Joe Lewis Fighting Systems

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 August 31, 2012

 Joe Lewis - our instructor, mentor, and friend - passed away
 this morning at approximately 10:45 AM from cancer.

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Most Recent JLFS Blog Post


Regans Martial Arts:  I respect all people that train hard and have a sense of humor, you always show both;), my question on JKD is that Bruce was always evolving and some people that he taught along the way can by the later people he taught be considered wrong... for what they do as Bruce progressed and changed things often and taught the latter group different. So JKD has never ending disputes of whose right and who’s wrong. I also believe that many try to "start" off where” Bruce "left" off, and in my view this is wrong as things he discarded also helped him, such as forms etc, until later he had understood them enough to drop them. What’s your view?



Joe Lewis:  Bruce came to me when he was only 27 (early 1967) and asked me to allow him to teach me the different mechanics from his system---he gave it no name.  I ignored him since he was both of the Chinese race and a Kung-fu practitioner.  I wasn’t fond of Chinese fighters or Kung-fu non-fighting styles in those days.


Shortly after that, his kicks greatly improved and he added a great deal of tactical and mechanical boxing to his style as he was changing much of his Wing Chun practices.  This was the same year when he started using the term Jeet Kune Do. 


To capture my attention, he went through Mike Stone to contact me and he focused on his fighting principles instead of the mechanics of his then techniques of Jun Fan Gung-Fu, etc or what ever he called it back then.  He did not give it a name around me.


While I was working with him and testing his principles against top fighters, he wanted to get away from all the excessive trapping his style was accepting as “appropriate” and yet not exactly “tactically” effective.  His system back then was based on “interception.”  However, he felt that if you have time to intercept or “trap,” you have time to hit.  In boxing, if you have time to block---you have time to hit.


Bruce was working in 1968 and ’69 an attempt to avoid all the excessive “trapping” his practitioners were using as an attribute of that system.  This was many of the changes Bruce was working on; remember, he was still young and in his twenties.  Imagine what changes he would advocate today had he remained alive.


I do not tell many people of all the changes he was working on.  Most martial artists are afraid of the word “change” anyway and feel more comfortable avoiding this, and prefer to cling to the past.  In my judgment, remember this quote from my intelligent mentor, “A clinging to the past in the face of new and changing circumstances is itself a product of insecurity, a lack of self-trust.”

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