MORE ABOUT JEET KUNE DO
JEET KUNE DO / JUN FAN MARTIAL ARTS
Jun Fan Martial Arts is a compilation of training methods, attitudes, philosophies, combat techniques and concepts conceived, researched and compiled by the late BRUCE LEE (LEE JUN FAN) until1973. It was from this that JEET KUNE DO eventually evolved. The base of BRUCE LEE’S JUN FAN METHOD was the Chinese Gung Fu system of Wing Chun which was developed by a female nun about 400 years ago and is considered to be one of the most sophisticated fighting methods to originate in China. LEE researched and incorporated kicking methods from northern and southern Gung Fu systems, French Savate and Thai Boxing. He incorporated his hand methods from Wing Chun, Western Boxing, various Gung Fu systems and Western Fencing Grappling, locking and throwing are also integral parts of the JUN FAN METHOD. The JUN FAN METHOD is considered to be the explosive precursor to a JKD understanding; or, in other words, thebase from which we work towards totality in personal combat. See Articles.
Understanding the Philosophy of JKD
By Cass Magda
In the late 60's and early 70's the JKD clan was on the cutting edge of martial arts development in America. Bruce Lee's students were sparring full contact, and emphasized conditioning in their training. They had vigorous training similar to boxers and used equipment like hand pads; jump roes, and kicking shields. They wore protective equipment and went 'all out' in the sparring. This is typical today but unheard of for martial arts karate people in the 60's and early 70's.
Some well-known tournament champions of the day took JKD ideas and introduced them as "kickboxing" to the American public in the 70's. Today the term kickboxing is in common usage. However, JKD was never meant to be a ring sport. Although it may have been the precursor to American kickboxing today, it always trained with the idea of self-defense for the street.
The structure of JKD is like kickboxing in some ways and yet much more. A boxer or kick boxer uses his weak side forward. The jab is used as a setup, a minor blow to set up the major blows. The foot jab is used much in the same way. The lead jab and foot jab are never used as the primary blow. The jab is used as a tool to work his way in, and then deliver the other punches to knock the opponent out. Conversely, JKD puts the strongest side forward. The weak side is put back for more so that there are two strong hands now instead of one like in boxing. The lead leg and arm tools become the primary striking weapons. They are closest to the targets and the most coordinated and most accurate. The lead leg and arm will most often be the first tools the JKD man hits, blocks or grapples with. He will have the most confidence with his strongest side first engaging with the opponent. The JKD man doesn’t want to slowly work his way in and exchange punches. The boxer/kick boxer also uses the jab as the measuring stick to know his distance. He uses the jab as a probe to determine his opponent's skill and possible counters. Although JKD can and does use these similar tactics with the lead hand and leg when sparring, self-defense happens quickly. There is no time for probing, testing, setting up and working your way in to try to deliver your knockout. It is a frantic, broken rhythm scramble for survival. The JKD goal is always to finish it as fast as possible, by any means.
In JKD the strongest most coordinated side of the body is used to throw the tools--the various strikes such as punches, kicks, or finger jabs to the eyes. This is a strong and surprising first line of defense. The kicking is done from mobile, constantly shifting footwork. The lead leg low shin kick or knee kick is used to attack as well as intercept the opponent's forward movements. With the shoes on, this technique is especially painful. The fascinating 'trapping hands' of JKD support this structure well and it is 'hitting' that is the most important aspect. If the punch is blocked a JKD man traps the hand or arm only to hit again. If there is no resistance then he just keeps on hitting. JKD people also like to use the 'straight blast'. The straight blast is a trademark JKD tactic. It consists of a type of repeating alternating punching along the centerline that is useful to off-balance the opponent and hurt him enough to clear the situation for a follow-up of some kind. The follow-up could be an elbow, a knee, a break, or a choke. If he uses a submission, it is to hurt or stop the man as quick as possible to end the situation, not try to control him and put him into a fancy lock. The strong side forward pushes, pulls, and keep the opponent off balance while constantly pummeling him with hits. These special tactics make the art of JKD different than the kickboxing-type sports.
The American martial arts scene has caught up with many of Bruce Lee's JKD ideas concerning contact training. Contact and realistic training has grown. Modern full-contact karate styles have adapted the training methods of western boxing in order to survive in the ring, echoing of Bruce Lee's ideas as far back as the 1960's. Muay Thai in America and Europe has fertilized kickboxing with its powerful concepts of kicking, elbowing, and kneeing. The UFC, Extreme Fighting, Vale Tudo, and Shootfighting have added the specific idea of submission to kickboxing and have a spectator format that is exciting and incredibly enjoyable to watch. They kickbox then grapple all the way to the ground continuing to strike. The original JKD concept of totality in combat for self-defense expressed as a ring sport. Of course, JKD shall remain today and for the future as a useful street-savvy method. Its structure and continued development remain true to the original ideals..."totality on combat" to deliver self-defense that is simple, direct, and non-classical.
Absorb what is useful
“The idea of absorbing what is useful does not mean choosing, collecting, compiling, accumulating or assembling techniques from different styles of martial arts thinking to yourself, “I’ll take the best from all the styles and put it together to form a new style.” To do this is to miss the point. We are not saying “collect what you like” or, put together the best,” but “ABSORB” what is “USEFUL”. It is an individual investigation. To “ABSORB” means to “get into” the technique, training method and art you are interested in until you develop a “feel” for it. Until you experience “being” in it and “becoming” it you don’t really understand it. For example, looking at the Malaysian art of Bersilat, trying out a few of their techniques, then saying to yourself, “I like their elbow technique, I think I’ll add it to my style” is a step that is self-delusional. To understand those techniques you need to go into the Malaysian art and train like they do, feel it, experience it for awhile, both in the doing and the receiving, until you’ve got a grasp on it. You must become a Bersilat man in order to truly understand Bersilat techniques, attitudes, training methods, etc.. Once you have “absorbed “; that experience and knowledge gained is yours, not just something you’ve parroted from another style. Only now can you start throwing away what doesn’t suit you personally, so you can reject what is useless.
Reject What is Useless
How do we know what is useless? What we think we see is sometimes not what we really see. For example, a karate man, kick boxer, kungfu man and Savate man were watching for the first time, a Thai boxer throwing a roundhouse kick against a heavy bag. They might immediately dismiss the idea that the kick had anything to offer them because they already feel they know that kick, but do they? If they investigated further, they might be in for a rude awakening. Anyone who has spent some time training in Muay Thai would realize that although it may look like the same kick, it is in fact not the same and it takes a great deal of training to perfect and maintain it. Not being able to perform a technique successfully is another reason for rejecting what you think is useful when it might not be. We should question ourselves. Why does that technique from that style work for them? Why doesn’t it work sometimes? The important thing about rejecting what is useless is that you don’t reject anything until you know why you are rejecting it! You could be throwing away a real jewel because of your own lack of understanding. Possibly your timing or distance is off; or your coordination needs improvement. Would you reject batting in baseball just because the times you tried it you struck out? Most of the time it’s your own fault that the technique doesn’t work, so before you reject anything make sure you’ve investigated why it doesn’t work for you.
Add What is Specifically Your Own
To “add what is specifically your own” doesn’t mean to add anything for the sake of being different or to make ourselves or style unique and different from everyone else. It is understanding the principle at the core that really counts. By knowing ourselves and understanding the root motions we can then modify to our personal preferences. For example, how many of us still drive the way we were taught in driving school? It is because of our experience in driving that we can add our personal modifications or cheat (as the case may be); like driving with one hand while operating the radio buttons with the other, or turning the wheel by palming it instead of using both hands in the accepted driving school manner! How do we know ourselves? We must experience a great deal before we can decide what our personal preferences are in technique. We must look at martial arts with eyes that can see what is functional from the perspective of combative structure. Economy of motion, simplicity, directness are some indicators here. To be able to discern what is functional requires understanding the principle in practical application-action. Sparring helps in this regard and no wonder Lee referred to it as the “lifeblood” of JKD.
Man the Creating Individual is more Important than any Established Style or System
Man, the creating individual is more important than any established style or system. Does this mean you should create your own style? In order to understand this we must distinguish between style and “personal style” All boxers basically use the same methods and “style” but the personal style of Ali is quite different from Frazier. European boxers have a different movement look than American boxers. When we are creating our own style it is an investigation into what is the best way to get more power, more speed, more efficiency for ourselves as individuals. Who created style, then? An individual or group did. So what becomes more important, the style or the individual? This last statement in this saying is about freedom, the freedom not to be bound by any method, style or philosophy that limits our personal growth outside of that entity. The key to all this boils down to the common denominator called experience. The JKD man actively seeks experience because only by experiencing can he arrive at any sort of self-knowledge, self-understanding, or self- realization. It is good to seek knowledge of techniques and training methods, but if you stop here then you become just a collector creating a mosaic of techniques and methods that do not function or fit together in a fighting structure. Knowledge of itself has no understanding. Understanding comes from individual experience with that knowledge.