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Jeet Kune Do

Jeet Kune Do "Way of the Intercepting Fist", also Jeet Kun Do or JKD, is a martial arts system and philosophy developed by martial artist and actor Bruce Lee in 1967.

a_jeetkunedoIn 2004, the Bruce Lee Foundation decided to use the name Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do to refer to the martial arts system that Lee founded. "Jun Fan" was Lee's Chinese given name, so the literal translation is "Bruce Lee's Way of the Intercepting Fist."

The core concepts of JKD are derived from Wing Chun (such as center line control, vertical punching, trapping, and forward pressure). Through his research, Lee incorporated the fluidity of European boxing and fencing stances. Lee stated that they allowed him to "flow" rather then being stuck in stances. For instance, instead of using footwork to position the body for maximum fighting position versus the opponent, Bruce Lee used flowing "entries" that do not require "bridges" from Wing Chun. Bruce Lee wanted to create a martial art that was unbounded and free.

Later during the development of Jeet Kune Do, he would expand that notion and include the art for personal development, not just to become a better fighter. To illustrate Lee's views, in a 1971 Black Belt Magazine article, Lee said "Let it be understood once and for all that I have NOT invented a new style, composite or modification. I have in no way set Jeet Kune Do within a distinct form governed by laws that distinguish it from 'this' style or 'that' method. On the contrary, I hope to free my comrades from bondage to styles, patterns and doctrines."

One of the theories of JKD is that a fighter should do whatever is necessary to defend himself, regardless of where the techniques come from. One of Lee's goals in Jeet Kune Do was to break down what he claimed were limiting factors in the training of the traditional styles, and seek a fighting thesis which he believed could only be found within the reality of a fight. Jeet Kune Do is currently seen as the genesis of the modern state of hybrid martial arts.

JKD practitioners also subscribe to the notion that the best defense is a strong offense, hence the principle of "Intercepting". Lee believed that in order for an opponent to attack someone they had to move towards them. This provided an opportunity to "intercept" that attack or movement. The principle of interception covers more than just intercepting physical attacks. Lee believed that many non-verbals and telegraphs (subtle movements that an opponent is unaware of) could be perceived or "intercepted" and thus be used to one's advantage.

The "5 Ways of Attack" are attacking categories that help Jeet Kune Do practitioners organise their fighting repertoire:

  1. Single Angular Attack (SAA) and its converse Single Direct Attack (SDA).
  2. Hand Immobilization Attack (HIA) and its counterpart Foot Immobilization Attack, which make use of trapping to limit the opponent's function with that appendage.
  3. Progressive Indirect Attack (PIA). Attacking one part of the opponent's body followed by attacking another part as a means of creating an opening.
  4. Attack By Combinations (ABC). This is using multiple rapid attacks, with volume of attack as a means of overcoming the opponent.
  5. Attack By Drawing (ABD). This is creating an opening with positioning as a means of counter attacking.
Bruce Lee studied the martial arts style of Wing Chun and was a student of Yip Man in Hong Kong. Later, he learned other arts as well as the sports of western boxing and European fencing. The term Jeet Kune Do occurred in 1968 while Dan Inosanto and Bruce Lee were driving around in his car. The conversation involved European fencing and Lee commented that; "the most efficient means of countering in fencing was the stop-hit...When the opponent attacks, you intercept his move with a thrust or hit of your own.." Lee then said "We should call our method the 'stop-hitting fist style;, or the 'intercepting fist style". Dan Inosanto then said; "What would that be in Chinese?" in which Lee replied "That would be Jeet Kune Do".

Bruce Lee did not stress the memorisation of solo training forms or "Kata", as most traditional styles do in their beginning-level training. Lee often compared doing forms without an opponent to attempting to learn to swim on dry land. Lee believed that real combat was alive and dynamic. Circumstances in a fight change from millisecond to millisecond, and thus pre-arranged patterns and techniques are not adequate in dealing with such a changing situation. As an anecdote to this thinking, Lee once wrote an epitaph which read: 'In memory of a once fluid man, crammed and distorted by the classical mess.' The "classical mess" in this instance was what Lee thought of classical martial arts.

Bruce Lee's comments and methods were seen as controversial by many in his time, and still are today. Many teachers from traditional schools disagreed with his opinions on these issues.

Jeet Kune Do not only advocates the combination of aspects of different styles, it also can change many of those aspects that it adopts to suit the abilities of the practitioner. Additionally, JKD advocates that any practitioner be allowed to interpret techniques for themselves, and change them for their own purposes.

For example, Lee almost always chose to put his power hand in the "lead," with his weaker hand back, within this stance he used elements of Boxing, Fencing and Wing Chun. Just like fencing, he labeled this position the "On Guard" position. Lee incorporated this position into his JKD as he felt it provided the best overall mobility. Lee felt that the dominant or strongest hand should be in the lead because it would perform a greater percentage of the work. Lee minimized the use of other stances except when circumstances warranted such actions. Although the On-Guard position is a good overall stance, it is by no means the only one. Lee acknowledged that there were times when other positions should be utilised.

Lee felt the dynamic property of JKD was what enabled its practitioners to adapt to the constant changes and fluctuations of live combat. Lee believed that these decisions should be done within the context of "real combat" and/or "all out sparring". He believed that it was only in this environment that a person could actually deem a technique worthy of adoption.

Many consider Jeet Kune Do to be the precursor of MMA because of its synteric nature

 

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