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JKD Question For Burton - What Is & Isn't?

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  • JKD Question For Burton - What Is & Isn't?

    Hi Burton,

    I'm curious to know what the 'blueprint' is and isn't for Jeet Kune Do, by that I mean what basis is used to evaluate and include techniques to be deemed practical and effective for self defense or real fighting? More to the point also what basis to determine arts that should be studied by those in JKD?

    It seems JKD is just study any old thing or art as long as you deem it practical , it's JKD. Nothing wrong with studying other arts of course, but is it really JKD? Seems also most JKD people aren't taking the essence of an art, but studying the whole art.

    For e.g. Thai boxing, many JKD people are certified Thai Boxing instructors, teaching and knowing the full art not just bits and pieces. It is well known the founder of JKD - Bruce Lee didn't have that high a view if Thai Boxing, and took little from the art. Some say he took Thai Boxing kicks, not true; if he did take anything from their kicking, which seems doubtful, he sure modified or changed it beyond recognition - e.g. his roundhouse kick, especially rear leg is nothing like theirs.

    Which goes back to criteria for including techniques or studying arts in JKD; should what is written by Bruce Lee ('Commentaries on the Martial Way' John Little, Tao of JKD, etc) not form the basis for what should & should not be included? Don't misunderstand that, I don't mean taking everything he said as gospel, never studying anything he didn't; I mean evaluating other arts from a proper perspective, set guidelines or blueprint.

    Take Thai Boxing, great art , tough sport; but does it follow 'economy of motion', 'directness', & all the other things Bruce Lee laid out as being the 'blueprint' or basis for evaluating an art or technique? Take the rear leg kick for e.g., its not direct or using economy of motion, rather like swinging a very wide hook punch, it leaves you vulnerable to counter attack , if people close in on you when kick is coming round, can easily get knocked down, or if you miss very vulnerable to attack. Don't get me wrong it can be devastating, just like the wide hook punch that will tear your head off, but is it really something that follows the guidelines of JKD? The founder Bruce Lee saw that kick, yet didn't include it in JKD; which strongly suggests what? More to the point if you look at the criteria Bruce Lee established for evaluating other arts (see above mentioned books), it doesn't meet them.

    Again I stress Thai Boxing is great, devastating ring sport but is it really JKD? That was just one kick for example in that art, many other things in it do not seem to follow BL's concept of JKD - the footwork, stance, etc.

    Same with many of the other arts included in JKD today, Penjack Silat, Escrima, Gracie Jui-jitsu, etc. They have a lot that does not follow the guidelines laid down by Bruce Lee.

    Again , don't misunderstand me I'm not saying follow all Bruce Lee said or did to the letter, never do anything else; but surely there has to be some guidelines or criteria for including an art in JKD or techniques from it, or worthy basis for studying an entire art??? If there is not, then you can just go study any old art or technique and call it Jeet Kune Do, as many appear to be doing?

  • #2
    Also Burt?

    Cont. from above

    Also Burt,

    One after that one has to ask why are people studying certain arts in JKD?

    Dan Inosanto has studied different arts, and all appear to only study the arts he does or deems practical that are under him, or were once with him like yourself, Paul Vunak, Ron Balicki, etc. The arts Dan has included large dose of Filipino Martial Arts, why? Mmmmm... might be because he is Filipino. If he was Korean , there would be a large dose of Korean arts Hapkido, Tae Kwon Do, etc; or Japanese - Ninjutsu, Karate, etc. Which is why out of the full arts studied ,there are no Korean, Japanese, Indian, etc. More to the point nobody seems to have gone much into anything Dam Inosanto hasn't???

    For yourself, Burt - what full art do you teach that Dan Inosanto does not or that he has not at least studied? You do Filipino Martial Arts - Kali, etc, Thai Boxing, Shoot/Gracie (Ground), etc; Dan of course teaches or has done them all.

    So are only the arts or techniques Dan Inosanto deems worthy to be included in Jeet Kune Do, worth including; if so what an insult to Japanese , Korean arts & their practitioners??? Are no Korean, Japanese, etc arts worth studying or learning? From previous post, are those arts Dan Inosanto has included really JKD according to what Bruce Lee laid out? Also some arts included are like new crazes or fads, in 80's Gracie Juijitsu prevails in UFC, Shootfighting comes out; I know lets include it in JKD and study the full art (????), which is exactly what happened! I mean if Capoiera or Ninjutsu completely dominated the UFC then, Dan Inosanto and all other JKD people would have rushed out to study them & be teaching the full arts now.

    Nothing wrong with studying other arts, MMA & all that but there has to be some basis in which to do so, should there not? Especially if you are using the term Jeet Kune Do, an art founded by Bruce Lee? If not, then just study Jun Fan, read or learn about JKD and go off and study any old art you like - add Capoiera if you like it or Systema; and you got your Jeet Kune Do, right there; which seems to be the prevalent notion today???

    You hear of all these 'so termed' - Original JKD people, that want to stick pretty much to what Bruce Lee taught in his lifetime, nothing wrong with that it's their perogative; but at least they aren't going off and adding any old technique or art, because they know all to well, many of them and the techniques they use do not follow JKD guidlines as laid down by Bruce Lee, and that there has to be set criteria for evaluating an art or techniques worthy of inclusion. I'm not for or against so called 'Original' or for or against so called 'Concepts'; so not trying to discuss what is better out of those two, more attempting to understand what people deem Jeet Kune Do & why today?

    I mean in 50 / 100 years will they have added several more arts or another thousand techniques to Jeet Kune Do? Very probably at the rate & way it is going, but then will it still really be Jeet Kune Do????

    Passing note, one has to consider also the inclusion of sports like Shootfighting or Thai boxing, or (if you don't term them sports) arts that have done well in sports like Gracie Jui-jitsu in UFC/MMA/Gracie JJ contests, Thai boxing in K1/MMA/Thai boxing fights, etc. All those contests K1, UFC, Thai Boxing bouts - all great real tough, etc but........... NOT real fighting, not by a long shot! Are techniques , strategies, etc that do well in them necessarily combat effective for the street??? More to the point can they be effectively utilised in self defence by all in JKD? For e.g. shield/guard block with legs inThai boxing, can a small woman successfully block a larger mans (say 6ft 5" 280 pounds hits like ton of bricks) leg with it, should she be taught it as being practical for self defence or try to use it in the street???? Is it practical to roll around on the street doing grappling, or wise for smaller or weaker person? We should all be ready for the ground of course, but teaching Gracie JJ or Shootfighting to weaker persons or smaller persons as practical self defence for the street is it wise??? Yet in JKD everyone learns all these arts.

    Thanks for yor time Burt, if you get the chance to read this and respond.


    • #3
      It is good that you aren't just following the pack. Here is my quick answer. First, I look at this thing scientifically (as did Bruce Lee.) If I have a theory (a technique from a different art), I must test it under battle conditions to see how well it actually works. Combat sports are definitely real combat. Just go fight a Thai Boxer and see how economical the motions are when you are standing in front of them, but the rules of the sport lead us away from the JKD street emphasis. Change the rules and you change the way the art develops. Rolling on the ground is very important because it happens in real life. We don't want to be there, but if you end up there your skills at groundfighting are the only things that will save you. Since it is so dangerous, we spend a lot of time training it. But, we do a street version where we include groin hits, simulated eye strikes, etc. This changes the game.
      As far as learning an entire art, that is good for people who enjoy the culture. I learned many arts in their entirety, but my teaching is based upon testing our techniques under duress. I think that is what Bruce Lee was about. If it works, add it. If it doesn't, get rid of it. Sometimes a new technique makes an old technique obsolete.
      So again, test everything through sparring with very few rules. Just keep it safe. Aloha!


      • #4
        Hi Burton

        Hi Burton,

        Thanks a lot for your reply. You know I was 99% certain you would say the old 'we test it under battle conditions' type response, and you did just that.

        So what you are saying is that anything that a student of Jeet Kune Do tests themselves in sparring all out, or in real fights is worth including and becomes part of Jeet Kune Do mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm????????

        So if someone tests a Capoiera type handstand and kick & can pull it off for real, it can be called part of JKD, or a jump spinning back kick from Tae Kwon Do if they can land it nearly everytime for real, then include it?

        If that is your reasoning, I'm afraid you shouldn't 'concentrate on the finger' and you've missed 'all the heavenly glory' as Mr Lee would say. One only has to read his writings , to realise that's definitely not what he was about or advocating at all.

        As fot Thai rear leg round kick you mentioned, again devastating kick, I'm not putting it down but consider :-

        1) Wise to try it at start of a real fight, risk them coming in fast as your leg is going round countering you or knocking you down, or missing completely and getting made to pay for it?
        2) Suitable for a woman or elderly person to hit a larger person with on the street?
        3) Practical if you miss, spinning right round and turning your back , with the follow through? That is a proper full Thai kick afer all if you miss.

        You spar Bill Wallace all out I guarantee he will get at least a few boots to your head or body, Benny Urquidez at least one kick spinning back to your body, but that does not make them Jeet Kune Do nor those techniques worth including in JKD. But by your logic if they can pull out those techniques for real under pressure they are worth including???

        As for these sports being real as you put it , they are far from it. UFC you can't roll around in the street for 10 or 20 mins, friends will kick your head in or if in a club bouncers will break you up. Fact is too for real it would rarely near impossible last that long, sooner or later someone would bite, spit, gouge an eye, break something. In UFC too they also have very poor defense against take downs, most are skilled on the ground so don't try too hard or are bothered about being taken there.

        Bruce Lee again from his writings, looked more from a how to counter a grappler, rather than roll around playing tag, or exchanging holds.

        As for testing a technique scientifically as you put it, fact is anyone can make anything work for real. If you burl your arm around and punch to body (as Sugar Ray Leonard did to Marvin Hagler), practice it hard and try it against different opponents in hard sparring, and can pull it off near every time is it then Jeet Kune Do or worth including??? Your logic seems strange.


        • #5
          I didn't say that testing something under combat conditions makes it JKD. It just proves that the move works against a resisting opponent. That is what I teach and allow my students to experience. If that sounds strange, what do you propose? Looking at books and theorizing? JKD, in my opinion, is personal. It is what works for you against someone who is fighting you. As for ground fighting, if you end up there without proper training, you will definitely be booted in the head. You won't have a chance.


          • #6
            So what you are saying is that anything that a student of Jeet Kune Do tests themselves in sparring all out, or in real fights is worth including and becomes part of Jeet Kune Do

            Sorry, I just wanted to respond to this really quick.
            You have to remember, Jeet Kune Do itself, is not a martial art. It is concepts. And if you can apply those concepts to any art you do, be it japanese, korean, chinese, or whatever, then you will have found something to add to your own JKD because it's what works for you.
            When people say "I've studied all these arts, and deem them worthy of the JKD name" it shouldn't be because they've studied all those arts and they combined them. It should be because they've studied those arts, along with Jun Fan Gung Fu/ JKD concepts and were able to apply those concepts to whatever it was they studied previously, and got the results they desired.
            That is JKD.


            • #7
              I'd like to add one of my thoughts.

              As I understand it, Bruce developed jkd to become a better fighter and more effective martial artist. If something doesn't do that then it's not jkd.


              • #8


                • #9

                  I think what jkd is for the individual sort of depends on what you want to do. Any artist, from a judoka to a tkd man to a wrestler to an akidoist, can apply some, or most, of Bruce's principles to their arts. If you wanted to do
                  what Bruce did, however, you would have to learn wing chun well enuff to do it in a fight against a bigger man, and you would have to develop the sensitivity and biomechanics to do blind-folded chi sao on a balance beam.
                  Then, you would have to diverge from wing chun onto your own path, but maintaining the physics of wing chun. Over time Bruce varied his techniques and training greatly, but he always retained the basic wing chun mechanics.
                  He continued wallbag punching and wooden dummy training until rather late in his life. He used to practice the Sil Lim Tao form on his own even after he stopped teaching any wing chun in his schools.


                  • #10
                    There was a great quote, I forget exactly how it goes but it's something like: "Don't try to do what great men have done but work for what they achieved".

                    Too many people try to do what Bruce did. Instead you should be working for what he achieved, finding what works for you and becoming a more effective martial artist. Wing Chun might or might not be a part of that.