Year after year the subject of Si-Gung Bruce Lee and Jeet Kune Do have hardly diminshed. There have been countless articles, videos, books and movies produced saying the same thing “Bruce is this,…..Bruce is that”
There also have been numerous imitators of his face and likeness, actors naming themselves, Bruce Li, Bruce Le, Bruce Ly, Bruce Lie,………The Bruce Lee image has been exploited mostly by non-martial artists who are mainly doing it to make a fast buck, individuals and movie studios alike.
It is known that Si-Gung Bruce Lee did not want to openly teach in a tangible way or to commercialize his art of Jeet Kune Do. However, the world will not let it happen.
So what do the followers of Bruce Lee do?
There are many controversies on the teachings of Jeet Kune Do. Some say it is only a set of ideas and so it can not be taught. Others say that it is tangible but every one’s path is different. I keep my physical training and teachings as close to Si-Gung’s as possible when he was alive.
It is my opinion that in order to study and excel in the Art of Jeet Kune Do, one should follow the path of Si Gung Bruce Lee. He started studying various Kung Fu systems, namely the Wing Chun system. So studying Wing Chun is a good start, but is not the end. The end product is Jeet Kune Do, and beyond. Often Wing Chun practitioners will argue that Si-Gung was not knowledgable enough in Wing Chun but I disagree. I too have studied Wing Chun for 4 years as a teenager before embarking on the path of Jeet Kune Do. I know that he was very knowledgable in Wing Chun before founding Jeet Kune Do. He was also a Philosophy major in college. To arrive at the same place where Si Gung left off, one needs to trace closely the evolution of his martial arts development. For example, one can not be proficeint in English by studying Latin, even though English came from Latin. By the same token, one can not be proficient in Jeet Kune Do if one just studies Wing Chun, and vice versa. Si-Gung used to re-inforce this concept by saying “if you want to swim, get in the water!”
Some of the important ingredients in Jeet Kune Do are agility, mobility, explosiveness, broken rhythm, speed, non-telegraphic executions, sticky hands, trapping and intercepting skills, which we practice daily in our classes. Some of these ingredients are also similar in Wing Chun and other styles.
There are also many controversies around Jeet Kune Do practitioners today, part of the reason is that Jeet Kune Do is not standardized. Jeet Kune Do is freely evolving and changing. However, some evolve and change slower than others due to individual characters and attributes. For this reason few practitioners teach alike and at the same pace. My only wish is that more Jeet Kune Do practitioners would get together with the common objectives of contributing to the art and respecting the founder.
Lots of people only talk about how great Si-Gung was, but as a dedicated martial artist, do not put Si-Gung Bruce Lee on a pedestal and worship him as a God! He was a normal human being who became extraordinary through hard work and tenacity. One need not talk so much how great Si-Gung was, but rather practice what he preached so that one can also become great. As Si-Gung use to say “Willing is not enough, One must do. Knowing is not enough, one must apply” We need to honor his teachings and philosophies through action and not just celebrate his birthdays with feasts and banquets. If JKD is to have respect from the world at large, and withstand the test of time, it must continue to forge ahead. JKD needs to be put to the test of present fighting systems, to accept challenge and defeat, continue to grow and refine to where the founder left off, and beyond.
The way of Jeet Kune Do is in the doing, and being.