View Full Version : JKD - What If...?

03-17-2001, 01:09 PM
Just curious and was wondering. What would JKD be like today if Bruce Lee had developed a foundation in something other than wing chun? Say his first style was Shotokan, or Choy Li Fut for example. Even though I understand "JKD" to be a philosophy that should theoretically transcend style, would it be different in any way had Mr Lee not been a wing chun person?

03-17-2001, 06:48 PM
First of all, he never would have known enough to call his art Jeet Kune ("Intercepting Fist") if he had never studied Wing Chun, which is a principle unique to the art.

If Bruce started out in Shotokan, maybe he would have called his art "The Way of the Cross Block". :rolleyes:

Here's a Wing Chun perspective on Bruce and JKD:


[This message was edited by Watchman on 03-18-01 at 10:17 AM.]

03-17-2001, 08:34 PM
Very true, Watchman!!!


"As we live a life of ease,
Everyone of us has all we need.
Sky of blue, and sea of green,
In our yellow submarine."
-the beatles

03-19-2001, 04:42 PM
i wouldn't be so sure about that claim, that only wing chun has the concept of 'intercepting'. - that sounds kind of ridiculous to me.

the eagle claw style even has a form called 'jeet kune'.

intercepting is a concept that is in all the styles i've ever encountered... (can you say that it doesn't exist in boxing, wrestling, fencing, karate ("strike first"), tai chi, etc. etc. etc.)

i think it is more propper to say that bruce just coined the term, 'intercepting'.

03-19-2001, 04:59 PM
Intercepting is one of the main tenants of Praying Mantis as well as Eagle. I read somewhere that Bruce Lee formulated his theories of Jeet Kun Do based on over 30 different styles including all the ones mentioned above and more. Not Wing Chun only. Perhaps it may never have evolved if he had been in a different style that did have what he was looking for, but I don't think it would have evolved differently based on any one particular style.

03-19-2001, 07:44 PM
I wasn't trying to say that Wing Chun was the only art that has the "intercepting" concept. The question was how JKD would be different if Bruce had never studied Wing Chun, and maybe did something like Shotokan as his foundation.

For Bruce, Wing Chun was the biggest game in town when he lived on Hong Kong, and it is debatable that he would have learned much about "jeet kune" studying anything else available to him at the time as a teenager because Wing Chun offers the concept to brand new students as a major tenent of the system, and something a teenager could fully grasp.

It's not that Mantis or other arts don't have the principle as well, but Wing Chun, as it was taught to Bruce at the time, takes the idea of "jeet kune" to a full operational approach.

Bruce certainly never would have learned it if he did Shotokan.

"Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous." -- Confucious

03-19-2001, 07:56 PM
Don't quote me on this, as it's early in the work week and my brain is largely for show at this point. But it was my understanding that "jeet kune" was actually the name of a set that he practiced while he was learning bits and pieces of those 30 styles (or however many).

He added the japanese "do", of course.

As for the original question, hard to say really. Certainly, economy of motion is an ideal in a lot of styles. Stop hitting, specifically, I don't know. Fewer, I presume.

Given his own background in wing chun and his brother's background in fencing. It's not surprising that the idea of intercepting struck a chord. That is a strong common ground between the two, and presumably between them and several other styles he looked at.

But if he'd had his start in another style, and we make the rather large assumption that he would still have opted to go and do his own thing, then it may well have focused on some other facet of martial arts.

I think it would have changed "Original JKD" considerably. Less focus on occupying the centerline (pivotal to both fencing and wing chun). Less focus, perhaps, on lead hitting. Less focus on linear attacks and defenses, which goes hand in hand with the centerline stop hitting I suppose (finger jabbing, lead leg sidekicking, etc.)

As for the JKD concepts, it wouldn't surprise me if he still arrived at some sort of eclectic, experimental style. It may not have looked the same, but as far as I can guess, that desire to try multiple styles and find his own "style" in them didn't come from Yip Man. It came from something more fundamental in Bruce Lee's personality.

But that's all speculation, obviously.


03-19-2001, 08:47 PM
I echo MaFuYee and Apweyn's posts. About Bruce Lee learnt Jeet Kuen and the use of it, you can take a look at the clip in which he was auditioned for a part in Hollywood. He did the opening of the set and then made something up and call it the "Crane Style". The man just liked to do things as he please.


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