What is Jeet Kune Do, article by Bruce Lee

Xue Sheng

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Xue Sheng

Xue Sheng

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I don't mean to be direspectfull, but Bruce Lee didn't do anything new, he pretended that he invented the wheel but there were so many people before him that had his way of thinking.

Yes, I am aware of that, you can find things from Sun Lutang and Wang Xiangzhai that are similar, But your statement was "Bruce Lee had it all written out, in theory. In practical sense it turns out to be different."

My question is, In what practical sense does it turn out to be different?

 
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Xue Sheng

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I don't mean to be disrespectfull, but Bruce Lee didn't do anything new, he pretended that he invented the wheel but there were so many people before him that had his way of thinking.

To give you an exact example, is that the JKD he preached was about freedom of expression. The JKD that is taught nowadays (at least here in Holland), comes from Ted Wong. His students here train a rigid set of drills that have nothing to do with that freedom.

There are different schools of thought and practice for JKD and you are correct, it has become a "style" which if you read Bruce Lee, what he said and what is being done by some, are not the same. But you have to start somewhere and I am of the belief that what Bruce Lee taught is what should be learned and then what you do with it from there is up to you. There is the Dan Inosanto side of things where it evolves as it goes along and what he ultimately ends up teaching you as JKD, is outside of what Bruce Lee originally taught, although he does start you there. There is Concepts vs Philosophy and to be honest I am not sure who is on what side of that fence, and I am not sure it even matters. I do know Ted Wong and Dan Inosanto are on opposite sides of that fence.

I trained JKD only briefly and it was on the Ted Wong, Jerry Poteet side of the fence and it taught me a awful lot about the martial arts I trained, especially Xingyiquan. However I did wrestle with this quote from Bruce Lee for a bit

Jeet Kune Do is just a name used, a boat to get one across, and once across it is to be discarded and not to be carried on one's back. Bruce Lee

At first it made me think that Bruce Lee himself would be displeased at all the JKD schools around, but then I thought about it, someone has to help you build the boat to get across, and I am very happy there are those out there, legitimately trained in JKD to hep with that. After that, what you do with it is what makes the difference.
 

hoshin1600

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Why?

Bruce Lee had it all written out, in theory. In practical sense it turns out to be different.

"It is conceivable that a long time ago a certain martial artist discovered some partial truth. During his lifetime, the man resisted the temptation to organize this partial truth, although this is a common tendency in mans search for security and certainty in life. After his death his students took his hypothesis, his postulates, his inclination, and his method and turned them into law. Impressive creeds were then invented, solemn reinforcing ceremonies prescribed, rigid philosophy and patterns formulated, and so on, until finally an institution was erected. So, what originated as one mans institution of some sort of personal fluidity has been transformed into solidified, fixed knowledge, complete with organized classified responses presented in a logical order. In so doing, the well-meaning, loyal followers have not only made this knowledge a holy shrine, but also a tomb in which they have buried the founders wisdom."

yes he had it all written out , exactly what would happen to his teachings after he died.
 

Martial D

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Why?

Bruce Lee had it all written out, in theory. In practical sense it turns out to be different.
I don't mean the jkd bits in specific, more the bits about how alive fighting styles tend to be crystalized until their usefulness becomes either marginalized or negligible. Indeed, the irony is that this situation became the reality too for JKD following Lee's death.
 
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Xue Sheng

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The fact remains, Bruce Lee was an overhyped actor that did some martial arts (the Wing Chun community claims he didn't get far), then used that celeb status to write a book about his own thoughts on martial arts.

I know alot of Americans idolize him and think he's an icon, in Europe however we have far greater icons if you compare Bruce Lee with people like Jon Bluming, Tom Harinck and Peter Smit.

I don't think that is a fact actually. He was an actor, he was rather skilled, he trained Wing Chun and there is not a consensus as to how far he got, the only thing that is certain is he did not complete the entire curriculum and there are various reasons stated for that, there is also some indication that he planned on going back to finish, but he died before that happened.

He also studied a lot of other arts to come up with JKD and had an eye for figuring thing out (I have personally known MAist that were good at that so he is not alone there). And in the 60s, even the late 60s, Asian actors were not that big a deal in the west, they were pretty much second class citizens in hollywood. We are looking at him in the rear view mirror and making judgements, but he was not the big name then like he is now. But with that said, one of his goals, with his movies, was to highlight JKD. He had to Hong Kong to have a successful movie career and there he was a Big Deal, but not so much in the West until after his death.

He was a rather talented martial artist and there are many talented martial artists from that time who say exactly that (Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, etc.). Are there others equally as talented or even more talented? Yes there are. But I think there is a tendency these days to either deify Bruce Lee or Vilify him and to be honest I don't think either is the way to go and I think much of it is for self promotion and gets right back to what he was talking about... and that is pretty much what Bruce Lee was saying when he wrote, in his article

But the distortion does not necessarily end here. In reaction to the others truth, another martial artist or possibly a dissatisfied disciple, organizes an opposite approach such as the soft style versus the hard style, the internal school versus the external school, and all these separative nonsenses. Soon this opposite faction also becomes a large organization, with its own laws and patterns. A rivalry begins, with each style claiming to possess the truth to the exclusion of all others.

That I talked about in my blog

Read, try not to judge, learn, try not to judge and then once you have done that take what you think is useful and discard the rest.... that is pretty much what Bruce Lee's JKD philosophy seems to be about.

As to what others made of him after his death... he has no control over
 

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You have to be free, yet the way Bruce taught was almost the opposite...

-the on guard position
-the techniques
-chi Sao

Whether you like it or not, Bruce taught a system, and all that be free mumbo jumbo doesn't work when you are trying to pass something down.
 
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Xue Sheng

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You have to be free, yet the way Bruce taught was almost the opposite...

-the on guard position
-the techniques
-chi Sao

Whether you like it or not, Bruce taught a system, and all that be free mumbo jumbo doesn't work when you are trying to pass something down.

Yes he did, but I think he was trying to avoid that, although I would not call it mumbo jumbo, I do not see how that is possible if you want to get your point/style of fighting across.
 

hoshin1600

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The fact remains, Bruce Lee was an overhyped actor that did some martial arts (the Wing Chun community claims he didn't get far), then used that celeb status to write a book about his own thoughts on martial arts.

I know alot of Americans idolize him and think he's an icon, in Europe however we have far greater icons if you compare Bruce Lee with people like Jon Bluming, Tom Harinck and Peter Smit.

so apparently your not a Bruce Lee fan, thats ok. but your statement is a bit off. being an "icon" as you say, has more to do with influence and social recognition and less to do with martial art rank and accomplishments.
i have never heard of the three guys you mention... but you have heard of Bruce Lee,,,. so who is more famous? Bruce Lee has permeated the culture like no other martial artist in history. your statement that Europe has greater icons is not really true. sure Jon Bluming (had to google him) is a legit 10th dan, ok so what,,,i know and train with 5 different legit Okinawan ranked 10th dans here in America. frankly, its not that special. its something i will never achieve but the point is being a 10th dan and having some remarkable accomplishments in your past does not make you an icon. now if you want to say Jon was a better martial artist , well thats a different argument and could very well be true.
John Wayne was an icon but to be honest his acting wasnt that good. Mcdonalds is an icon but there burgers kinda suck. i think your confusing icon with something else.
 

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Oh goody, more "Bruce Lee sucked" stuff.

Cut the guy some slack, he was just a kid when he died. Had a hell of a positive impact on the arts in general, especially here in America.

I'm thankful he did. Would have loved to have met the man.
 

DanT

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Yes he did, but I think he was trying to avoid that, although I would not call it mumbo jumbo, I do not see how that is possible if you want to get your point/style of fighting across.
I agree, what he said was mainly air, a punch is a punch, a good combo is a good combo. There is no "my combo" and "your combo". If I teach you "my combo" is it passing on tradition? Of course not. It's passing on a combo that works.
 

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Tried to lead a collaborative effort. Which you kind of can't. You just have to be part of one.
 

hoshin1600

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The fact that you didn't heard of them proves my point actually,
No it doesn't prove your point at all. It's a fragmented argument your using. Just to be clear, I think the art Bruce had in mind is not what it turned out to be, so in a sense we agree. My only contention is your choice argue points. The strict definition of an icon is a religious painting or a computer avatar of sorts. But in English it has a connotation of being famous to the point of being imbeded into the psychological social framework of a culture. Like the computer icon the little image represents a much larger body. This is exactly what Bruce Lee is. His name alone and even more so his image, is seen as a representation of martial arts as a whole. If we were to remove language and had an abstract phone app that was martial arts, the icon button on your phone could be Bruce Lee and everyone would understand what it was for. The only image that represents martial arts more and is more universal would be the white gi.
To say there are better martial artists out in the world is complete separate thought.
 
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Xue Sheng

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Well it appears 8 day short of the 44th anniversary of the death of Bruce Lee that he is still relevant and causing all sorts of arguments based on his training methodology...And you know, I don't think he would be all that upset about it, likely he would be rather pleased, of course that is an assumption on my part...

all I have left to say in this thread is what was already said by Buka

Quote for Truth

Oh goody, more "Bruce Lee sucked" stuff.

Cut the guy some slack, he was just a kid when he died. Had a hell of a positive impact on the arts in general, especially here in America.

I'm thankful he did. Would have loved to have met the man.
 

Buka

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Just a thought here. So, if we're coming up on 44 years since Bruce Lee passed away, how many commenting here are old enough to have been an adult when Bruce Lee was alive and doing, or not doing, all these things I hear about?

Or are some of your opinions based on other resources?
 
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Xue Sheng

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Just a thought here. So, if we're coming up on 44 years since Bruce Lee passed away, how many commenting here are old enough to have been an adult when Bruce Lee was alive and doing, or not doing, all these things I hear about?

Or are some of your opinions based on other resources?

All I can say is I was a kid who just started Jujutsu in 1972 and a year later he died. I remember Bruce Lee from Magazines, the Green Hornet (Watched it religiously right along with Batman), the announcement of his death and announcement of the new movie Enter the Dragon. The other resources were his books and the comments of those that knew him in the MA world of the time. Which I was old enough to know then...is very different from now
 
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