Over three decades before the advent of “mixed martial arts”, “reality-based” self-defense programs, and the many hybrid “freestyle” methods proliferating the martial art world today, a revolutionary martial art training process was developed by the legendary Bruce Lee that advanced the principles of “totality” in martial art training, realistic and scientific training methods, and complete freedom for the individual practitioner. Lee named the cutting-edge martial art training process he developed “Jeet Kune Do”.
What exactly is Jeet Kune Do? The fact of the matter is that there is no “universally-accepted” definition of Jeet Kune Do. Some people attempt to define it as Bruce Lee’s own personal expression of martial arts. Others refer to it as the art and philosophy of Bruce Lee. Some consider it a merely a concept or idea, while others view it as a method of research and investigation pertaining to martial arts. Having said that, I’d like to offer you my definition of Jeet Kune Do based upon my over 37 years of involvement with it:
“Jeet Kune Do is a principle-based training process to cultivate the ability to express the human body in combative form without limitations or restrictions.”
Jeet Kune Do is about cultivating your body as a ‘martial instrument’ and then expressing your instrument with total freedom and maximum efficiency. This has nothing to do with “style” or “systems”. It’s not about combining various styles or systems together or building your own “style”, but rather about removing or dissolving the whole idea or notion of “style” or “system” altogether.
Jeet Kune Do is highly individualized. It is not a “one-size-fits-all” martial art in which everybody comes out looking the same. Instead it is a martial training process in which the focus is on the personal cultivation of each individual.
From a physical perspective, Jeet Kune Do is a rational, well thought-out, dynamic program of “TOTAL” martial art training that is designed to develop every facet of an individual’s combative arsenal, and encompasses all facets of unarmed combat training including:
- Footwork and Mobility Skills
- Striking with the various weapons of the body including hands, feet, elbows, knees, etc.
- Stand-up grappling skills including hand-trapping, joint-locking, chokes, throws, takedowns, etc.
- Ground-fighting grappling skills such as joint-locking, head and neck manipulations, chokes, etc.
- Self-defense skills against both unarmed and armed attacks
However, Jeet Kune Do is much more than simply a devastating martial art. It’s an all-encompassing philosophy to living life at the pinnacle of developed potential.