Book Recommendation of the Month

September 2003 Book

--Posted by Riposte101 @ 10/16/03 00:02 PST.

Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee

As much as the Professional Ass Kicker thinks he kicks ass, he'll still never be better than me at it, let alone Bruce Lee, if he doesn't read this book. This guy could kick the shit out of the entire LU staff without breaking a sweat. I mean have you seen Enter the Dragon? He's got furious feet of ass kicking furiousness. He kicks so much ass my foot gets tired just watching him. Now let's get to the book recommendation, which is of course written by the supreme ass kicker by sheer volume himself, Mr. Lee.

The Tao of Jeet Kune Do is the posthumously published collection of notes scribbled down by Bruce Lee, mostly compiled in a six-month stay in a hospital after having injured his back and later compiled by his wife Brenda Lee into the book you see in the picture above. This book is a culmination of Lee's lifetime of study in the martial arts spanning numerous styles and forms. Both his library, that contained thousands of martial arts books and his practical experience all come through in this volume.

Bruce Lee's Tao of Jeet Kune Do is as revolutionary and influential a work to the study of hand-to-hand combat as Sun Tsu's Art of War is to warfare. Just as the Art of War was encompassing with detailed analysis's of troop movements, supply lines, terrain, troop morale, etc, Tao of Jeet Kune Do exhaustively explores all that goes into a fist fight.

The underlying philosophy of JKD is to be "formless." That is not to be limited by a specific style and to take what you find useful and throw away the rest. Thus, JKD is a personal study, as much a philosophy of as it is a style of fighting. Tao of Jeet Kune Do is the definitive guide to fighting and for those who have not read it, it will change your conceptions of personal combat forever.

JKD embodies what street fighting really is. No maneuver is off-limits; this includes eye-gouges, strikes to the groin, shin and throat.

The basics are covered in the beginning of the work and continue to steadily progress to more advanced techniques and the intricacies of combat. Lee covers cardiovascular conditioning workouts, weights, proper stances, movement, mechanics of the punch and kick, parries, ripostes, feints, cadence, etc...

Unique to this book is that when Lee tells the reader to do something it is always followed by an explanation as to why it is the most effective way that he has found of achieving the ultimate goal of kicking your opponent's ass.

One of the revolutionary ideas Bruce Lee had was that since ninety percent of the punching and kicking was done from the lead hand and leg; a fighter should adopt a southpaw stance to better utilize the strength of their stronger side. JKD boasts one of the best fighting stances in all of martial arts with the on-guard position. It is the perfect balance between attack, defense and mobility.

Bruce Lee's hastily written notes and caricatures litter the pages and many readers have complained that the work is disorganized and not easily approachable. The reason behind this is that the Tao of Jeet Kune Do was never meant to be a standalone work. Three other books, Bruce Lee's Fighting Method, Vol. 2: Basic Training, Bruce Lee's Fighting Method, Vol. 3: Skill in Techniques, Bruce Lee's Fighting Method, Vol. 4: Advanced Techniques are intended to be read concurrently with it.

I would highly recommend that all people at least take a look at his most approachable work in his series, Basic Training. It is brimming with instructional photographs of the man himself displaying his various techniques and training. While Basic Training is the most accessible work, Tao of Jeet Kune Do is the most important of the series, because it outlines the guiding philosophies of JKD, hence, the reason for the recommendation of this book.