A Matter of Interpretation
Jeet Kune Do is a single art, but it expresses it self in many ways. Tim Tackett and I wrote about this subject in our book, “Jeet Kune Do Kickboxing.” When you are studying JKD with someone, do not make the mistake of thinking that because your instructor may teach you slightly differently than another instructor, that you are not learning, “authentic” Jeet Kune Do, or vice versa. My objective here is not to get into a discussion as to what might or might not be deemed “authentic” when it comes to Jeet Kune Do (It would merely open another can of worms in the already tumultuous JKD world and I have neither the time nor the inclination to waste my energy engaging in such debates).
When it comes to teaching Jeet Kune Do, individual interpretation is all that any JKD instructor can really offer. That interpretation will be based upon their learning, their research, their understanding, their own inclinations, and perhaps likes and dislikes as well. This does not mean that you are not learning authentic JKD. One JKD instructor may choose to focus on a different aspect or element of training than another instructor at different times. Perhaps one instructor chooses to focus more on the kickboxing element at the start of training, whereas another may put more focus on the understanding of immobilization and tactile awareness. Neither is wrong in their approach. One instructor, for example, may teach a particular kick to his beginning students, whereas another may wait until the students are at an intermediate or even advanced level before introducing it.
Even training phases or levels are subject to an individual instructor’s discretion. Whereas one instructor may have numerous training levels in their program, another may simply refer to them as Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced students.
Jeet Kune Do never had a rigid, formulaic blueprint for its perpetuation. That is one of the things I love most about the art. My advice is simply this. Investigate things for yourself. Cross-reference what you are learning with other sources of JKD instruction that exist out there. Note the similarities and differences between what you and other practitioners are doing. I’m certain that more than likely you’ll discover that the similarities far outnumber the differences. These are the “common threads” that exist in JKD training.