My Philosophy of JKD
I’m a true believer in both Eastern and Western philosophies as they apply to martial arts and life in general. In Taoism, as well as in Pre-Socratic philosophy we say: To everything there is its opposite. This means one cannot comprehend hot without cold. One cannot fully understand politeness without first being exposed to rudeness. Therefore, you can't be truly at peace with yourself without being capable of violence. It’s simple. Some arts try to achieve their goal of inner peace and self-discovery by training through meditation or kata. Our path is through the physical combative arts. We train hard, adopting a higher level of consciousness through contact, slowly moving from the physical to mental eventually leading to the spiritual…It’s all JKD!
Jeet Kune Do cannot be taught as a set system or style. We have a set of principles and concepts derived from Jun Fan Gung Fu and JKD Concepts that set us towards the path of liberation and self-expression. My JKD’s going to be different than your JKD, but the concepts and key principles should remain the same.
There is no need to imitate or try and duplicate an entire martial art for the ‘art of combat’, unless you are trying to learn and ‘master’ an art for its preservation and culture. In true combat, choose specifically what works for you and chip away at the inessentials in the arts that don’t apply to you. Your best guide is within you. You have the attributes and abilities to be the best athlete or fighter that you could possibly be.
Jeet Kune do is about the development of natural abilities or attributes you already have within you (which need to be developed). These are speed, power, timing, proper mental attitude, sensitivity, and killer instinct to name a few. The key is to develop these attributes to facilitate the application of your technical expertise. It makes no sense knowing an entire arsenal of technique without being functional with it. Just like an iceberg – the tip above water does not compare to the mass and devastation awaiting hidden below (your attributes). This explains why an unschooled street fighter could very well take out a ‘master’ in martial arts in a real street fight. It’s the fighter with the superior mix of attributes that wins a street fight. That’s reality. It explains why a BJJ fighter could get taken out easily one day by a kick boxer, yet in a different encounter may be successful against another fighter. It is what distinguishes fighters of the same style from each other. It’s not BJJ or Muay Thai that is the best. It’s the person that trains properly and has the proper mix of attributes that makes him/her a great fighter.
Don’t box a boxer, don’t kick a kicker or wrestle a wrestler. Don’t fight your opponents fight. There is a range where a boxer could beat a kicker, or a wrestler could beat a boxer. There is no superior art in martial arts reality. The key in Jeet Kune Do is to pick the superior art at the moment in a street fight based on the range and circumstances of your encounter. Be flexible and free. Freedom is using all ways and being bound by none.
In closing, Martial arts are about becoming a better human being and becoming more aware of the forces that shape your life. The ultimate path or way of the warrior (Bushido) is what we strive to achieve in training martial arts; being prepared for any encounter both in martial arts, and in daily life. The true art of war is having inner peace – it’s truly the way of the peaceful warrior.
The less effort, the faster and more powerful you will be.
The truth in combat is different for each individual. Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and add specifically what is your own.
Using no way as way, having no limitation as limitation.
Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water my friend.
A professor visited a Zen master to enquire about Zen. As the master was speaking the professor kept interrupting with his own opinions. So the master served some tea. He overfilled the cup and tea went everywhere. The professor shouted "The cup is full; there is no room for more tea!" The master replied "like this cup, your mind is so full of its own opinions, there is no room for anything new, in order to taste my tea, you must first empty your cup.”
What the ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins, but excels in winning with ease. What is essential in war is victory, not prolonged operations. Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy's unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions.
Sun Tzu –Art of War
There is nothing impossible to one who will try.
Alexander the Great
To hell with circumstances. I create opportunities.
When one is engaged in battle, in a contest where you are fighting for your life, techniques become even more insignificant…always maintain a fluid and flexible, free and open mind – a proper mental attitude.
Miyamoto Musashi – A ronin samurai