Bruce Lee Jeet Kune Do ‘Commentaries on the Martial Way’

​Review by Chris Kent

​A new version of the BRUCE LEE Jeet Kune Do/ Commentaries on the Martial Way book is ​on the shelves from Tuttle Publishing.

This Jeet Kune Do book features Bruce Lee’s illustrative sketches, his remarkable notes and commentaries on the nature of combat and achieving success in life through the martial arts, as well as the importance of a positive mental attitude during training.  Also, there is a series of “Questions Every Martial Artist Must Ask Himself” that Lee posed to himself and intended to explore as part of his development, but never lived to complete.

​​​Chris Kent, renowned Jeet Kune Do authority, reviews the new book.

Chris Kent
John Little Book Editor

​”I like the Bruce Lee books that have been published by Tuttle Publishing (edited by John Little picture opposite).  I applaud John for the fantastic work he did in editing the material and moving it into the form that was required. However, I wish the martial art material could somehow have been left more in its original multi-volume format as opposed to being ​together in a single book — (Volume Three – Jeet Kune Do). I realize that this was a publishing decision​.”

“I consider myself extremely fortunate to have copies of Bruce Lee’s original seven-volume “Commentaries on the Martial Way” (both original and typed versions).   My teacher, Sifu Dan Inosanto, gave me my copies of the volumes many years ago and they are among my most cherished possessions.

Volumes 1-6 are comprised mainly of notes drawn from various research sources such as boxing and fencing books. There are also pages that are blank but which contain a single heading such as:

  • Successive parries in combination
  • Defence in filling the gap
  • Counter to a close range fighter – in R stance

As well, as pages (also left blank) headlined with a question such as:

 “What is my counter for a right-hander’s left cross that falls short?” “

​Inside Bruce Lee’s Training Journal

“Volume 7, however, is much more of a personal training journal with various comments and observations written out with dates before them, such as “Remember on Monday, Dec.8th…” I think that this volume gives the reader wonderful insight into Bruce’s thought processes concerning his martial investigation and research methods. To help you get a clear picture of what I mean I would like to share some of Bruce’s notes that are taken directly from Volume 7 —

Bruce Lee’s Note

​​​“Research Notes for November 12 (Thurs.) 1970”

# Specialized All-in Fighting

1)    Poking eyes

2)    Pulling hair — as immobilization, as release, as assist

3)    Biting — as release to disable and to attack in close

4)    Practice forearm pinching to hurt

5)    Grabbing groin

6)    specialize in under belt attack with kicks, strikes, punches, and grappling

# Let “body feel” on the forearm as a destructive weapon (use as loose club snap or club) alongside with elbowing.

 # Look into breaking the joint and limbs:

    Breaking by

a)    directed kicking — thrust kick, push thrust, snap kick

b)    Directed striking

c)    Limb locks by pressure

# Practice relaying inverted bottom fist to groin or “downed” opponent alongside

# Practice relaying snapping forearm smash — add to tools possibility” “


Bruce Lee with Dan Inosanto

​​Bruce Lee’s Notes continued

“# how can I be a master fighter?

Obtain “direct body feel” of devastating:-

a)    Throwing

b)    Left side kicking and punching

c)    Ground fighting

d)    hara in changes

Notes for Nov. 17(Tues.) 1970

Question: — get power in kicking during:-

(a)    On the spot same leg combination – high/low hook & shin/knee side, high/low and angle in hook kick

(b)    Alternate leg kicking, on the spot

(c)    Extended reaching, hooking reaching, close range thrusting

[Note: investigate into making a close range side kick always downward so as to avoiding jamming as well as adding a powerful tool]

Consider (c) in regards to range of “relaying kicking power” – consider kneeing in close range & stomping [balanced posture!]”

Chris Kent with Guro Dan Inosanto

​Bruce Lee’s Notes continued

“# Investigate into butting:-

1)    With head

2)    With hips and buttocks

3)    With shoulder

 # Investigate —

a)    Elbowing

b)    Kneeing

 # Investigate into fighting from ground —

1)    As attack into opponent

2)    As counter

3)    Using legs mainly

4)    Using legs and hand

(Develop such mastery that one can fight safely from the ground)

# Investigate into clawing with attempt to tear apart the

a)    Throat

b)    Groin

c)    Hair

#how can I be a master of “side kick”

(1)    Technique

         – must have a sense of “delicate ease”

(2)    Supplementary training & training”

Bruce Lee with Bob Baker

“Notes – Jan. 28 1971

To make PIA with leg more effective:   


(d)    (1-“one”), the first attack is deep, sudden with opponent), economical, well covered (with self) and above all, well balanced.

(e)     (1/2 – “and half”) the second halves must be (1) selecting those kicks that are fast and powerful (2) also those that do not deviate too much from on-guard as in fighting can be initiated.”

“The above are a few examples of how the material is laid out in the original volumes. ​ This material is now available to everyone in the Tuttle books.  However, it would have been nice for people to see how Bruce’s notes were originally organized.”

Chris Kent


​Jeet Kune Do was a revolutionary new approach to the martial arts in its time and is the principal reason why Bruce Lee is revered as a pioneer by martial artists today, many decades after his death. The development of his unique martial art form—its principles, core techniques, and lesson plans—are all presented in this book in Bruce Lee’s own words and notes. 

This book is the complete and official version of Jeet Kune Do which was originally published by Tuttle Publishing in cooperation with the Lee family in 1997. It is still the most comprehensive presentation of Jeet Kune Do available.

​About Chris Kent

With over 40 years’ experience, Chris Kent is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s foremost authorities on Jeet Kune Do, and has gained international recognition for his knowledge and leadership in perpetuating the art, training methods, and philosophy developed by Bruce Lee. Chris is regarded as one of the few individuals in the world having total comprehension of all facets of Lee’s martial art.

In 1973, Chris became the youngest and final member admitted into Dan Inosanto’s now fabled “Backyard JKD” group during Bruce Lee’s lifetime. He studied with and assisted Inosanto for over 13 years, mastering his skills and traveling extensively both nationally and internationally while serving as Inosanto’s personal assistant for seminars and public exhibitions. In 1982, Chris became one of the first students to be awarded the prestigious title of Full Instructor under Inosanto. He also appears in many of Dan Inosanto’s books on JKD including “Jeet Kune Do – The Art and Philosophy of Bruce Lee.”

Chris Kent is uniquely suited to the task of relating the martial philosophy of Bruce Lee. His friendship and affiliation with Lee’s family, personal assistants, students, and friends gives him a unique perspective concerning Jeet Kune Do.

Chris Kent Membership Card

Chris Kent with Dan Inosanto

​In the over four decades that he has been intimately involved in Jeet Kune Do, Chris has performed extensive research into the foundations of the art from a technical, philosophical, and spiritual perspective, as well as educating himself in the fields of exercise physiology, kinesiology, and human performance. His commitment to continuous development has made him one of the most sought after instructors of Jeet Kune Do and its applications.

In addition to his expertise in Jeet Kune Do, Chris is also a well-respected instructor in the Filipino martial arts known as Kali – Escrima – Arnis and holds the title of Full Instructor under Inosanto, as well as rankings in other martial arts.

Chris Kent

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