People keep asking me “What is JKD. Jesse said what we did was the original JKD. Bruce used the term a number of times, and did a “Jeet Kune” form in many of our demo’s. I only remember him using the term “Wing Chun” during our training. He was referring to his training in Hong Kong, rather than what we were doing. Since he was experimenting a lot, I do not think he thought in terms of style. Most often, we trained in random techniques, that Bruce was interested at that moment. He used Wing Chun terms, but unknown to us, was already modifying his classical training.
I feel it is a shame that so many people who would like to practice JKD are confused with the innumerable instructors using the term JKD. They use training terms from JKD, yet are very different in content. I wish I could contribute in how to bring the collective JKD information into one useful meaning. There are a lot of very sincere JKD instructors out there who are very frustrated with the overnight instructor who attended a couple of seminars, maybe took pictures with a notable JKD teacher and worse yet, only read a few of Bruce’s books. I remember back in the 8o’s and 90’s, when I did seminars in Europe, I found Wing Chun schools on about every corner. These were later replaced with JKD schools. It is discouraging, for Bruce Lee followers, to see Bruce Lee wannabes spreading around like a fungus.
If there was a way to form an archive of JKD information with a list of those truly qualified to teach, then the interested student would have a reference to check on. The first generation JKD instructors could establish a JKD curriculum, make a list identifying qualified 2nd generation instructors who would be on the list. Future generations would have to take a First generation series of test to qualify to teach. I know there is conflicts within the first generation JKD group, but if only a few of them got together, for Bruce’s sake, then they could at least make an attempt at saving JKD for future generations.
Most often asked question. Why do I reference specific JKD terms, such as Bruce’s JKD, Inosanto JKD, Glovers JKD and DeMile JKD. Although Bruce projected JKD to have a more specific meaning, as he organized and structured the martial arts material he was accumulating, he died prematurely, and everything he had collected became random notes of research. People expected Danny to have an understanding of what Bruce was doing and looked to him to carry on Bruce’s dream. If Dan knew Bruce was going to die, maybe he would have paid more detailed attention, but, only being a student, he was learning a legacy that had not really been developed.
From everything I have learned about Bruce’s JKD, it was to simplify by eliminating the unessential’s and reducing everything to core principles. What does that mean, other than being a cool statement? In order to eliminate or reduce there must exist something to eliminate or reduce. Most people do not have a bunch of techniques or concepts to start eliminating from. Also, unless you are very creative and have a Bruce like eye for positive or negative concepts, how do you choose what to eliminate. What works for one may not work for another.
That is why I present DeMile JKD. It is my interpretation of how Bruce ,scientifically, looked at concepts to determine their positive/negative value. By showing how to step back and see the concept from a neutral position, the student learns how to personally relate to the technique and its value to them. Stepping away from philosophical and focusing on the physical, the student can identify the elements that make up any technique, and see, if necessary, how to restructure them for maximum personal benefit.
Speed, Power, Closing, Engagement, Trapping, Spring Energy and Darkside, all have core principles that are common, yet can be modified to suit the individual. Bruce never taught a lot of these core principles. He only did them, it was up to you, to recognize their value and accept or reject them. That is why the early students were so different in what they ultimately taught. Each one saw, heard or did what had meaning to them at that time. It became our own JKD. Later on, I was surprised to hear that Jesse said that Bruce never taught what I was teaching, since Jesse did not remember Bruce teaching these concepts. Jesse’s motivation to train was different than mine, therefore I related different to what Bruce said or did. Bruce bounced from one concept or technique to another, and was in a constant state of change. It was over 10 years, after leaving Bruce, that the caldera of bubbling techniques started to make sense to me. Yet, though different, Jesse and I both had invaluable knowledge to pass on, and it is up to the student to place a value on it.
How is DeMile JKD different than Wing Chun Do or DeMile Self Defense? DJKD is the core or reference information. WCD is my overview of the core, as well as how the core extended out into many techniques and concepts, it is a system. It takes a few years to learn and train in the system, in order to develop a clear understanding and ability to apply it. It is taught as a student orientated class rather than for an instructor-in-training. A student only wants to apply the technique, an instructor wants to have the depth of understanding, and the ability to communicate, clearly and precisely, the WCD techniques, as well as be able to correct mistakes. DSD is a condensed version of WCD along with street level Jujitsu applications, and designed with the focus being on Self Defense. DeMile JKD programs are orientated towards the Instructor-in-training, with hopes they will carry on the primary core principles that I believe Bruce considered critical for self defense.