It may sound complicated, but the core concept that gave birth to Jeet Kune Do -- the martial art created by the late, great Bruce Lee -- is all about ease of motion and functionality. Jeet Kune Do translates to "Way of the Intercepting Fist," and while Lee himself was a master of combat, JKD was intended to be a philosophy to live by as well as an approach to martial arts training that anyone could do. In a way, training in Jeet Kune Do never has to go past the basics, making it a popular study for people of all skill levels.
Many martial arts styles focus on training with sparring gear and focus shields. This is not usually the case with Jeet Kune Do. Most of the basic techniques can be performed either by yourself or with a cooperative partner. Since intercepting motion is one of the key concepts of the style -- and the concept it's named after -- many basic drills involve trying to time a partner's punch or kick and intercept it with your own. When you see your partner move to begin a strike, complete your own to interrupt their flow and movement. It really doesn't matter what techniques you perform. This core concept of recognizing the flow is what it's all about in Jeet Kune Do.
Jeet Kune Do is really more of a philosophy on training than it is a style. In fact, founder Bruce Lee was very public about his disdain for particular styles in the martial arts. He considered these systems to be too rigid to be practical. Perhaps the most important training method of Jeet Kune Do involves training your mind to always seek the truth, as Lee instructed. You should never completely rely on an instructor to show you the way; rather, you should find it for yourself.
In order to fully embrace the concept of going with the flow, you must be able to accept and adapt to changes. This is easier said than done, and it applies to more than just fighting and training in the martial arts. When outside forces in training situations, work or home life threaten to interfere with you, the first step to solving the problem is in recognizing and accepting the problem.
Reject the Meaningless
Again, one of the core concept's of Jeet Kune Do can be applied to all aspects of your life outside of the martial arts. Lee encouraged those he guided to reject everything they considered to be meaningless. Just because something works for someone else does not mean it is ideal for you. In martial arts training, this can only be done effectively through trial and error. Keep what works, get rid of the rest.
There are many schools and instructors that claim to teach Jeet Kune Do, but most of them are just demonstrating some of its founder's favorite techniques, along with recycled moves from Chinese Kung Fu. In order to truly begin your Jeet Kune Do training in the right way, it is essential to understand that the only right way is the way that is right for you.
Steven Kelliher is an experienced sports writer, technical writer, proofreader and editor based out of the Greater Boston Area. His main area of expertise is in combat sports, as he is a lifelong competitor and active voice in the industry. His interviews with some of the sport's biggest names have appeared on large industry sites such as ESPN.com, as well as his own personal blog.