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Jeet Kune Do and Modern MMA

Lessons from Jeet Kune Do for the Modern Mixed Martial Artist

What is Jeet Kune Do?

Jeet Kune Do means "The way of the intercepting fist" in Cantonese. It is a hybrid philosophy of martial arts and was founded by Bruce Lee on July 9, 1967. It is based upon Lee's philosophy of fluidity and openness when responding to an opponent's attack during combat. JKD is a combat philosophy that uses moves and techniques from multiple disciplines to respond to dynamic situations in order to fight in the most advantageous way possible. Jeet Kune Do breaks free from the usual rules and rigidity of traditional martial arts and instead focuses on efficiency in live combat.

What are the similarities between Jeet Kune Do and Modern MMA?

This same philosophy courses through the veins of modern MMA fighters. MMA athletes know that in order to be successful in the ring they need to quickly and effectively respond to their opponent's every move and this requires a complete understanding of multiple fighting styles instead of strictly following one discipline. The philosophy of JKD has inspired many MMA athletes and in fact Dana White has even called Bruce Lee "the father of MMA" for popularizing the philosophy of JKD and for his ability to respond quickly in realistic combat situations (similar to those seen in the ring) by adapting and pulling techniques from "any place you can find it."



What can you learn from Jeet Kune Do as a Mixed Martial Artist?

While there are many difference between Jeet Kune Do and Mixed Martial Arts, the biggest being Lee's strong emphasis on rejecting the term "style" and any set rules, there are many important lessons from the Tao of Jeet Kune Do that can help MMA athletes become better fighters. Read below for 6 powerful lessons from the philosophy of Jeet Kune Do.

“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.”
- Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

“Jeet Kune Do, you see, has no definite lines or boundaries — only those you make yourself.” 
- Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

“The martial arts are based upon understanding, hard work and a total comprehension of skills. Power training and the use of force are easy, but total comprehension of all of the skills of the martial arts is very difficult to achieve.” 
- Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do: New Expanded Edition

"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend."
- Bruce Lee, (1966). Pierre Barton Show

“If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow -- you are not understanding yourself.” 
- Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

“Having totality means being capable of following "what is," because "what is" is constantly moving and constantly changing. If one is anchored to a particular view, one will not be able to follow the swift movement of "what is.” 
- Bruce Lee, Tao of Jeet Kune Do

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