There are many misconceptions when it comes to Bruce Lee and his martial arts system. One myth is that his system is not an actual style. He called it a style in his classes, and his personal syllabus that he handed out in his classes said “The Style of Jeet Kune Do.”
The other myth is that you have to be in great shape or have previous advanced martial arts classes or training before you can begin his style. The truth in the matter of previous training is that it actually hampers the speed of the students progress. The reason for this is that the principle basics in Jeet Kune Do or JKD have to be in many cases are reversed from what is taught in many arts.
What Bruce Lee different from other arts and the method of other teachers are manny. One is that there is no chambering or drawing back of the hand before a strike is thrown. The others involve changing the old way traditional stances to upright (not low) stances to be more natural for the student, making the movement more like walking.
With the above differences in martial arts as opposed to Lee’s art, you can begin to see how it would actually benefit the student by not having previous training in traditional martial arts.
Jeet Kune Do Teachers generally refer to previous training as having to undo bad habits, so don’t be offended if you trained for years to perfect your “bad habit.” After a few weeks of training you will notice your greater speed and power, and that it takes so much less effort and energy than your old style.
Also there is no need worry about being in bad shape / physical condition. Getting in shape is another positive aspect of the art, plus you are not competing with anyone other than yourself. There are no tournaments in Jeet Kune Do.
Carter Hargrave is President of the World Jeet Kune Do Federation.