Literally, it means "the way of the intercepting fist”, an expression adopted from the fencing tactic "stop-hit" that consists of intercepting the adversary in the middle of his own attack. It is the philosophical-combative art created by Bruce Lee based on his psycho-physical attributes.
But Jeet Kune Do is not an usual style, in which the student must adapt to a predefined system. Instead, like his founder used to say, it's an "styleless style", where the student doesn't adapt to the technique, but the other way around: the technique adapts to each student´s features. Here, the student has available the studies developed by Bruce Lee so that the technical execution reaches maximum power and economy of motion, taking as a reference common biomechanical patterns in the human body and, from there, each student must find out his own way of doing it based on his own qualities.
In its last stage of martial evolution, Jeet Kune Do is based mainly on two western martial arts: boxing and fencing. The initial influence of Wing Chun lost importance progressively while a more refined mobility, coming from fencing, gained importance and biomechanics when striking were highly influenced by boxing.
The same principles are applicable when kicking or hitting with any natural body weapon. Likewise, Jeet Kune Do covers the art of fighting in its wide sense, studying aspects to avoid getting thrown to the ground and how to manage when having to fight in an unwanted terrain.
Jeet Kune Do follows the principles of being simple, direct and effective (currently adapted to the traditional "non-classical”):
- - "Simple" doesn't mean "easy”. It could be defined as the opposite to "complex", instead. That way, you won't need to look for a technique with a convoluted, although maybe spectacular, movement in its execution, but tend to simplicity. It is not about learning a lot of techniques, but about refining the ones that actually work. The simpler something is, the easier to make it works.
- - With "direct" we mean that we need to look for the most specific way of reaching our goal. If one hand gets grabbed, you hit with the other one. Even when doing a feint or a technique with circular movement, you look for the most direct way of doing it. It is about getting rid of any unnecessary motion.
- - With "effective" we talk about discarding any idea based on tradition and focusing on the application. Once the technique has been practiced for a sufficient amount of time to achieve a correct synchronization regarding oneself and the adversary, you have to put it into practice to see if it works through sparring. The only way of checking if a technique is effective or not is when your training partner does his best to make your technique fail.
Although the base we study is the one that Bruce Lee created and passed on to Ted Wong, the path that each student must follow will be unique and nontransferable: just the way each one of us is.
For more information: Bruce Lee Foundation