The name itself is a bit strange, as if someone jumbled up the dialects. If "Tao" is the archaic Mandarin transcription for 道 (meaning "the way"), then it would either be "Dao of Jie Quan Dao" in Mandarin ("Tao of Chieh Ch'üan Tao" using the archaic transcription) or else "Do of Jeet Kune Do" in Cantonese ("Dou of Zit-Kyun-Dou" to use the current transcription).

What do Cantonese-speakers refer to it as?

  • Neither Cantonese or Mandarin would be using "of," right? So, what do you mean? Refer to it as in English?
    – Mou某
    Apr 3, 2017 at 4:51
  • 1
    I assume s/he means that the same character is transcribed in two different ways in the same title. Interesting phenomenon, actually. I assume the Tao is transcribed that way because of other titles incorporating that. Very few English speakers know what "Do" here would mean, but quite a few would recognise "Tao".
    – Olle Linge
    Apr 3, 2017 at 11:23

2 Answers 2


Bruce Lee was trying to create an original 'school' of martial art style of his own.

What do Cantonese-speakers refer to it as?

We consider the in 截拳 (Jeet Kune Do) is the same ones in 跆拳道 (Tae Kwon Do) and 柔道(Judo).

道 in 截拳道 actually represents 'school of martial art style'. It has very little real connection with the other 道 (Tao /the way) - a school of Chinese philosophical thinking

  • 截拳 - intercept fist

'fist' represents 'strikes/ movements' in martial art

  • 道 - School of martial art style
  • 之道 - philosophy of

"截拳道之道" [zit6 kyun4 dou6 zi1 dou6] literally means "The way (philosophy) of movements interception style martial art"

Actually the concept of 截拳(intercept movements) was not an original concept Bruce Lee invented. It was very much borrowed from the 詠春拳 (Wing Chun style martial art) he had studied under the famous Wing Chun grandmaster 葉問 Yip Man in his youth.


in chinese, this book is "截拳道之道"

there was a book named "the tao of physics", which was published in 1970s. as i remember (might be wrong ;-); that, it's the first book used "the tao of" as the starting of title. then, there're books following this structure.

"tao of jeet kune do" by bruce lee, is one of them.

about the romanisation of 截拳道 to "jeet kune do", in nowadays' view, it's non-standard. well, it was invented in the 1960s, imo, this name has an exotic feel, and is quite good.

below, i used sydney lau scheme to show the logic of such romanisation:

截 jit6 sound file

well it starts with j & ends with t, now change the "i" to "ee", you'll have "jeet" (in english, try to pronounce "jee" of "jeep" & "t" of "it" together, very fast; then compare to the above sound file)

拳 kuen4 sound file

then, "kune" is derived from "kuen".

道 do6 sound file

voila, at least this one is exact matched :)

have fun :)

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