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Interview with Prof. Carter Hargrave - President of the World JKD Federation and of the American Combat Kempo Association

Carter Hargrave
Professor Hargrave started training while he was still a kid. He has kept training eversince. He holds many black belts in various styles such as Tae Kwon Do, Aikido, Jeet Kune Do.... His devotion has earned him many recognition from many martial arts associations and even from the US senate. He is also knowed as President of the World Jeet Kune Do Federation and President of the American Combat Kempo Association

Can you tell me briefly the main concept of JKD?

The main concept of JKD is to end the fight as soon as possible with efficient effective techniques, while minimizing your exposure to injury. The longer the fight goes on; the greater the chance for injury.

Did Bruce Lee ever had the time to complete the system or did any of his student finish it for him?

Yes Bruce completed the JKD system. It is only those who wish to gain financially or gain in notoriety that claim this is what JKD would have evolved into in Bruce had lived. In Lee's three schools there are three different phases of JKD, with greater focus on different teaches at all three. First was the almost pure wing chun phase. Then combat modified gung fu with influences from Muhammad Ali boxing and French Fencing, and lastly grappling stage. JKD is a complete self defense art, if all stages are brought together as we have done. No student finished it for him though some tried without success as it should be. The art is Lee's.

When Bruce Lee said "use no way as a way..." What did he mean? Isn't use no way as a way a bit paradoxal. I mean, isn't "using no way as a way" some kind of a way itself?

"no way as a way, No limitation as limitation"
Many of Lee's philosophies are quite up to interpretation. use no way as a way..." We feel that what is meant is use what works for you in JKD. Unlike many arts which require the student to mimic the technique absolutely or it is WRONG, JKD lets you do the technique within your physical limits to the best of your personal ability. How can it be wrong if that is your best and it is effective for you? use no way as a way..." follow no one, do it your way.

We all heard of JKD philosophy but seldom see the martial art. Is there such a thing as JKD as a martial art, with its fixed movements and forms and everything that comes along with a system or is JKD mainly philosophy.

JKD is a fixed martial art with techniques all its own. There are set maneuvers, punches, kicks, footwork, trapping and grabbing techniques and lastly finishing moves and throws. So next time you hear someone say "JKD is what you make it" or "make any art into your JKD" you will know that they know nothing of the JKD. It is my personal opinion, that some of the many philosophical terms surrounding the art have mostly confused the public as to what JKD is and is not, and Lee enjoyed the mystery and secrecy created by this. I think he would look down at us today in all of the confusion and bickering and smile knowing that he had succeeded in making us think and question.

With Bruce Lee's popularity, many people dreamed to become a Jeet Kune Do master and lots of people took advantage of that to open schools, and to write books, claiming they hold the ultimate Jeet Kune Do systems. Is it possible they know JKD or are they frauds?

There are good teachers and there are bad teachers. Unfortunately JKD seems to have more frauds than most styles. Some of that blame must lie with the founder and all of the mystery and secrecy, but since we do not plan to die young, he intended to watch over it. The united States has the least amount of frauds. In other countries it is staggering. I am not a fan of JKD Concepts, although I do like the Filipino martial arts. This is where many problems arise. For many years if a teacher was licensed to teach the Filipino arts many considered them a JKD instructor. This has come to a screeching halt these days with the internet it is easy to check out someone's credentials. JKD is Wing Chun based and not Filipino anything. They are two separate and effective arts. One is JKD and one is not.

How can we tell if a teacher knows the real thing or did he just read a lot of Bruce Lee related books?

If it looks like what Bruce Lee did in the movies, get the heck outta there.

What should we look for in a good JKD instructor?

Wing Chun based teachings. Good at making you understand the moves. Just because someone is a great JKD fighter, does in no way make them a teacher. I have seen great JKD practitioners that could not instruct you how to make a fist. They can't put the moves into coherent thoughts and words. Must be associated with some organization otherwise your certificates are almost worthless.


I noticed there are a lot of books and videos on Bruce Lee's life and also Bruce Lee's fighting method. Do you think someone can learn Jeet Kune Do by training according to books videos on Jeet Kune Do?

The only books a prospective student should read on JKD are those written by Bruce Lee. All the others only confuse. When you find a teacher they will provide the JKD materials to you, as you will never find real JKD manuals in any bookstore. If you have learned things from video before, you should be able to learn JKD. It depends on the persons ability. Some could never do it that way.

To learn more about Professor Hargrave or his organization, check out Hargrave Martial Arts

Interview done by Hao Wong
Copyright ©2000 Martial Arts Research Center. All rights reserved

Last Updated on Sunday, 28 November 2010 21:22  

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