Jeet Kune Do vs. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

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Recently I watched a video that was posted by Kyokushinbul on Facebook entitled “Wing Chun vs. Brazilian Jiujitsu”.  Here’s the link:

It shows an MMA fight with a traditional Wing Chun stylist vs. a Brazilian Jiujitsu practitioner.  In the fight, the Wing Chun man storms forward attempting a straight blast.  Almost immediately they come together with the BJJ man dropping into a double leg take down.  He takes side control, anchors a knee on the Wing Chun man’s chest and pounds away.  The Wing Chun man turns away and the BJJ man sinks in a choke submitting the other man within about 20 seconds.  Done.

It seems that Brazilian Jiujitsu is by far the superior system.  But is it?  Under these circumstances, the BJJ was clearly superior.  You have to hand it to the Gracie’s because in creating the UFC they dispelled a great deal of myths about the effectiveness of fighting styles that are better in theory than application.   But let’s take a look at the conditions of a real self-defense scenario and see if these principles still hold up.

The deficiency in the Wing Chun man’s defense was clearly inaccuracy and the inability to fight on the ground.  We could certainly attribute the deficiencies to the individual and not the system, but if we examine the Wing Chun system – there isn’t a great deal of training that takes place on the ground.  And anyone who fights will tell you – no matter how good you are at striking, you’re going to miss sometimes.  It’s a fantasy to assume that you’ll land every blow you attempt in a fight.

But what if there were more than one attacker?  If we perform an excellent takedown and are choking out one attacker, what are the other attackers doing?  Would they be watching?  No, they’d be kicking you in the back of the head.  So, this is a clear weakness in the BJJ system.  Dealing with multiple attackers has to do more with sprinting than wrestling.

The point of this debate is that the debate itself is flawed.  There is a wonderful video that highlights this fact from John Hackleman of “The Pit” and Master Wong:

In the video they say basically the same thing – it’s based on the man (or woman) and not the art itself.  So, I tricked you.  It’s not really a blog post about JKD vs. BJJ.  That’s actually absurd.  Because Jeet Kune Do is about adapting to any circumstance.

My old classical Japanese martial arts instructor Chadwick Minge stated this principle quite eloquently.  When asked how would he deal with me – I was in my 30’s and fighting kickboxing.  He said simply, “I’d stand back and shoot”.  Now this was coming from a former special forces guy who has seen plenty of real action in his life.  And that my friends, is a realistic response.  He wouldn’t go toe to toe with a younger, stronger opponent.  He would use whatever means met his end.  He would survive. 

And that is the difference between being an armchair quarterback spouting off about how one art is better than the other while watching a UFC on TV and someone who has actually done it.  Jeet Kune Do was developed as an approach to realistic combat.  It means using whatever works to go home to your family, not collecting a trophy. 

Now there are plenty of MMA guys and plenty of BJJ guys who are quite aware of the difference.  But perhaps we shouldn’t get so hung up on which “style” is best.  Bruce Lee said it had nothing to do with style.  One of his primary philosophical influences was Jiddu Krisnamurti.  If you read Krisnamurti’s work, you’ll know that he was an advocate of breaking down all barriers.  He said that we would never know true freedom until the barriers between race, nations, religions were all eliminated.  In doing so our true humanity and commonalities are revealed.

Perhaps there’s more we can learn when we set aside the ego and just practice “being” rather than criticizing others.

You can watch the full video here!:

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