A thought on Bruce Lee's Art

thetruth

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I hope this doens't get moved as I want to get a wider variety of opinion than just that of those in the JKD forum.

When Bruce Lee first came up with JKD it was his expression of the martial arts. He took what he found useful from a variety of sources and presented it as JKD.

Bruce Lee had quite a few students, not all of them were built the same way he was so what he found useful they may not have been able to use as effectively.

They added things to their expression of the art and taught their students what they found to be most effective for them which due to the different body sizes of people again may not have been all that effective for those individuals.

These people added their bit, taught their students and so on. Bruce Lee died over 30 years ago and given that a number of his students have students who have students (i hope you're all following me) how much of what is taught is the JKD that Bruce Lee taught?

Is the term JKD just a term to use in marketing to sell a persons own martial art put together from a number of others? Even if the lineage is there after each person changes things to suit themselves, adds things and takes things away how can it be the same art? I know people such as Dan Inosanto don't use the term anymore.

Just my thoughts, I would love to hear yours.
Cheers
Sam
 

MSUTKD

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I think Bruce Lee would be disappointed in the way his idea has been perverted. If you even read the last page of the “Tao of Jeet Kun Do”, it says that you cannot teach this as a style. It was an idea, a paradigm for him to explore. Look at his work ethic. He trained 24/7 to get his body in the best shape; then look at some of the people who supposedly represent his art. They are out of shape; he would have NEVER allowed that.
I also think he was wrong. Before you flame me let me explain. His famous paper on breaking from classical styles was shocking for the time. His idea of creating “no style” was good on paper but it gave him no way to teach it to others. It was his idea alone. When he began to teach, create requirements and award rank he began to constrain the thought. He was in a sense, creating the thing he sought to avoid – a style. Now look out there. You can find JKD taught in every town. It has become a style. I think if he would have lived he would have changed his viewpoint as his own idea had evolved. I think he would have seen the benefit of classical training and would have created an interesting modern “style”. Everything out there now is just a shadow.

ron
 

Makalakumu

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I disagree, Ron. Although it is true that one can find McJKD in almost every town, I think the spirit of a style of no style still exists. I would say that MMA is the JKD that Bruce Lee envisioned. I read the Tao of Jeet Kune Do and I see a direct comparison in the philosophy of JKD and MMA.

I've also had the opportunity to train in JKD. I did so at the MN Kali Group with Ric Faye. "Advancement", in this school, was all about personal growth. In fact, "advancement" is a bad word to describe what was going on. The point is that I believe that this was the JKD that Bruce envisioned.
 

kamishinkan

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I have had talks about this with many others about Bruce Lee, I am not a big fan of his thoughts on MA (although I am a fan of his martial ability!). I have spoken with Sifu Joseph Cowles (one of Bruce's early students in Seattle) a few times on some of this. I think initially when he was teaching he was not so "against" TMA. He was adapting and teaching the adaptations but later, although he had trained extensively in TMA, began to speak heavily against it. I believe this was his way of promoting his philosophies. Undermine the way he learned to promote his way of teaching (Oh boy I am on a limb now!) Keep in mind his ideas were not necessarily wrong as far as adaptations, but he had forgot that the way he got to a level to be able to bridge these concepts was by training in TMA. To teach others by bypassing that level of martial experience then tell a student "just do what feels natural"???? I don't know about you but what felt "natural" to me at a student level was not GOOD martial arts, if it was, WHY TRAIN in the first place? Before I get verbally beat up just keep in mind I respected his abilities, I just think his approach to teaching a "no-style" as a stylistic approach is somewhat questionable.:asian:
 

Makalakumu

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kamishinkan said:
Keep in mind his ideas were not necessarily wrong as far as adaptations, but he had forgot that the way he got to a level to be able to bridge these concepts was by training in TMA.

One of the things that I have experienced with my training in JKD is that overwhelmingly, most of the students at MKG had previous TMA experience. They had built a base on which they were adapting...

Very few people started and progressed as beginners...
 

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thetruth said:
I know people such as Dan Inosanto don't use the term anymore.
Dan Inosanto's website seems to directly refute your proposition here.

MSUTKD said:
I think Bruce Lee would be disappointed in the way his idea has been perverted. If you even read the last page of the “Tao of Jeet Kun Do”, it says that you cannot teach this as a style.
Where does this come from? I've just leafed through the last couple of pages for reference, and found nothing of the sort.

It was an idea, a paradigm for him to explore. Look at his work ethic. He trained 24/7 to get his body in the best shape; then look at some of the people who supposedly represent his art. They are out of shape; he would have NEVER allowed that.
I agree, however, this doesn't really speak to the teachability of Jeet Kune Do. Rather, it speaks to the inability of people to keep themselves in shape.

I also think he was wrong. Before you flame me let me explain. His famous paper on breaking from classical styles was shocking for the time. His idea of creating “no style” was good on paper but it gave him no way to teach it to others. It was his idea alone. When he began to teach, create requirements and award rank he began to constrain the thought. He was in a sense, creating the thing he sought to avoid – a style. Now look out there. You can find JKD taught in every town. It has become a style. I think if he would have lived he would have changed his viewpoint as his own idea had evolved. I think he would have seen the benefit of classical training and would have created an interesting modern “style”. Everything out there now is just a shadow.
OK, I won't flame you....

It seems to me that perhaps you have interpreted Bruce's thoughts on "style" or rather "no style" in a very different way than many other people. You may note that none of his books actually describe the method of teaching that has been passed down. So, if the sum total of your knowledge of JKD comes from books, it's easy to understand how this important point may have escaped you.

His idea of creating a "no style" works fine, insofar as there is a very specific method of training that discourages patternization. Patternization is a manifestation of specific styles. IMO, Bruce was trying to help people free themselves from the bonds of patterns and predictability, and simply react to the stimulus given in their own honestly creative way, by relying upon the attributes that they have developed.

At any rate, the majority consensus is that JKD is more of a philosophy and method of training, as opposed to a "specific" art form, though there are some core skills that are required in order for it to be JKD.

So, does it seem paradoxical that he at one time said "it's just a name, don't attach yourself to it" while at another time, wrote books and tried to teach others his way? Certainly. Does that devalue the idea? Not at all.

Life is full of paradoxes.


 

MSUTKD

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I am sorry I do not have it with me so I will paraphrase it – If people make a fuss over this, saying it is this and that; let it be eliminated forever. My interpretation – If people claim to teach this as a style or art I hope it disappears. I will look tonight at home.

ron
 

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MSUTKD said:
I am sorry I do not have it with me so I will paraphrase it – If people make a fuss over this, saying it is this and that; let it be eliminated forever. My interpretation – If people claim to teach this as a style or art I hope it disappears. I will look tonight at home.

ron

Your paraphrase can be interpeted too widely. Here it is "qouted" from the Tao, which was written after his death.

"If people say Jeet Kune Do is different from "this" or from "that," then let the name of Jeet Kune Do be wiped out, for that is what it is, just a name. Please don't fuss over it."
 

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thetruth said:
1. When Bruce Lee first came up with JKD it was his expression of the martial arts. He took what he found useful from a variety of sources and presented it as JKD.

2. These people added their bit, taught their students and so on. Bruce Lee died over 30 years ago and given that a number of his students have students who have students (i hope you're all following me) how much of what is taught is the JKD that Bruce Lee taught?

3. Is the term JKD just a term to use in marketing to sell a persons own martial art put together from a number of others? Even if the lineage is there after each person changes things to suit themselves, adds things and takes things away how can it be the same art? Sam


1. Bruces primary art was Wing Chun and was the single most art that was drawn from "when he created JKD."

2. That depends on who the teacher is. Some still teach quite a bit of Bruces material BEFORE expanding on the original material.

3. It is a marketing term for some. Bruce said "use what is useful, reject what is useless and add specifically what is your own."
 

James Kovacich

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MSUTKD said:
. When he began to teach, create requirements and award rank he began to constrain the thought. He was in a sense, creating the thing he sought to avoid – a style.

ron

Bruce began teaching in the USA almost immediately. I "think" the year was 1958. The first JKD certificate was not issued until 1967. He definately was teaching "his" Gung Fu long before he had a thought of "no style."
 

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Flatlander said:
Dan Inosanto's website seems to directly refute your proposition here.

Where does this come from? I've just leafed through the last couple of pages for reference, and found nothing of the sort.

I agree, however, this doesn't really speak to the teachability of Jeet Kune Do. Rather, it speaks to the inability of people to keep themselves in shape.

OK, I won't flame you....

It seems to me that perhaps you have interpreted Bruce's thoughts on "style" or rather "no style" in a very different way than many other people. You may note that none of his books actually describe the method of teaching that has been passed down. So, if the sum total of your knowledge of JKD comes from books, it's easy to understand how this important point may have escaped you.

His idea of creating a "no style" works fine, insofar as there is a very specific method of training that discourages patternization. Patternization is a manifestation of specific styles. IMO, Bruce was trying to help people free themselves from the bonds of patterns and predictability, and simply react to the stimulus given in their own honestly creative way, by relying upon the attributes that they have developed.

At any rate, the majority consensus is that JKD is more of a philosophy and method of training, as opposed to a "specific" art form, though there are some core skills that are required in order for it to be JKD.

So, does it seem paradoxical that he at one time said "it's just a name, don't attach yourself to it" while at another time, wrote books and tried to teach others his way? Certainly. Does that devalue the idea? Not at all.

Life is full of paradoxes.


Good post my friend!
 

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thetruth said:
I hope this doens't get moved as I want to get a wider variety of opinion than just that of those in the JKD forum.

When Bruce Lee first came up with JKD it was his expression of the martial arts. He took what he found useful from a variety of sources and presented it as JKD.

Bruce Lee had quite a few students, not all of them were built the same way he was so what he found useful they may not have been able to use as effectively.

They added things to their expression of the art and taught their students what they found to be most effective for them which due to the different body sizes of people again may not have been all that effective for those individuals.

These people added their bit, taught their students and so on. Bruce Lee died over 30 years ago and given that a number of his students have students who have students (i hope you're all following me) how much of what is taught is the JKD that Bruce Lee taught?

Is the term JKD just a term to use in marketing to sell a persons own martial art put together from a number of others? Even if the lineage is there after each person changes things to suit themselves, adds things and takes things away how can it be the same art? I know people such as Dan Inosanto don't use the term anymore.

Just my thoughts, I would love to hear yours.
Cheers
Sam

But to answer your "overall question" at least what I think you are asking.

Yes, I think that JKD instructors should change the name of their system "when" it becomes to a point that it not recognizable as JKD.
 

MSUTKD

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Thanks AKJA, I was really pulling that from memory. I still think that is what he meant but I guess we will never know. Thanks for the info!

ron
 

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akja said:
Your paraphrase can be interpeted too widely. Here it is "qouted" from the Tao, which was written after his death.

"If people say Jeet Kune Do is different from "this" or from "that," then let the name of Jeet Kune Do be wiped out, for that is what it is, just a name. Please don't fuss over it."
This is precisely, word for word, the final quote from the last page of the Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

My interpretation sees the phrase "for that is what it is, just a name" to be the most important aspect of the statement. Bruce's primary concern here was that people would focus too much on what specifically he was working on, rather than what they themselves should or could be working on. He was afraid that people would attempt to compartmentalize and rigorously define what JKD was. In fact, some have done exactly that, and it is they who have missed the point. JKD is about evolution, about not restricting your learning, and about self understanding and perfection. He was trying to free people from the "classical mess". Those were very different times....

Bruce wanted practitioners' skills and knowledge to continue to evolve. He also wanted fighters to learn how to fight and apply their skills. Everybody in the world now understands that you cannot effectively fight using prearranged patterns. That hasn't always been the accepted paradigm.

Essentially, this quote identifies that there is only one kind of JKD practitioner: the one who continues to learn, evolve, and who does not restrict or confine their concept of "their art". They train and learn outside the box, with no clear cut definintion, with no predefined path or basket of techniques to learn. They are free, independent, truly like water.
 

still learning

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Hello, If you believe what Bruce Lee taught was different and something NEW? ....where have you been? nothing is new that came from Bruce Lee?

Most of the arts has always been changing? ....research and study the many history of the martial arts?

He was famous and popular, but they were others who have been doing the same things in there own schools. Most of these are small and unknown?

Mr Bruce Lee was a very talented martial artist.....and train very hard.

Tomorrow? Who? will be consider the next innovater? .....Have you notice how someone comes along and says I have a new form of Martial art that if faster?,easier to learn?, and powerful? ...it can take-out anyone anytime? ........Humans want to follow others that become famous? ......our ego's sometimes make us see things differently?

I have most of Bruce Lee movies and a few of his books? You have to give him up most respect as a martial artist!

Just my thoughts here base on my own opinion...I have been wrong before? What will be the NEW stuff tomorrow? ....will it really be something NEW? .....people will believe it is? ...Aloha
 

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Briefly: I think that without the founder still around to help guide and maintain focus it will be very very difficult for an art to maintain the same principles and ideals the founder had set for it. Followers will always change, modify, re-direct and re-write what the founder had intended because the founder is no longer around to correct them.
But I think the biggest thing is that people tend to mistake JKD as an ART when IMO it's a set of principals that will help guide a martialist to find what is suitable for them and them alone. You can go on and keep studying Kenpo, Ninjitsu, Jujitsu, Caproia or whatever it is you want to study... but the principle of JKD is to take that art and make it your own. If something in your art doesn't fit you then don't use it, if it does then work on it and perfect it til it becomes a part of your style of doing that particular art.
For me I learned various techniques from various arts and combine them together to create what is suitable for me to defend myself. Since I have no other name to give it I call it JKDI.
:asian:
 

still learning

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MA-Caver said:
Briefly: I think that without the founder still around to help guide and maintain focus it will be very very difficult for an art to maintain the same principles and ideals the founder had set for it. Followers will always change, modify, re-direct and re-write what the founder had intended because the founder is no longer around to correct them.
But I think the biggest thing is that people tend to mistake JKD as an ART when IMO it's a set of principals that will help guide a martialist to find what is suitable for them and them alone. You can go on and keep studying Kenpo, Ninjitsu, Jujitsu, Caproia or whatever it is you want to study... but the principle of JKD is to take that art and make it your own. If something in your art doesn't fit you then don't use it, if it does then work on it and perfect it til it becomes a part of your style of doing that particular art.
For me I learned various techniques from various arts and combine them together to create what is suitable for me to defend myself. Since I have no other name to give it I call it JKDI.
:asian:

You learned various techniques from various arts and combine them to create what is suitable to you?

Most of the martial arts do this? Most of the Kempo/kenpo systems do this today? as well as others for a very long time?

This princples are not NEW? .....Study this?

Have you see two people from the same school that do the exact same thing on the streets? like a mirror? or in sparring? ...everyone has he own flavorite way to defend and strike. Yes we teach everyone the same thing....but it is up to you to form your own combintions? NO two real fights will be alike? ...so should your self-defense be the same? ..Aloha
 

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Still Learning,
Both of your replies had far too many question marks for me to even understand what you were truly saying? Was that part of composition, or is your keyboard broken? (MaybeI'm an idiot) lol
 

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1 - I agree pretty much entirely with Flatlander.

2 - I also agree with Bladenosh. Still Learning, you are using a lot of question marks. I don't mean to nag at you or pick on your spelling, but I think a little constructive criticism could help your english skills.

A question mark (which is this - '?' symbol) is used when you are asking a question.

For example:

" Most of the martial arts do this? Most of the Kempo/kenpo systems do this today? as well as others for a very long time?

This princples are not NEW? .....Study this?"


None of those statements read to me as questions.

However:

" You learned various techniques from various arts and combine them to create what is suitable to you?"

That statement could be read as a question.

Again, I'm not trying to have a go at you, just trying to help.
 

James Kovacich

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MA-Caver said:
Briefly: But I think the biggest thing is that people tend to mistake JKD as an ART when IMO it's a set of principals that will help guide a martialist to find what is suitable for them and them alone. You can go on and keep studying Kenpo, Ninjitsu, Jujitsu, Caproia or whatever it is you want to study... but the principle of JKD is to take that art and make it your own. :asian:

If you take JKD's concepts and applied them to the three phases of JKD you will find that not only not all arts can fit but many arts will never fit UNLESS they are no longer that art, just a former art and practioner.
 
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