“JKD as it survives today — if one wants to view it “refined” as a product, not a process — is what was left at the time of Bruce Lee’s death. It is the result of the life-long martial arts development process Lee went through. Bruce Lee stated that his concept is not an “adding to” of more and more things on top of each other to form a system, but rather, a winnowing out. The metaphor Lee borrowed from Chan Buddhism was of constantly filling a cup with water, and then emptying it, used for describing Lee’s philosophy of “casting off what is useless”. He also used the sculptor’s mentality of beginning with a lump of clay and hacking away at the “unessentials”; the end result was what he considered to be the bare combat essentials, or JKD.
The core concepts of JKD are derived from Wing Chun (such as center line control, vertical punching, trapping, and forward pressure). Through his research, Lee incorporated the fluidity of European boxing and fencing stances. Lee stated that they allowed him to “flow” rather than being stuck in stances. For instance, instead of using footwork to position the body for maximum fighting position versus the opponent, Bruce Lee used flowing “entries” that do not require “bridges” from Wing Chun. Bruce Lee wanted to create a martial art that was unbounded and free. Later during the development of Jeet Kune Do, he would expand that notion and include the art for personal development, not just to become a better fighter. To illustrate Lee’s views, in a 1971 Black Belt Magazine article, Lee said “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’ method. On the contrary, I hope to free my comrades from bondage to styles, patterns and doctrines.””
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