Although Bruce Lee never lived long enough to realise his true genius and the impact that he would have on future generations of aspiring martial artists an athletes, it was Bruce Lees forward thinking that paved the way for what we have today known as mixed martial arts.
It’s been nearly forty three years since the untimely death of Bruce Lee and yet his name is still remembered but unfortunately his legacy all but forgotten. Bruce Lee had without a doubt one of the greatest martial arts minds of the twentieth century and unbeknown to him at the time, his contribution to the martial arts world would ignite a new wave of martial arts genre that would literally shake the very foundations of the martial arts world to the very core. Dana White, President of the U.F.C openly acknowledged the impact Bruce Lee had on the world of mixed martial arts, referring to Bruce Lee as the father of mixed martial arts.
It’s no secret that Jeet Kune Do is the world’s first original mixed martial art. It’s a complete scientific proven method of combat designed predominately for the street with one goal in mind, total and complete annihilation over any form of physical aggression. Although Jeet Kune Do met the requirements of its creator, what it lacked was the recognition it deserved. The type of recognition that would catapult it to the forefront of the martial arts world and place it as one of the truly iconic discoveries of empty hand combat in the twentieth century… Although a complete and effective form of martial arts, what Jeet Kune Do lacked, was branding.
For most people the word Jeet Kune Do is an obscure word that is only known or recognised by people that know of Bruce Lee or by practitioners of Bruce Lee’s art. Even in main stream martial arts, there are practitioners who have no clue as to what Jeet Kune Do really is. Let me explain what I mean… if you were to ask any average non training person out there to name at least two types of martial arts, the two most common and obvious responses would be Karate and Tae Kwon do. The reason for this is, is that they have been around for a very long time but more importantly have been marketed and branded correctly over a long period of time.
Let me give you another example, if I were to ask you what the words Quicksilver, Billabong and Mambo meant to you, you would automatically associate those brands as being synonymous with surfing and skateboarding, they represent a particular lifestyle brand. What if I asked you what the words U.F.C, Tap Out, Affliction and Bad Boy meant to you? Well… I’m guessing you’d automatically associate those brands with the Mixed Martial Arts. Once again, this is because they’ve been marketed the right way from the very beginning and they’ve built a multi million dollar empire through the right branding associated with that particular sport.
So the question is, can Jeet Kune Do be marketed the same way?
Well, the answer is yes, off course it can! But we need to firstly define what Jeet Kune Do really is.
For most people that know what Jeet Kune Do is, they would say that Jeet Kune Do is Bruce Lee’s method of martial arts or Bruce Lee’s method of combat. Now although those comments are true it doesn’t actually tell us what the benefits and features are of training in this unique art form. What makes Jeet Kune Do different to any other art form out there? And why would anyone want to invest their time training in Jeet Kune Do?
Consider this, if I were show you an image of Bruce Lee for the very first time or better yet, show you short clips of his movies, what would be the very first thing that you would notice?
- I’m guessing the first thing that you would notice would be his chiselled physique. Bruce Lee would literally spend countless amounts of hours getting his body to represent the epitome of fitness. He had a body that most world class body builders would die for. His washboard abs and defined chest were forged through discipline, determination and hard work.
- The second thing you would notice is his uncanny fighting style and cat like reflexes. Bruce Lee’s ability to express himself physically with speed, power and precision was unlike any other form of martial arts ever known to man.
- The third thing you would notice would be his attributes. These were honed to the highest level which gave him the edge over all his opponents.
- And the last thing that you would notice would be his ability to flow from one particular range to the next so effortlessly. He could go from kicking range to punching range then from punching range to trapping range, then from trapping range to grappling range in a flash. But more importantly, he knew how to make it all work; he knew the common denominators that linked all the motions together.
Jeet Kune Do for Bruce Lee was a lifestyle, it was something that he practiced everyday…it was a way of life. It represented the cutting edge in martial arts technology based on both physics and science, and it also represented the pinnacle of health and fitness. This is exactly what Bruce Lee’s art is…as a lifestyle brand, not just another form of martial arts but a lifestyle. It needs to be seen as the “in thing or the cool thing” to be doing but more importantly, it also needs to be seen as a fun, mind engaging activity.
Training in Jeet Kune Do is like being in control of a fighter jet, the sheer speed, power and elusive manoeuvrability of the fighter jet is unlike anything else in the sky. It is a symbol that represents supreme power and total dominance over any enemy. Jeet Kune Do is high performance training that needs to be cultivated through disciplined training over a period of time.
If Jeet Kune Do is to survive as one of the greatest martial arts discoveries of the twentieth century, it needs to be marketed & viewed as a lifestyle brand. A brand that represents the epitome of physical expression from both a health and fitness point of view and more importantly, from a combative point of view. And anyone willing to invest the necessary flight time in this unique art form can enjoy the many benefits associated with a healthy mind and healthy body well into the later years of their life.
Until next Time
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