Jeet Kune Do: The Martial Legacy
by, 03-10-2010 at 09:48 PM (1796 Views)
Jeet Kune Do was created back in the 1960s by a very famous actor named Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee was a formidable Martial Artist taught by Yip Man in Hong Kong in the art Wing Chun; upon Lee's return to America he taught Jun Fan Gung Fu, a modified version of Wing Chun. When he moved to Los Angel es, he and Dan Inosanto termed their new art "Jeet Kune Do" or Way of the Intercepting Fist. Bruce's kwoon or school was run by Inosanto and had many students -- some were even taught privately by Lee. Those esteemed individuals include: Larry Hartsell, Jerry Poteet, Bob Bremer, Ted Wong, Joe Hyams, Kareem Abdul Jabaar, and that guy from Snow Dogs.
After the school closed, a select few were allowed to continue training in Inosanto's backyard and occasionally Bruce would come back and check in. Very few individuals, after the school, had closed continued to train with Bruce; but, all that trained with him understood Lee to be a genius.
Bruce Lee died in July of 1973, one month before Enter the Dragon made it's debut. Upon his death, Lee left a wake in the martial arts world.
As far as Jeet Kune Do was concerned, the practitioners had lost their Sifu or Master. No one wanted to capitalize on his fame and so JKD took a back-burner when Inosanto opened the Kali Academy. JKD was only taught to those who were chosen by the practitioners. But, slowly, people began to capitalize on Jeet Kune Do -- some having never trained with Bruce, Inosanto, or anyone of direct lineage. This caused the true JKD men to break out of their seclusion to bring Bruce's art to the forefront.
However, with such time being passed, and the principles of Jeet Kune Do the art changed. And now people are preaching that their Jeet Kune Do is the right Jeet Kune Do. To understand this argument, one must understand the principles of JKD and understand Bruce's ideology. This is very hard to do because of his Taoist influences and Taoism is an extremely simple, yet amazingly deep, religion.
The main principles of Jeet Kune Do are: Simply to Simplify; Closest weapon to nearest target; Absorb whats is useful, discard what is useless, and add specifically what is your own; Using No Way as Way and Having no Limitation as Limitation. These ideals are easy to say, but hard to interpret; especially the line "add specifically what is your own." Jerry Poteet expresses that it means add your own attitude -- while not everyone agrees with that, most understand that the line doesn't mean add anything and call it Jeet Kune Do. Everyone's JKD will be different from everyone else's. That much is understood. However, the basic core -- some term it Jun Fan Gung Fu -- remains the same. That's where people begin to argue about what is and what isn't JKD.
There are two schools of thought: Jeet Kune Do Concepts and Original Jeet Kune Do (sometimes called Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do). The Concepts branch, under Dan Inosanto, follow the ideology that Bruce would want his art to evolve with the Martial Arts zeitgeist. The OJKD people find this very thought egregious, thinking that it de-glorifies Bruce in some manner. Which ever is right or wrong is up to personal opinion. If you believe Bruce had all the answers, then you're on the right path with OJKD. If you believe that Bruce had it right and we should continue to evolve and adapt with the times, than the Concepts branch is the way to go. It's kind of like interpreting Bible verses. Which for most, is a daunting task.
One thing that seems odd, is that these 1st and 2nd generation students are claiming some people are teaching things wrong -- but they never name names! The 3rd and 4th generation students will say names at the drop of the hat. Jerry Poteet will say " Bruce only wanted to use the front arm and lead leg, some people are saying this isn't true and they're wrong!" Who's wrong, Mr. Poteet? Is it Dan Inosanto? Is it Ted Wong? C'mon, quit insinuating and say who so we, as students, can do our own research and figure out the answer for us!
Let's do away with "They're wrong, I'm right" mentality. Instead, I propose a solution -- "Bruce told me this." Great! We can understand that Bruce told you this and not someone else this and determine that is best suited for you and maybe for us as well. Quit calling each other out entirely and say, quite simply, that Bruce showed me this, told me this, explained to me this. So, that way, the ambiguous name calling will cease and we can get back to training...
Why? Because "he'd" want us to.
"Jeet Kune Do is just a name. Don't fight over it" -Bruce Lee