Jeet Kune Do Principals

Before you hack away at the unessential or master what you have learned, it would be nice to know that you had a worldly selection of techniques to choose from. In truth, a good Jeet Kune Do practitioner will not reject adding techniques from other forms of combat.

“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.” ~Bruce Lee

Diversity is important. There are always people that have a hard time understanding this, so I will keep it simple. In Jeet Kune Do we should be adding techniques from other forms of combat if they fit in with the structure and the principles that we find within Jeet Kune Do. It is important to tailor your Jeet Kune Do to fit. There is no other person that knows you better than you know yourself.

This topic has started many arguments in the past. Many people will claim what you are doing is not Jeet Kune Do. It is Jeet Kune Do though if it follows the principles and structure as explained by Bruce Lee. It is not Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do, but in truth there is no Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do without Bruce Lee, there is only Jeet Kune Do.

Jeet Kune Do is very much like a boat that can help one arrive at the other shore as Bruce Lee has pointed out. This boat is built like no other. It is simplistic in design and provides economy of motion. It takes the fastest route between shores and it has a realistic relationship with the water that flows beneath it. Although it is a fine boat we must not carry it on our back after reaching the other shore.

Any two individuals that have the same Jeet Kune Do actually have no Jeet Kune Do. Any two individuals that have no Jeet Kune Do have the same Jeet Kune Do. It is without form, emptiness. The moment you claim Jeet Kune Do is this or Jeet Kune Do is that it takes on a form. The cup is filled. At this point there is no room for personal growth.

The philosophy is very simple. You can find it in Zen, Buddhism, Taoism, Jainism, and others. Many of the quotes in Jeet Kune Do are borrowed from other sources. If you know the source and have a mind to understand it, the emptiness of Jeet Kune Do will make sense to you. If you are caught up in a routine and have a poor understanding, you will often point fingers at others and claim what they are doing is wrong. This is because you have failed not only to understand Jeet Kune Do but something far more important. You have failed to understand yourself.

- Rain Burgess is an instructor at Fight Club Martial Arts in Rehoboth Beach where he teaches Muay Thai and Muay Boran as well as instructs in MMA. He has studied numerous other styles including Wushu, Aikido, and Jeet Kune Do. He can be reached at 302-396-7438 or

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