"So What Exactly is Jeet Kune Do?"
Editorial from the Bruce Lee Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do Magazine, December 1997.
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Over the years, many people have made claims regarding the proper definition of Bruce Lee's art. Some have defined it as a process of "change;" others have labeled it as simply "modified Wing Chun;" others, with the best of intentions have stated that it is simply an eclectic jumble of various styles and arts that hopefully will, at some unspecified point in the future, gestalt into something meaningful for the individual practitioner.
With the formation of Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do, however, there no longer exists any need for such contradictory and confusing definitions. There is but one definition for Jun fan Jeet Kune Do and here it is: Jun fan Jeet Kune Do is the complete body of technical (physical and scientific) and philosophical (mental, social, spiritual) knowledge that was studied and taught by Bruce Lee during his lifetime. In other words, Jun fan Jeet Kune Do (with, as its core, the combative principles, physical techniques, training methods, and philosophical ideas synthesized by Bruce Lee during his lifetime) is concerned solely and exclusively with Bruce Lee's personal evolution and process of self-discovery through martial art as indicated and supported by the written record (Bruce Lee's personal papers and library) and oral history (recollections of those who spent time with and/or studied under Bruce Lee). That's it. Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do concerns itself with presenting Bruce Lee's ideas and opinions - and not anyone else's interpretation of them - with regard to:
A distinction is made between this body of work (i.e., Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do) and an individual student's own personal process of self-discovery through martial art, in that each student is free to utilize all, some or none of Bruce Lee's teachings to assist him in this respect. Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do is not about setting up restrictions or "Ways" of doing things. It has no interest in trying to mold or shape you. It accepts you as you are. Much like when a bubbling spring flows out from the mountains, it is simply there for a thirsty traveler should he wish to partake of it.
When a bird sings, it does not sing for the advancement of music, but if somebody stops to listen and is delighted, that is fine. And Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do seeks likewise to be a source of inspiration and delight solely for those who posses an interest in Bruce Lee and the martial viewpoint that he created. Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do should be considered the base that Bruce Lee established and not the ultimate goal of the individual who studies it. Individuals may, and if fact are expected to, modify, add and delete until they have transcended the need for any "way" or "system" at all - including Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do. But once into this process, what they arrive at should not be called Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do.
We should welcome change, but the person changing should claim responsibility for his own innovations. Nor should Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do be called obsolete after a martial artist evokes these changes into a personal interpretation. In holding true to Bruce Lee's philosophy of personal liberation, it works on the principle of a physician rather than a patent. A physician is always trying to get rid of his patients and send them away healthy enough to stand on their own two feet. Bruce Lee's ultimate objective as a teacher was to get rid of his students so that they wouldn't need him or any other teacher. Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do can be viewed as a guide to reach the highest peak of personal liberation through the study of martial arts.
You, the individual become, through this process of self-discovery, your own best teacher. What we really need to know about ourselves and how we perform throughout our daily life should not end when graduating from school. Throughout our JFJKD journey, the martial arts trials and tribulations we experience result in a never-ending gain in self-knowledge and growth. While it is true that Bruce Lee was constantly searching for a better way ("To utilize all ways be bound by none"), we must, for historical and philosophical reasons, use the term Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do only for the art that Bruce Lee taught. While it is true that he would have continued to grow and explore, we cannot know with infallible certainty what direction this exploration would have taken.
Our objective with Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do is simply to remove some of the misconceptions that have arisen over the years concerning what Bruce Lee and his art were about, and to show the world a better picture of what is preserved in his legacy. For the sake of the future of Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do, we must also emphasize that when instructors claim to teach Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do, they will only teach from the body of knowledge attributed to Bruce Lee. Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do is concerned solely with Bruce Lee's body of work - as he taught it - and with the preservation and perpetuation of this body of work.