What is Jeet Kune Do?

I once heard Sifu Cass Magda relate JKD to a speed boat. Now before you start surfing the web for speed boats let me explain. A speed boat is fast, dynamic , powerful and able to move with ease. Everything on that speed boat has a purpose and is working cohesively to attain the end result. Which in this case is speed thru design. The minute we begin to load that boat up with none essential items, the boat slows down and is no longer able to move efficiently or by original design. Same can be said for Bruce Lee's art of JKD.


Like the above, a JKD practitioner is fast, powerful, dynamic and efficient in his movements. The above speed boat is a result of a well thought out blue print. A blue print identifies the outline and relating theories that will make that speed boat operate at an high level. Same goes for a JKD practitioner. In JKD, our "blue print" are the concepts and ideas laid out by the late Bruce Lee. Concepts such as efficiency in movement, simplicity, directness and totality just to name a few.


Now JKD is tangible, meaning you can identify it. A good example is observing the many students of Bruce Lee.  Many of them came into Bruce Lee's life at different periods and because of that were taught different things. Yet put them all in the same room and while somewhat different in technique, there is a strong similarity in approach and movement. The physical elements of JKD are what some call Jun Fan Gung Fu and are the techniques, drills and ideas Bruce taught during his life time. This could be likened to the outside of a speed boat as people generally notice that first. Walk along a boating dock and you will hear most people comment of how pretty the boat looks. As the outer appearance of the boat represents the tip of the ice berg (what is seen) likewise so does the physical techniques of JKD.  But don’t be fooled. Even the structural design of the boat has a purpose. Just like the physical techniques of JKD. Start adding additional features to the outside and the boat will lose its aerodynamics thus moving away from its original design and purpose. Same with JKD.


Lastly is the operating systems of the boat. Things like the engine, fuel valve, steering column, etc. These are the things that make the boat operate. The Engine powers the movement of the boat, steering column the direction of the boat, the gas indicates the boat to speed up or slow down, break to stop, and so on. The operating features that make our physical techniques work are our attributes. Things like speed, power, timing, precision, etc. Again as said above, a JKD man is fast, powerful and dynamic.To make JKD work and abide by the original design (ex. Simplicity, directness, non-intention, etc) we need to have a high level of attributes. The design  in combination with the operating features (our attributes) is what allows us to identify what techniques are efficient and what is not. Some call this the JKD filtering process.


The boat needs all these things for it to be a speed boat. An efficient well laid out design (Philosophy / Concepts), sound structure to produce maximum results (physical techniques) and operating systems (physical attributes) that will make the boat work. Although it's your boat and you are free to add whatever you like to it, because again it's your own, it may not produce the same results as the above speed boat. We must be careful to not turn our speed boat into a Junker. Same with our JKD.


Now it should also go with out saying that speed boats have improved over the course of time since there inception. A speed boat of old cannot compete with a speed boat of new. Designers are consistently pushing the envelope and searching out new ways to improve upon a speed boats performance, while at the same time keeping true to its design. JKD once again should be no different.

- Sifu Nathan Marinone

"I have recently joined Phoenix Martial Arts  due to a recommendation of a family member who has ...been a student for a while. The family atmosphere of the group has made transitioning into a student incredibly easy and has made the learning experience that much more enjoyable.

They have been very accommodating with my schedule and they even offer private sessions. The training is thorough and in depth, showing the art itself along with its origins. I highly recommend indulging in a showcase of this martial art and sitting in on one of the classes."

- Adria Gilbert