Jacky and Sarah Bryant are brother and sister characters that both use Jeet Kune Do, the Way of the Intercepting Fist. Bruce Lee created this method of fighting in 1967. Interestingly, they don’t fight the same at all. Typically in fighting games, these two would be clones of each other, but instead, they have totally unique movesets. Jacky, however, stays truer to the actual moves that Bruce Lee showed off in his movies. While some of the games insist she uses JKD, Sarah appears to use more of a Tae Kwon Do inspired fighting style.
Inspiration for his design
Most video games shamelessly steal Bruce Lee’s signature look. Street Fighter, Tekken, Dead or Alive, Mortal Kombat, they all do it. Virtual Fighter, however, idolizes somebody else’s look entirely.
Jeet Kune Do, aka JKD
The Way of the Intercepting Fist differs from most martial arts because of its complete non-conformity. Calling it a style disrespects the intent behind it, but it must be called something for the sake of discussion. Most styles, especially classical Chinese and Japanese styles, are very rigid in their teaching. There are proper stances and forms, techniques and methods.
In Jeet Kune Do, the philosophy is “Use what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is essentially your own.” I personally try to live by this philosophy for all things in life, not just martial arts. It is intended to be the most straightforward, scientific way to defeat an opponent. Bruce Lee emphasized a small number of techniques, ones that are useful in most situations. He likened this mentality to a sculptor, as the artist has a block of clay and takes away what isn’t needed.
You may be familiar with the excellent Ip Man movies starring Donnie Yen. If you’re not, you should stop right now and go watch them. Or…At least the first one or two. But if you have time watch all three, they’re totally worth it. Donnie Yen played Chirrut Imwe’ in Rogue One, and showed an audience largely unaware of him how good he is at martial arts what he can do. Donnie Yen portrayed Ip Man (pronounced “Yip”), who was Bruce Lee’s Kung Fu teacher. He taught a troublesome young Bruce Lee the art of Wing Chun and started him down the path he would stay on for the rest of his life.
Bruce became very proficient in the style, but after some years decided he was too restricted in it. While abandoning it for western boxing, he kept some of the core techniques, such as “Chi Sao”, aka sticky hands. This is a defensive maneuver where you stay in contact with your opponents hands, keeping them from being able to attack you properly. Jacky performs this move in Virtua Fighter 5 by not blocking a punch. He automatically grapples with the opponents hands, pushing them out of the way leaving them open for a counterpunch. It’s very impressive looking and I’ve always been thrilled that it’s in the game.
The makings of a new style
Preceeding Jeet Kune Do, it is most common to hear about Bruce and Wing Chun together, however, he did not stay with that style. He decided to incorporate other styles to become a more well-rounded fighter. To learn grapplinge, he went on to learn Jiu-Jitsu from Wally Jay. As a boxing fan, he would obsessively watch Muhammad Ali fight in the ring. Interestingly, he thought he could fight better as a southpaw (left side forward), so he would set up a mirror next to the TV and watch the fight in the reflection. That way, he could actually watch Ali fight left handed.
It’s interesting to watch Bruce Lee’s movies and see examples of MMA years before it exploded in popularity. He gets Kung Fu star Sammo Hung in a crazy kind of arm bar at the beginning of Enter the Dragon. He puts basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in a guillotine choke hold in Game of Death. His influence is so great that he was added to the game EA Sports UFC and is regularly said to be an inspiration to many of today’s biggest fighters.
What caused Bruce to form this new style? It was his distaste for classical martial arts, which emphasized tradition over efficiency. He felt is was more important to fight effectively than it was to uphold tradition, which actually made him a lot of enemies. Bruce would openly insult other styles and talk about how worthless they were. Insults and arrogance were also at odds with the humility of a disciplined martial artist.
Challengers would line up, ready to fight him. He was not a well liked person within the martial arts community at the time. There were a few actual duels that he participated in, most famously, the one against Wong Jack Man. It was a closed door match, with only a few other people in the room, one of which was his wife, Linda Lee.
This fight has become wildly fictionalized. According to Linda Lee’s account, he basically chased Wong Jack Man around a room for several minutes. As a Northern Shaolin student, Wong was quite acrobatic. Despite these two men’s ability, the fight was far from elegant. Bruce finally got in some punches, Wong fell, and Bruce got on top of him, pummeling him with punches until he yielded.
Some examples of Jeet Kune Do
While I could sit here and attempt to explain the depths and philosophies of Jeet Kune Do, I’d rather let Bruce Lee do it in his own words. In his quest to spread his method, he decided that TV and movies would be the best way to explain it, rather than teaching individual students. Here is a clip from the show Longstreet, a short lived drama from 1971 about a blind insurance investigator. Bruce Lee spends time helping this man to learn how to fight. This episode has Bruce quoting much of his book, the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, making it quite informative.
Here are some examples of Jacky Bryant using Jeet Kune Do in Virtua Fighter 2 for Saturn and then again in Virtua Fighter 5 Final Showdown for PlayStation 3. Because this was taken from an online match, Jacky has been customized to look pretty ridiculous.
Do you think Sega did a good job of emulating Jeet Kune Do for Virtua Fighter? Let us know in the comments below!