Never knew Bruce Lee founded his own martial art system? Well you’re not alone. While arts such as sport karate or Taekwondo seems to be offered everywhere few people know that Bruce Lee actually founded his own martial art style.
Some of this has been due to marketing and of course the untimely death of Lee in 1973. Others say it was because none of Lee’s original students could get along long enough to form the necessary basis needed for a footing in the martial arts community.
“All of those statements has some truth” says Carter Hargrave President of the World Jeet Kune Do Federation with over eight thousand members worldwide.
“While the death of Lee was for sure a tragic event we like to focus on the more positive aspect of what his life meant and what he offered us and in some ways continues to do so.”
“It is true that the vast majority of Bruce Lee original school students had a huge tug of war for many years over who was the rightful inheritor of the torch so to speak for Jeet Kune Do, the lack of any clear leader or direction lead the art into a free fall in terms of public perception and worse public availability.”
“That is where we came in”, says Hargrave. “There was no leader. Nothing but in fighting between instructors and trashing each other.”
It was time for a new beginning and in 1992 the World Jeet Kune Do Federation made their public stand to try to bring everyone together for the good of JKD and all its members.
“While no one has yet succeeded in that respect, including the Lee family, in uniting members we have done something that had never been done before.”
“We brought original teachings of Jeet Kune Do to the public in mass distribution via the Original Jeet Kune Do Training Manual which is an international best seller and the ground breaking DVD distance training series that has allowed students to train in remote areas of the world and actually test for rank according to outlined requirements and video demonstration of skills, while being able to communicate via the internet with any questions while training. This was huge and had never been done before, and at a low cost so you didnt have to be a movie star to afford legitimate training.”
“That is not to say there havent been detractors that say you cant learn by watching and since we are the clear leader in Jeet Kune Do alot of animosity comes our way.
“I guess the guy on the top of the mountain gets more rocks thrown at him. We have been doing this a long time now and at least the death threats and hate mail have tapered off, so yeah I guess you could say I have paid a high price for trying to do a good thing for my art and trying to help others learn.”
So what is the future of Jeet Kune Do?
“We will continue to be the world leader and continue to offer our hand in friendship to legitimate JKD teachers and students alike for the greater good. We will grow our ever increasing membership and instructor base worldwide and will be offering some updates and new technology on teaching that are pretty amazing.” says Hargrave.
Well it sounds like the future of Bruce Lee’s Art is assured and that it will be available to us all for a long time.
Note: Carter Hargrave is a second generation Jeet Kune Do Instructor with lineage to Bruce Lee’s actual school in California.
For more information on the World Jeet Kune Do Federation go to www.worldjkd.com or www.jeetkunedo.org
For more information on Bruce Lee go to www.brucelee.com or www.bruceleefoundation.org