman on here has at the end of his postings. "Before enlightenment, one chops wood, etc. After enlightenment, one chops wood, etc."

(sorry for the etc's, but I forgot the rest of the statement)

Bruce Lee helped many people, such as Joe Lewis, apply his philosophies to improve their fighting skills, regardless of their original style. That is because JKD transcends that of "style". Hence, a person's original "roots" of technique are not important because they will be transcending them. All of Bruce's students, including Bruce himself were involved in a "style" of martial arts at one time or another. Bruce as was known, studied Wing Chun, some Northern styles, T'ai Chi (under his father), and informally studied Ju-Jitsu under Professor Wally Jay (in fact it was Wally Jay who first suggested a style that would encompass all styles). He also sat in on or worked with people in many other systems while developing the ideas and stances that would later lead to forming JKD.

Taky Kimura (who later ran the Seattle school when Bruce left for Oakland), was a Judoka. Charlie Woo was a Judoka. Jessie Glover, James W. DeMile and many others were street fighters. There were others that came from different martial art styles and systems (various Japanese, Chinese, and Korean systems too). Most of the students of Bruce's already had some fighting/martial arts background, including Gary Dill.

So the idea that he "helped" these people far transcends the meaning of the word. They were ALL and still ARE students and practitioners of JKD. JKD stripped them of their learned identity and was meant to return them to their natural beings. To "themselves". It was from there that they went on to their own expressions.

Likewise this goes for your example of Joe Lewis. He had as much to do with helping to form JKD as many others did. When Joe came to study with Bruce, he was a Karateka. Upon training under Bruce and forming a friendship, he then "expressed" his "interpretation" of what Bruce was saying. Much of it still had a "Karate" type flavor, because he kept what he felt was useful for himself. His overall fighting "style" though, had changed because he was now an expression of himself. His own "ideas" of what worked for him and what didn't. I.E. what was useful. During his tenure with Bruce, the two of them would watch and analyze alot of boxing films including those of Cassius Clay (Mohammed Ali) to see how these fighters closed their distance to the opponent, maintained balance, and used different angles of attacks. Bruce and Joe would then discuss and form ideas together on what they had watched. Many of these discussions helped form what Bruce would later teach his students in class and what he practiced himself.

So to say Bruce helped Joe Lewis is true, but it goes far deeper than that. Joe had just as much to do with many of the principals taught in JKD too.

He was hesitant to have anyone become fixed in a set of techniques which become tradition.

What he taught were exercises that were meant to develop your skill, and ideas/concepts to be used in conjunction with your skill and body structure to "express" your fighting style. All these were meant to send you on your way to the ultimate goal of Jeet Kune Do. They are not meant to "define" Jeet Kune Do.

To use these techniques and drills as the "way" or to define the "way", is a complete reversal of what you are trying to attain in JKD to begin with.

"Set patterns, incapable of adaptability, of pliability, only offer a better cage. Truth is outside of all patterns."

"Learning Jeet Kune Do is not a matter of seeking knowledge or accumulating stylized pattern, but it is discovering the cause of ignorance."

"Jeet Kune Do favors formlessness so that it can assume all forms and since Jeet Kune Do has no style, it can fit in with all styles. As a result, Jeet Kune Do utilizes all way and is bound by none and, likewise, uses any techniques which serve it's end."

--Note. For those of you reading this, the last sentence does not mean to go out and haphazardly throw a bunch of techniques together or gather as many techniques as possible. It means that when developing your attributes or style, keep your mind open. As the saying goes "There is more than one way to skin a cat." The things Bruce would show his students, or would even use to train himself, were CONSTANTLY changing as he gained new insights, goals, experience. Because of this, many of his students were trained and shown many different ways to obtain their "truths", which partially explains alot of the confusion today of what "real" JKD is.

According to Gary Dill, head of Self-Defense Systems (SDS), Jeet Kune Do, was taught specifically as a martial art while he was a student at Bruce Lee's Oakland School, although it has it's origins far before this.

Lee's school itself had a system or "curriculum" to help teach the ideas and give the students the skills. The key words here are "school" and "curriculum". Just because that is how he chose to standardize it for the school students does not mean that that was the only "way" to do it, or that the drills or techniques defined the "way". It was simply one way of presenting the information and giving the person the necessary skills to succeed in finding his "way". And even then, many times these varied from student to student.

Go to any college and university across the US or the world and you will see this example. They have relatively the same "curriculum" in the intended major's. They have relatively all the same information to teach in the respective areas (new research and progress of course effects this). But what changes at every school is the way that the courses are taught. The personalities and personal insights of the people teaching them. Hence there were are many different "ways" to get the same information across, and give students the same skills.

Where this seperates is that the curriculum in no way defines the subject. It defines what skills you are taught, and is meant to give you the necessary insight to make your own decisions and to help you in the area once you leave the school. Talk to any student in a class and they will be variances on how a person approaches or views something. The curriculum helps you to form your views and opinions, and back you up with practical experience and information.

Likewise the curriculum at the Oakland School in NO WAY defined JKD. It was meant to help them LEARN ABOUT JKD, to get their skills to their peak, and to start them on their own "way". Once a student, progressed far enough, and once Bruce was able to judge the students ability and body structure, the student was then "guided" in working on more drills and areas to use his body structure to even more of an advantage, and to further guide them on their "way". This is why many people's "way" of training for their potential and learning, itself, are different. Bruce himself learned and practiced a way totally different from his students. And what he practiced were nothing but tools to help him in his goal for JKD. They did not "define" JKD.

On a related topic:

Bruce did not even show all of his students every way that he himself trained, or present all skills that he himself developed or advocated. Besides the reason of every person having their own "way", there is the following:

*This is an excerpt from a letter from James W. DeMile to the editor and staff of Inside Kung Fu, and Hawkins Cheung. The latter who had a series of articles published on Bruce and JKD, to which resulted in the following reply.

"What Sifu Cheung did not feel when he touched hands with Bruce's second and third-generation students is some key elements that Bruce left out in his later teaching. Bruce made a statement to me that made everything clear as to why he changed certain aspects of his teaching. Jessie Glover, Bruce's first student and probably the best fighter in out group, and I were visiting Bruce when he was teaching a Jun Fan class in a Chinatown basement (Oakland). We noted that Bruce was teaching some things that seemed incomplete. We asked Bruce about this and he said, "Why should I teach someone to beat me?" It was true. Why should he spend all his time developing his personal style and then give it away to someone else who might one day challenge him."

Jesse Glover, Bruce Lee's First Student in Seattle.

Note: Bruce Lee with glasses in the second photo.

The heart of the JKD system is NOT a combat modified Chinese-American Wing Chun Gung Fu. This is a big misconception to all except his Wing Chun friends and those of his first students. Bruce's and Wing Chun's definition of modification are different then that perceived by most of his students and the Western mind.

Wing Chun set's itself up for "modification". It is meant to grow and develop with the student and become an "expression" of the student. Wing Chun allows change for the sake of adaptability and survival. Because of his many personal experiences and lack of knowledge in certain areas of Wing Chun (he only knew the first two "instructional" forms, and a limited number of the wooden dummy forms), he came up with his "personal" solutions by using his own ideas and guidance mixed with those he had already learned, further developing his own "personal" wing chun tools. This personal wing chun he called Jun Fan to his early students. Jun Fan was Bruce's Chinese name.

He might have developed different "solutions" had he stayed in Hong Kong to continue his study. Instead, he was thrust into a world of many different styles and systems. He dealt with them and allowed his personal style to grow based on the guidance of his Wing Chun studies. No different a process than anyone else does in Wing Chun.

When he first started teaching, he taught formal Wing Chun. As his knowledge and personal style grew, he felt it was enough of his own "style" to label it Jun Fan Gung Fu, as was stated earlier. Everything he did was still in a Wing Chun frame, because Wing Chun is still that frame of changeless change. You are constantly changing and improving and "modifying" your ideas to form your expression. He still had his wing chun ideas and attributes, no matter what he applied them to. When he did the straight punch, he started from the middle with the elbows down, which is done in Wing Chun. When he used a Northern Shaolin side kick, he still issued power with a stomp as a wing chun man did. (Those were his two best techniques. His front and hook kicks were fast, as were his other punches, but they didn't have the "killing" power as his straight punch and side kick so those because the tools he used most to express his JKD). When Bruce did Kali sticks or nunchakus, he maintained his upright wing chun posture.

As Bruce went on, he applied the ideas he learned in Wing Chun (Economy of motion, Non telegraphic, balance, among others) to all that he came across and picked up.

What Bruce meant when he said he saw limitations in Wing Chun was that he saw limitations in some of the physical techniques, and the way they were performed. He then "adapted" and "modified" them to the situation at hand which is what Wing Chun allows for in the first place. He also added different techniques to his Wing Chun one's, for solutions to situations that he felt the wing chun techniques weren't designed for (Alot of times, it was because he had lacked the training to correctly apply the Wing Chun techniques. Both solutions would be correct though. It's what get's the job done that counts). When he added these new techniques or sometimes theory's, he made sure they fit with the guidances he had already established in Wing Chun. So if a new technique landed, but say he was to far off balance, he threw it out. If the new solution he came up with involved to many movements or did not follow a simple enough path, then it was thrown out. If an concept opened a new view or theory on how to apply a solution to a situation, and it did not conflict with all of the previous "guides" that he knew worked, then it was added to his theories. This is what is meant by, and was later called "absorbing what is useful". The only thing that was "modified" were the actual physical wing chun techniques. Again, this is what Wing Chun adaptability sets itself up for in some cases.

What Bruce DID do though was to take the ball and go further than probably anyone before in wing chun had done. He took the ideas and concepts in Wing Chun and expanded them to such an extreme, that he brought them to a higher consciousness or plane. It was to such an extreme that it was VERY hard to define or put into words, for even Bruce had problems defining or describing it all in the physical sense. But to today's pragmatic world, especially in the West, some sort of description was needed. A term or a word. So Bruce came up with the name Jeet Kune Do, which translates to art of the intercepting fist. The reason he chose this was because his main self defense strategy was to end a fight in the quickest way possible. Many times before the first punch was even completed. This again was an expression of Conservation of movement. All his principles, techniques, and strategies went to this end of the intercepting idea. But as you can see, it was far from describing the overall art. Till the day he died, Bruce felt he chose the name Jeet Kune Do far to soon.

As said earlier, Bruce watched Mohammed for alot of distancing and balance strategy. He took a mixture of boxing and fencing footwork because he felt it was the most non telegraphic (one of the guides to remember). It was his expression of being non telegraphic. This is not to say it is the ONLY way. Because to admit that, is to go against the ideas of learning in JKD. If Bruce thought that the boxing footwork was the only "way" to move, then he would have been stuck, and out of luck. But he experimented and saw it wasn't. Boxers don't need to worry about kicks. People in regular fights do. So he found that a "modified" side stance that looks like a cross between a boxing and fencing stance worked. It was actually a cross of a boxing, fencing, and "Wing Chun side stance" because he still used many of the hand techniques from Wing Chun that used the centerline principle. He used a shuffling movement that was a cross between a boxing and fencing because he felt that was the most non telegraphic way to move. All of these being EXPRESSIONS of the principles he learned. If something had happened to show him that maybe he should be doing something a little different, then he would have changed it.

This is all saying that no way is the permanent way. To simply sit back and say "this way is best" because it was done this way by so and so, is humorous. If Bruce himself had taken that attitude, where do you think he would have been? If however you are willing to experiment, and say that this is the best solution FOR NOW because I have not found anything better YET, that is a different story. As was said earlier, to change with change is the changeless state. If you are constantly willing to accept change, then change will be natural and effortless. And your truths will always be truths. Unfortunately as many of you have seen, many of the JKD people use Bruce's teachings as the "way", similar to a "cult", instead of using them to build upon as a springboard into greater things.

JKD and MANY other arts and even styles, value techniques that are simple and work in any situation. Because of this similarity of "no nonsense" in alot of martial arts, they have been equated with and put under the same term "streetfighting". You must realize that whatever martial art or style you do, is FAR above streetfighting. Streetfighting is a conditioned call and response learned though the exploring of habits. Similar to a rat in a maze. A Martial Art is a scientific study, which puts you and your studies far above that of the normal street fighter. It's how you apply these studies compared to that of a streetfighter that denotes how successful you are. Without the practical experience that a streetfighter has, he is one step above you. But, with practical experience combined with the knowledge you possess from your art, make no mistake: you are 10 stories above the average streetfighter.

JKD and MANY other arts and even styles, value techniques that are simple and work in any situation. Because of this similarity of "no nonsense" in alot of martial arts, they have been equated with and put under the same term "streetfighting". You must realize that whatever martial art or style you do, is FAR above streetfighting. Streetfighting is a conditioned call and response learned though the exploring of habits. Similar to a rat in a maze. A Martial Art is a scientific study, which puts you and your studies far above that of the normal street fighter. It's how you apply these studies compared to that of a streetfighter that denotes how successful you are. Without the practical experience that a streetfighter has, he is one step above you. But, with practical experience combined with the knowledge you possess from your art, make no mistake: you are 10 stories above the average streetfighter.

JKD emphasizes overall effectiveness, whether it is in the streets or anywhere else. It seems that "streetfighting" has become synonymous with "whatever is most effective", which isn't always true. Streetfighting is not always effective. What streetfighting is, is alot of simple PROVEN techniques that are often sloppy, but you know that work. They are simple and no nonsense. The techniques are. The ideas are where the problem is. It is this that holds it back from being a good "way". And the techniques themselves may not always be the best possible ones.

JKD and MANY other arts and even styles, value techniques that are simple and work in any situation. Because of this similarity of "no nonsense" in alot of martial arts, they have been equated with and put under the same term "streetfighting". You must realize that whatever martial art or style you do, is FAR above streetfighting. Streetfighting is a conditioned call and response learned though the exploring of habits. Similar to a rat in a maze. A Martial Art is a scientific study, which puts you and your studies far above that of the normal street fighter. It's how you apply these studies compared to that of a streetfighter that denotes how successful you are. Without the practical experience that a streetfighter has, he is one step above you. But, with practical experience combined with the knowledge you possess from your art, make no mistake: you are 10 stories above the average streetfighter.

All JKD students are taught the areas of kicking, punching, trapping, and grappling to form a basis of their style and so they can experience many possibilities. All of these basic techniques are expressed within the "ideals" mentioned earlier. (Conservation of movement, non telegraphic, etc). But, whatever area they emphasize in their training later on will be due to their body structure and personal attributes, and reflects into their personal JKD. For example, Larry Hartsell, a member of the Oakland Kwoon (School), was a big guy. So Bruce emphasized trapping techniques with him. Kareem Abdul Jabar (also an original Oakland member) had EXTREMELY long limbs. So Bruce worked primarily with kicks and longer range techniques with him that would take advantage of his longer limbs. At the same time, he also supplemented Kareem's training with in close defenses because Kareem had a hard time if anyone got past his outer defenses (which rarely happened, but was still a possibility). Kareem was also an Aikidoist beforehand, so Bruce helped him "absorb" what techniques they both felt would take advantage of his body the most.

And since you happened to mention James Yimm Lee earlier, I also might add that James was about just as much as responsible for the shaping of JKD as Bruce was. From the early Oakland days (when Bruce first thought about incorporating boxing skills) on, James was right there to experience it with him. Most of the great bounds and leaps that happened in JKD were due to the ideas that James and Bruce both found and shared. It was James who originally sent for Bruce from Seattle, to come down and teach in Oakland. It was James's house that Bruce and Linda lived at while in Oakland, and it was there that Bruce practiced and kept in shape until they found an area to set up a Kwoon. It was James and Bruce that set up the Oakland school, and it was James and Bruce that set up the basic curriculum and business aspect of it. Oh, and James was a Kenpo student beforehand (so as you can see, the statement "helping people in other styles" and saying that they weren't in JKD, doesn't really fit.)

This is not to berate Bruce. It is to point out that he wasn't some "mystical" know all see all god. He did have help. Bruce had about 88-90% to do with the shape of JKD, with James Yimm Lee, Dan Inosanto Wally Jay, Ed Parker, Jhoon Rhee and a few minor others taking the rest of the percentage (James, Dan, and Wally take the greatest percentage in that order, with the rest in descending order and very little percentage.)

This is something that has become a bit of a trend at the JKD schools -- instead of going out to seek the knowledge and become exposed, they bring alot of the arts to the school and teach them as a separate course, or sometimes as part of the curriculum. I think this is great and can really help a student. There's been a few significant advances from this. But so far, the majority of it has only succeeded in pushing the advancement of JKD backwards instead of forwards. Part of the reason is that in bringing the various styles to the school, or teaching them out of the school, many of the ideas behind JKD are being forgotten. Sure, they throw around "absorb what is useful" and many other quotes as seen above, but do they REALLY know what they mean? Are they really "expressing" them?

Eric says "any other martial art which compliments the JKD style". This sentence alone shows a lack of understanding of "absorbing what is useful", and I have seen that statement used by many of the "original" schools, and the "Kali/JKD" schools, so I don't really blame Eric. JKD, being an art, will be expressed differently by different people, as I have stated and explained many times above, and which is repeated below again by Eric. Since this is true, then these other styles being brought into the school would compliment the INDIVIDUAL's "style". The style does NOT compliment JKD itself, because as was said earlier in a quote from the Tao, "Jeet Kune Do favors formlessness so that it can assume all forms and since JKD has no style, it can fit with all styles. As a result, JKD utilizes all ways and is bound by none and, likewise, uses any techniques which serve it's end." JKD is all of the styles, yet it is none of them because it applies it's specific "unhindering" guidances and theories to them, and does not limit you by choosing one style's way as the main "way".

Many of the schools use a style as a base (Such as Kali in the JKD/Kali schools, or Bruce's "way" in many of the "original" schools). In this way, they are choosing that system as the "way" and look at it as "this is the base, and everything else compliments it", as was shown by the Eric's example. And many times they think "Ok, I'm going to use a Kali technique here, a Ju-jitsu one here, and a Wing Chun one here."

JKD is on a much higher level than this. By using a specific style as a base to begin with you are directly in conflict with one of the main theories of JKD. A style of no style. If on the other hand you were to say "My expression of JKD includes techniques and strategies from Kali, Aikido, and Wing Chun, because they work for me", then you have expressed your personal "style of no style". Likewise, these are no longer techniques and strategies to be defined by what style they are from. They are techniques and strategies in YOUR style, because they have been expressed in YOUR WAY. You are no longer expressing the techniques the same way an Aikidoka or Kali person would in his/her given style. Hence, the techniques should "flow" forth in the form of YOUR style, rather than saying "an aikido technique here, and a kali here, etc".

In this way, you have taken your "way" to a higher plane and are no longer concerned with technique, only the spirituality and the matter at hand. No longer worried about the "technology", but of insight and training.

A martial-arts STYLE often strives for a uniformity in application and technique. The SDS Jeet Kune Do SYSTEM provides a set of excercises, drills and concepts. Every individual's Jeet Kune Do will be different from every other individual's Jeet Kune Do.

That is why Jeet Kune Do is an ART. A System is a fixed formula and way of doing things also. If Jeet Kune Do was meant to be a "system", then it would be called "intercepting fist system", or Jeet Kune Ryu. The Do is there for a purpose.

The "Original" Jeet Kune Do martial art system (Jun Fan) is taught by Jeet Kune Do Association instructors.

Write to Gary Dill. Write to Dan Inosanto, or anyone else that is involved with JKD. Go and visit a school in your area if there is one.