Jeet Kune Do

Bruce LeeBrief History and Background of Jeet Kune Do

Jeet Kune Do (short JKD) was founded by Bruce Lee and is a mix of various martial arts, as well as a philosophy. Bruce Lee took and even modified moves that he believed were most effective, disregarding those that were of little use. They were fast, direct and simple, had no boundaries and required minimal energy and movement. Much of his experience early was in Wing Chun which he learned under the now legendary Yip Man. However Bruce felt that he needed to add much more to his Wing Chun to become a complete fighter, especially after his legendary encounter with Wong Jack Man. Some of those additional skills came from western boxing and fencing.

Bruce Lee believed that traditional martial arts were too ridged and stuck in their ways and that a martial artist should be more fluid.Bruce Lee Grave

Bruce opened a school in Seattle in the early 1960’s and then started The Lee Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute in the mid/late 1960’s, but later closed his schools in 1971. Sadly Bruce Lee died in unusual circumstances in 1973 aged 32. Jeet Kune Do has many branches these days and many will have different interpretations of Bruce Lee’s original fighting system.

Jeet Kune DoJeet Kune Do Training

Jeet Kune Do (as Bruce Lee saw it) has no rules, you have to constantly adapt to the ever changing environment.

Training is divided into different ranges, such as punching, kicking, grappling and trapping. You practise these moves in a fluid holistic way and not set Kata’s.

Many principles of Jeet Kune Do have concurrent offensive and defensive moves. Most all moves are fluid, which Bruce Lee likened to being like water. They have to be efficient, direct and simple.

Popular punches include the straight leading hand punch, delivered from your centreline (usually your dominant hand leads). Punches are normally relaxed at the start and only become tense on contact, which helps with speed and doesn’t give away your intention with the winding up of a traditional punch.

Kicks are normally directed to below the waist. This is because these areas are closest to your foot and therefore reduce time and distance.

One area that is used a lot is the control of the centre-line, the centre of the body, where you control your opponents centre-line and defend yours.

It is not necessary for all martial arts to have extra physical activity, however Bruce Lee spent a lot of time refining his physique with weight training/bodyweight exercises, running and stretching to help improve his bodies efficiency.

Jeet Kune Do Equipment/Gear Used

General training/sparring gear (headgear, shin pads, forearm pads, foot protectors)
Gloves (you can buy Jeet Kune Do specific gloves)
Focus Mitts/Pads
Kick Shields
Wooden Dummy

Weapons used in Jeet Kune Do

Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do didn’t teach weapons use, however some branches do, such a Dan Inosanto’s branch (the only officially certified by Bruce Lee teacher of Jeet Kune Do).
Some of the weapons that may be taught are:

Kali Sticks – The sticks used are commonly known as rattan sticks, as they are made from the rattan palm. They are very strong and lightweight. Other materials are also used and can include various hardwoods, metals and high-impact plastics.

Knife fighting – various short knives

Nunchucks – Also known as a Nunchaku.  Nunchucks are a traditional Okinawan weapon consisting of two sticks connected at one end with a short chain or cord/rope. The sticks themselves can be made from wood, various alloys/metals, various plastics and also a foam covered plastic tube for safe practise.

Celebrity Jeet Kune Do Practitioners

James Coburn
Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Steve McQueen
James Garner
Lee Marvin
Roman Polanski
George Lazenby

Movies featuring Jeet Kune Do

The Big Boss
Fist of Fury
The Green Hornet (TV Series)
The Chinese Connection
The Way of the Dragon
Enter the Dragon
Game of Death
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
Once Upon a Time in High School: Spirit of Jeet Kune Do