Jeet Kune Do: is it Kung Fu?

One of the frequent questions people ask when knowing about Jeet Kune Do is if it is a type of Kung Fu. The reason is that Jeet Kune Do’s founder is Bruce Lee and it was inspired by Wing Chun. Since Jeet Kune Do is made by a Chinese, most of us automatically think of JKD as a form of Kung Fu. But if Jeet Kune Do really Kung Fu?

Jeet Kune Do is not Kung Fu. Kung Fu is a Chinese-based martial art developed by saints and monks which focuses on living life with endurance, discipline, and life skills. However, Jeet Kune Do is a Chinese-based martial art developed by Bruce Lee that focuses on self-defense moves.

What is Kung Fu? And is there any difference between Kung Fu and martial arts? What makes JKD different from Kung Fu? Let’s discuss it!

Is Jeet Kune Do Kung Fu? 

Jeet Kune Do is not Kung Fu because their moves are quite different from each other. Kung Fu focuses on making circular and flashy moves while the focus of Jeet Kune Do is on its effectiveness as a martial art. While they have some similarities which is the focus on self-defense and skills, one is more practical than the other.

Jeet Kune Do is a well-renowned martial artist, Bruce Lee, who created a technique based on his philosophies, inspired by the Wing Chun style.

Kung Fu is a Chinese-based martial art.

Kung Fu was created by the saints and monks of the early centuries.

It involves learning and then practicing all the teachings to get good results. It also has a lot to teach us.

Kung Fu teaches us the way of living and also how to survive under harsh conditions. It teaches us endurance, tolerance, discipline, and various skills. This requires dedication and a stable mind.

While Jeet Kune Do is a combination of martial arts techniques, it is based on the philosophy that helps individuals know themselves.

There are no hard and fast rules in Jeet Kune Do. JKD also teaches us skills and how to deal with a challenging situations.

Most of us know that JKD is a method with several techniques and strategies, including martial arts, karate, etc.

But the question is if JKD is Kung Fu.

In some instances, both JKD and Kung Fu have similarities and are martial arts that consist of martial arts techniques.

That’s why there is some sort of confusion between the two.

But, that’s where their similarity ends.

So, JKD is different from all kinds of Kung Fu.

It has a lot to do with ideas on how Kung Fu should work or how it should be used.

JKD is also known for the way of intercepting the fist, which means it emphasizes self-defense.

JKD is a method about reacting rapidly and making the step to protect yourself.

JKD involves a set of slight movements with a little amount of energy. There are a lot of expressions involved in Jeet Kune Do which helps to understand other’s feelings.

And that’s why some consider JKD as a philosophy.

If we talk about Kung Fu, it is more than an expression game.

Kung Fu is your expression of your environment. It is how you react to your environment. It doesn’t end with martial arts but also teaches discipline, endurance, and various life skills.

I know it is quite hard to understand, but let me explain further in the next section.

Reason why Jeet Kune Do is not Kung Fu

Here are some points to understand easily why JKD is not Kung Fu

  1. Jeet Kune Do is developed by Bruce Lee while Kung Fu is developed by monks and saints
  2. Kung Fu focuses on flashy moves while Jeet Kune Do is focused on conserving energy
  3. Jeet Kune Do focuses on understanding your opponent while Kung Fu focuses on just practicing skills

To give some more points, here is why Jeet Kune Do is often thought of like Kung Fu

  1. Both are considered as Chinese Martial Arts
  2. Both are made by a Chinese
  3. Both teaches self-defense aand skills

As explained earlier, both are martial art techniques, but Jeet Kune Do and Kung Fu differ from each other.

Their main goal is to teach self-defense and skills.

Both of them think that mind and physical fitness are equally important. They play an essential role in various combat sport activities.

But they differ in the method of teaching.

Let’s get into why they differ from each other and the main reasons behind it.

JDK is not Kung Fu because Kung Fu movements are more likely to be circular, enhancing its grace with flashy moves. It is, therefore, mostly called a soft style of martial arts.

That’s why you’ll see some flashy moves in Kung Fu movies.

The problem is that those moves are flashy but not very energy efficient.

That’s where Jeet Kune Do is different.

Jeet Kune Do’s philosophy is to use what are the best moves. They don’t care for flashy moves.

Instead, they prefer using moves that might look boring but effective.

It is because Jeet Kune Do is played under a specific set of rules and is way more towards physical skills.

That’s why Jeet Kune Do is more like a mind game. It teaches its students to evolve and learn whatever works best for them.

In Jeet Kune Do, you need to understand the opponent’s expressions, and read their minds

The reason is for you to counter fast and you can easily knock them down.

In Jeet Kune Do, actions and movements are taken according to the situation without applying a specific strategy. You just read the mind of your opponent and make a move accordingly.

So both differ from each other because one is a mind game based on the opponent’s expressions and a bit of technique.

Jeet Kune Do does not involve a lot of physical work but can be done simply by using little energy and a sudden or fast action strategy.

At the same time, Kung Fu is expressionless with no awareness of the next move of the opponent. It is more about the physical game and requires a lot of skills.

So here is my point.

Kung Fu focuses on flashy moves like what you’ll see in Kung Fu movies. Jeet Kune Do doesn’t care for those flashy moves because they are solely focused on fighting efficiently.

That’s why this is one of my arguments in why JKD is one of the best martial art when it comes to being practical. You can find the article here if you’re interested in knowing more about JKD. Here is the link: Why is Jeet Kune Do the best Martial Art

What kind of martial arts is Jeet Kune Do?

Jeet Kune Do is a Hybrid martial art which means that it is a combination or a blend of multiple martial arts. The reason is that its founder, Bruce Lee, got many moves and techniques from other martial arts and formed it into his own which is now known as Jeet Kune Do.

There are several martial arts techniques, but the one most involved in Jeet Kune Do is Hybrid Martial Arts.

Let’s discuss Hybrid martial art.

Jeet Kune Do is adapted from philosophy and experiences from the life of Bruce Lee. He was very inspired and influenced by the philosophy said to him by his master.

Hybrid martial arts involve straightforward, non-classical, and natural movements.

And that clearly defines Jeet Kune Do.

It is found that various martial arts adapt an idea from other arts while hybrid martial art has its different origins.

Hybrid martial arts involves a fighting system that includes methods and strategies from numerous martial arts.

It is also sometimes called freestyle fighting.

Hybrid martial arts also don’t involve a set of rules like JKD.

That’s why it is mainly used in Jeet Kune Do because it contains a blend of techniques and freestyle fighting.

Because of these movements, it is easy to cope up with your opponent with slight motion and extreme speed, and significant effect.

It is easy to deal with your opponent in this method, and with little energy and great speed, you can easily defeat your opponents with hybrid martial arts. It teaches you various skills and also maintains your physical health.

Although it consists of multiple disciplines, it forms a robust combat system when combined under the same philosophy.


From the above discussion, we learned that Jeet Kune Do and Kung Fu are related to each other and are both martial art techniques.

They are related but not exactly the same.

That’s why I gave some insights into their similarities and differences.

There is a difference in both of the activities as Jeet Kune Do involves thinking while Kung Fu is more of an expression game.

Jeet Kune Do is a hybrid martial art inspired by Bruce Lee. It has some pretty precise movements and doesn’t have specific rules, making it more related to hybrid martial arts.

So, we can say that Jeet Kune Do is a mixture of multiple disciples, and all together, it carves out to be one of the potent combat systems.   

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