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Dan Inosanto and the Jeet Kune Do Concepts Clan

Dan Inosanto holds the highest of the two Jeet Kune Do certifications that were ever awarded by Bruce Lee.

Why then, does it appear that most of Sifu Inosanto’s certified instructors do not teach Jeet Kune Do as Bruce Lee taught it . . . the “original” stuff?  Yet, they still call their material Jeet Kune Do?  This was extraordinarily perplexing.

Is Sifu Inosanto teaching the actual “Jun Fan” Jeet Kune Do in all its simplicity and biomechanically efficient glory?

From what I have seen it seems that many of his certified students who claim to teach Jeet Kune Do seem to be teaching a mixture of Wing Chun, Kickboxing,  Grappling, stick fighting, and knife fighting without emphasizing the core principles of simplicity, directness, and efficiency.

I don’t know about you, but this phenomenon was very confusing for me in my early training days.  It was not easy to separate the supposed “Concepts” material from the concrete historical stuff.  I was being taught one way in class, while the material that was publicly available from the JKD Concepts clan was showing something else.

Applying the JKD concepts to other martial arts is fantastic, and I would like to see more of that (especially in combat sports) but I am not seeing this in most of the “Concepts” material that I come across.

Also, I understand that it was Bruce Lee’s wish that commercial Jeet Kune Do schools not exist and that JKD training only be conducted privately and in a low numbers but high quality format.  Could it be that sifu Inosanto is still honoring that request after all these years?

If this is the case, I can certainly understand.  Yet I feel that most the Concepts people are doing Jeet Kune Do a terrible disservice by not giving students a chance to learn what Bruce Lee originally taught and evolve their own personal expression from there.

Other martial arts are great, I have studied and continue to respect all martial systems, but to teach something other than JKD yet claim it as authentic Jeet Kune Do is a shame.

If anyone has some information regarding this matter, let me know!


I wrote this post a few years ago when I first started to write about JKD on a public level. My understanding about some of these historical/political points has broadened since then, so I’m adding some additional information for those who are experiencing a similar confusion as I did earlier on.

Although my main point about preserving the original Bruce Lee material still stands, it seems that Sifu Inosanto was, in fact, still honoring the founder’s wishes to not teach Jeet Kune Do publicly.

Inosanto continued to teach Jeet Kune Do to a small private group of students whereas on a public level, in order to help preserve the spirit of Lee’s work, he talked about the “concepts” behind the JKD system while drawing parallels and applying them to the Kali and the Filipino arts he was helping to preserve.

The intention behind teaching the concepts behind Bruce Lee’s methodology was to maintain his friend’s legacy while still holding true to spirit of JKD.

The unfortunate consequence resulting from this is the misinterpretation for Inosanto’s purpose and thus the rise of a specific “Jeet Kune Do Concepts” branch. As far as I understand this was not Dan Inosanto’s desire. In fact an examination of his website will reveal no connections whatsoever to the “Concepts” movement.

The conclusion?

Jeet Kune Do Concepts as a branch of the JKD family was not intentionally created by Dan Inosanto, but rather is the product of misunderstanding, ignorance, and exploitation.

Bold words, I know, and I may even be wrong but mistakes often have to be made for the truth to be uncovered.

45 Responses to Dan Inosanto and the Jeet Kune Do Concepts Clan
  1. Ken Bomar
    November 28, 2010 | 5:55 pm

    I completely agree! It is a shame but there is a justification of sorts: If JKD is really about self actualization and Sifu Dan is the highest ranking JKD teacher/student, then, is he merely actualizing himself while his students are mimicking him? Sometimes in expressing ourselves, we lose the core of what the art is. The art is neither you or me but “it.” It has its own integrity and expression apart from the individual and yet who expressed the art but an individual? Still, if one is learning guitar, one must actually learn the basics and they must be purely learnt. The notes fall on the same place of the fretboard, and the strings are usually tuned to the same notes and degrees of separation.
    There are tons of jewels lost, in my opinion, in the Inosanto method of JKD. At the same time, I do not think we can call what he does, if it is authentically his self expression, inauthentic JKD. JKD is authentically expressing oneself.
    However, the principles and mechanics that Bruce Lee himself used should be preserved, taught, and mastered to get closer to authentic expression of oneself.
    Perhaps it is true that real JKD died with Bruce Lee but that could be like saying real painting died with Picasso. Martial arts are full of paradoxes. We should study the classics but not be encumbered by them. We should be practiced at what works but we should know first what works and why without the mysticism and ‘baloney.” So, perhaps classical study of JKD is a start but only a start. Real students should separate the wheat from the chaff and emphasize the men who really pull it off. No movie stunts, the real deal tempered with the real thinkers and artists rather than the thugs and murderers.
    Perhaps, like opinions, we should own our JKD process rather than trying to make everyone else own it and learn from those who have the knowledge of people like Bob Bremer, Ted Wong, and Dan Lee. We should weed out people who are abusing the JKD name for profit but that requires an almost religious commitment which perhaps JKD does not really deserve. After all, it is really “nothing special.”

    • admin
      February 3, 2011 | 2:17 pm

      Ken, thanks for the comment. I agree. Ultimately I suppose Bruce Lee’s purpose with Jeet Kune Do is fulfilled as long students continue to ask these questions and actively seek answers through training, regardless of what others believe.

      • Dalia
        October 19, 2012 | 1:41 pm

        Something just dose not feel right about the whole thing. I pick up a book written by Bruce Lee with illiutratsons and compare the techniques to what I see at the concept groups and is not the same. The Ongard stance is replaced with Muay Thai. The Straight lead with a Jab cross ect. People saying it is a philosophy not a martial art, Well that sounds strange because Bruce Lee had and taught a way to punch, kick and move. The Wing Chun trapping is replaced with Filipino trapping and the Western fencing not taught at all replaced with Kali escrima and knives. Is trange that everything Bruce Lee criticized about martial arts being a confusing mess is what JKD is. I say his students proved they learned nothing because they did not surpas their teacher, they did not keep JKD a respectable art and none of them could come together to prome it as Judo or Taek won do did. JUdo and Taekwon Do are disiplines that make better citizens, even do they are critizied for being sport what they have over JKD is they are real DO. Ways of making better citizens, JKD concepts is concern on making martial arts philosophers not real fighters. The Highest ranking JKD student could not function with out Bruce Lee and instead found other masters, so this person never learn self rilience, nor trusted what he learned, for if he had, there would not be a need to be a life stime student. Is a chame Jeet Kune Do vs Muay Thai, JKD vs BJJ would have made JKD a competetive art instead JKD became Muay Thai, BJJ and escrima and that is selling out

        • Bhatre
          January 18, 2013 | 7:11 am

          Asian martial arts stole teuqcihnes from greece .Not all martial arts are oriental. Technically, Pankration, a greek martial art was the first martial art. And note BRAZILian jiu jitsu. Its brazilian you idiot.Now go home, and tell mommy your bugging people on yahoo answers.

  2. J
    December 1, 2010 | 2:59 am

    I feel that Dan got stuck in the thought that he needs to add as much as he can and then take what is useful. Instead of trying to refine what he has been show(daliy decrease) I wonder how much of the money Dan made off all those JKD schools, he was’nt supposed to open, went to Bruce Lees’ family?

    • admin
      February 3, 2011 | 2:21 pm

      I believe Dan Inosanto has done everything possible to honor Bruce Lee’s memory and wishes while still holding true to his own principles and desires. There is a lot that is not well understood publicly and it does not seem that Sifu Inosanto is especially concerned with what others believe about the matter. In any case, I’ve added some additional information to the post that might put things in a different light.

  3. EnellkedeNino
    December 4, 2010 | 1:50 pm

    Thanks for sharing your ideas. JKD could use some more critical thinkers. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

  4. Hartnerj
    December 4, 2010 | 8:53 pm

    Have you heard of the Jeet Kune Do ‘early start theory’?

    • admin
      February 3, 2011 | 2:22 pm

      Sorry, I have not. Perhaps you can share?

  5. leewall
    December 5, 2010 | 4:55 am

    I had the same problem in my early Jeet Kune Do training. THnx for sharing.

  6. Fjmjldck
    December 5, 2010 | 12:20 pm

    There’s always politics in martial arts. That’s why it’s all messed up.

    • admin
      February 3, 2011 | 2:23 pm

      Such is the nature I suppose. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. BlackLion
    December 24, 2010 | 7:04 pm

    Something just dose not feel right about the whole thing. I pick up a book written by Bruce Lee with illustrations and compare the techniques to what I see at the concept groups and is not the same. The Ongard stance is replaced with Muay Thai. The Straight lead with a Jab cross ect. People saying it is a philosophy not a martial art, Well that sounds strange because Bruce Lee had and taught a way to punch, kick and move. The Wing Chun trapping is replaced with Filipino trapping and the Western fencing not taught at all replaced with Kali escrima and knives. Is trange that everything Bruce Lee criticized about martial arts being a confusing mess is what JKD is. I say his students proved they learned nothing because they did not surpas their teacher, they did not keep JKD a respectable art and none of them could come together to prome it as Judo or Taek won do did. JUdo and Taekwon Do are disiplines that make better citizens, even do they are critizied for being sport what they have over JKD is they are real DO. Ways of making better citizens, JKD concepts is concern on making martial arts philosophers not real fighters. The Highest ranking JKD student could not function with out Bruce Lee and instead found other masters, so this person never learn self rilience, nor trusted what he learned, for if he had, there would not be a need to be a life stime student. Is a chame Jeet Kune Do vs Muay Thai, JKD vs BJJ would have made JKD a competetive art instead JKD became Muay Thai, BJJ and escrima and that is selling out…

    • admin
      February 3, 2011 | 2:29 pm

      Hi there, thanks for stopping by.

      You’re making some pretty big generalizations, yet they are understandable given all the confusing information.

      There are, in fact, many great JKD teachers and practitioners holding true to the Jeet Kune Do core principles. Furthermore, being that adaptation and freedom of expression are important philosophies within JKD, it will ultimately result in infinite variations and expressions, including the application within combat sports and influence from different cultural flavors.

      The problem arises only when someone claims Jeet Kune Do without any concrete ties to it.

  8. alan swain
    January 14, 2011 | 4:25 pm

    I like your post,but i think you are missing a small point, so called “Jeet Kune Do concepts” is Dan’s individual expression of Bruce’s “original JKD” the only person to ever do the origin JKD is Bruce himself. Bruce said himself that JKD is a boat to get one across, but once you are across, then you can discard the boat. i think he was saying its not the name you use that’s important as long as you understand the Root i.e. the “Universal principles” behind the term. He also said JKD is not different from this or that. Styles separate people. If you understand motion i.e. efficient combative motion then you don’t need a style. are we turning JKD into a “style”? he was not i believe trying to create clones but was saying that each should find his own expression, of course one needs to start with the base system i.e. Jun Fan but one is not “bound” to that. Myself i don’t have a problem with any of it because i found the “cause of my own ignorance” remember a punch and kick is not to knock hell out of the guy in front of me but to knock hell out of my ego, fears and hang ups. thanks for listening.

    • admin
      February 3, 2011 | 2:35 pm

      Hello Alan, thanks for sharing.

      I suppose we’ll have to agree to disagree because I don’t believe Jeet Kune Do Concepts is Dan Inosanto’s individual expression. It’s not even his own creation as I have made clear in the addendum to the post.

      JKD is and is not a style. It’s a matter of perspective. I do agree in focusing on the “root” and on “universal principles” however I also believe that Bruce Lee as a symbol and inspiration to so many is also important and even critical to the idea of “Jeet Kune Do”.

      This will most certainly turn out clones, imitators, and “fans”, but it’s all part of the process and everyone plays a role.

  9. Sinan Beratli
    January 22, 2011 | 5:29 pm

    Jeet Kune Do is the art of self-expression, a way of thinking, a philosophy, freedom, growth, a creative process, a tool, a path to total individuality. JKD enables you to go beyond style.

    As an artist I think of Jeet Kune Do this way. Colours are made up of primary, secondary and treachery colours. Jun Fun Gung fu fighting system represents the primary colours the basis that we expand from, other styles of fighting are single colours. If you start to mix other colours with the primary colours you make more colours, more moves and techniques will be available as you explore your knowledge and self. Your body is a blank canvas; you must paint your picture. But it depends on situation what picture or emotion you show

    To paint a picture an artist needs tools; these tools are paintbrush, pallet, pallet knife, Linseed oil, water and turpentine. When one chooses the JKD path he is the paintbrush, the pallet, the pallet knife, the Linseed oil, water and turpentine. You are all these tools combined. YOU the individual are the creator in your own individual right towards your no style

    A fist does not necessarily mean a fist; the fist represents the object in the way of your goal, to get to your goal one flows around the object, problem, or obstacle in the way.

    How do you intercept your fist answer that and you have truly understood JKD

    I will be writting a book on this process in detail.

    • admin
      February 3, 2011 | 3:24 pm

      Sinan, very interesting perspective, thanks for sharing.

      I agree with the much of your point of view, however as I mentioned on an earlier comment, for most, Bruce Lee is the single most important element within JKD.

      With that said, JKD is simply a tool for self development and a starting point for personal expression in combative form. Yet, without considering the ideals that the founder represented, JKD would simply become another mechanized martial art like any other.

      If you look at the core of any martial art, classical or modern, you’ll find that the originator almost always had the intention of self development, honest self expression, and the discovery of truth, not unlike JKD. What sets Jeet Kune Do apart is the founder’s purpose to destroy barriers and limitations and reveal core truths often obscured by “unconsciousness”. Given that truth changes with time and perception, so will JKD, yet there are also truths that do not change and therefore JKD will also not change.

      It is not necessary to ask oneself how to intercept one’s own fist to understand and benefit from JKD. It is a physically based practice and therefore most of the value will come from training, not philosophizing.

      Sometimes a fist really is just a fist.

  10. Sinan Beratli
    January 22, 2011 | 5:36 pm

    If you want to learn what Bruce lee taught in 1964 go to Guro Dan inosanto and ask him to teach you Jun Fun Gung fu. That is all you have to say!!! People must realize that they have mistaken Original JKD with Jun Fun Gang fu!

    • admin
      February 3, 2011 | 3:29 pm

      It’s true that some have mistaken Jun Fan Gung Fu with JKD. Some have even mistaken what they see Bruce Lee doing in the movies as JKD.

      Although I’d say that’s a simple and relatively benign misconception. The real issues are not among students or fans, but rather instructors. No qualified, respectable, instructor would confuse the two eras.

  11. steven
    March 8, 2011 | 9:17 pm

    I think that Bruce Lee wouldn’t get hung up on what was true to a certain way he did things. I think he wanted people progress and not put his way of doing things as the only way. He himself was constantly changing and when his students started to think his teachings were the only way to go he shut down his schools to ease his burden and change yet again. he didn’t want us to get hung up on a single pattern of teaching to achieve “the way” I think what Dan Inosanto is doing is thinking, “well bruce was progressive so I will keep his art changing as he did”. it just so happens Bruce Lee passed and his art he made for himself stopped. We got to hung up on all that he did and made the Martial way without realizing we are doing everything he wouldn’t. He wanted you to see it and then walk away and keep growing on your own. Yes you can use his arts tools and grow from what he said. But you should change the art should grow and become something else, it shouldn’t stay the same. This is why we haven’t seen any other like the amazing man, is because we quit growing as martial artist. My point is learn the original but don’t be offended when another is trying to progress the art its self, I think that is what Dan Inosanto is trying to do. But everyone is just so hung up on the secret code that they have become blinded. just asking you to think about using no way as way a little deeper…….

    • admin
      March 8, 2011 | 10:02 pm


      Based on your comment, it would seem that I have not made myself sufficiently clear.

      The issue is not about a “secret code” or whether JKD is the end-all-be-all of martial arts or even whether Dan Inosanto was simply continuing his own personal evolution of Jeet Kune Do, nor is it about whether Bruce Lee would be hung up on anything future generations are doing, nor about me being offended about someone else’s JKD (which I am not).

      The issue is PRESERVING MARTIAL ARTS HISTORY and subsequently passing on Bruce Lee’s inspiration to others.

      Let’s step away from Bruce Lee and JKD, as it seems to be a touchy issue with many. Instead, let’s frame it differently and talk about Great Granny’s hypothetical “Amazing Apple Pie” as an example.

      If Great Granny passed on her secret recipe to Granny, who then “improved” it and passed on her modified recipe to Mom, who then “improved” and passed on her recipe to her daughter Sue, who began tinkering with it and planned on passing it on to her unborn child, Sue’s final product will likely be very different from Great Granny’s original “Amazing Apple Pie”.

      Does this mean that Sue’s pie is better? Maybe.

      Could it be worse? Maybe.

      The reality is that it doesn’t matter because Apple Pie or Martial Arts are inexact sciences subject to change and the “human” element.

      The real issue would be if Sue was calling her recipe “Great Granny’s Amazing Apple Pie”.


      It’s this knee-jerk response that get’s us moving in circles in regards to JKD.

      In any case, thanks for stopping by!

    • Stephen sickel
      October 13, 2011 | 9:20 pm

      A-men brother, “it is like a finger pointing away to the moon k do not concentrate on the finger, you will miss all that heavenly glory.”

  12. Jared
    March 31, 2011 | 8:48 am

    Hi guys. I’m new to the topic of Jeet Kune Do and if I may be honest, I’m so damn confused as to what to believe. I understand that during my past two years of training in Shotokan and Shotokai karate AND Bujinkan and Genbukan Ninpo that there are always divisions of styles dispersing with their own views of the founder’s martial art. I may have all your comments misunderstood, but it’s a shame Bruce Lee’s own style/philosophy in JKD appears to be breaking into divisions. I’m not even sure JKD is a style or a philosophy :/. Anyway, just to get to the point, I came to this site originally searching for an online JKD insturctor certification programme that I could undertake. The primary thing I’m looking for is the original style Bruce Lee taught. Again, that’s IF such a style exists. I’m not a believer in learning martial arts at home without an instructor, but I really want to follow Bruce Lee’s path and I’m currently 2 flight journeys away from the nearest dojo class, so I hope you guys can understand my predicament. Can you guys help me?

    • admin
      March 31, 2011 | 9:22 am

      Hello Jared, I completely understand your confusion and I have to say that it’s refreshing to hear honesty about it.

      The grand majority of martial artists seem to have absolute certainty about Bruce Lee and Jeet Kune Do even though most have little or no experience with the subject other than reading some of the compilations of his notes (ie. Tao of Jeet Kune Do) and watching some YouTube videos.

      The reality is that nobody can be certain about Bruce Lee’s desires/intentions because he was not very clear about them.

      What we do know is that he taught concrete fighting techniques and strategies and called them Jeet Kune Do. He also taught JKD as a philosophy and set of guiding principles.

      The online training that I offer is designed to teach the techniques, strategies and philosophy behind Jeet Kune Do as taught by Bruce Lee’s various first generation students including Ted Wong, Dan Inosanto, and Bob Bremer.

      It’s also important to note the there is sometimes conflicting or confusing information between Bruce Lee’s students. This is simply the result of JKD’s constant evolution and Bruce Lee’s custom tailoring to his individual students.

      This too is important information and is preserved in the Jeet Kune Do Univeristy online training.

      If you have any further questions about the online training program, feel free to ask otherwise you can enroll here:

      Thanks for stopping by and Happy Training!

  13. Branden T.
    April 28, 2011 | 7:30 am

    JKD to me is a sacred concept. We must approach it with honor, respect, and not become anyone else but ourselves. His concept, I believe, was merely to shape oursleves in a positive, creative, fashion. I never knew Bruce Lee personally. Overall though, I think he more than likely was a very intelligent loving individual from my own research. That is key to remember when you explore the realm of his concept. He wanted individuals to care for there own bodies and minds. Just my personal opinion. Have fun exploring his wonderful ideas most importantly!!!!


    • admin
      June 9, 2011 | 12:23 pm

      Hi Branden, thanks for stopping by.

      I agree with your perspective. Although I also did not get a chance to know Bruce Lee personally, it’s obvious that he wanted to make a positive and lasting impact on world.

      Everyone will have their own personal experience with the JKD philosophy, as it should be. Ultimately if the experience is positive and enriching, then JKD and Bruce Lee’s legacy has served and can continue to serve its purpose.

  14. lv stephen sprouse
    May 6, 2011 | 12:13 am

    I undoubtedly did not know that. Learnt some thing new today! Thanks for that.

  15. bruce
    May 6, 2011 | 6:13 am

    when you think a certain things ideas it forms a Concept and when it is being expressed into form ( actual existence) thats actuality is JKD. NO STYLE AS MY STYLE, THE ACT OF FIGHTINg WITHOUT FIGHTING, BE water my friend.

  16. Coach Melvin
    June 9, 2011 | 5:13 am

    I met Bruce Lee back in 1969 and would like to leave this with you:

    Learning from Sifu Bruce is like obtaining your fingerprints at birth. They are uniquely yours, and no one’s are exactly the same. Yet they all can be identified as “fingerprints.”

    Think deeply of this to gain insight.

    Coach Melvin
    Chief Instructor
    Heaven’s Palm Boxing Association

    • admin
      June 9, 2011 | 12:29 pm

      Coach Melvin, thanks for visiting.

      I feel that all experiences are like fingerprints that are unique to the individual. This is true with those who trained with Bruce Lee as it is for myself and my various teachers and as it is for all of my own students.

      This is the nature experience and individuality.

      Is there a particular insight that you are wanting to point out with regards to the post?

      Thanks again for the thoughts.

  17. i don’t know any single move from jit kundo or jet kondu see i don’t know how to spell too!

  18. Jerry Beasley
    September 15, 2011 | 6:20 pm

    As the story goes around 1969 Dan Inosanto had promised Bruce that he would not teach JKD to a large/commercial group. His only recourse was to create ( around 1977) a new term to identify the method Bruce used to research differnt style from which Bruce adopted principles and strategies to form his own personal expression of martial art he termed jeet kune do. Somewhere along the way the arts Dan taught became identified as the JKD Concept. I wrote a column for Karate International magazine back in the 1980′s and early 1990′s called JKD: The Next Generation. At the time JKDC was just about the only show in town. As a JKD columunist I received quite a few letters from readers making many of the same observations your readers have made. I was a black belt when Bruce was alive and I distinctly recall that we considered his “style” to be a full contact “kickboxing/gung fu” system. In 1988 I coined the term “Original JKD” to identify the JKD Bruce Lee taught and practiced between 1967 and 1970…as opposed to the newer JKD Concepts created by Dan Inosanto.
    Jeet Kune Do as created by Bruce Lee was in fact a style with JKD kicks and JKD punches and stance. There were JKD ranks and JKD outfits. Around 1970 Bruce injured his back and while bedridden he became quite adept in the philosophy of Jiddu Krishnamurti. Lee’s 1971 article in Black Belt magazine “Liberate Yourself from Classical Karate” identified a new way of conceptualizing JKD not as a style but as a way to find liberation from the limitations of style. It is interesting that the phrase Lee used in his style logo “Using no way as way, having no limitation as limitation” can correctly and perhaps more realistically (to the Western mind) be translated as “The rule is: there are no rules”. It’s like Bruce created a style but added a discalaimer “There are no rules!”
    The most important thing to understand about JKD is that if you seek personal perfection as your goal, if you train your body to achieve peak performance, if you invest your time in hard contact free style sparring with intent to do harm, your JKD will be the same as Bruce Lee’s JKD. It’s not the style that is important; it’s the individual that makes the difference. In the end it’s not the technique that counts; it’s the delivery that makes it work.
    Be honest with yourself and train as though your life depended on it.
    Jerry Beasley

  19. Stephen sickel
    October 13, 2011 | 9:38 pm

    Thanks for the post Nhan. I actually started out learning JKD/Kali and Hapkido and meandered my way to Wing Chun. You could say I progressed backwards haha. I would have to agree with Dans and Bruces choice of moving forward with conceptual tactics, given Lees background in Wing Chun and his philosophical prowess. When I was learning JKD, it was a lot of movements and patterns with some fighting tactics, but there wasn’t much of the core concepts to guide you. I can see why people want to learn exactly what bruce was doing, but they also should know why, thus self exploitation. It is a shame though as in any art that people can teach and propagate nonsense.

  20. Will
    November 24, 2011 | 5:34 pm

    Bruce said let my art be as water to conform to the fight work with oponent not agian it is the method of constant change not for ones self but for the situation

  21. Kirby
    January 21, 2012 | 8:38 am

    Thank you for your article and giving some awareness to Sifu Inosanto. Its important to understand Inosanto’s promise to Lee and thank you for bringing that out. I really don’t understand how some people claim the Inosanto Academy doesn’t teach pure JKD. That might be an interesting article unto its self. Perhaps greedy people trying to make money by claiming they are the only source for JKD? Anyone that questions Dan Inosanto should go to his school and spend time with him. If they did, they would find he does teach JKD in its original form. The Inosanto Academy teaches JKD in its pure form, but by invitation only. He is not teaching JKD mixed with Kali. The Kali class and Muay Thai class, etc… are completely separate. This is because Dan Inosanto is keeping his promise to Bruce Lee, the promise to not exploit JKD for money. The other thing to keep in mind is Dan is the most honorable and descent person in martial arts today. That is a realization that anyone can come to with just a little investigation. Linda Lee, the wife of Bruce Lee, wrote that Dan was offered a lot of money right after the death of Bruce Lee to open a string of JKD schools. Sifu Inosanto turned it down because he chose to honor his promise to Bruce Lee to not exploit JKD. Wow, how many people could walk away from a fortune just to keep their word, keep their word to someone that’s not even alive? The reality is that for most of us, the ultimate way we can know what Bruce Lee taught is by reading everything Bruce wrote and by talking to those who knew him. That’s it. Dan has proven that being honest is more important than money, so based on his amazing honesty, I feel we should trust what he says about JKD.

  22. Charlie
    February 7, 2012 | 12:50 pm

    I had struggled with this issue(Original Jeet Kune Do vs Jeet Kune Do Concepts) for years! I was very careful to research every 1st and 2nd generation JKD teacher I could and ended up choosing Paul Vunak( My training started when I was 12(I am now 23) with the Bruce Lee Fighting Method book series, Tao of Jeet Kune Do, watching all the instructional videos I could find and of course emulating Bruce Lee’s movies.

    I’ve read the complete Bruce Lee library minus “Letters of the Dragon” and the first “JKD Concepts” book I read by Ron Balicki(Dan Inosanto’s son in Law)in 2003 really bothered me since he had two bamboo sticks and a knife, he was not using the Bai Jong stance at all! Like some other commentators here have said, he was using a Muay Thai like stance! I was so pissed off! After learning that he was taught by THEEE Dan Inosanto I was very confused! Then I started to research Dan and as many of his notable students as I could such as Chris Kent, Kevin Seaman, Burton Richardson, Rick Faye, and Paul Vunak.

    I noticed that some were closer to Original JKD than others but they still taught Kali, changed stances etc. While researching online I found a Jeet Kune Do school in Madison, WI which is only 40 min from Janesville, WI where I was going to start High School in 2004, I was PSYCHED! It was my life dream to learn JKD from a certified teacher and become one myself, Jeet Kune Do and Bruce Lee books can only take you so far(I would argue far enough to be a pretty darn good fighter which I could back up :D ) and then there is CHI SAO which you need to experience hands on. So anyways, I start classes in what is now The Blast( owned by Head Instructor Mike Vaughn who was certified by Paul Vunak.

    Right from the start I had a ton of issues like, why am I standing like a boxer, why am I using modern boxing punches which have nothing in common with the straight lead etc, why am I using my knees and elbows to block punches and kicks instead of using my hands to parry etc, why am I learning Muay Thai kicks instead of the Juk Tek-So Tek-Jeun Tek-Jeet Tek-Jik Tek etc, I continually questioned the teacher and showed him the way Bruce Lee did it, most of the time he would just say that’s great but those techniques are outdated. I was like WHATTTT!?! Aren’t you a Jeet Kune Do instructor??? What the heck do you mean outdated??? This went on for 6 months, I basically learned boxing, Muay Thai, and Kali, fortunately Mike’s dad Greg Vaughn came in to do a seminar on trapping, which was very good by the way(as I’m sure Mike’s is, I just never saw it).
    I continued training there until my mom could no longer drive me there and anyways, by that time through my research online and through books I decided to move on from Mike Vaughn(I am very grateful for his teaching to this day).

    Out of all the original students my favorites were Jerry Poteet(RIP), Tacky Kimura, and Tim Tackett, these were the ones who taught what I was familiar with and didn’t have the awkward movements and body structure of people like Ted Wong(RIP), James Demile, Jessie Glover, Larry Hartsell(RIP) etc.
    My friend Brian(my first long term student and training partner) and I were determined to move from Wisconsin to Tim Tackett’s area so that we could join his Wednesday night JKD group and from there go to train with Jerry Poteet and then Paul Vunak. By now though, because of my classes with Mike Vaughn and especially the reading of Paul Vunak’s articles and books, I was fascinated with the angle that Kali and Brazilian JuJitsu added to my Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do foundation.

    After researching more and more I decided to just call Paul Vunak and question him directly to hear his thoughts over the Jun Fan JKD vs JKD Concepts. When I called him I asked if I would learn original JKD techniques like the Straight Lead, Lunging Side Kick etc. He was confused as to why I was asking about Jun Fan vs Concepts, he told me that there is a lot of phony stuff going around and that one is contained in the other, he said by his rank of phase 2 his students are expected to know the whole of the original Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do. This put me at ease about the whole issue, here was finally someone who basically said, LOOK KID just because we teach more than what Bruce Lee did does not mean that we don’t teach you everything Bruce Lee taught, and he is absolutely right! It was then that I decided to train with Paul Vunak, I was a really huge fan of his before then anyways.

    I packed my bags and flew to california, he recognized my knowledge of original JKD touched it up here and there and taught me Chi Sao, all my money went to flying to California to train with Sifu Paul. I may be the first to admit it here but, Bruce Lee was VERY CONFUSING! I believe he himself never got the chance to refine his writings, that is why EVERYONE should go buy a copy of Jeet Kune Do:It’s Concepts and Filosophies by Paul Vunak! It doesn’t matter if you’re a Jun Fan loyalist who will never pick up a Kali Stick or a JKD Concepts person, this book along with his The Anatomy of a Street Fight book refines what Bruce Lee was trying to get across!

    My view of Jeet Kune Do and it’s process can be summed up by Bruce Lee’s own writing, in logical order= 1st get in the Jeet Kune Do boat that gets you on your way across the river, 2nd absorb what is useful and reject what is useless from other martial arts, 3rd add/modify a technique with what is specifically your own, 4th hack away at all you have learned using the guidelines of direct, efficient, simple, 5th get out of the boat and stand on the shore as a Circle without a Circumference(by this I mean that someone may be able to pick out a JKD technique or a Kali technique but as a martial artist the only thing that can define you is YOU and your self expression!).

    In another way of putting it, 1st you “put on” Bruce Lee, then you might “put on” Dan Inosanto or Paul Vunak, then you might “put on” a Hapkido teacher or other teacher, then you add what is your own techniques/modifications, then you hack away at the inessentials using the guidelines Bruce wrote about in order to take all those teachers you “put on” and reveal yourself.

    I know how tempting it is imitate Bruce Lee everyday cause the guy was just the COOLEST ever! But if you honestly ask yourself the question, what was Bruce trying to show us? The answer is he was trying to show us to adapt to other fighters with WHATEVER works for that situation and to be able to do it in a way that is YOUUUU, not in a way that is Bruce Lee! Bruce Lee is dead! To quote the Matrix(GREAT MOVIE) he could only show us the door, we are the ones who must walk through. Study, train, and continually discover the cause of YOUR OWN ignorance!
    In the memory of all the great JKD instructors who have passed away and to the glory of Jesus Christ, Charlie Barribeau

    If anyone needs clarification about what I wrote contact me at 608-377-2387 or

    • Bom
      May 27, 2012 | 6:51 pm

      Kyle you assume all BJJ guys will itdemiamely go for your legs, but what will you do if they suddenly go for a throw or sweep? What good will your knee do? You’ll be flopping on ground like a fish out of the water as you wait to see what kind of life changing damage the BJJ guy decide to deal out.Jose G., Go ahead and try to poke my eye and see what happen. All I have to do is grab your wrist and turn my head to side then apply a arm lock on you and you’ll never be able to move your arm without feeling a pain. Knee me in groin? Good luck, you’ll not be able to get close enough for that and as you try that, I’ll just grab your free arm and slip a triangle choke or gogoplata on you and your fate will be in my hand. I can choke you until you’re unconscious, brain damaged, or even dead and there is NOTHING you can do.Keep up a great job plan thing out in your head with no real understanding of something. You guys better drop this whole silly thing or one day you guys may really regret your way of thinking.To answer the question, since BJJ guys tend to pretty much put their skill to test on daily base and get really good at it and they often take part in tournament where it start standing up, they’re no stranger to many things JKD guys may do. This make them dangerous. As for JKD, they have a chance of out fighting a BJJ guy, but it heavily depend on what they know and who their teacher is and the list goes on. Since majority of JKD school are pretty much a joke, BJJ will most likely win majority of the time.

  23. Timmy
    May 27, 2012 | 11:36 pm

    JKD is just a name. As Bruce Lee said. If the true “spirit” of JKD is form without form, then it is up to you to learn what is available and “express” yourself through your own means.

    Dan Inosanto is honoring Bruce’s wishes by taking the concepts of JKD and applying it to other martial arts. You should do the same.

    “If you look at the finger, you will miss all the heavenly glory.”

    • Nandha
      August 6, 2012 | 10:43 am

      Lemme guess you’re Asian and you’ve got a chip on your shoulder? Turnabout being fair play, what about an Asian (Bruce Lee) selitang Western martial arts invented by white people (boxing and fencing)?All racial ridiculousness aside (and any points you make based on race ARE ridiculous), JKD, like any system, is only as good as the practitioners. It’s got a good foundation as far as stand-up techniques, and excellent principles. However, there’s very little about it that’s original. Honest. Anyone who’s studied a broad range of martial arts for any length of time will be quick to point out the common themes running through them.If you like JKD, fine. But don’t disrespect its founder, who fought to break through Hollywood’s color barrier, by talking all this racist crap.

  24. Ricardo negron
    June 7, 2012 | 3:48 pm

    Yo im a jkd concepts practitioner who is little by little studying lees authentic methods because you are right. Out of respect to the founder his methods should be practiced understood and preserved for future generations to study.

  25. Bachman
    August 13, 2012 | 1:28 am

    Jun fan gung fu – the “original” system put together and evolved by sigung bruce up until the time of his death. Includes his and his colleges studies of wing chun, western boxing, muay thai, silat, savate, judo, wrestling, etc… basically any and every martial art they could get their hands on at that time. Each martial art was studied in its entirety then stripped down, compiled, and modified. Jun fan gung fu was always looked at as a street based counter measure martial art. This is the “original” jkd. It is a solidification of the ever living and evolving jkd described by sigung bruce and sifu inosanto.

    Jeet kune do – the formless form; it is everything and nothing, the yinyang. Nothing is outside of jkd. It is any technique that serves its end. Jkd can fit in with anything, any style, any rule set(meaning it can be used inside or outside a ring). It modifies itself to any circumstance. That is why it is the ultimate when fully understood. Jkd can be tought but never standardized. Jkd is different for each person, it fits every body type. Jkd is using your strongest attributes to the fullest. Jkd may look like jiu jitsu if the user is strong in that area. Or it may look more like muay thai etc… you see jkd is your own research. To make your own jkd you must study all martial art and come to your own tested “conclusion” of any technique. At the very least if you don’t use wrestling, you better have an answer for it if someone tries to grapple with you. If you don’t like using the knife, you better have an answer for it if one is pulled on you. Jkd is about finding your own way. What works for one does not worl for all. I wish you all luck in finding yourself, and evolving your own personal martial art. I have enjoyed reading your articles. And i hope no one misunderstands me, i hope i can guide someone toward enlightenment. Thank you all.

  26. Bob Gouger
    November 6, 2012 | 7:29 pm

    It’s difficult to question the validity of traditional martial arts systems that have survived over hundreds of years with few changes. This is in opposition to modern eclectic styles that are fit together based on an individuals view of what is effective to their particular body type and abilities. It’s important to remember american martial arts need to sell to the public approval. A systems survival depends on a loyal following of practitioners. In the previous twenty years martial art has been fed by a steady diet of cage fighting and jujitsu ground techniques. The impact that this has had on all styles is significant. The styles that favor MMA approach have flourished. Those that have disregarded it have grown quieter. What is effective and what works is vital to the american culture. They demand it. Keep in mind the path that religion has followed over several hundred years. It is forced to adjust to the public favor. Guro Inosanto has found that careful blend of Jun Fan Gung Fu and Sigung Lee’s JKD. He has also kept mass growth of the system under control by careful selection of the next generation of practitioners. I can tell you first hand that they care about their art. I met Guro last weekend for the first time and was overwhelmed by the vast knowledge that he has. His humility was inspiring. His heart is true to the founders wishes along with a great respect for all those that seek knowledge along this path. The strength of his work and efforts will be realized many years from now when only his disciples are remaining to carry on that work which Bruce lee remanded to his care in 1973. JKD is strong and living not only in California, but in all parts touched by his devoted students. Thank you for listening. Domo arigato

  27. Randy P. Aquino
    November 9, 2012 | 11:44 am


    I’m not sure if you already know this, but Chris Kent (a former student of Dan Inosanto) wrote an article addressing the JKD “Concepts” VS. “Original” JKD debate in the December 1998 issue of the now-defunct “Bruce Lee–The Official
    Publication and Voice of the Jun fan Jeet Kune Do Nucleus” magazine and it includes how “JKD Concepts” came about. Here’s the explanation:

    Prefix vs. Suffix

    The following quote appeared in another article concerning Jeet Kune Do which also appeared in
    an issue of Inside Kung Fu magazine:

    “It seems the problem is a lack of understanding of Jeet Kune Do, which is now known as the Jeet
    Kune Do Concept.”

    The problem with the preceding statement is that if you ask who refers to it now as “the JKD Concept”, you’ll find out it’s members of the JKD Concepts group. Many other people still refer to it simply as Jeet Kune Do.

    So how did the terms “JKD Concepts” and “Original JKD” come about? The primary factor concerning the rise of the word “Concepts” in connection with JKD stems from a promise which Dan Inosanto says he made to Bruce Lee concerning Jeet Kune Do as Lee was leaving for Hong Kong to pursue his film career. According to Dan, he promised Bruce that he wouldn’t commercialize Jeet Kune Do. In the late 1970’s, several years after Bruce’s death, Dan Inosanto began traveling and teaching martial art seminars. At these first seminars he taught Filipino Kali/Escrima. In fact, at the time he often expressed that he really had no desire to promote Jeet Kune Do on seminars, and that he would rather teach Kali, his Filipino martial art. He felt that not only was it a good art and had much to offer, but that it was more suited for the masses. Much to his dismay, however, many of the promoters of his seminars would play up Dan’s association with Bruce Lee as Bruce’s protégé, boldly advertising “JEET KUNE DO” or “BRUCE LEE’S JEET KUNE DO” on their flyers and in their brochures (sometimes in conjunction with the Filipino martial arts.

    As Dan began to conduct more seminars and summer camps, it became very clear that Jeet Kune Do and Dan’s association with Bruce Lee were the major drawing factor. Dan eventually realized this and began to acquiesce to the public’s desire to learn more about Bruce and his art. At these early “JKD” seminars, Dan would make a point of explaining to the participants that since JKD was such an
    individualized thing, he really couldn’t “teach” en masse it to a large group (early seminars often had well over 100 participants). However, he explained, what he could do and would do was to demonstrate and share some of the concepts and principles which make up JKD. Dan also asked the promoters of these seminars that if they used “Jeet Kune Do” in their advertising, that they used the term “JKD Concepts”, because that is what he would illustrate, “concepts” of JKD but not JKD itself.

    A second factor in the rise of the use of “Concepts” as a suffix concerned students of Dan and/or Bruce who eventually expressed a desire to teach Jeet Kune Do. Dan did not want them to call it JKD, but decided that, as they had not made the promise to Bruce that he had, they were therefore not bound to it as he was. However, he asked those he gave permission to teach to call what they were doing “JKD Concepts” instead. He felt that by doing so he would not be breaking his promise to Bruce and both he and the individual teaching would be “covered”.

    I hope what I provided was enough to explain Dan Inosanto’s promise to Bruce Lee that he (Inosanto) would not commercialize JKD. You can read the rest of Chris Kent’s article here:

    “JKD Concepts vs. Original JKD–Two Sides of the Same Coin Struggle for Who Lands on Top!”

    • Antonio
      January 18, 2013 | 3:03 am

      That has more to do with the practitioner, a seven foot three hudrned pound man would do more damage with a weekend training camp in boxing then a petite lady ever could with a lifetime in Jeet Kune Do.That’s why wars are fought with guns, guns equalize the combatants while martial arts can only take the person to their limit.

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