There is a misconception out there in the martial arts world stating that Bruce Lee is the father of Mix Martial Arts. Bruce Lee said:
“…take the good things from every different discipline, use what works, and throw the away the rest…”.
— Bruce Lee
One might initially believe that Bruce lee was mixing martial arts styles and choosing the ones that worked for him and there created his own art, Jeet Kune Do.
However, that is not true.
So, let me give you my interpretation of Jeet Kune Do. And comparing it to the Mix martial Arts. The past 40 years after the founder’s passing, there has been a lot of questions and confusions regarding the art of Jeet Kune Do.
In 1965, after taking a challenge to fight, Lee found that his fighting ability was inadequate. So, he decided to come up with a fighting system that will end the fight more efficiently in the quickest time. In 1967, he founded Jeet Kune Do, which is to intercept the opponent’s preparation to attack you.
Hence, fighting in the most simple, direct and effective manner, let me expand on this technique. If you break down to just the mechanics of attack, within the art of unarm combat, there are just three different ways to attack, namely, “Blows, Holds and Throws”. Another way would be by striking, throwing and choking/locks. Out of the three, the fastest way is by striking. This means the art of intercepting is fastest by striking. And does not mean getting into complicated moves like throwing and chokes/locks.
The art of Jeet Kune Do is also compounded by the philosophy:
“Use no way as way, having no limitation as limitation”.
— Bruce Lee
The art is misinterpreted, you cannot use the philosophy as the methodology. The philosophy is a supplement, but the method is to intercept, to “Jeet”. In addition, in order to intercept, one must throw away the un-essentials. One must keep the techniques simple, direct and effective. Contrary to what some said about adding more techniques to make the fighting more effective. Rather, you chisel away the unessential moves that are ineffective.
I am in awe all these years by the amount of JKD and MMA practitioners who explain or translate “Jeet” meaning: freedom, effective, simple…etc. The fighting techniques of Jeet Kune Do is to intercept, which is the true meaning of “Jeet”, by the use of lead side weapons, speed, footwork, timing, stop hits and broken rhythm.
The central theme is to simplify, not to add on extra baggage like some the practitioners are doing out there. While the art of throwing, grappling and chokes/locks are also effective and may be more effective for law enforcers and applicable fighting in the Octagon. It is a slower way to intercept and not economically feasible.
Today, for MMA competition, strikes on the ground are an essential part of a fighter's training. Now if you are one on one and fighting inside the Octagon, I supposed fighting on the ground is fair game. However, from a JKD standpoint, that is limiting yourself and making the fight complicated. Although as a complete martial artist, you should be able to flow from one type of attack to another, which means you can flow from striking to throwing or armlocks, but this will not end the fight in the quickest time.
Therefore, JKD is more suitable for the street and MMA is more suitable inside the Octagon. Another way to interpret Jeet Kune Do as Bruce Lee has put it, “Scientific Street Fighting”. This again goes to the concept of achieving the quickest and fastest result of being simple. One strike would finish the opponent as opposed to throwing, choking or grappling moves. In a street situation, you cannot afford to grapple or control someone as there maybe multiple opponents attacking you all at once. The most sensible way is to strike quickly and flee if you have to. This is very different than fighting inside the Octagon as you can see a cast of thousands applauding you after you choke out your opponent.
PS - If you are in Los Angeles in August 16-19, I am hosting a screening of my new film “Gung Fu, JKD & MMA” as well as some other JKD and filmmaking seminars during this time. I hope you can join me. You can reserve tickets here.