This eclectic system combines tactics from many other martial arts, combining the effective blocks and short-range punches of Wing Chun, the kicks of northern Kung Fu styles, and the techniques of western boxing, among others.
Lee emphasized the actual combat effectiveness of JKD, as opposed to memorization of "kata" forms in more traditional styles. A JKD practitioner must remain fluid, ready to deal with whatever unexpected occurrence happens next. While practicing western wrestling moves, Lee was once pinned by a skillful opponent, who asked what Lee would do if he actually found himself in this situation. Lee replied, "Well, I'd bite you, of course."
Along with the combat effectiveness was an emphasis on the "formlessness" of JKD. In essence, a true fighter is one without a "form" to tie them down. Lee's ultimate goal in JKD was to break down the barriers between styles, and seek a true fighting art, which he believed could only be found in the event of a fight.
In a sense, JKD is not a fighting style so much as a fighting philosophy. An apt statement is that "JKD is the link between Fight Club and Martial Arts." What many people describe as the weakness of traditional martial arts is its rote memorization. They argue, with a very good point, that these memorized movements will not be of help in an actual street fight. JKD does not make one a good fighter. It makes one a BETTER fighter. Applying JKD thought processes to a martial arts style may help to make use of the style seamless and effective in an actual combat situation.
Since Bruce Lee's death, JKD has split into two major branches: