History of Jeet Kune Do

Jeet Kune Do is Bruce Lee's mental, physical, and technical expression of combat in its totality. Bruce Lee used the yin-yang symbol to represent his view of a living art that is always changing and evolving. The art must correlate with the human or the art becomes stagnant and artificial. The yin-yang symbol is a compass or a barometer to balance both the human and the martial art. Jeet Kune Do is not a fragmented martial art; it is an art that expresses totality in its purest form. Jeet Kune Do is a style that doesn't put you in shackles and chains, but gives you the keys to self-liberation. Bruce Lee knew there was nothing to fear but fear itself or the abstract illusion of fear that the mind manifests. Fear is merely a form of bondage that one must conquer. Jeet Kune Do leads to self-discovery, which leads to the ability to recognize, which then leads to understanding.

These are some of Bruce Lee's philosophies. I would like to discuss his view on the physical art of Jeet Kune Do. If you are new to this art, there are two important issues that are the bulk of Jeet Kune Do. First is what I have briefly talked about, the philosophy or mental nature of Jeet Kune Do; next are the physical components as well as the biomechanics of this intriguing art. Bruce stressed that he did not create or invent a new martial art, but found the cause of the ignorance. He knew that all humans have two arms and two legs, but he needed to find the most efficient way to use these weapons.

Bruce researched different ways to enlighten his mind and to cultivate his physical skill. Bruce came to the realization that simple physics could work in Jeet Kune Do. He increased his power and strength through weight training and cardiovascular activity. Bruce realized that mass times velocity gives you pure power at impact if you have a solid structure and good body alignment.

While the bulk of the techniques in Jeet Kune Do are Wing Chun, boxing, and fencing, Jeet Kune Do is also concerned with using the minimum to achieve the maximum, not the other way around. It was Bruce's own evaluation of himself that makes Jeet Kune Do so unique. To me, Jeet Kune Do is Bruce Lee's personal evolutionary process. Martial arts masters before Bruce and many after him chose to stay in the traditional and conditional past! This is an example of what Bruce regarded as the classical mess. He bucked at the systems of bondage and catapulted himself into freedom and changed the martial art way of thinking forever. While there are no forms to learn in Jeet Kune Do, all the techniques are straightforward and are geared purely for self-defense and self-perseverance. All techniques of the techniques are simple and natural for the body and mind to learn. All wasted movements have been intelligently discarded. You will not find flowery or mechanical movements in Jeet Kune Do. Bruce developed his body as a weapon, not just for cosmetic purposes. My sifu, Ted Wong always said, "David, if you want Bruce Lee results, you need to train like Bruce Lee and put in Bruce Lee hours."

Jeet Kune Do is the most complete martial art available in the world. Jeet Kune Do is a martial art that you can consider a full circle art. We practice all logical attack and defense possibilities. Again, we are a balanced Gung Fu system, we kick, punch, hand trap, throw, and grapple. Our body becomes whole to the total expression of the human being. Bruce Lee knew that the human entity is always more important than the established style but all to often the style becomes law. It's the Korean Way or the Chinese Way or maybe it's the Japanese Way. My friends, be concerned with the root of the tree for it is the root that gives life to the intricate branches and leaves of the tree, and it is the water that is the blood of the tree. We need to be more like water, always flowing to the least resistant area, but still having the persistence and faith to realize that we need to train hard, realistic, and intelligently. Set accomplishable goals and train diligently. It is imperative to seek an authentic instructor, trained under Bruce Lee, or one that has direct lineage to Bruce Lee. In conclusion, I will leave you with a note from Bruce Lee, "Walk on."

Grandmaster Gallaher