Happy 50th Anniversary, Jeet Kune Do

"Using no way as way; having no limitation as limitation."

Photo Credit: Bruce Lee Enterprises

Fans of Bruce Lee know that in addition to being a movie star and perhaps the most influential martial artist ever, he is the founder of a groundbreaking philosophy and expression of martial arts known as Jeet Kune Do, or "Way of the Intercepting Fist." But did you know that this week marks the 50th anniversary of Jeet Kune Do?

Fifty years ago, on July 9, 1967, Bruce Lee made his very first mention of something called "Jeet Kune Do," scrawled in the hand-written notes of his day planner. It was apparently his first attempt to put a name or label to his evolving martial expression -- something he was initially reluctant to do.

"Lee wrestled with putting a name to his art as he constantly veered away from any type of crystallization (and thereby limitation) of its essence," according to the official Bruce Lee Facebook page. "However, the simple need to refer to it in some concrete way won out and Jeet Kune Do was born."

Photo Credit: Bruce Lee Enterprises

Unlike more traditional martial arts, Jeet Kune Do is not fixed or patterned, instead prioritizing the cultivation and honest self-expression of the individual over rigid forms or any organized style. The idea of intercepting is key to Jeet Kune Do, whether it be the interception of your opponent's technique or his intent. The basic guiding principles are simplicity, directness and freedom -- the form of no form.

Or, as Lee put it in 1973's Enter the Dragon, "The art of fighting without fighting."

Photo Credit: Bruce Lee Enterprises

By the way, Bruce Lee was a prolific writer. He took meticulous notes and filled volumes upon volumes of journals with everything from poems to affirmations and philosophical reflections. With his passing in 1973, he left behind a trove of personal, handwritten insight into the mind and heart of a true iconoclast.

Also: Bruce Lee had magnificent penmanship.

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