Learning Jeet Kune Do today comes with several unique challenges.
For one, the amount of information available today can be overwhelming.
There is a plethora of “versions” of Jeet Kune Do, each with their own brand of lineages.
And I know, it gets confusing sometimes.
Well, one of my teachers used to tell me, “There are many paths up the same mountain.”
So here’s my question to you.
Regardless of the path,
Are you looking to practice Jeet Kune Do,
or do you see yourself as a Jeet Kune Do man/woman?
I think that it is one thing to practice Jeet Kune Do techniques, and it is an entire different matter living the art.
The former is a mere physical activity; the latter is about internalizing the values, principles and concepts of the art and expressing them throughout our lives.
Do you concur?
Here are three things I share with my mentees when they ask me the question, “What is the Jeet Kune Do Man”?
To me, the distinction is clear.
Anybody can practice “Jeet Kune Do techniques” i.e. the Straight Lead, the Hook Kick, etc…
But not everybody who does that is the JKD Man.
You’ll see Bruce Lee refer to this term intermittently in his notes.
So then, what exactly makes the JKD Man who he is?
What tells us that he has internalized the art?
Here’s my take on it.
The JKD Mentality
This is about Mindset.
Before he even throws a punch or kick, the JKD Man already comes with the JKD Mind.
The JKD Man is silent.
He is intelligent, introspective and discerning.
In other words, he wants to know.
He seeks to understand.
Maybe before he moves, maybe when he moves, maybe after he moves…
But his end goal is always Insight.
He also wants to know his options…
…as well as the options he knows that he doesn’t know, yet.
For the JKD Man, there is no such thing as useless or wrong information.
He knows that it’s all part of a big puzzle, that everything is neutral until the user applies that information.
His eternal “learner’s mentality” makes him extraordinary.
You’ll see him being quiet at times.
You’ll see him take notes.
You’ll see him ask specific questions, easily admitting that he doesn’t know, and wants to.
And then you’ll see him take action.
Sure, the JKD Man wants to know, but he doesn’t want to do it all.
He knows that training hours are precious, so he specializes.
He is physically developed, or at least he understands the importance of physical attributes…
…but he also knows that the hardware isn’t the software.
What are some examples of this know-how that is specific to JKD?
To begin with, he knows that JKD isn’t a bag of petty techniques.
He knows that JKD isn’t a convenient salad of 3, 11, 24, 72 (etc.) arts mixed together like a “Best of” album.
He knows how to utilize mobility to achieve Space/time Mastery. In other words, he knows how to manipulate space and time for specific purposes.
He knows the importance of using tactical cunning to outsmart his opponent when he is out-skilled.
He understand the urgency of adapting and calibrating rapidly and effectively in order to survive.
He trains to empower himself at an instinctual and subconscious level, not merely physically.
He can effectively express himself without quoting Bruce Lee, yet still embodying the direction that he was pointing towards.
You sense that he is not a duplicate.
The JKD Vehicle
With a Mind and the Know-how in place, the final part of the equation is simply the vehicle that the JKD Man uses to express them.
For the JKD Man, the Art is about Science, Synergy and Simplicity.
Therefore, these are specific specializations that cannot be downloaded through the Internet or assumed haphazardly.
They are passed down from Mentor to Student, through years of coaching, refinement and paying of dues.
You get the idea.
Mass-accelerated Movement: He knows how to accelerate his mass to generate force, as opposed to relying on mere muscular power.
Disengaged Engagement: He understands that JKD is inherently a Disengaged way of combat, and he engages the opponent in a Proactive Fashion that achieves this exact paradox to maximum effectiveness.
Perceiving the Centerline: When congestion occurs, what is the perceived Optimum Route? The JKD Man will try and flow through that, as opposed to “barging through” all the time.
Fluidity: The nature of the JKD Vehicle is “water”. The JKD Man does not aspire to be rigid, stiff or a “master blocker”. Instead, he is all about harnessing elements of preparation, continuity and sensitivity in order to…
Uncover the Void: This is the end goal of the physical JKD Vehicle. Without the Void, what is there to Intercept? The Void is simply an opening in space/time within the Interaction.
So there you have it!
Mindset, Expertise and Vehicle.
I hope that this small piece of writing can bring us immense clarity.
Elapsed time, repetitions and physical attributes on their own seldom have any direct link to “getting it”.
That exists in the Mind.
What about you?
What do you think about when you train?
What would be your definition of the JKD Man?