The Way of the Intercepting Fist
Bruce Lee’s Modern Gung Fu Legacy
I can’t recall which was the first Bruce Lee movie I ever saw, but as a teenager I wanted to fight like Bruce Lee.
What Is Jeet Kune Do?
Bruce Lee’s martial art legacy is a scientific fighting system that is modern, fast, and explosive. Some of the main influences to Bruce Lee include Wing Chun Kung Fu, Western Boxing, and Fencing. But to truly understand something you have to know its history. Bruce opened three Jun Fan Gung Fu schools in the US:
As the way I understand it, Jun Fan (Bruce’s Cantonese name) is Bruce’s simplified version from Ipman’s Wing Chun school. I believe that’s what he mostly taught in his first school.
The Closed Door Group
Bruce Lee had a closed door group of Ed Parker students during this birth of Jeet Kune Do. Of this group only Dan Inosanto and Steve Golden are left. I don’t know if Steve is still teaching, and if he is, I would guess it would be at a limited number. From what I can gather this group was already accomplished martial artists.
Who’s Jeet Kune Do?
The three Assistant Instructors that Bruce certified in Jun Fa Gung Fu continued to teach after his death, except James who died in 1972 without certifying additional students. Kimura certified five students in Jun Fan Gung Fu. Inosanto continued to teach and certify select students. Both Kimura and Inosanto continued to teach small classes thereafter, but without using the name Jeet Kune Do.
After Bruce’s death, there seems to be subsets in the JKD community like JKD Concepts, Original JKD, Jun Fan JKD, and “my” JKD. I think it was clear by Bruce that he didn’t want his art to be a “style”. I read that prior to Bruce’s death in 1973, that he wanted his schools dismantled because he didn’t want anyone to regard his system as the “truth”. It is said that after Bruce’s death, his estate filed a lawsuit against the Inosanto Academy and trademarked “Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do” to mean that this was Bruce Lee’s JKD.
So if we make the distinction that this is Bruce Lee’s JKD, this is Jerry Poteet’s JKD, Dan Inosanto’s JKD, and so forth, it puts the responsibility on the student to know their lineage. This would hopefully give the practitioner a better understanding of what kind of JKD they are getting into.
“Don’t think. FEEL. It’s like a finger pointing at the moon. Do not concentrate on the finger, or you will miss all of the heavenly glory.”Bruce Lee
My Jeet Kune Do Lineage:
“in reaction to the other’s truth, another martial artist, or possibly a dissatisfied disciple, organized an opposite approach. Soon this faction also became a large organization, with its own laws and patterns. A rivalry began, with each style claiming to possess the “truth” to the exclusion of all others.”Bruce Lee