Tao of jeet kune do


Tao of jeet kune do – Bruce Lee

 

THE MARTIAL ARTS INCLUDING BOXING

 The martial arts are based upon understanding, hard work and a total comprehension of skills. Power training and the use of force are easy, but total comprehension of all of the skills of the martial arts is very difficult to achieve. To understand you must study all of natural movement in all living things. Naturally, you can understand the martial arts of others. You can study the timing and the weaknesses. Just knowing these two elements will give you the capacity to knock him down rather easily.

 

THE HEART OF THE MARTIAL ARTS IS IN UNDERSTANDING TECHNIQUES

 To understand techniques you must learn that they contain a lot of condensed movement. This may look quite awkward. When you start to learn it you will find that it is awkward to you. That is because a good technique includes quick changes, great variety and speed. It may be a system of reversals much like a concept of God and the Devil. In the speed of events, which one is really in charge? Do they change places with lightning speed? The Chinese believe so. To put the heart of the martial arts in your own heart and have it be a part of you means total comprehension and the use of a free style. When you have that you will know that there are no limits.

 

PRECAUTIONS ON PHYSICAL TECHNIQUES

 Some martial arts are very popular, real crowd pleasers, because they look good, have smooth techniques. But beware. They are like a wine that has been watered. A diluted wine is not a real wine, not a good wine, hardly the genuine article.

Some martial arts don't look so good, but you know that they have a kick, a tang, a genuine taste. They are like olives. The taste may be strong and bitter-sweet. The flavor lasts. You cultivate a taste for them. No one ever developed a taste for diluted wine.

 

ACQUIRED TALENT AND NATURAL TALENT

 Some people are born with good physiques, a sense of speed and a lot of stamina. That's fine. But in the martial arts everything you learn is an acquired skill.

Absorbing a martial art is like the experience of Buddhism. The feeling for it comes from the heart. You have the dedication to get what you know you need. When it becomes part of you, you know you have it. You succeed at it. You may never fully understand all of it, but you keep at it. And as you progress you know the true nature of the simple way. You may join a temple or a kwoon. You observe nature's simple way. You experience a life you never had before.

Translation: David Koong Pak Sen

 

INTRODUCTION

 My husband Bruce always considered himself a martial artist first and an actor second. At the age of 13, Bruce started lessons in the wing chun style of gung-fu for the purpose of self-defense. Over the next 19 years, he transformed his knowledge into a science, an art, a philosophy and a way of life. He trained his body through exercise and practice; he trained his mind through reading and reflecting and he recorded his thoughts and ideas constantly over the 19 years. The pages of this book represent the pride of a life's work.

In his lifelong quest for self-knowledge and personal expression, Bruce was constantly studying, analyzing and modifying all available relative information; his principle source was his personal library which consisted of over 2,000 books dealing with all forms of physical conditioning, martial arts, fighting techniques, defenses and related subjects.

In 1970, Bruce sustained a rather severe injury to his back. His doctors ordered him to discontinue the practice of martial arts and to remain in bed to allow his back to heal. This was probably the most trying and dispiriting time in Bruce's life. He stayed in bed, virtually flat on his back for six months, but he couldn't keep his mind from working — the result of which is this book. The bulk of these writings was done at that time, but many scattered notes were recorded at earlier and later times. Bruce's personal study notes reveal that he was particularly impressed by the writings of Edwin L. Haislet, Julio Martinez Castello, Hugo and James Castello and Roger Crosnier. Many of Bruce's own theories are directly related to those expressed by these writers.

Bruce had decided to finish the book in 1971 but his film work kept him from completing it. He also vacillated about the advisability of publishing his work because he felt it might be used for wrong purposes. He did not intend it to be a "how-to" book or a "learn kung-fu in 10 easy lessons" book. He intended it as a record of one man's way of thinking and as a guide, not a set of instructions. If you can read it in this light, there is much to be aware of on these pages. And, you probably will have many questions, the answers to which you must seek within yourself. When you have finished this book, you will know Bruce Lee better, but hopefully you will also know yourself better.

Now, open your mind and read, understand, and experience, and when you've reached that point, discard this book. The pages are best used for cleaning up a mess — as you will see.

Linda Lee

 

In the hands of a singular man, simple things carefully placed ring with an undeniable harmony. Bruce's orchestration of martial arts had that quality, most apparent in his combat motion. Immobilized for several months with an injured back, he picked up a pen. There, too, he wrote as he spoke, as he moved — with directness and with honesty.

Like listening to a musical composition, understanding the elements within it adds a specialness to the sound. For this reason, Linda Lee and I are liberalizing the introduction of Bruce's book to explain how it came about.

The Tao of Jeet Kune Do actually began before Bruce was born. The classical wing chun style that started him on his way was developed 400 years before his time. The 2,000 or so books he owned and the countless books he read, described the individual "discoveries" of thousands of men before him. There's nothing new within this book; there are no secrets. "It's nothing special," Bruce used to say. And so it wasn't.

Bruce's special key was knowing himself and his own capabilities to correctly

choose things that worked for him and to convey those things in movement and in language. He found in the philosophies of Confucius, Spinoza, Krishnamurti and others, an organization for his concepts and, with that organization, he began the book of his tao.

The book when he died was only partially completed. Though it spanned seven volumes, it filled only one. Between major blocks of copy were unnumbered pages of unused paper, each headed by simple titles. Sometimes he wrote introspectively, asking questions of himself. More often he wrote to his invisible student, the reader. When he wrote quickly, he sacrificed his practiced grammar and when he took his time, he was eloquent.

Some of the material within the volumes was written in a single setting and had the natural progression of a well-outlined conversation. Other areas were sudden inspirations and incomplete ideas that were quickly scribbled as they entered Bruce's head. These were scattered throughout the work. In addition to the seven hardbound volumes, Bruce wrote notes throughout the development of his Jeet Kune Do and left them in stacks and drawers among his belongings. Some were outdated and others were more recent and still valuable to his book.

With the help of his wife, Linda, I collected and scanned and thoroughly indexed all the material. Then, I tried to draw the scattered ideas together into cohesive blocks. Most of the copy was left unchanged and the drawings and sketches are his own.

The book's organization, however, could not have been justly done were it not for the patient attention of Danny Inosanto, his assistant instructors and class of senior students. It was they who took my eight years of martial arts training, threw it out on the floor and turned the theories into action with their knowledge. They have my gratitude both as the editor of this book and, separately, as a martial artist.

It should be mentioned that the Tao of Jeet Kune Do is not complete. Bruce's art was changing every day. Within theFive Waysof Attack, for instance, he originally began with a category called hand immobilization. Later, he found that too limiting since immobilizations could be applied to the legs and arms and head as well. It was a simple observation that showed the limits of attaching labels to any concept.

The Tao of Jeet Kune Do has no real ending. It serves, instead, as a beginning. It has no style; it has no level, though it's most easily read by those who understand their weapons. To probably every statement within the book, there is an exception — no book could give a total picture of the combat arts. This is simply a work that describes the direction of Bruce's studies. The investigations are left undone; the questions, some elementary and some complex, are left unanswered to make the student question for himself. Likewise, the drawings are often unexplained and may offer only vague impressions. But if they spark a question, if they raise an idea, they serve a purpose.

Hopefully, this book will be used as a source of ideas for all martial artists, ideas that should then develop further. Inevitably and regrettably, the book may also cause a rash of "Jeet Kune Do" schools, headed by people who know the reputation of the name and very little about the movement. Beware of such schools! If their instructors missed the last, most important line, chances are they failed to understand the book at all.

Even the organization of the book means nothing. There are no real lines between speed and power, or between precision and kicking, or hand strikes and range; each element of combat movement affects those around it. The divisions I've made are only for convenient reading — don't take them too seriously. Use a pencil as you read and cross reference the related areas you find. Jeet Kune Do, you see, has no definite lines or boundaries — only those you make yourself.

Gilbert L. Johnson

 

CONTENTS

 

Zen............................................................................................ ...... 7

Art of the Soul  ...........................................................................       9

Jeet Kune Do  ............................................................................     11

Organized Despair   ....................................................................     14

The Facts of Jeet Kune Do   ........................................................     23

The Formless Form.....................................................................     23

PRELIMINARIES.............................................................................. ... 26

Training......................................................................................     27

Warming Up................................................................................     28

On-Guard Position   .................................................................... ... 29

Progressive Weapons Charts........................................................ ... 35

Eight Basic Defense Positions......................................................     37

Some Target Areas......................................................................     40

QUALITIES   .................................................................................. ... 42

Coordination   ............................................................................     43

Precision.....................................................................................     45

Power..........................................................................................     45

Endurance..................................................................................     46

Balance......................................................................................     47

Body Feel....................................................................................     50

Good Form  ................................................................................     51

Vision Awareness........................................................................     54

Speed.......................................................................................... ... 56

Timing......................................................................................... ... 59

Attitude...................................................................................... ... 68

TOOLS............................................................................................ ... 70

Some Weapons from JKD............................................................. ... 74

Kicking....................................................................................... ... 76

Striking   ....................................................................................     88

Grappling   ................................................................................. . 115

Studies on Judo and Ju-Jitsu   ................................................... . 122

PREPARATIONS..............................................................................   124

Feints   ...................................................................................... 125

Parries  ...................................................................................... 129

Manipulations............................................................................. . 135

MOBILITY....................................................................................... 138

Distance..................................................................................... . 139

Footwork  ................................................................................... . 142

Evasiveness    ............................................................................ . 154

ATTACK..........................................................................................   160

Preparation of Attack   ................................................................   164

Simple Attack..............................................................................   166

Compound Attack   .....................................................................   170

Counterattack.............................................................................   173

Riposte.......................................................................................   181

Renewed Attack   .......................................................................   184

Tactics.......................................................................................   185

Five Ways of Attack   ..................................................................   194

CIRCLE WITH NO CIRCUMFERENCE   ............................................   200

IT'S JUST A NAME.......................................................................... . 205