JKD: The Original MMA since 1967
“How do you make an elephant out of marble?”
“First you get a big piece of marble—then take away everything that is not an elephant.”
Jeet Kune Do (JKD) is the name Bruce Lee gave to his combat philosophy in 1967. It is a philosophy because he wanted to avoid the limitations that all styles have.
Thus he gave us the process that created it—the approach and the concepts of Jeet Kune Do.
JKD as it survives today—uses the sculptor’s mentality of beginning with a lump of clay and hacking away at the “un-essentials” in order to arrive at the bare combat essentials.
Bruce Lee was heavily influenced by European boxing and fencing, and although the concepts of centerline, vertical punching, and forward pressure come from Wing Chun, Lee was drawn to the fluid grace and power of fencing and boxing stances.
Bruce Lee wanted to create a martial art that was unbounded and free.
Lee often stated: “Let it be understood once and for all that I have NOT invented a new style, composite or modification. I have in no way set Jeet Kune Do within a distinct form– governed by laws that distinguish it from ‘this’ style or ‘that’”.
Lee mixed all methods together showing others that there was no need for “a style”—only to take what works.
One of the theories of JKD is that a fighter should train in a fashion to be prepared to do whatever is necessary to defend himself, regardless of where the techniques used come from.
While practicing European wrestling, Lee was once pinned by an opponent. He was then asked what he would do if he found himself in such a situation in a real fight.
Lee replied, “Well, I’d bite you, of course”.
Lee broke down limiting factors in the training of the traditional styles, and sought a fighting thesis which he believed could only be found within the context of a “real” fight.
Lee felt that this dynamic property of JKD was what enabled its practitioners to adapt to the ever changing realities of live combat.
This notion of cross-training or “mixing martial arts” bears a striking resemblance to MMA training which has been popularized by the success of Ultimate Fighting Championships [UFC].
A JKD student is expected to be proficient within each combat range, and thus to be effective in all of them, just as in MMA.
Thus, Bruce Lee has been recognized by many, including the UFC president Dana White, as the “father of mixed martial arts”.