Philosophy of Jeet Kune Do

The main essence of Jeet Kune Do philosophy is represented in the emblem of our federation. Emblem of Jeet Kune Do Kim represents a symbol of the Great limit (Thaychi), i.e. a circle divided by a wavy line on two parts; black (yin) and white (yan).
Jeet Kune Do Kim Emblem Logo
Jeet Kune Do Kim Emblem
There is a white point in the black part of the circle, and a black point in the white part. That means that there is always the yan particle in yin and yan always contains yin.
The circle is bent around by two arrows of different colors directed to opposite sides, the fist means synthesis of martial arts. As a whole this emblem symbolizes the essence, the concept of “an advancing fist”: use of yin-yan principle in all actions of the fighter – in movements of feet, in body movements, in hands and feet blows, in strategy and fight tactics.
Philosophical idea of a harmonious combination of contrasts laid down in the basis of his concept. How did Bruce Lee come to this deep idea? He had been studying the Eastern philosophy for a long time. In particular, the proceedings of the founder of Daoism Lao-tszy “Dao deczyn” (the Book about the Way and virtue) greatly influenced him. One of precepts of thaychi says, “Be steady as a mountain and active as water”.
Bruce experienced considerable influence of the theory and practice of Thaychi-chuan, and the word “water” he often used for marking of softness and slackness that could suddenly turn to rigidity and huge power. What is the comparison between Jeet Kune Do and Thaychi-chuan? There is no any conflict between these two systems.
On the contrary they perfectly supplement each other. Both of them acknowledge the necessity of strong and at the same time mobile position, importance of correct work of feet, value of expedient and economical movements of the body. Both of them include practice of “sticky hands” thanks to which the fighter studies to foresee actions of his opponent not by his sense but by the body, and to counteract them automatically.
Besides do not forget that Thaychi-chuan is a meditation in movement, and there is no martial arts without meditation. Meditation does the mentality counterbalanced and quiet, i.e. strong and resolute. Principle of Yin-Yan is used in all techniques of the fighters actions – in work of his feet, in body movements, in hands and feet blows, in strategy and fight tactics. Bruce considered that work of feet in single combat should be close to the one which is used by boxers, but close only in sense and not in copying their dancing movements on tiptoes.
The opponent should think that you are motionless and distribute your body weight on both feet in regular intervals. Actually the weight should be moved slightly every second from one foot to another but without any outwardly appreciable movement.
The sense of such micro movements consists in the highest degree of readiness for instant attacks, drifting aside though it seems that you stand easily and limply. The same concerns hands. They have just reminded flexible, soft, sensitive “feelers” and suddenly as a lightning they have struck two steel hammers, and again became soft and weakened. Bruce called such transitions between actions and rest, a softness (Yin) and the rigidity was called very poetically “be a shade of an image and the echo of a sound” (Yan).
All the blows in JKD are subdivided on “Yin” – soft blows and “Yan” – rigid blows hit both by hands and feet. A lot of people can take an interest what does JKD mean (a way of an advancing fist) and how does it work in operation and at the expense of what the advancing is achieved. For this purpose Bruce used main principle of Yin-Yan – softness-rigidity, two contrasts which supplement each other. You could ask why are these easy blows needed?
Easy blows “Yin” are necessary to neutralize the control of the opponent over you, and then only to strike the final rigid blow “Yan” into the not-protected zone. At rigid blow “Yan” it is possible to strike only one blow for one second, and at a easy “Yin” blow it is possible to put 3 blows in a second to interrupt his attack and to strike the final blow “Yan”.
Therefore for the account of “Yin-Yan” the advancing in LKD is achieved, and this follows the fragmentary rhythm in fight. “Kung fu is based on a Yin-Yan symbols that are complementary and interdependent forces operating in this Universe constantly and continuously. Yin and Yan are two linked additions.
Etymologically Yin and Yan signs mean darkness and light. The ancient Yin sign, a dark part of a circle, is an image of clouds and a hill. Yin can represent all negative, passive, soft, internal, fragility, the female beginning, the moon, darkness, night etc. in the Universe The second supplementing half of the circle is Yan.
The bottom part of the sign means slanting sunbeams while the top part personifies the sun. Yan can represent all positive, active, firm, external, durability, the male beginning, the sun, brightness, day etc. A widespread error of the majority of masters of martial arts is perception of these two forces, Yin and Yan, as dualistic ones (that causes so-called soft style and firm style). But Yin-Yan is a single inseparable force of continuous interaction of movement.
They are inherently single or as two parts of the separable whole. They are not the cause and effect but they should be perceived as a sound and an echo, light and shade. If this unity is perceived as two separate essences then comprehension of a final reality of kung fu would be unattainable”.
There is a white point on the black part and a black point on the white part of the Yin-Yan symbol”. It displays that life exists in balance for nothing can survive being in an extreme measure condition, be this pure Yin (softness) or pure Yan (hardness). Remember that the firmest tree breaks sonner while a bamboo or a willow survive being declined by the wind”. Bruce Lee taught that application of Yin-Yan principles is expressed in the law of harmony.
This law says that the person should be in a condition of harmony with the force and energy of the nature instead of revolting against it. In other words it is not necessary to do anything that would not be natural or spontaneous; the key moment here is not to strain in any sense. In regards the struggle against the opponent Lee explained the law of harmony in the following way, “When the opponent
A applies force (Yan) against his opponent B than opponent B should not resist to this force otherwise do not use positive (Yan) against positive (Yan), but instead concede softly (Yin) to him and conduct him in a direction of his own force, negative (Yin) to positive (Yan). When force A reaches extreme degrees then positive (Yan) will change to negative (Yin), during this moment opponent B would will take him unawares and attack him by his own force (Yan).
Thus, the process will never be unnatural or strained. The opponent B would adapt his movements to the movements of the opponent A harmoniously and continuously not resisting and not applying great efforts” “Jeet Kune Do is a training course and the discipline directed on achievement of a final reality in single combat. The final reality is simple, obvious and free.
True JKD master does not resist to force and never concedes completely. He is flexible as a spring, he supplements his opponent’s force. It uses techniques of his opponent to create his own techniques. You should answer any circumstances without preparing to them in advance; your actions should be fast as a shade that would repeat subject movements in accuracy”.