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The Names of Bruce Lee's Martial Art


This is probably one of the shortest blogs I’ve written. It deals with the three names attached to Bruce Lee’s martial art: (1) Jun Fan Gung Fu, (2) Jeet Kune Do, and (3) Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do. I’m not going to get into the exact dates of when each of these names came into existence, except for the final one. I’ll leave the arguments pertaining to that issue to other people who are more than happy to do so.


“Jun Fan Gung Fu” is the name identified with Bruce’s developments in the martial arts from 1959 to 1967. It’s the name he assigned to the art he was teaching after he arrived in Seattle, Washington, and that he taught at the schools he opened in Seattle and Oakland.


“Jeet Kune Do” was the name Bruce Lee gave to his art in 1967. This is noted in his personal day-timer diary, although in a taped commentary by Bruce himself, he states that ‘it’ [JKD] began in 1965.


In 1996, when the Bruce Lee Educational Foundation came into existence, in order to distinguish the efforts of the organization from the many diverse uses of the name “Jeet Kune Do” that currently existed and alleviate confusion among the public and the media, a resolution was adopted concerning the name of Bruce Lee’s art and philosophy. By unanimous agreement from the members of the Nucleus, “Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do” was chosen as the official name to represent Bruce’s art and to distinguish the body of technical knowledge studied and taught by Bruce Lee from any other version of “Jeet Kune Do” that was currently being taught. It was also decided there would be no slash or hyphen between Jun Fan and Jeet Kune Do because the development of Bruce’s art was a continuous and indivisible process.


Since the dissolution of the JFJKD Nucleus and the shift in the Bruce Lee Foundation’s direction back in 2002, I have seen numerous individuals and groups now attach the name Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do to whatever they happen to be doing or teaching, whether it bears any resemblance to Bruce’s art or not. Again, I’m not going get into the quagmire of whether they are right or wrong (been there and done that years ago), but as I have seen through the years with the name Jeet Kune Do, some people boxcar the name Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do onto what they do because they recognize that it is great marketing tool and attracts potential students. If any of these people have an issue with that, I simply ask them to re-read the section above detailing exactly why the name came into existence.


Finally, I’ve heard for decades the same old rhetoric concerning the names surrounding Bruce’s art, whereby someone tosses out Bruce’s own quote, “Remember, Jeet Kune Do is just a name, please don’t fuss over it.” To them my response is that there’s a big difference between fussing over something and setting the record straight so that people get the true facts.

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