Jeet Kune Do: Is it Fake?

When we look at Jeet Kune Do, it is common to see many people claiming that they are the authentic ones and the others are fake. Also, since Jeet Kune Do is a mix of martial arts, there are comments saying that it’s not a real martial art. So, Is Jeet Kune Do really fake? Let’s find out.

Jeet Kune Do is fake because people see it as a hybrid or a combination of multiple martial arts. Furthermore, it also lacks a governing body which solidified the point that people have no idea which is the authentic one. However, Jeet Kune Do is an ideal martial art for self-defense making it real.

In this blog post, I have compiled reasons that make Jeet Kune Do real, and not real. Thus, you will see both sides of the coin. This is important because you really need to decide for yourself what you believe in. Don’t worry because I will also tell you what I think at the end of this post.

What makes Jeet Kune Do fake?

What makes Jeet Kune Do fake is the lack of standardization and Bruce Lee’s untimely death. Bruce Lee didn’t give any set of standards to set and didn’t select a successor from his students. Because of this, we have no idea which is the authentic Jeet Kune Do school.

Jeet Kune Do might be fake because of Bruce Lee’s untimely death.

Furthermore, there is no standardization on Jeet Kune Do, unlike other martial arts so it can be hard to know which is real.

That’s why there are lots of schools claiming they are the real Jeet Kune Do.

But there are more things to consider as to why JKD might be fake. Let’s talk of some more.

Reasons why people think JKD is fake

1. Jeet Kune Do is a Hybrid Martial Art

Jeet Kune Do differs from martial arts in several ways. As a result, we cannot call this true martial art.

One such reason is that Jeet Kune Do is a forgery of martial arts.

What I mean by this is that Jeet Kune Do came from a combination of multiple martial arts.

Jeet Kune Do took a lot of moves from multiple martial arts, cherry-picked the best ones, and turned it into JKD.

Jeet Kune Do is a combination of martial arts such as Wing Chun, Boxing, Kali, Fencing, and many more martial arts.

That’s why some say that Jeet Kune Do is actually fake since it just copied moves from others.

And that came from Bruce Lee which is JKD’s founder.

Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do (aka Original JKD) is a hybrid system that integrates western boxing, western fencing, and greatly modified Wing Chun principles, the term “mixed martial arts” might be used to it because it is a hybrid art.

That’s right. Technically, JKD is a Mixed Martial Art or MMA but it is not being used in MMA.

One reason is that some JKD moves are illegal in MMA but that’s a topic for another article. If you are interested as to why Jeet Kune Do is not seen in MMA, you may check this article I’ve made here: Why is JKD not MMA

2. Jeet Kune Do lacks a governing body

Now, the second reason why people think JKD is not real is that we don’t know the real authentic Jeet Kune Do.

In my other blog post about if Jeet Kune Do is being taught, I discussed the two main schools of Jeet Kune Do.

These are Contemporary Jeet Kune Do and Original Jeet Kune Do, both of which are claiming that they are the authentic ones.

If you are interested in knowing more about them and their differences, then I invite you to read the blog post I’ve made here: Is Jeet Kune Do still taught?

But here is my point.

Bruce Lee died in 1973 which is sudden and was not expected by a lot of people.

He was only 32 that time so nobody really expected this to happen.

But the problem here is he also left Jeet Kune Do without any proper heir if you will.

Usually, a founder or leader will leave a rightful successor from his students or make a set of standards for the said martial art.

This didn’t happen in Jeet Kune Do.

That’s why after his death, many of his students founded their own schools each claiming that they teach the authentic Jeet Kune Do.

But how would we know which is authentic if we do not know what is the real one in the first place?

Let’s compare Jeet Kune Do to other martial arts.

Since I personally studied Taekwondo, I am going to compare it with Taekwondo.

Did I study Authentic or Real Taekwondo? Absolutely!

How did I know that? Well, there is the World Taekwondo Federation which sets the standards on what Authentic Taekwondo is.

Since my school is accepted by the World Taekwondo Federation, I can be sure that what I am learning is correct and the real deal.

For example, to be able to progress our belt, we need to have a standardized test with all the schools. That way, a yellow belter whatever school you are from knows the following types of kicks.

In short, we all have the same test to progress our belt.

That is different from Jeet Kune Do.

Jeet Kune Do has none of this. Most will just claim that they are the authentic Jeet Kune Do.

In fact, even their belt progression might be different from one school to another.

For these 2 reasons, Jeet Kune Do can be considered a fake martial art.

But for me, if we look at Jeet Kune Do, it is still a real martial art. Let’s find out why.

What makes Jeet Kune Do a real martial art?

What makes Jeet Kune Do a real martial art is because it is still being used as a form of self-defense. In fact, Jeet Kune Do is one of the best martial arts when it comes to actual fights. Furthermore, like other martial arts, Jeet Kune Do teaches respect for other people and discipline making it real martial art.

Let’s start with Jeet Kune Do still teaching respect and discipline.

While I explained a lot about Jeet Kune Do not real martial art, I personally still consider JKD a real one.


1. Jeet Kune Do teaches self-respect and discipline

For one, Jeet Kune Do imbues respect and discipline.

Bruce Lee left a book in Jeet Kune Do which is called the Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

This book teaches Jeet Kune Do’s philosophy as well as respecting others and preventing fights when necessary.

For me, it is one of the most important things martial arts teach us.

2. Jeet Kune Do is a constantly Evolving Martial Art

Second, Jeet Kune Do is just different from traditional martial arts.

For the sake of tradition, traditional martial arts won’t care if their moves aren’t effective or not.

That is actually one of the things Bruce Lee solved in Jeet Kune Do.

Unlike other martial arts, Jeet Kune Do is an evolving martial art which means that it doesn’t care if the move has a history. As long as there is a move that’s better, it will change.

This constant evolution is what Jeet Kune Do has that others don’t. This is also one of the advantages of JKD since they don’t have any governing body to stop them from constantly changing for the better.

3. Jeet Kune Do is effective in Self Defense

Lastly, Jeet Kune Do is really effective in self-defense.

One of the main purposes of martial art is to teach us self-defense.

Then if that’s the case, well Jeet Kune Do is a martial art.

In fact, its self-defense training is the one closest to the real fighting scenario. Well except for Krav Maga.

But since actual fights and Jeet Kune Do don’t have rules, its core principles and movements are made for fighting in the streets.

For more information on why I made an exception for Krav Maga, you may check this blog post I’ve made here: Jeet Kune Do vs Krav Maga: Which is better?


As you can see, there are many points that tell Jeet Kune Do is fake and there are also sources telling that Jeet Kune Do is not.

This will ultimately be based on how you look and perceive things.

If you look at it in the light that it is just a mix of multiple martial arts, then you might say that it’s fake.

If you look at it as a really effective form of self-defense, then it is real.

But if you are going to ask me.

I believe that Jeet Kune Do has the right to be real martial art. It has everything you need to do to learn how you would defend yourself, and it is one of the unique martial arts that allow change.

So if you are someone who doesn’t like to be limited by a lot of rules, then go for Jeet Kune Do.

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