JEET KUNE DO BRANCHES
The publisher Dr. Giuseppe Bordini, already expert in Martial Arts, in 1990 began the publication of the magazine Bruce Lee Kung Fu Magazine (now International Kung Fu Magazine which deals with JKD and Martial Arts in general), which in a short time has been very successful in the industry and then since ’95 organized in Italy the courses of Jeet Kune Do directed by Sifu Ted Wong, private pupil of Bruce Lee, which he certified in the JKD. His great passion for Bruce Lee and the Jeet Kune Do led him to attend most of the leading figures in the environment and attend all meetings of the Bruce Lee Foundation. He has been responsible for several publications on JKD, including some seminars by Sifu Tim Tackett, Sifu Ron Balicki and others being republished.
Summa Maxima Warriors Arts had been doing research for a long time in the field of Combatives/CQC, Martial Arts and Jeet Kune Do, mainly in what is called JKD Concepts, but also in the most primeval of the Oakland and Los Angeles phases, also with Masters such as Sifu Ted Tackett, Sifu Gary Dill and Sifu Joaquin Marcelo and with the support of all the bibliographic and video material available in about 20 years of research (also seminars and private lessons of first generation teachers). Having verified a common interest primarily (but not only) in the study and growth in the Jeet Kune Do, Summa Maxima proposed to Dr. Bordini an entry into as a partner to restart a Jeet Kune Do School – called JKDBranches. For continuity and in common agreement, Sifu Tommy Gong, “former right arm” of Sifu Ted Wong, co-founder of the Bruce Lee Foundation and the JKD Nucleus, and author of the wonderful book “Bruce Lee The Evolution of The Martial Artist”,with unpublished notes by Bruce Lee, has been identified as reference teachers. Sifu Tommy Gong has also personally followed the process of preserving Bruce Lee’s notes, now kept in 7 Volumes of 300-400 page, which he has obviously had the opportunity to study in detail. Sifu Tommy Gong, thanks also to his more than twenty years experience in the Nucleus and in the Foundation, has studied the JKD and the Jun Fan Gung Fu not only from Sifu Ted Wong, but also from other direct students of Bruce Lee, among which Taky Kimura, Jesse Glover, Daniel Lee, Allen Joe, Dan Inosanto, Bob Bremer, Peter Chin and others, also during the events of the JKD Nucleus and of the Bruce Lee Foundation, of which he was one of the main promoters.
The positive feedback received by Sifu Tommy Gong from the first Italian tour and the invitation of Summa Maxima to create a JKD School, suggested Sifu Tommy Gong to involve Peter Chin in the project, Certified in Jeet Kune Do directly by Sijo Bruce Lee in 1968 (and this certification only issued to three students, Sifu Peter Chin, Sifu Ted Wong and Sifu Dan Inosanto, who however by his decision does not teach JKD, but the Jun Fan Gung Fu and the concepts underlying the JKD). Appreciating its intentions and the Masters involved, JKDBranches was joined by experts of the Jeet Kune Do Art from other countries (including France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Lithuania, England and The Netherlands) and it was admirable to verify the result of the cooperation without jealousies and foreclosures among many experts with different backgrounds and skills, but the same passion for the Jeet Kune Do. The group includes “Second Generation” teachers such as Michael Inzana and Robin Vader.
Michael Inzana, after studying with GM Dan Inosanto and Steve Johnson, became European representative of Sifu Leo T Fong, who had a long synergy with Sijo Bruce Lee at the time of Oakland, so that Sijo Bruce Lee had asked him to teach in his gym in Los Angeles, but Sifu Leo Fong refused to follow his Church (there is correspondence about that).
JKDBranches, which had already set itself the goal of gathering around itself more teachers and fans of JKD, became the School of Masters Sifu Peter Chin and Sifu Tommy Gong. Sifu Tommy Gong brought his JKDStrong program, based on his in-depth study of Bruce Lee’s evolution of art, typically divided into the three phases of Seattle, Oakland and Los Angeles. The term most correctly used to describe the Art studied by JKDBranches is JUN FAN JEET KUNE DO, which as explained by Bruce Lee’s daughters, Shannon, stands for Bruce Lee’s JKD (Jun Fan is his Chinese name) and at the same time wants to refer to the evolution from Jun Fan Gung Fu to JKD (see the article in the section BRUCE LEE-JKD). The School is open (with the permission of the Masters mentioned) to other teachers, first of all Sifu Leo T. Fong thanks to his European representative Sifu Michael Inzana, but also to JKD Grappling with Sifu Mick Shore, European representative of Sifu Larry Hartsell.
Our research in the Jeet Kune Do does not want to look at the seed, the flower and the fruit as separate entities from the plant that is at the same time mother and daughter, but we want to maintain an overall view, which covers all aspects at the same time, without losing the value and flavor of the individual parts. In this sense, the work of Sifu Tommy Gong cited and the maxim that accompanied his second Work Shop in Italy, Jeet Kune Do from A to Z (which stands for JEET KUNE DO FROM APEX TO ZENITH) should be read.
Sijo Bruce Lee formulated his final style, the Jeet Kune Do, incorporating only techniques that proved effective in the real field, drawing from Traditional Martial Arts and Combat Systems, avoiding everything that seemed effective on the carpet (sports field) and inappropriate in terms of survival on the road.
Often what appears to be effective in a ring may not be effective on the road, not even as a strategic approach to confrontation. It’s easy to understand, for example, if you think of the action of a boxer, who often after hitting, waits for the opponent’s shots by closing down (certain that then will return his moment to rebound), or the one who Brazilian expert Jiu Jitsu (fight) in a fight of MMA (Mixed Martial Ats – Mixed Martial Arts) waits to get down to the carpet to bring the fight in his favorite territory (the fight on the ground).
Such logics and strategies can prove to be successful in a sporting confrontation, but they subject those who apply them to a great risk in the case of a real fight, since the adversary must never be given the possibility of replicating one of our attacks. Fair play in a real fight doesn’t exist, as our enemy certainly doesn’t want to be benevolent with us and for this reason in our JKD we teach how to develop the survival instinct, the Tag-Blow (hitting the opponent until the definitive annihilation) and the BEAM logic in the targets. If you fight using a system, a style, a method, at the end you will end up accepting its limits. Accepting an exchange of blows during an attack on the road can be fatal (even more so if this strategy is instinctively replicated against cutting weapons). Similarly, to end up on the ground is absolutely not recommended, because certainly there will not be a referee to direct the match and other dangers could intervene, such as additional opponents or hidden weapons.
The JKD analyzes real combat in its complexity from different angles, without accepting limitations of any kind.
Bruce Lee and the JKD approach were particularly innovative in the 1960s in many ways. On the combat front if up to that moment the Traditional Martial Arts had specialized on certain distances (e.g. Tae Kwon Do long distance, Karate and Savate medium long distance, Muay Thai medium short distance, Wing Chun and Boxed short distance, fight/Judo ground combat) and attack and defense strategies (hitting by hand or foot, In the Jeet Kune Do, the aim is to act harmoniously over all distances, using a wide range of strategies and technical solutions, without preferences, with the sole aim of surprising, dominating and therefore neutralising the opponent as quickly as possible. Every means is appropriate to achieve this result.
The study of forms and “Kata”, stronghold of many traditional Martial Arts, lost importance, so much so that Bruce Lee defined them as “organized disorder”. His interest was in real combat and the repetition of predefined movements needlessly absorbed time that could be used in training in a better or worse way created dangerous automatisms and the habit of assuming positions, postures and rates of movement very different from those then used in combat.
The psychological implications, the rhythm, the fakes, the strategies of attack (5 ways) and defense in disarmed combat, were analyzed and codified by Sijo Bruce Lee in an absolutely new and original way, they were the subject of analysis and subsequent application even in the upcoming Full Contact tournaments and still maintain their validity unchanged, based on universal principles.
To the careful study of the Martial Arts, Boxing and Combat Systems known at the time Bruce Lee added careful observations taken from other fields, including the Western Fencing, which then so influenced his approach to combat, especially in the long distance. It is curious to observe how the Western Fencing influenced and characterized another Martial Art dear to us, the Kali-Arnis-Eskrima, which was then carefully studied by one of Sijo Bruce Lee’s favorite disciples, Gm Dan Inosanto (at the time of the first meeting with Bruce Lee Kempo Karate’s black belt of Ed Parker, but already an expert of Kali Filipinno).
Also the physical preparation and the feeding assume with Bruce Lee a particular and different attention than in the Traditional Martial Arts, for the need to acquire more advantages on the adversary, in terms of speed, agility, flexibility, coordination and strength. If the strategy is fundamental in a fight, obviously it is also the effectiveness of the weapon used, so your body, as a “natural weapon”, must be hardened and optimized in its functionality. The effectiveness of a combat does not depend on the weapon, but on the man who uses it, however, there is a great advantage that can be determined by using a weapon higher than that of the opponent.
On what is the Jeet Kune Do still today we often witness a lot of confusion and the same direct students of Bruce Lee have sometimes defined very different characteristics (this will be said later and in other parts of the site). The genial mind of Sijo Bruce Lee, the deep studies made in many fields and the contact with some of the most important Personalities in the Combat at the time (Yip Man, Wong Shun Leung, William Cheung, James Yimm Lee, Ed Parker, Wally Jay, Chuck Norris, Jhoon Rhee, Gene LeBelle, Joe Lewis, Robert Wall, Jin Hae-Jae, Ing-Sik Whang, Muhammad Ali, Jack Dempsey, just to name a few) have allowed Bruce Lee’s Art to make a marked evolutionary path, which in various eras differs considerably in terms of training methods, combat strategies and techniques.
Upon arrival in the United States, in San Francisco and then a few months later in Seattle, Bruce Lee began in 1959 to teach a system called Non Classical Gung Fu, that is a non classic vision of Chinese Martial Arts (Wu Shu, better known as Kung Fu in the U.S.), based essentially on the Wing Chung (Yip Man school), with the grafting of elements of other styles of Kung Fu, North and South, which he had been able to learn in China.
In 1964 Bruce Lee moved to Oakland, to live with Yames Jimm Lee (20 years older than him, expert in Martial Arts and Physical Culture) and for his Art used the name Jun Fan Gung Fu. Jun Fan is the Cantonese name of Bruce Lee himself (meaning “He who returns”) and therefore he was identifying his own particular vision of Kung Fu, which by now was very different from the traditional Wing Chung. Bruce Lee had in fact rejected what Kung Fu practical experience had shown him not to be useful (there are those who talk about 70%, but obviously has little meaning) and added synergistic studies made in many other martial arts (well over 26). Such studies, however, had already started in the early 1950s in China, where he had been able to study the Western Box (becoming a Box champion in 1958) and the Fencing by his younger brother Peter, who was a local champion of the sport.
In 1967, in Los Angeles, Bruce Lee’s Martial and Philosophical evolutionary path led him to coin the Jeet Kune Do, whose meaning was The Way to Intercept the Fist (or more generally the attack). Jeet=Intercept Kune=June Do=Road, Method
The Jeet Kune Do represents the last link of Bruce Lee’s rich and complex evolutionary path in art, a path that would certainly not have stopped.
Bruce Lee’s evolution of Art and contact with different characters and students have often made it difficult to clearly define what the Jeet Kune Do is, since Bruce Lee taught different things according to the historical period, the studies he was doing and the students he had in front of him, probably also to better enhance in the training the different attitudes and characteristics of students and sparring partners.
Our study of the Jeet Kune Do wants to remain respectful of all the evolutionary path taken by Bruce Lee and the principles he defined, but still look forward to the future and also take advantage of the observation of the evolution made in the meantime by the Martial Arts and new Combat Systems.
Evolution is a phenomenon inherent to the Universe and Man. Every system, every art evolves. In a way, following change is like not changing. Change is necessary to maintain universal balances and its movements have made it possible to support all phases of the history of the world. We study the History of Humanity as a necessary act to understand whom we are and where we come from, but at the same time we use Science to understand where we are going and evolve, but faithful to our roots by preserving them.
Art is creativity, a direct expression of the soul of man in contact with the environment and its evolution. Sijo Bruce Lee repeatedly explained how the Keet Kune Do should not be a static Art, but adapt to the person and context as water by the glass.
Following the principles of Sijo Bruce Lee for such reasons for decades we work with Masters of Jeet Kune Do and many other Styles and Systems of Combat or Personal Defense, experimenting with the aim of living the evolution and incorporate what is useful, Rejecting the useless, but, we want to repeat ourselves, keeping constant attention on Jeet Kune Do as Bruce Lee had defined him and as they have handed down direct testimonies (Sifu Ted Wong, Sifu Peter Chin, Sifu Dan Inosanto).
The first issue of the bilingual (IT/Eng) magazine INTERNATIONAL KUNG FU MAGAZINE with extensive articles on JEET KUNE DO BRANCHES, Sifu Peter Chin and Sifu Tommy Gong.