16 Jan 2011

Ung Moon. A form invented by Bruce Lee.

Written by: Gianfranco

What is the Ung Moon?

The Ung Moon is a form invented by Bruce Lee around 1964-1965, during the Jun Fan Gung Fu era, therefore prior to the foundation of Jeet Kune Do. The name “Ung Moon” means “5 gates“, because as a primary pourpose it teaches to deal with attacks from five angles (high left, high right, low left, low right, center).

Bruce Lee believed that the sequences in this form would be helpful for new students to learn some of the basic Wing Chun moves, like simunltaneous attack and defence (Lin Sil Die Dar), Biu Jee (thrusting fingers) variations, and some options for hands strikes after trapping.

Even if the teaching of the Ung Moon was abandoned by Bruce Lee at some point, Dan Inosanto thought that the form was still benefical for new Jeet Kune Do students, and today it’s still incorporated in the Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do Curriculum / Program of the Inosanto Academy.

You may wonder: “why should one train a form in an art that is supposed to be ‘formless’ and when Bruce Lee himself argued that forms are dead patterns that don’t lead to the truth in combat?” Well, the question could arise a long discussion about the understanding of the “formless” aspect of JKD, but I’m just going to say that the Ung Moon is tought in the Jeet Kune Do curriculum for historical reasons, since the fundation of JKD is the Jun Fan Gung Fu, but also because it still has undeniable values for beginners (and not ony).

Performing the Ung Moon

In Ung Moon every move is executed with the left side of the body first and than with the right one. Before starting the actual sequence, the student will execute the Gin Lai (salutation), followed by the Yee Chi Kim Jang Ma (Wing Chun neutral stance), and by the Bi Jong (fighting stance) with the right lead.

One singularity about the Ung Moon is that the whole form is executed by speacking the names of the moves, which is a good way to memorize the names, actually, and I personally think that the fact of adding the voice element in synchonization with the moves helps to build confidence in the student, and as a teacher you can evaluate the execution of the form even by the voice tone, voice-level and emphasis.

The Sequence

Here’s the sequence. The form is actaully divided in 5 sections (I’ve put a line-space to indicate the sections). The number 16 moves (Biu Gee – Boang Sao – Lop Sao) is a prefix to each of the moves that follow.

Please note that the following words could be written differently (it’s Chinese-Cantonese and some spell it differently than others, but the phonetics should be the same).

  • 1) Tan Sao Da
  • 2) Biu Sao Da
  • 3) Ha Woang Pak Da
  • 4) Goang Sao Da
  • 5) Ha Pak Da
  • 6) Loy Woang Pak Biu Jee
  • 7) Noy Woang PakBiu Jee
  • 8) Noy Biu Jee
  • 9) Loy Biu Jee
  • 10) Toy Sao Biu Jee
  • 11) Go Lon Sao Da
  • 12) Lon Sao Da
  • 13) Lon Sao Da: Go, Ha, Go
  • 14) Pak Sao, Jik Dum Tek
  • 15) Kow Sao, Juk Tek
  • 16) Biu Gee – Boang Sao – Lop Sao:
  • a) Chung Choy
  • b) Gua Choy
  • c) Lau Sing Choy
  • d) Sut Sao
  • e) Sot Que
  • f) Gin Choy
  • g) Jik Jern (or Dim Jern)
  • h) Juan Jern

Download the Ung Moon Sheet (PDF)


So, there you have it! The essentials behind the Ung Moon form. If you are a Jeet Kune Do practitioner, you should learn this form, and if you are a Jeet Kune Do teacher, well, than you shoudl probably teach it. It is not a difficult form to learn, and as with all forms, it got its value in repetition, so even when you eventually got it, keep practcing it regularly.


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