Wing Chun Kung Fu Articles

Question and Answer with Wong Shun Leung

Questions and Answers

Wong Shun Leung

Grand Master Wong Shun Leung Demonstrating a Wing Chun Front Kick.

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Master Wong Shun Leung, can you comment on some of the fights you won?
When we won in a fight, we weren’t always happy just to win. We tried to figure out how to win in a better and more economical way. The best is always if only a single action is required. Try not to use two actions. Like when kicking, Wing Chun doesn’t like to lift the knee first and then kick because this is a two step action. Also the line of force is wrong because your kick will not have ground support. Instead, your kick will transmit back to your body to off-balance you. This is why Yip Man’s kick in the second set looks a bit funny at first. We want to travel in a straight line from the ground to the target, not lift the knee first.

Can you comment on boxing?
In boxing, the style has changed over the years from crouching to being more and more vertical. Also people used to jump around, but the modern boxer like Tyson just moves in flat footed to demolish his opponent in a scientific way. In Wing Chun a person does not bob as in boxing. When two beginners fight it doesn’t matter how they fight, but against professionals it makes a difference. Even a smaller [person] is better off to keep the body vertical and step back, then to bob and weave. This is because the hand can move faster than the body. Boxing is still like a game because there are rules for how you can hit and how you can’t hit. If you attack someone and they bend their head, then in Wing Chun you can still hit them with your hand even without pulling your hand back.

What is the idea of the Chain punches in Wing Chun?
In Wing Chun if you throw two fast punches to someone’s head they’ll be knocked out. The first punch causes the brain to go to one side of the skull. If a quick second hit comes, the person is knocked out. If you withdraw the hand to give the second punch, then the brain can recover (will have more time to recover), but if you don’t give this time then a knockout results.

How can you deal with a good kicker?
Against a strong kicker there are two ways to fight. If you are experienced, just go into their center and hit. But if you aren’t, then back up. Each time the opponent misses, he will lose one degree of confidence. After a while you have more chances.

What is the idea of the wooden dummy?
The idea of the dummy is that we do make mistakes. When we do, how can we recover from those mistakes in the most economical way? How can we minimize the error we have made?

What can you do against the low side kick?
For low side kick attacks, Wong Shun Leung uses the feet. For knee attacks, he said if you hit straight the knee cannot really get you. Against the Thai boxing round kick Wong Shun Leung kicks straight forward, rather than use a clashing force with a Bong leg. This forces the kicker straight back.

Of what use is the Chum Kiu Jip sau movement?
One use is as follows: if someone grabs your shirt you can use the first set Jut sau combined with an uplifting palm to injure the arm of the opponent. This is more economical than the Judo method of grabbing the hand and twisting it.

Why do the hands go up and down in section four of the wooden dummy?
In section four of the wooden dummy Wong Shun Leung said there is no up and down palm movement to start it off, it’s a forward pushing palm movement.

What is the third set foot circling action used for?
The third set foot circling action is used for:
– foot sweeping,
– foot interception,
– circling steps to chase an opponent who is very mobile and tries to evade from side to side while
trying to throw sweeping hook punches to your head.

What is better, the spear or the pole?
Wong Shun Leung said the long pole is the Wing Chun weapon instead of the spear. He said the long pole can deflect lighter weapons out of the way easier.

What do some other Wing Chun Sifus you have seen do wrong?

Some have too much movement when they defend.

Was Yip Man good?
Wong Shun Leung said if he wasn’t good then he would never have joined up. He said Yip Man was very good.

Did Yip Man teach all of the principles or did you figure them out?
Yip Man taught many of the principles but we also figured some out from experience and long discussions. Wing Chun teaches you how to think. People have found that Wing Chun principles can also be applied to other areas of one’s life.

Can you comment on the effect of a punch?
Wong Shun Leung said that when you punch the head the brain hits the side of the skull. If the brain is against the side of the skull and a second hit follows, then damage and a knockout results because there is no cushioning possible. This is why Wing Chun has its rapid fire punches instead of the pull back approach.

What kind of art is Wing Chun?
Wong shun Leung said that Wing Chun is an attacking art. The idea is to hit straight right away. Don’t have any roundabout motions.

What is a tip for our sticking hands and for real Wing Chun?
Don’t play with hands. Try to hit the opponent each time.

We have heard that you taught Bruce Lee. Can you comment on this?
Bruce Lee was good. All of the credit cannot go to the teacher.

How does Wing Chun approach knife fighting?
Wong Shun Leung said he has faced multiple opponents armed with knives. However on the subject of knife fighting training, Wong Shun Leung said Wing Chun does not send you out to get killed. Even if you can defend against eighty percent of the knife attacks, the remainder will get you killed. A lot of defenses are not realistic because the knife can twist around. Sometimes a kick to the hand is used.

How do we bring the Fook sau to the center in the Chum Kiu form?
In the second set when you chop to the side and bring the Fook sau to the center, the elbow moves first because this is a shorter distance. It really whacks the arm and then comes straight forward towards your head.

Can you comment on some of the Wing Chun shapes?
Master Tsui Sheung Tin said the shapes are not as important as the structure. This is more important than the sticking feeling with the Fook sau exactly level. Both masters felt that the flat Fook sau is very bad and is used only because people can’t do the other Fook sau properly. The flat one is bad because you can’t punch as fast from this position.

Is the Fak sau or neck chop used a lot?
Master Wong Shun Leung never teaches to hit the neck because once his finger tips caught someone’s neck and that person almost died. He instantly went pale.

How does the Tan sau elevate?
The Tan sau structure is elevated as one unit in order to handle force. The arm never bends from the elbow.

How can you respond to a grab?
If you hold two arms out in front of you and someone grabs them, then you can use the third set elbow movement to escape. Bring the hand right in to touch the body. If the hand is held in a fist, it doesn’t work. Then press down with the elbow.

How can you escape from a rear arm lock?
To escape from a rear arm lock, straighten the arm by choosing the best line of force. The hand turns and goes in an upward direction. Then step in and unbalance the opponent.

Can you explain a bit about what Wing Chun is?
On the subject of what is Wing Chun, Master Wong Shun Leung said that if you make a mistake then you learn how to minimize that mistake. You learn to recover quickly. So in essence he was saying that Wing Chun is really about being economical in your actions and use of energy.

How much did you train when you learned Wing Chun?
Wong Shun Leung said they trained six days a week, six hours a day. Bruce Lee learned for about one and a half years and then went to the USA.

What is the literal meaning of “Wing Chun”?
Wing Chun means “Springtime Song”.

Why are there differences in Wing Chun terminology?
Yip Man did not pass on all these things. Some terminology like Ding sau is made up because they really didn’t have a term for some of these things.

Do the Hong Kong Police still use Wing Chun?
The Hong Kong police do not really want to use Wing Chun now that much because it is too aggressive an art. They are supposed to just help and protect people, not attack them.

Have you taught any women who are good?
Wong Shun Leung has not really taught too many woman except the all Asian champion who was a very aggressive woman. She is now married and out of it.

Could we see some sticking hands between the two masters?
Wong Shun Leung said that you would not see too much because it is like when two teams who are good play together, they are so evenly matched that it looks boring. The same is true when you watch a match between two equal judo players.

Can you comment on the straight line concept?
Wong Shun Leung said when you kick a football on the side it will wobble and won’t fly straight, but when you kick the football dead center the football flies straight and the most force is transmitted to the ball. Therefore we hit people in the center as well.

Is the triangle theory of any use?
Wong Shun Leung said the theory of triangles is very important in Wing Chun, because this is a very stable structure. It is used not only in the theory of our stance (like a pyramid or the Eiffel Tower) but also in the angles of our arms.

Of what use is the Gan sau and the Huen sau?
The Gan sau is used to recover from a Bong sau mistake. The Huen sau is used to recover from a Gan sau mistake. A mistake is when you apply a technique which leaves you open, exposed or vulnerable on one side.

Do you have a lot of drills when you teach?
In Hong Kong we don’t use a lot of drills. We teach sticking hands and build everything into it.


chisaoQuestion and Answer with Wong Shun Leung
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An Interview with Yuen Yim Keung

Yester year Ving Tsun by Yuen Yim Keung


Grand Master Wong Shun Leung with Tommy Yuen.


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After the untimely death of the Great Master Wong Shun Leung, an enormous hole has been left, as the guidence of the fatherly figure is no longer there. There was an air of sadness that affected myself as I walked in to the Ving Tsun ameteur atheletic association headquarters located in the district known as Prince Edward in Hong Kong recently. One of the many who is attempting to fill this void is one of Sifu Wong Shun Leung’s more senior student by the name of Yuen Yim Keung.

Yuen Yim Keung was one of Wong Sifu’s more gifted fighters, he learnt the hard and long way, so much so that he spent more than eight years learning the Baat Jaam Do (Ving Tsun’s famous Knife form). This was to lay a strong foundation in his own mind.
He is a very articulate teacher, giving his utmost attention to his students, in the form of advice and correcting technique. Here is an insight into one man’s perspective of how Ving Tsun should be performed

John Smith How did you get involved with Ving Tsun?

Yuen Yim Keung Initially, I was a second-dan black belt in Goju Kai.
At night school, my English teacher, who knew I had a passion for Martial Arts,
introduced me to a friend of a friend who was a senior student of Leung Sheung
(who incidentally was Yip Man’s first Hong Kong student). This gentleman
noted that my legwork was good but my hand techniques needed
considerable attention. At first, I wanted to learn Ving Tsun from him,
but he said it would be better for me to be taught by a much better
teacher/fighter called Wong Shun Leung. At this time, Wong Shun
Leung would not take any person who had been practicing another
Martial Art before, but after intense negotiation Wong Sifu relented and I
became his student.

John Smith How many years ago was this, and who were your Sihing (seniors)?

Yuen Yim Keung I commenced training in 1970. Lam Man Hog (Gary Lam)
who is now teaching in the United States of America and Cheuk Hing Chuen, who was the most outstanding student according to Master Wong Shun Leung.
Cheuk Hing Chuen has actually become a Buddhist monk and does not teach any
more due to his religious beliefs.

John Smith What was training like in those early days?

Yuen Yim Keung The teaching was very slow, but it was taken much more
seriously than nowadays. Siu Nim Tau (young idea form), which is the first form of Ving Tsun to learn, took about two (2) months to complete. The basics were really drilled in initially. Wong Shun Leung used to give more attention to the students who used to go out and fight. They therefore took their fighting more seriously and therefore they were taught more.

John Smith It has long been known that Wong Sifu was an excellent fighter
and used to relish the chance of proving his skills in the Bei Mo (challenge fights), where he was never beaten. But as I understand he used to encourage his students to do the same thing. What type of preparations where taken before such challenge fights?

Yuen Yim Keung None. As these fights were taken completely ad hoc. All of
these fights were illegal and if the police found out, there would always be big

John Smith What were the rules of these contests?

Yuen Yim Keung There where three (3) two (2) minute rounds with a one
(1) minute rest in between. The ring was five (5) metres in diameter, which was
drawn in chalk, and as a result if the opponent went out of the ring more than
three (3) times he would be announced as the loser. There were also no attacks
to the eyes, throat or groin, but everything else could be applied. Also if there
was excessive blood loss, then the injured fighter would be announced as the

John Smith How many of these contests did you get involved with?

Yuen Yim Keung More than I can remember. Actually, Wong Shun Leung
ended up putting an end to these pre-arranged matches as his students were
defeating not only other Kung Fu styles but also other students of Ving Tsun
outside of the Wong Shun Leung family.

John Smith It has also been noted that you were not only a supreme
challenge fighter but also you had much success in the kick boxing arena.

Yuen Yim Keung Actually, the only ever defeat I ever encountered was in
Japan, where there was an invitation from Japan of two (2) fighters from Thailand, three (3) from the United States of America and two (2) from Hong Kong. The fighters from Hong Kong were Cheuk Hing Cheun and myself. All of these fighters were the best that their country could supply at the time. My defeat
occurred in the last round where I was actually ahead on points and my opponent suddenly broke my arm. This was my last fight.

John Smith What do you see as the major advantages of Wong Shun Leung’s
Ving Tsun?

Yuen Yim Keung Obviously, I am biased towards my Sifu (teacher), but he was very logical and systematic in his approach and he only ever taught the true
applications of fighting. The reason why Ving Tsun became so famous in Hong Kong was because of Wong Shun Leung. He had over sixty (60) pre-arranged challenge fights and was never defeated.

John Smith What do you consider to be the most important fundamentals of Ving Tsun?

Yuen Yim Keung Be systematic and practice all the forms thoroughly and really understand what you are actually doing when applying these thoughts to real-life fighting. This I inherited from my Sifu, Wong Shun Leung.

John Smith What are your ideas on Siu Nim Tau (the first form of Ving Tsun)?

Yuen Yim Keung It is the most important form of Ving Tsun and if it is not really understood then you will never get to perfection. A lot of people think Biu Ji is the most important, but actually it is not, it is only really used in case of an emergency, where things have not gone to plan and some form of alternate action needs to be taken. If Biu Ji was so important for these people’s thinking, then it should have been taught first.

John Smith How does the second form, Cham Kiu (the bridge seeking form) then differ from the first?

Yuen Yim Keung In Siu Nim Tau it is like learning the ABCs. Here we are
introducing basic arm movements, concepts and theories. Cham Kiu is putting these basic movements into a complete action, especially when movement is involved. If Siu Nim Tau is only practised even for more than ten (10) years you will never become a real fighter. It is only with the addition of Cham Kiu that it enhances all aspects of movement together with Chi Sau (sticking hands) and Laap Sau (grabbing hands).

John Smith What is the importance of Chi Sau?

Yuen Yim Keung It is to train your reflex action. If you have to use hand-eye
coordination it will be much slower. Whenever there is a clash of hands Chi Sau will automatically take over. Chi Sau promotes a non-conscious thought action where the arms feel for weaknesses in the opponent’s attack and when there is an opening our hands will immediately thrust forward. Chi Sau is the corner stone of Ving Tsun, this is what makes Ving Tsun different from the other styles.


chisaoAn Interview with Yuen Yim Keung
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Bruce Lee Discovers Jeet Kuen Do

Hawkins and Bruce meet up again in the middle
Bruce Lee Discovers Jeet Kuen Do:

Bruce Lee went back to Hong Kong to learn more from his teacher, the great Yip Man. He returned to the United States with a new art called Jeet Kune Do.
By Hawkins Cheung, as told to Robert Chu First published in Inside Kung-Fu 91/12

After Bruce left Hong Kong, I went to Australia to attend college. We still stayed in touch by writing to each other. He told me he was working part time at Ruby Chow’s restaurant in Seattle and teaching a few students wing chun as well as some of Uncle Shiu’s northern style kung-fu high kicks. He wrote that he loved wing chun very much and he wanted to go back to Hong Kong to learn the rest of the system.

He told me to carry on with wing chun and not to give up. Actually I didn’t have the time to give up my wing chun. I arrived in Sidney, Australia, in the late 195Os. Just 14 years after World War II, Australia had suffered much from the Japanese occupation. I found myself involved in fights because at that time there was a great resentment for Japanese. They always confused the Chinese for Japanese. Sometimes, I had to fight against people twice my size to stay alive. Many Southeast Asians also attended the university in Australia. At times, racial tension and cultural differences would result in violence. Fights would start up without warning. I had trouble with a few Thai boxers.

They would call themselves “prize-fighters” — they fought for prizes, I fought for my life. The Thai’s were hard to fight because they seemed to have four hands. I wrote Bruce about these fighting experiences. I learned how to apply my wing chun against multicultural martial arts. Bruce told me if had any problems in Australia to come to the United States and study. He would take care of me.

I returned to Hong Kong in 1964. One day, as I was ready to drive my car out of my parking space in the street, I saw someone toward my left window. I couldn’t see this person’s face. I thought that this person was loocking for trouble, and I opened the car door ready to fight. I then saw it was Bruce. I was so happy to see him, and just as I was about to say “Hello!” he said’ “Hawkins, stand here, I have something to show you.” Bruce stepped back two steps and suddenly charged in very quickly. I was surprised that his movement was so fast.

Another surprise was that Bruce’s character hadn’t changed at all. He still wanted to be top dog. He still wanted to show off. If he liked you, he would always tell you what was on his mind.

If he didn’t like you, he’d be very tricky to deal with. Bruce had that rare ability to draw your attention somewhere else. Sometimes yon didn’t know what he was thinking. I was often suspicious if Bruce was too nice; it meant he wanted something or was about to take advantage of you. This character made people like him, and at the same time, made it easy for me to trick him.

I asked him how he developed the ability to close in that quickly. He said’ “look, Hawkins, in the United States you don’t have any good training partners to practice wing chun with. You can say that my wing chun is better than any so called wing chun masters there. I can’t go any further. But I have had a lot of challenge fights. My opponents are fast, so I have to be faster; they’re strong, so I have to he stronger than them. There’s no other way, because in the U.S., I’m a ‘gung-fu’ guy. Because my wing chun is limited and my structure can’t hold up against larger opponents, I have to use no way as the way, no limitation as the limitation.”

That was the first time I heard Bruce say that. There is a Chinese saying Called, “Bik fu tiu cheung,” meaning, “The cornered tiger has to jump over a wall.” It is the equivalent of saying, “Having no way out” in English. I realized that Bruce felt frustration in his martial arts training. Although Bruce was becoming Westernized, he still felt pride that he was Chinese and he never wanted to appear inferior when comparing Chinese gung-fu with other nations’ martial arts.

Bruce continued: “I have to train very hard to beat my opponents. So I’ve come back to further my training in wing chun, and I hope to learn more of the dummy techniques from the old man (Yip Man). Hopefully, sifu will let me film him on 8mm so that I may show my students in the U.S.” Bruce said his acting career was beginning to take off. “By the way,” he noted, “I just signed a contract with 20th Century Fox to do a ‘Charlie Chan’ movie (it later turned out to be the “Green Hornet” series). I’m on my way to see the old man now.” I knew that when he wanted to accomplish a task, I’d better not get in his way, so I left.

A few days later, Bruce gave a demonstration on a popular talk show on television. Bruce didn’t mention anything about wing chun, but referred to his art simply as “gung-fu.” I realized that something must have happened between Bruce and Yip Man. I knew Bruce’s character, and when he desired or wanted something accomplished, no one could stop him. if not, Bruce would go out on his own to get the job done. Bruce would then come back and show you and try to embarrass you.

I found out that the “old man” refused his request to be filmed doing the dummy set. I knew that the “old man” was very Chinese tradition minded and that Bruce was very direct and Western in his thinking. Bruce wanted to learn everything overnight, but the ‘old man” felt you had to train to get it. later on, I found that Bruce formed his own method and called it ‘jeet kune do.”

During 1966, a friend and I were involved in bringing Japanese karate to Hong Kong. I found myself having to change when sparring with the Japanese karate instructors; their attacks were very fast with emotionally charged quickness. They would attack and disappear as quickly as they came. Their punches were so quick that when I attempted to pak sao, they would retract their punch and I couldn’t connect. When I tried to step in, they would use a front kick. I found that defensively, I was fine, because they found it difficult to land on me. But when it came to attacking, I was unable to score. I became frustrated with this type of sport fighting. It differed from real fighting in that it emphasized skill, not just guts and endurance.

I remembered what Bruce had said about his “opponents being fast, but he had to be faster; opponents being strong, and he having to being stronger.” Then I thought, these Japanese karate instructors train years to develop their speed and power. If I were to train as Bruce did, I would have to spend two or three times as much time to beat them at their own game. But I also had a limitation of power because of my size. If I sped up my wing chun straight punch, I found myself unable to reach my opponent because I was used to the wing chun back horse stance. And if I utilized karate’s front stance, I could reach my opponents, but in turn, I lost my wing chun structure. I found myself in a dilemma, as I would literally throw myself forward to reach my opponent. This may have worked well against a one-punch kill stylist, but I often wondered what would happen if I fought another gung-fu stylist or a street-fighter and they could take my best punch. If I managed to land my best punch and the opponent kept coming, I would certainly be in big trouble.

I wanted to keep my wing chun structure. I asked myself how could I hold back or stop a bigger opponent charging at me without that structure? The structure was also important to handle combination-type fighters. I also asked myself what would happen when I get older and my speed and power have decreased? It would mean that I would have nothing when I’m old.

I couldn’t take my dilemma to my wing chun seniors. They didn’t like the fact that I practiced karate. They didn’t understand that while I practiced karate, I could sharpen my skills against a legal opponent. Karate’s sparring allowed me to get legal fight experience. (In the old days, Chinese martial artists would test out their skills in illegal fights termed “gong sao”- which literally meant “talking hands.” Outsiders who watched me thought that I was doing karate; the instructors didn’t realize I used wing chun to combat my karate opponents. later on, I found a way to adapt my wing chun to their way of fighting. Bruce would throw his power hand out with his high speed and timing to intercept the opponent’s punch or kick. I thought, why don’t I throw my wing chun structure forward with one hand intercepting while the other attacked at the same time? My time training in karate gave me a good chance to develop my new method. Every year, Japan sent new Japanese instructors to Hong Kong to teach. I was always the first guy to fight with the new Japanese instructors. They knew me in the school as the “Chinese boxer.”

Thanks to Bruce’s ideas’ I learned how to handle my opponents. My way didn’t mean other wing chun practitioners did the same; but I developed my way to satisfy myself and keep my beloved wing chun style. I was able to make the wing chun style alive and understand the wing chun concept in combat. Bruce’s way of the intercepting fist (jeet kune do) is one of the principles of wing chun. Bruce’s standard was limited; he made intercepting into his concept because of the circumstances he told me of during his last Stay in Hong Kong. Before he died, he told me that “jeet kune” meant Pak sao in wing chun or intercepting an opponent’s punch before it landed on you. I asked him if he meant to create another style. Bruce firmly told me, “No! It is only the expression of the motion! You can say it is my expression of the pak sao in wing chun (note: Pak sao is one of the fundamental movements from wing chun and depending upon circumstance, it may be offensive or defensive in nature.) I didn’t betray sifu, I didn’t betray Chinese martial arts. I wanted to show others the application way of jeet kune. I wanted to prove I could stop their fast attacks coming at me.”

I knew Bruce’s character. I knew he wanted to prove what he said was right and that he would prove it to wing chun people as well as the world, that he was top dog. Bruce would always change his way of fighting to improve himself to be the best. I never read his books or books that others wrote about him, but I would watch his application whenever I could in his real fights or as an actor in his movies. I found his martial arts to have two versions: one in real life and one in his movies. In real life, Bruce’s speed and power would scare his opponents and would prove what he called “jeet kune.” His movie version would show his showmanship with fancy movements to satisfy his fans. I didn’t see his “jeet kune” action in his movies.

I believe those who knew Bruce Personally could tell his moves were sharp, clear and to the point. People who didn’t know Bruce in person were attracted by his action movies and philosophy. I have been in the U.S. for 12 years now. I have seen many of Bruce’s students and grand students change a lot of his way, even when they don’t even understand what the original meaning or essence of his “jeet kune do.” Some have even gone on to teach jeet kune do as a style! Some of them claim to be teaching jeet kune do and add their own personal style, calling it “JKD so-and-so.”

To my memory, Bruce explained that jeet kune do was the method of intercepting or cutting off an opponent’s action. So jeet kune do was the method of striking an opponent as the opponent attacked. The concept of intercepting or cutting is used in all systems of martial arts. if you don’t want to get hit, you’d better cut off or block an attack without running from or skipping away. Each style or person will demonstrate intercepting in a different manner. Bruce demonstrated in his personal attitude because of his emotional anger and hunger for winning character. He simply wanted to be the best and would accept nothing else. That is the trademark of Bruce’s style or action in entry. Only Bruce could do that.

Bruce changed his methods for the job on hand, not for you or me He became an expert in intercepting or cutting off an opponent’s attack. He had to continually train to prove what he said about “jeet kune.” if Bruce couldn’t intercept, he would have to take back the name “jeet kune do.” But he did prove it. He desired to keep the name “jeet kune do” while he was alive. Since he is now dead, it is up to his students to continue giving Bruce credit. The question is whether they can prove they can “jeet kune” for him and the public.

We don’t care how Bruce’s students change their way; we want to see someone as good or better than Bruce lee in action, not another style or way. if your results are different from what Bruce did you are not preserving jeet kune do. if you keep the name jeet kune do, then you should strive to become an expert in intercepting. Don’t down grade Bruce’s memory with your own way. This is not his creation. Just as wing chun people have recognizable trademark in application, those who follow Bruce’s way should also have a recognizable concept: that of intercepting.


chisaoBruce Lee Discovers Jeet Kuen Do
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Juvenile Delinquents named Bruce Lee and Hawkins Cheung

Hawkins Cheung and Wong Shun Leung, both classmates with Bruce Lee under Yip Man

A couple of “juvenile delinquents” named Bruce Lee and Hawkins Cheung roamed the streets of Hong Kong, picking fights, having fun and refining their martial arts techniques.
By Hawkins Cheung, as told to Robert Chu, in “Inside Kung-Fu” November 1991

Hawkins Cheung began his training in 1953 under the late grandmaster Yip Man. He attended high school with the legendary Bruce Lee and during evenings, the two would diligently practice wing chun together. To gain combat experience, they would engage in challenge matches; when they didn’t have opponents to fight, they fought each other. They were later separated when Bruce went to college in the U.S. and Hawkins attended college in Australia. Throughout the years, the two kept in touch through letters and phone calls. Bruce would detail his martial arts development through their conversations and correspondence using Cheung as a sounding board. Hawkins Cheung is one of the few individuals who experienced the progression that Lee went through in his martial art development from wing chun to Jun Fan to jeet kune do. The two were reunited in Hong Kong in 1970, when Lee returned home to make movies. The two shared and exchanged fighting experiences and training methods. They remained in close contact until Bruce’s death in 1973. Hawkins also is well schooled in other martial arts styles. He is particularly skilled in the Wu style of tai chi but he is familiar with the Yang, Chen and Sun styles as well. Master Cheung has also gained experience in Japanese karate-do and currently holds a fourth-degree black belt. In 1978, Cheung immigrated to the U.S. to promote wing chun. He is currently head instructor of the Hawkins Cheung Asian Martial Arts Academy in Los Angeles. He has appeared in several issues of Inside Kung-Fu magazine, given numerous public demonstrations, and appeared on television. He has always been low key about his relationship with Bruce Lee. Now that his friend has died, he finds that many of Bruce’s followers are distorting the real meaning of his jeet kune do. In this four-part series on Bruce Lee and jeet kune do, Cheung examines Bruce’s development, from his early days in Hong Kong to his final days as a film star, his creation of JKD, and the characteristics of the now-famous art.

Hong Kong in the l95Os was a depressed place. Post-World War II Hong Kong had suffered from unemployment, a poor economy, over-crowding, homelessness, and people taking advantage of each other. Gangs roamed the street, and juvenile delinquents ran rampant.

I met Bruce in intermediate school; he had been expelled from the famous European LaSalle Intermediate School to the Eurasian Francis Xavier Intermediate School which I attended. I used to make fun of him and call him “Bad Boy” because he was expelled. That was the beginning of our friendship. There was a real political situation in 195Os Hong Kong. The British led the colony and would sometimes treat the Chinese like dogs.

Bruce wasn’t a big star then, he was just an ordinary guy. We started to learn wing chun to survive. When we weren’t fighting others, we fought each other. We would argue about our wing chun training, and would argue about our personal experience and knowledge. Everyone wanted to be top dog. We would purposely hold back information that we gathered. Everyone had to find his own source, and not let the others know what we learned. We would purposely hide a trick that we would get from Yip Man, the Seniors, or friends from other styles. We weren’t concerned about how good the gung-fu looked, just whether it worked. Everyone wanted to know how to get the job done.

We were good buddies. We wouldn’t openly share our knowledge, but we tried to steal each other’s card. Whenever we learned a new method or technique, we would add it to our repertoire. Bruce would use a new trick on me, the next time I would throw it back to him first. We always asked ourselves where was the other’s source?

Against outsiders we were allies, but with no one to fight against, we fought each other. To test and see Bruce’s skill, I would purposely instigate or set up a fight. I would watch Bruce fight, and be a bystander to see how well he did. He would do the same. If he won, we would laugh; but if he lost, he would lose face and work harder to find a better means of beating an opponent.

We would play tricks on our opponents to psyche them out, sometimes hiding our best techniques. What someone would throw to us, we’d throw the technique right back to him.

Our competitive spirit was not only in martial arts, but extended in daily life. Everyone knew that Bruce was good at dancing the cha-cha. At school, I knew some Filipino friends who were pretty good too, so I would pick up steps to show up Bruce. The next time I saw Bruce, he had a bunch of new steps! I questioned my friend to see if he had taught Bruce those new steps, but he denied any knowledge. I later found out that he went to my Filipino friend’s dance instructor to learn more steps! That was our character—to always look for a new source. I later went to the same dance instructor and tried to persuade him not to teach Bruce.

William Cheung and Wong Shun Leung were Bruce’s source of information on wing chun. They were our seniors, but we couldn’t openly let them know what level we were at for fear they wouldn’t show us more. If a senior got into a street fight, however, and lost, we could find out his standard. If we couldn’t figure out a problem, we would have to ask the old man (Yip Man) from different angles. When we matured, we began to share more openly.

I lived a couple of blocks from Bruce. Being from well-to-do families, we would sometimes have our driver pick up one another, if we wanted to hang out we would sometimes spend a weekend at each other’s home. When we had final exams, we would study together.

We still kept up our old game. We would play tricks on an unsuspecting participant, one guy playing “good guy,” the other being the “bad guy.” One time, we persuaded two younger European classmates to fight each other. They were a grade younger than us and were good friends. Bruce and I separated them, and to find out who was the better instructor, we each picked one and trained him to beat each other up.

Bruce’s nickname at school was “Gorilla,” because he was muscular and walked around with his arms at his sides. Everyone feared him, but I was the only one who called him “Chicken legs.” He’d get really mad and chase me all over the school yard. Our friendship was very close.

Our school was the best in soccer, but Bruce and I never participated in any team sports. One day, there was an announcement that there was an inter-school boxing championship. The all English Saint George Intermediate school held the championship. Our school didn’t have a boxing team. Someone in our school suggested that we get a boxing team together. We had a reputation in the school as being the naughtiest, so someone suggested that Bruce and I get involved.

The night of the match, I went into the champ’s dressing room. He was my friend’s brother. Bruce was supposed to face him. I spoke to the champ and warned him that he was facing the Gorilla now, who was an expert in gung-fu, not boxing, so he’d better watch out!

The champ was intimidated, because he heard that Bruce and I practiced gung-fu together. Bruce, on the other hand, was concerned that we never boxed before. At the beginning of the fight, Bruce attacked his opponent from the inside with a tan da and cut to his opponent’s center. The champ was psychologically unbalanced, while Bruce continued to use tan da with a follow-up of straight punches to the champ’s face, and blew him out. Bruce won the championship!

The next match was myself and another for the lightweight championship. I was disqualified for using pak da, which the judges considered against the rules. In 1958, we graduated from high school. Bruce said that he was going to the U.S. upon his father’s request. Bruce didn’t want to go, but his father forced him. Bruce feared his father and had to comply. I was deciding to attend college in Australia. I asked Bruce what he wanted to study. Bruce replied he was going to be a dentist. I cracked up and laughed in his face! “You, a dentist?” I said, ‘Your patients would lose all their teeth.”

Bruce said that his father would support him and pay for his expenses in the U.S., but he wanted to be independent. To make money on the side, he said he would teach wing chun. I replied that he didn’t have much to teach at that time; we had both only learned up to the second wing chun form, chum kiu, and 40 movements on the dummy. We had a friend whom we called “Uncle Shiu” (Shiu Hon Sang), who taught northern styles of gung-fu. Bruce thought it would be a good idea to learn some of the more pretty, showy styles before he left. Bruce learned northern style for showmanship. In the late 195Os, Bruce had already planned to hide his art. Many were looking for the showmanship, not the killer. Bruce would give them what they wanted.

We went to Uncle Shin’s gung-fu club at seven every morning. We began to learn lam ad (a basic northern style gung-fu set). I hated master Shin’s dog, and his dog hated me equally, as he would bark at me every time I visited. Finally, the early mornings and the loud dog made me drop out. Bruce continued for two months more and learned gung lik kuen (training power fist set), bung bo kuen (a basic praying mantis set), and jeet kuen (quick fist), all northern style sets.

Prior to any Hong Kong resident leaving for a new country, you had to check with the police station to make sure your record was clean. Bruce applied for this certificate, and found that our names were on a blacklist of known juvenile delinquents. He called me at home. “Hawkins, big trouble,” Bruce exclaimed. “Our names are on a known gangster list. I’m going down to the police station to clear my name, and while I’m there, I’ll clear yours, too.”, I thanked him.

A few days later, a police investigator came to my house and questioned me about gang relations. Bruce’s efforts to clear me actually got me more in trouble. My father had to pay off this investigator to have my name wiped from the record, or else I wouldn’t have been able to attend college in Australia. I hated Bruce for that!

The day he left, I escorted him to the dock. After many years of being as close as twins, we would be apart for the first time. It would be many years before our paths would again cross.


chisaoJuvenile Delinquents named Bruce Lee and Hawkins Cheung
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Bruce Lee’s Classical Mess:

Hawkins Cheung direct student under Yip Man

Bruce’s Classical Mess:
Cleaning up the Mess the “Little Dragon” Left Behind
By Hawkins Cheung, as told to Robert Chu in “Inside Kung-Fu” February 1992

Bruce’s sudden death left behind a classical mess. We can’t deny the impact that Bruce had. Eighteen years since Bruce’s passing, and hundreds of martial artists are still trying to copy Bruce’s movements, punches and kicks. Some learn wing chun simply because wing chun was his mother system. There are now many jeet kune do instructors teaching “his methods.” Eighteen years and many are teaching jeet kune do, but many still don’t know what jeet kune do is, Many of these so called instructors make their art mimic Bruce’s movements. Some instructors have nothing to do with Bruce, but try to relate their teachings to him.

Some of Bruce’s first-generation students came to study from me when I first immigrated here. When I told Bruce of my intent to immigrate to the U.S. before his death, Bruce thought it would be great to have me help out his students, but whether they came to learn or not was another thing.

Different way

When I touched their hands, I found that Bruce didn’t teach them the way he developed body power from wing chun. So, I tried to teach them the fundamentals of how to develop Bruce’s power. There are no secrets. First, you have to connect your body as one unit. Then you should develop it with a partner who tries to interrupt your unit by pulling, pushing and other types of physical interruptions. If you can manage physical interruption without disrupting your body unit, then you can talk about separating your unit into individual parts. If you don’t like physical interruptions (i.e., punches, kicks, etc.), then you may move your unit away before the punch or kick arrives. If you can do this, you can then move on to attacking techniques. You can also speak of unit attack with the body or either individual parts (arms or legs). For Bruce, every punch or kick had unit or body power behind it. This ability is something that you either have or don’t have.

The reader may ask, what is the difference between unit body power and individual power? When you punch at your partner during practice, your technique is usually delivered with your individual (arm) power. When you punch to destroy your opponent, the technique is delivered with body connection power. Techniques to impress your friends are delivered with speed and timing; techniques to destroy your opponent are delivered with speed, timing and body connection. Again, using my analogy of a hammer and nail, you have your choice. You can throw a nail and injure your opponent, or hammer the nail forward to kill him. When Bruce threw his punches and kicks, he used his body as a hammer.

When Bruce’s first-generation students came to me, I tried to teach them how to develop this unit power. Unfortunately, they did not believe me. Because I did not immediately teach them wing chun techniques, they felt I was keeping the knowledge to myself. Since then, I have kept my mouth shut. Whenever people talk about Bruce, I just walk away. These students wanted wing chun techniques and feeling. To me, the wing chun techniques are of secondary importance. Techniques can be learned from any wing chun teacher. However, without body connection and physical development, the techniques become useless.

Trained to fight

Back in the 195Os, Yip Man trained us to fight, not be technicians. Because we were so young, we didn’t understand the concepts or theories. As he taught us, Yip Man said, “Don’t believe me, as I may be tricking you. Go out and have a fight. Test it out.” In other words, Yip Man taught us the distance applications of wing chun. First he told us to go out and find practitioners of other styles and test our wing chun on them. If we lost, we knew on what we should work. We would go out and test our techniques again. We thought to ourselves, “Got to make that technique work! No excuses!” We learned by getting hit. When you are in a real fight, you find out what techniques are good for you. Just because your technique may work for one person doesn’t guarantee it will work for you. When you test your techniques on someone you don’t know, you experience a different feeling than when training with your friends. If you discover through your own experience, it’s much better than relying on another’s experience. In this way, you won’t be in his trap.

For this reason, physical and strong tool development are more important than the techniques. The way you apply techniques comes from your courage or confidence. You gain courage and confidence through your experience. For application, you have to ask yourself, “How much experience do I have? How many ways can I use this technique?” There is an old Chinese saying that in real fighting, you must have three points: courage, strength, technique. Technique comes last, unless you have superior timing to deliver techniques. These qualities are of personal development; they have nothing to do with styles. Through your fighting experience, you can check your system’s concepts and theories.

As I reflect, I think that if Yip Man first taught us the concepts or theories, we would follow them based on their requirements and rules. We wouldn’t need to test them out, simply because the wing chun system already had generations of testing. We would try to make the art as perfect as Yiin Wing Chun displayed. Perhaps Bruce and I would have become perfect technicians.

We wanted to find out what is important and not important when we fought outsiders. This is why we fought a lot when we were young. Only through application can you prove if the theories are valid. Techniques without timing are dead techniques. Display timing without power and the results are equally disastrous. Nowadays, many wing chun people have the same techniques, but how many wing chun people have gone through Bruce’s and my development?

Make the art alive

Some of Bruce’s followers say that wing chun people don’t have what Bruce had. To me, Bruce’s followers don’t have what Bruce had. What they teach is Bruce’s techniques, like his classical Jun Fan gung- fu, which is similar to wing chun. Only the body structure differs. These two classical arts were fixed by their founders. The individual that learns them needs to make the art alive. Both wing chun and Jun Fan’s goals are the same: simple, direct and economical movement to intercept. Wing chun utilizes the centerline as the fastest line of entry. Jun Fan allows their followers to choose whatever line they want to make their movements simple, direct and economical to intercept. Bruce’s followers need Bruce’s superior timing to catch up with wing chun’s centerline concept of intercepting.

Later, Bruce found that his Jun Fan was not direct to the goal of intercepting, so he advanced and improved his way of intercepting and created his jeet kune do. Bruce found that wing chun actually went further in’ terms of intercepting the opponent’s mind. Because Bruce never completed his Tao of Jeet Kune Do, many sections in it are not consistent with what we discussed in Hong Kong. Bruce’s five ways of attack and five ranges of fighting are attempts to systematize his teachings, but they fail. Were he alive today, he would have explained his JKD in detail. Jeet kune do translated into English means the “way of the intercepting fist.” Bruce realized that wing chun was straight to the point for intercepting and embodied the essence of jeet kune do. It was the nucleus of his personal art. Wing chun utilizes one method to close in to the attacker. With wing chun, one way handles all: you rush in to close the gap, intercept the opponent’s attack and finish him. In intercepting, there are no ranges. In wing chun and jeet kune do, there is only one range and goal: to intercept and finish off the opponent.

Bruce had no intention to create a style or system. He just wanted to prove to his sifu, Yip Man, that he could find another route to get the job done. Bruce’s work matches a wing chun saying, “Don’t speak of seniors or juniors. The one that attains first is senior.” We in wing chun have no seniors; we strive to become better than seniors or even the founder.

During Bruce’s last stay in Hong Kong, Bruce and Yip Man met at a dinner party. Bruce asked Yip Man, “Do you still treat me as your student?” Yip Man replied, “Do you still treat me as your sifu?” They both laughed. When Yip Man died, everyone thought that Bruce wouldn’t pay his last respects to his master. But he did show up, like one of us, to pay his final respects to his sifu.

Each martial arts style or system goes into battle believing it has all the answers. Any classical style deals with the imparting of fixed knowledge that becomes alive when it is mastered. It is up to the disciple to use that knowledge to develop and carry that knowledge to the point of free expression. Bruce did that. Every martial art master created something new and alive. His followers, later changed the system, intentionally or unintentionally, and made it deviate from the founder’s original intention. What was passed on from then was a dead system.

With wing chun, you still have the tools and concepts intact. Some individual in each generation that applies the tools and concepts will make wing chun alive. No one can say he has the “original wing chun,” as it has undergone generations of refinement, but if you apply the tools and concepts and can use it in combat, then you are using “live wing chun.” In applying wing chun, you have to change to keep up with your opponent’s change; your target is always moving. Wing chun is a system that has no particular style. We wait for the opponent’s style or way to show, and then we start from there to create our own style. You don’t waste time. You just react naturally to your opponent’s action. When Bruce said, “Your technique is my technique,” it is an example of his high understanding of wing chun.

There are now many so-called jeet kune do instructors teaching “jeet kune do-this” and “jeet kune do-that.” Everyone claims he is Bruce reincarnated. To me, all these claims are outdated, because Bruce had regretted naming jeet kune do. Jeet kune do was not designed for public consumption. Bruce said, “Jeet kune do doesn’t mean adding more, it means to minimize. In other words, to hack away from the non-essentials. It is not a daily increase, but a daily decrease.” Some jeet kune do people are flow adding more ways, telling the public that this is Bruce’s way.

This is against Bruce’s way.

Jeet kune do is an advanced-level martial art: the question is whether beginners in martial arts can learn it without a proper foundation. Are they ready for it? You do a “daily decrease” only after you’ve studied and sorted out your background and what you have collected and have done the research to know what fits you.

When I teach wing chun, I don’t teach the Hawkins Cheung style. Each student has to customize the art based on his character, size, strengths, etc., and refine his personal style of wing chun. Bruce chose the simple, direct and economical way to express his style. What Bruce meant by jeet kune do is that it is not a style, but rather a process of refinement. It can’t be packaged. This is why he regretted naming ‘jeet kune do.” Those teaching “jeet kune do” and saying that this is the “original Bruce Lee art,” are turning a non classical art into a classical art. This is not what he meant by jeet kune do.

Real jeet kune do

Real jeet kune do was not at all like what he presented on the screen. What he displayed on the screen was his showmanship. People were awed by his ability and skill, but it wasn’t his real art. Jeet kune do was Bruce’s personal art. Now Bruce’s followers can be grouped in one of four categories: Those who teach the screen version; those who teach the “Bruce lee classical;” those who teach the search and development to create their own jeet kune do; and those who teach their own art and label it “JKD so and so.” The goal of jeet kune do is to add your own personal style to your martial art and decrease the extraneous. One day when you’ve sorted out your own martial arts, you’ll understand what Bruce meant by jeet kune do. If you are still in the process of collecting and developing. you haven’t yet attained jeet kune do. You have to find what fits with your background, not Bruce’s. That is jeet kune do. Ask yourself— What is your goal?

Bruce left behind the means to test your martial art. I know Bruce’s wing chun background and know what Bruce decreased for himself. But I don’t know the background of Bruce’s followers, so I ask: What are they decreasing? Have they tested out what they have? Why do you have to add more? What is the problem? Bruce changed for his own reasons. Myself? Rather than changing, I solved the problem of making my wing chun alive. Now some of Bruce’s followers are adding more and more to their art. They are losing the way.

You fight with your hands and feet, not your memory. When your mind becomes boggled with too many fighting systems, you find it difficult to know which to discard and which to keep. In actual fighting, you win or lose in a few seconds, not like a gung-fu movie where the actors fight for a half-hour. In those few seconds, you make up in your mind which style you will use. Every style is good, if you have trained for it. Every style can be useful, but you have to train to develop its usefulness in combat. Bruce was fond of saying, “Take what is useful, reject what is useless.” What you kept in your system is what is best. If you have too many styles, in real fighting, you can hardly decide which one to use under mental pressure. How can you finish the fight in a second if you haven’t decided which method to use?

Bruce’s trap

Many are caught in Bruce’s trap; even Bruce was caught in his own trap. Bruce decided to name his art jeet kune do based on his personal ideas without testing it in combat. Whatever is created by man can be destroyed. Before Bruce made jeet kune do, he fought a lot. After he created jeet kune do, he said this is the way to fight, but without testing it in combat, how do we know the art is alive? Bruce’s jeet kune do concepts are simplicity, directness, and economy of motion. Bruce stressed “non-classical” motion, which is your way of expressing the tools that you deliver. But some of Bruce’s followers are going in the opposite direction. They are collecting more tools, more ways to display their martial arts.

When Bruce Stated, “Take what is useful, reject was is useless,” he meant that you must already have the tools. The tools were whatever you have learned from your classical style or way. You have to put those tools into testing and finding out what is useful. if you are still increasing or gathering tools, it means that you’re not ready to reject the useless. You’re not up to jeet kune do yet. You must ask yourself if you are increasing for the goal of intercepting, for Showmanship, or some other personal goal. “Reject what is useless” is for the fighter to throw away unessential movements or change with whatever circumstances in which to survive. At this stage a person is beginning to do jeet kune do to personalize the art for his needs.

Every martial art system has its useful parts, otherwise it would become extinct. Bruce’s followers are taking what is useful from this style, another style and so on, and becoming collectors of “useful styles.” But all the while, they have no time to test out those “useful styles” in competition or combat. Meanwhile, there are still other “useful styles” out there which they haven’t learned. Where is jeet kune do’s home? Jeet kune do doesn’t have any specialty techniques that make it a unique martial art. Boxers box, wrestlers grapple, wing chun people in-fight and stick and trap, but where is jeet kune do’s home or specialty? Jeet kune do means the way of the intercepting fist, but how do Bruce’s followers attain that?

Any expert in his system or style has spent years continuously training the basic movements to discover the most effective movement. Every expert has to find a way to make his movements simple, direct and economical. if you have a lot of fundamental movements, you have to test out each movement to discover how to refine them and make them simple, direct and economical. This process will take years and years to refine.

When Bruce formed jeet kune do, he stated in a magazine article that “99 percent of oriental self-defense is baloney!” It really shocked me that Bruce was so blatant. It seemed that he meant to challenge the whole world! if he said that in Hong Kong, martial artists would line up at his front door to challenge him. He was in the U.S. at that time. The wing chun clan in Hong Kong just smiled and sat back to watch the show, because we knew the gun wasn’t pointed at us. We knew that Bruce was trying to stir up trouble!

In our youth, during the 1950s, we did the same to other gung-fu systems. That was how wing chun’s name spread. Now Bruce was doing the same in the U.S., but with his personal credit and name. if he won the challenges, he gained fame. if he lost, it was his personal style that suffered, not wing chun. The question was, who dared to test out Bruce to see his bottom card? That was the same game we played from the old days.

When the “Green Hornet” and “Longstreet” series played on TV, people liked the characters Bruce played. His fans loved the series, martial artists loved it, and gung-fu guys loved it. It starred a Chinese gung-fu guy, so maybe people forgot what he said. He made it. Later on, when his movies premiered, the characters he played spoke out for all martial artists. Bruce made his opponents become his friends when he became a hero. The challenges were over, and he won the world over to his side.

The real enemy

Bruce’s real enemy was his mind. When he became successful, his fans wanted more. He continued to work out very hard, but no longer had people challenging him. Before he died, I saw Bruce on TV. He looked exhausted, he lost weight and was ill-tempered. He wasn’t the Bruce I knew before. Bruce had strayed too far from the center. We always said, “When you play the game, it’s very exciting. But when you’re controlled by the game, you have no way out. It’s terrible, you have to pay for it.”

In wing chun, the term “centerline” not only refers to the line in fighting, it also refers to your mind, the things you do, the problems you solve, the way that you live your life. If you stray too far to the right or left, it takes some time to return to the center. The center has no opinion.

To Confucius, the centered mind sees clearly. In life, your yin and yang must be balanced for you to be in the center. Bruce’s followers should know that his main theme or center of his art is intercepting.

Whenever anyone says he teaches Bruce’s art, he is making it a classical art. This was against the jeet kune do founder’s rules. Remember the essence of Bruce’s jeet kune do is embodied in the three qualities of simplicity, directness and economy of motion in entering the target. Bruce said it was a daily decrease, not a daily increase. His followers are not supposed to mimic the way he moved, but use their fighting knowledge to represent the three qualities. If any martial artist expresses these three qualities, he is doing jeet kune do. Bruce’s followers do not own jeet kune do. If you can express the three qualities and intercept in combat, you can say you are doing jeet kune do.

Bruce didn’t leave tools behind to support the concept of jeet kune do. Bruce was a wing chun man. His research was to prove the wing chun concept of the centerline, which is the fastest line of entry. Bruce’s speed and timing were an expression of that concept. Again, I say Bruce’s followers lack his physical ability because they fall short in his mother art, wing chun.

Wing chun was born out of frustration to find the quickest, most efficient way to fight. The founder of wing chun must have found no way out. Wing chun is designed as a combat system. For this reason, the system emphasizes confidence, timing, intercepting, capturing the centerline, shocking the opponent, setting up for consecutive strikes, and trapping. Jeet kune do was born out of Bruce’s frustration. That frustration made him search, experiment and develop into the legend that he is today.


In writing this series, I hoped to have proved that Bruce’s jeet kune do is research and development. Some of Bruce’s followers are teaching JKD incorrectly. Jeet kune do is the art of using simple, direct, economical motions to intercept in one beat. Jeet kune do is not a style or system, and does not feature unique tools; it is a means to check your current system to refine it further and monitor your progress. JKD custom-tailors your martial arts with your own “non-classical” movement.

Bruce left behind a martial arts system or systems, but they are not jeet kune do. Many call their art jeet kune do, but are teaching their personal interpretation which may or may not have anything to do with Bruce’s jeet kune do. Finally, jeet kune do was a means for Bruce to check and prove the wing chun concept of the centerline. He finally proved to Yip Man that he could achieve this without staying in the classical system.

My intention here is to help Bruce’s followers and clarify jeet kune do, not destroy or downgrade them. In this way, we can preserve Bruce’s ideas and memory for all time. I don’t want to cause political problems. I just want people to evaluate their efforts in promoting jeet kune do.

I was Bruce’s close friend and training partner. I came here in 1978 to promote wing chun. I have been pretty low key about my relationship with him. The public always knew we were close friends, but I never discussed much about his martial arts. The goal of these articles was also to clarify the connection between wing chun and Bruce’s jeet kune do. If I have frustrated any of Bruce’s followers, it is because I want them to question themselves and analyze their efforts. Jeet kune do was born out of Bruce’s frustration, but I don’t think many of Bruce’s followers suffered that same frustration. It was that suffering and frustration that made Bruce aspire to greater heights. Too many of Bruce’s followers have deviated from Bruce’s original intention.

These articles were written with the hope of helping my dear lifelong friend cleanup the mess he left behind. May we all let Bruce Lee rest in peace.


chisaoBruce Lee’s Classical Mess:
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