Why I Use "Chris Kent Jeet Kune Do"
People have asked me why I call what I teach "Chris Kent Jeet Kune Do." My reasons are as follows:
Whether you like it or not, Jeet Kune Do is now perceived as a brand of martial arts, and yes, even a ‘style.’ And “Jeet Kune Do” has become a generic term that is now broad and very non-specific. The name, as I’ve said before, now implies different things to different people (read some of my other blogs on the subject if you want more information on the matter).
I made the decision to refer to what I practice and teach as Chris Kent Jeet Kune Do based upon my understanding of what I believe JKD truly is – an art, a science, and a philosophy. The name reflects a process of my own individual development and growth in JKD as well as my personal interpretation of the art. As I wrote in my blog, A Matter of Interpretation –
“When it comes to teaching Jeet Kune Do, individual interpretation is all that any JKD instructor can really offer. Their personal interpretation of the art will be based upon such things as their learning, their research, their understanding, their own inclinations, their prejudices, and perhaps even their likes and dislikes as well.”
What I teach is my own program, not Dan Inosanto’s, not Bruce Lee’s, or anyone else’s. It’s not separated curriculums from each of Bruce’s various schools during different stages of his personal development (although I understand that material fully and can share it with people for historical purposes). The program is built upon what I believe a person needs to know and understand JKD, and in order for someone to teach JKD the way I feel the art should be perpetuated. I don’t pigeon-hole myself and what I do into either the “Original JKD” or “JKD Concepts” factions, or any other faction. If other people attempt to label me or put me in one or the other, that’s them, not me.
Why do I no longer use the name “Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do”? At the inaugural meeting of the Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do Nucleus (of which I was a founding member) it was decided by the group as a whole that “from this day forward to distinguish the body of technical and philosophical knowledge studied and taught by Bruce Lee from any other version of ‘jeet kune do,’ the name “Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do” should be adopted as the name of Bruce’s true art.” But this began to point down the road towards fundamentalism and dogma and the idea that if a person added anything at all to what they were doing, be it a technique or even a training method, or adjusted something to fit themselves, then they by all accounts shouldn’t be allowed to call what they do Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do. But show me one person who has not added something to what they are doing, or who has not changed anything and only teaches exactly what Bruce taught and nothing else. They don't exist. Everybody has.
I didn’t write this blog to promote an endless thread of discussion about the name “Jeet Kune Do” and who is doing it right or wrong. And I’ve already heard and read every quote under the sun about “JKD is just a name, please don’t fuss over it.” I wrote it simply to share with people the reason I call what I do “Chris Kent Jeet Kune Do.”