Early Stage JKD Vs Latter Stage JKD

Early Stage JKD Vs Latter Stage JKD


The difference between “Early Stage JKD” and “Latter Stage JKD”.

Jeet Kune Do (JKD) is a philosophy or better known by the public as a Gung Fu system founded by the Late Bruce Lee. JKD system is a combination of mostly Western Boxing, Fencing (footwork), Savate kicking and selected Wing Chun concepts.

Firstly, JKD was developed by Bruce Lee to show the world that an Old Art need to evolve through time, otherwise it will eventually lose its effectiveness.

The latter stage JKD was developed by Bruce Lee during his final years before he passed away, and was handed down to his private student, Ted Wong.

JKD was never meant to be completed

Jeet Kune Do (JKD) was never meant to be a finished product, but rather a continuous process of improvement and breakthrough. If we are so fixed in a certain way of learning, then we will never improve.

The History

During the early years, Bruce Lee started learning Wing Chun with Yip Man and his Si Heng (Wong Shun Leung). He picked up the art quickly and achieve proficiency in the system, however he left Hong Kong to America on April 1959, therefore he did not complete his journey in Wing Chun.

Early Stage JKD (A.k.a Jun Fan Gung Fu)

Upon arriving at America, he began researching, modifying and formed his own fighting methods. He mainly modified the Classical Wing Chun art that he has picked up in Hong Kong, and named it as Jun Fan Gung Fu.

The modifications include:

  • Forward weight placement — for further reach and forward pressure
  • Removing impractical / unrealistic techniques
  • Center Line Dominance
  • Emphasize on Close Quarter Combat
  • Reliance on Touch Reference (Sensitivity through touch)

Most JKD practitioners / JKD observers / JKD lovers tend to understand JKD in the form of The Early Stage JKD. One way to spot them is their level of understanding or their over emphasis on touch reference and close quarter combat, such as Chi Sau, Pak Sau Da, Lap Sau Da, Bong Sau, Siu nim tau form, Bruce Lee’s Um Moon form (5 gates) & etc.

Latter Stage JKD

The latter stage JKD were mainly based on science of combat (physics, body alignment and combat strategies). This stage of JKD turned towards the scientific approach of Western Boxing, Fencing, Savate and modified trappings. The common misconception by most people is that one can add anything into the art and named it as JKD. If that is true, then everybody is a JKD practitioner. JKD system itself is unique, without understanding the history, the fundamentals and the science behind it, one cannot claim that they are a JKD practitioner.

One can identify a Latter Stage JKD school / practitioner through the following:

  • A strong distance control, just like how a trained fencer manipulates the space between him and his opponent
  • A strong timing on when to strike
  • Further simplified footwork and striking methods
  • Rapid Recovery from movement to movement
  • Emphasize on Response Training Based on Reality Combat Situation
  • Emphasize on Explosive and sudden movements and strikes
  • Emphasize on striking first before an opponent (Identifying opponent’s telegraphic moves and motives)
  • Emphasize on Combat tactics and strategies
  • Non-reliance on touch reference

In Summary:

  • Hack away at the unessential
  • Simplification
  • Absorb what is useful
  • Discard what is useless
  • Partiality
  • Fluidity
  • Emptiness

Reference: The Latter Stage Jeet Kune Do by Kenneth Pua & Andy Kunz, 2018 (ISBN: 1979463131), United States of America.