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Jeet Kune Do Concepts

Bruce Lee developed an expression of martial arts that was personal to him called Jeet Kune Do (translated: Way of the Intercepting Fist). The art has as its symbolic representation what we call Bruce Lee’s Core Symbol and uses as its main tenet: “Using no way as way; having no limitation as limitation.” Jeet Kune Do is MMA for the street.

Rapid Assault Tactics Incorporating Jeet Kune Do Concepts at The FightLab is taught by Level 1 R.A.T Instructor Mark Rawson

What is Jeet Kune Do

“Research your own experience. Absorb what is useful. Reject what is useless. Add what is essentially your own"

Bruce Lee

Five ways of attack

JKD's original five ways of attack are:

  1. Single Direct Attack (SDA)
  2. Attack By Combination (ABC)
  3. Progressive Indirect Attack (PIA)
  4. (Hand) Immobilisation Attack (HIA)
  5. Attack By Drawing (ABD)

Four ranges of combat

  • Kicking
  • Punching
  • Trapping
  • Grappling

Bruce Lee's Core Symbol

Jeet Kune Do students train in each of the aforementioned ranges equally. According to Lee, this range of training serves to differentiate JKD from other martial arts. He stated that most but not all traditional martial arts systems specialise in training at one or two ranges. His theories have been especially influential and substantiated in the field of mixed martial arts, as the MMA Phases of Combat are essentially the same concept as the JKD combat ranges.

As a historic note, the ranges in JKD have evolved over time. Initially the ranges were categorised as short or close, medium, and long range. These terms proved ambiguous and eventually evolved into their more descriptive forms, although some may still prefer these original three categories.

Bruce Lee's own words on Jeet Kune Do

“A few simple techniques well presented an aim clearly seen are better than a tangled maze of data whirling in disorganised educational chaos”
Bruce Lee

On Guard Stance

Centre Line

The centre line refers to an imaginary line running down the centre of one’s body. The idea is to exploit, control and dominate your opponent’s centre line. All attacks, defences and footwork are designed to preserve your own centre line and open your opponent’s.

Three basic rules are:

  • The one who controls the centre line will control the fight.
  • Protect and maintain your own centre line while you control and exploit your opponent’s.
  • Control the centre line by occupying it.

Theory of Facing

 Power side forward vs. power side to the rear: which is better? This is a commonly debated topic among the striking arts. To a degree, whether to put the strong side forward or to the rear is also a common discussion in grappling arts circles. In truth, personal preferences and goals will factor into whether or not the power side should go forward or remain in the rear

What is your power side?

Strong side vs. weak side will be based on whether you are right handed or left handed. If you are right handed, your right hand would reflect your power hand. Hence, strong side forward means your right hand and foot would be forward. The rational here is both the right hand and foot would be far more capable of handling the tasks required of them since they are stronger. This is why so many self-defence arts stress the strong side forward.

Power side in sports martial arts

Sportive arts will follow a different paradigm. In sportive endeavours, the weak side is put forward for the purpose of setting up a massive power shot from the strong side in the rear. In a sportive endeavour, there are very few options available to those in the ring or the cage. The reason is an opponent will be moving and jabbing. Therefore, it becomes harder to find a clear shot. As a result, it becomes necessary to set up shots through using the weak lead hand and cutting lose with the weak side when an opportunity arises.

Power side in self defence

In self-defence, this might not be a wise approach because time is not on the side of the person who is being attacked. Assaults commence and end rather quickly. Due to this fact, striking with the most powerful tool is vital and placing the tool closer to the target makes sense.

That said, you will likely be in a natural stance when you are assaulted and that means your weak side may be forward. You would have no choice but to act from the weak side. Rarely do you ever have any choices when you are dealing with an assault situation. This is do to the rapid nature of such clashes. So, for self-defence purposes, it is best to train both the strong and the weak side to ensure you are capable of handling anything that comes your way. With the right effort and training, the weak side can be made much stronger

Elbow in Theory

elbow in

In Jeet Kune Do, the immovable Elbow is one of the cornerstones of the Wing Chun system. In theory, it is likened to a hurricane of which the eye is always still, but it’s periphery is tremendously forceful and constantly moving. Concentrate your energy at the immovable instead of dispersing in scattered activities. In other words, hold to the core.



Grounding connects you to the energy of the earth, and is important in healing and magical works since it prevents you from depleting your own body’s energy. Simply put, you connect to the earth by imagining you are connected to the earth. Sounds silly, but it works. Here’s how you do it:

Imagine you are standing in your bare feet on the ground. (It doesn’t matter if you’re in your cubicle in a high rise or even flying somewhere on a plane.) Your feet are planted firmly on the bare earth, and by an exercise of your will, you send roots into the earth. As you inhale, you draw energy up through your new ‘roots’, and as you exhale, you send your roots even further into the earth. Do this for several minutes – you should definitely feel a change in the state of your feeling of ‘aliveness’

Economy of Motion

Economy of motion means that you use no wasted movement. That is to say, you make only the motions that are effective and necessary. Do not over extend, or follow through to far after a punch, it will leave you open. If you are able to retract quicker you can attack again quicker, or be ready to defend.


JKD students are told to waste no time or movement. When it comes to combat, JKD practitioners believe the simplest things work best. Economy of motion is the principle by which JKD practitioners achieve “efficiency”. Utilising this principle conserves both energy and time. Energy and time are two crucial components in a physical confrontation that often leads to success if employed efficiently. In combat situations maximising one’s energy is beneficial in maintaining physical activity. Likewise minimising the time to execute techniques because of traveling less distance is beneficial in that the opponent has less time to react.

6 Joint Harmonies

The Six Harmonies refer to coordination between three external joints (6 total, 3 per side) and the coordination of three internal processes that align emotion and intention.  “Harmony” does not only mean “moving together” despite this being a good start.  It also connotes a connection between the movements.

External Harmonies

  1. The hands harmonise with the feet.
  2. The hips harmonise with the shoulders.
  3. The elbows harmonise with the knees.

Internal Harmonies

  1. The heart harmonise with the intention.
  2. The intention harmonise with the Chi.
  3. The Chi harmonise with the movement.


Straight Line vs. Curved Motion

When facing a regular person or a skilled fighter on the street for a real fight, no wasted movement or circling footwork, attacks, is used. Practicing the of simplicity is effective. How can I take out an opponent or assailant with speed and with most effective intercepting without wasting any energy and with the most economical possible? By the time you circle around your assailant he would have taken you out before you even had a chance to respond.

Circling foot work might be applied, but not all times. In Jeet kune do foot work is based on correct distance, so we cannot just apply one way of intercepting the opponent. Some footwork is required to close the gap between you and your opponent, and some are applied are one motion. You can attack in straight line or curved line depending on the situations.

Use the simplest and most direct way without having to circle around your opponent which may give him to time to respond to your intercepting. A good Martial artist uses the shortest distance between the two points and finishes the fight without having to think or wait for the opponent’s attack.

Parrying vs. Blocking

Blocking is the action taken to stop an opponent’s attack from reaching its target by stifling its forward movement abruptly. Parrying is the action taken to deflect an opponent’s attack and redirect its energy off line from its target.hklhdsEach principal has its application based on the type of attack being made; the timing and opportunity of the defence/counter; and the desired influence one wishes to apply to the opponent in regards to creating openings for targeting and counter attack and defence techniques.


Postural habits

“The Art of Jeet Kune Do is to simply to simplify”
Bruce Lee

  1. Lower the centre of gravity.
  2. Keep a base with lateral width
  3. Keep weight on the balls of the feet.
  4. Knees are rarely straightened, even in running.
  5. A centre of gravity kept under delicate and rapid motion are characteristic habit of athletes in games that require sudden and frequent changes of direction

“It is not how much you have learned is important, but how much you have absorbed in what you have learned”
Bruce Lee

Basic Qualities for JKD Practitioner

 “Training deals not with an object, but with the human spirit and human emotions. It takes intellect and good judgement to handle such delicate qualities as these. it implies discipline of the mind, power and  endurance of the body, it means strategy, it is all these thing working together in Harmony”.

 Visual Focus 

Central vision means that the eyes and attention are fixed on one point. In peripheral vision, although the eyes are fixed on one point, the attention is expanded to a large field. Central vision may be thought of as being sharp and clear, while peripheral vision is more diffuse.

Correct visual focus must be trained well in Martial Arts. It ensures good posture and balance, assists with breathing and energy flow, provides a frame of reference, guides movements, and provides perceptive vision when sparring. Proficiency in many other sports also requires correct visual focus. When problems arise in training, one should consider and analyse your position and technique, but most importantly, you should think about your eyes. Are your eyes focusing in the right direction? Are you leading your body with your eyes? Are you allowing your eyes to see the whole picture?.

Mind & Body Co-ordinationsdaf

“Coordination is by all means one of most important considerations in any study of proficiency in sports and athletics.  Coordination is the quality which enables the individual to integrate all the powers and capacities of his whole organism into an effective doing of an act. Therefore learning coordination is a matter of training the nervous system and not a question of training muscles”

Another important part of  Martial Art is ‘Mokuso’ or meditation, at the beginning and end of training. Martial Artists closes their eyes and focuses on the training they are about to embark upon or reflects on the training they have just undertaken. Mokuso does not involve looking outwards, but instead is a practice of looking inwards, and translated literally, means ‘looking into the heart’. This practice of introspection is aided by blocking out all distractions


Precision is made up of controlled body movements. These movements should eventually be executed with a minimum amount of strength and exertion, while still achieving the desired result. Precision can only be attained through a considerable amount of proactive and training on the part of both the beginner and experienced fighter.


“Power equals force, time & speed. If the athlete learns to make faster movements he increase his power, even though the contractile pulling strength of his muscles remains unchanged. Thus, a smaller man who can swing faster may hit as hard or a far as the heavier man who swings slowly.

Combined with adequate speed, flexibility and endurance, high levels of strength lead to excellence in most sports. In combat, without the prior attributes, a strong man will be like the bull with its colossal strength futilely chasing a rabbit.


Endurance can be defined as the ability to withstand stress over prolonged periods of time. An endurance sport is therefore any sport in which there is a prolonged physical stress.

“Endurance is developed by hard and continuous exercise which exceeds the “steady” physiological state and produces near exhaustion, temporarily. Long hours of work made up of many short, high speed efforts interspersed with period of milder activity seem to be the best endurance training procedure.

” The main requirement is the ability to sustain a fast pace over a prolonged period, without sustaining undue fatigue through the buildup of lactic acid.


“Balance is the all important factor in a fighter’s attitude or stance. Without balance at all times, he can never be effective. Balance is achieved only correct body alignment. The feet, the legs, the trunk, the head are all important in creating and maintaining a balanced position. They are the vehicles of body force. Keeping the feet in proper relation to each other, as well as to the body, helps to maintain correct body alignment.

“Balance is the all important factor in a fighter’s attitude or stance. Without balance at all times, he can never be effective. Balance is achieved only correct body alignment. The feet, the legs, the trunk, the head are all important in creating and maintaining a balanced position. They are the vehicles of body force. Keeping the feet in proper relation to each other, as well as to the body, helps to maintain correct body alignment.

Balance exercises can help you maintain your balance — and confidence — at any age. If you’re an older adult, balance exercises are especially important because they can help you prevent falls and maintain your independence.

Nearly any activity that keeps you on your feet and moving, such as walking, can help you maintain good balance. But specific exercises designed to enhance your balance are beneficial to include in your daily routine and can help to improve your stability. For example, balance on one foot while you’re standing for a period of time at home or when you’re out and about. Or, stand up from a seated position without using your hands. Tai chi is a form of movement training that has been found to improve balance and stability and reduce the incidence of falls.

SPEED for Martial Arts

As martial artists one needs to react to stimulations fast. If someone tries to strike, our ability to avoid, counter, block or offer any other response is determined first of all by the ability to pick up on the stimulation.

Relaying on the senses – seeing, hearing, feeling, equilibrium, pain and so on – their and our ability to pick up quickly on the stimulation, in many ways, is determined by the level of awareness and concentration which are part of the mental training process.

The Four Ranges of  Combat

Kicking, Punching, Trappings, Grappling

Bruce Lee identified four ranges of empty hand combat.  The first range was identified as kicking range and is the furthest from your opponent. The next range is called boxing or punching range and is a little closer and is about one step in from kicking range. The closest range in stand up fighting is trapping range. Then finally we have grappling range which can be as close as two opponents can possibly be and often has full body contact top to bottom and is on the ground.

” When the Opponent expands, I contract, When he contracts I expand, when there’s opportunity I do not hit, it hits all by itself”. Bruce Lee

Distance management

 Close, Middle, Long Combat Ranges

4+2 Gates and Upper, Middle, Lower, Diagonal Entries

body gates 2

Basic Targets for effective striking

Strikes Combinations

“The Leading Straight punch is the backbone of all punching in Jeet Kune Do. I is used both as an offensive and defensive weapon to “stop” and “Intercept” an opponent’s complex attack at a moment’s notice. When you are standing right foot forward, your right punch and right leg become the main offensive weapons because of their advanced position. With your right foot forward stance. When fighting keep your strongest side up front.”

Upper Body Tools

“Punching Skill does not only mean throwing out a fist and hitting the target. Accurate, fast and powerful punching is only one aspect of punching technique. Besides this, thorough punching technique also includes the body pose and position during a punch, the path of executing and retreating the punch and the power generating skill”

How to Make a Fist

“JKD ultimately is not a matter of petty technique but of highly developed spirituality and physique”
Bruce Lee

Economy of Motions

In JKD, you never strike your opponent with your fist only; you strike him with your whole body. In other words your not hit with just arm power; the arms are there as a means to transmit great force with the correct timing of feet, waist, shoulder and wrist motion at great speed.

Traditional Punch v/s JKD Punch

The Three Factors in Attack

  1. A fine sense of timing.
  2. A perfect judgment of distance.
  3. A correct application of cadence.