Bruce Lee Philosophy Of The Legend

Bruce Lee philosophy of the legend
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Bruce Lee Philosophy Of The Legend

For me, all types of knowledge definitely mean self-knowledge. Bruce Lee


Bruce Lee's philosophical interest began when he was training in Wing Chun under the sipu (teacher) Yip Man. Yip Man placed great emphasis on the philosophical ins and outs of Wing Chun, and this had a great influence on Bruce Lee. Linda Lee Cadwell, Bruce Lee’s widow, wrote in her book The Bruce Lee Story: "If there is one thing Yip Man gave Bruce Lee that may have crystallized Bruce Lee’s direction in life, it was to engage his students in the philosophical teachings of Buddha, Confucius, Lao Tzu, and other great thinkers and philosophers. As a result, Bruce Lee’s mind grow into the distillation of the wisdom of such teachers. "


Bruce Lee’s most important individual influence was his exposure to Taoist philosophy. Taoist philosophy is the development of the Chinese sage Lao Tzu, who in the 6th century BC wrote the definitive work on the subject, the Tao Te Ching. Taoism is identified by Tai Chi, commonly known by the yin / yang symbol. At the heart of Taoist philosophy is the idea of how man relates to nature. Lao Tzu believed that man is merely a part of a larger world, and that by accepting his relationship with the whole world and following the course of nature with non-resistance, man could definitely find success and serenity. Lao Tzu did not believe in a formalized system of education, nor did he believe in the Confucian doctrine of filial piety. Given Bruce Lee’s problems with schoolwork and teachers, it is not surprising that Bruce Lee felt a connection to Lao Tzu's message.


At the University of Washington in Seattle Bruce Lee went on to graduate courses in philosophy; Bruce Lee’s understanding of eastern concepts was so profound that Bruce Lee was in great demand as a lecturer on eastern philosophy. In fact, it was during a lecture Bruce Lee gave at Garfield High School in Seattle that he met Linda Emery, who was to one day become his wife.


"When Bruce Lee was in Seattle Lee used to cite Confucius and Lao Tzu and all those kinds of people," and Bruce Lee believed it, "says Bruce Lee the legend’s senior student Taky Kimura." But very soon Bruce Lee made that transition himself and became the philosopher. "


In 1963 Bruce Lee published a volume titled Chinese Gung Fu: The Philosophical Art of Self-Defense. The book revealed Bruce Lee’s views on gung fu as well as his broad interest in the philosophical aspects of martial arts training.


Bruce Lee was already beginning to feel unhappy with the "styles" of fighting. The idea did not follow the Taoist concepts of harmony and non-formality. In the separation between hard and soft styles of the gung fu schools Bruce Lee said: "It is an illusion. You see, actually the softness / firmness is an inseparable force of an incessant interaction of movement. We heard a lot of teachers affirming that their styles they are either soft or hard, these people are blindly clinging to a partial view of the whole. I was once asked by a so-called "master" of Kung Fu, one of those who looked like comedy, with a beard and all, who what I thought about Yin (soft), and Yang (firm). I simply replied "Damn!" He was, of course, quite impressed by my answer, and could not realize that "it" is never two. "


Bruce Lee understood the inaccurate division that so often ambush the students of Taoism, the false division in recognizing Yin and Yang as opposites, and not as complements. The Tao is the path undivided.


Bruce Lee’s fight with Wong Jack Man at his Oakland school brought that fact to an in-depth review. Struggling strictly in the Wing Chun "style", Bruce Lee had almost lost the match. By continuing to accept Wing Chun as the solution, Bruce Lee was "holding on to a partial view of the whole." Bruce Lee realized that he must endure to mature. The idea of fighting styles had conflicted with his Taoist beliefs that the way of fighting is formless and all-matched, and that styles separate the fighter from the truth.


It was at this point that the expression of Bruce Lee’s martial arts and philosophy, JeetKune Do, was born. JeetKune Do’s fundamental principle is "to have no way as way" certainly borrowed from Lao Tzu, "This is called form without form, form without object."


Bruce Lee student Daniel Lee recognized the influence of Taoism on Bruce Lee's teachings. "To form a unique art, you must have a philosophical foundation. Bruce Lee saw his JeetKune Do principles in Taoist philosophy, the relationship of yin and yang. JeetKune Do (JKD) really is philosophy in action."


Bruce Lee’s basketball star and student Kareem Abdul-Jabbar shared a similar view of Bruce Lee and his martial art. "I saw Bruce Lee the hero as a renegade Taoist priest."


Leo Fong, a Methodist minister, film director, and former student of Bruce Lee recalls a discussion he had with Bruce Lee in 1964. "Bruce Lee asked me, 'Why are you taking all these gung fu classes?'." I said, ‘Well, I'm looking for the ultimate.’ "Bruce Lee the legend laughed out loud. He said, " Dude, there is no definitive one! The ultimate is within you! '


“It took me a while to let go of the old theories, the aged crutches. When I walked around to let it go and started training on my own I understood what Bruce Lee had taught me. It's scary to be your own teacher. The only way you can find the cause of your own ignorance, he said, is self-evaluation and total commitment to your own growth process.”


The second major influence on Bruce Lee, philosophically speaking, was the Indian philosopher JidduKrishnamurti. Krishnamurti was born into poverty in 1895 in Southeast India. He was an unusually passionate and intellectual boy, and at the age of ten he was recognized as a Messiah by the mystical sect of the Theosophical Society, which adopted him and sent him to England and France to be educated, and eventually assume his role as their leader. However, in 1929 at the age of 34 he convulsed the Theosophical Society by renouncing his role as Messiah, arguing that religious doctrines and organizations interfered with the path of real truth. "Since you have put faith before life, creeds before life, dogmas before life, religions before life, there is stagnation. Can you hold the waters of the sea or gather the winds in your fists?" Krishnamurti then proceeded to grow into a highly influential philosophical and motivational speaker up till his death in 1986.


Bruce Lee discovered that Krishnamurti's way of looking at life ran parallel to his. In his book Freedom From Now, Krishnamurti writes: "You can look through an ideology, through a screen of words, through hopes and fears. The man who is really serious, with an eagerness to find out what is the truth, it has no concept at all. It lives only in what it is." Bruce Lee adapted this idea by forming the philosophy of his martial art: "You cannot express yourself and be alive through an assembled form, through stylized movement. The man who is really serious, with an eagerness to find out what is the truth He has no style at all. He lives only in what is."


Bruce Lee defined his JeetKune Do this way: "JeetKune Do is training and discipline towards the ultimate reality in self-defense, the ultimate reality in simplicity. The true art of JeetKune Do (JKD) is not to accumulate, but to eliminate. Wholeness and freedom of expression towards the ever-changing opponent should be the goal of all JeetKune Do practitioners. "


"A classist or a traditionalist will only act what the teacher tells him and that's it. The teacher is pedestalized and you do what he tells you and do not question him," says John Little, the state historian of Bruce Lee. "But Bruce Lee was learning from some very distinct sources, such as Gestalt therapy, Krishnamurti, etc. It is not that these people were necessarily creators, but they saw a certain truth that they wrote about. Bruce Lee saw that same truth, and he saw its application to martial arts."


"The amazing thing about Bruce Lee the legend is that Bruce Lee was able to create things from (what we thought) is external and make him a part of the JeetKune Do (JKD) concept," says Leo Fong.


Bruce Lee the legend believed that he could not teach his students so much as to lead them on the path of knowledge. "I can't train you," Bruce Lee elucidated to James Franciscus on the Longstreet television series, "just help you explore yourself."


"Bruce Lee the legend and the hero was one of the very few who applied philosophy to art," said Dan Inosanto. ”Everything Bruce Lee the legend taught was 'Be soft but not gentle. Rigid but not hard.' I thought, what the hell does that mean? "


Bruce Lee the legend also felt that “Knowing is not enough; you must apply." For him, knowledge is useless if it is not put to good use. More importantly, one can never determine the value of knowledge without proving it. Quoting Lao Tzu: “The Tao people never try. They do.”


Bruce Lee manifested the Taoist concept of tzujan, or honest self-expression. Because he refused to subordinate himself to a fighting style, he was free to be open and critical of all concepts of fighting, including his own. This part of Bruce Lee’s character caused the greatest conflict between himself and others, especially martial artists who were often trained to accept his instructor's teachings without question. Without a doubt, the master term, used in many styles of martial arts denotes the teacher or leader of the school, implies an absolute and unquestionable authority. As the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates first explained, the best form of knowledge and wisdom is through dialectics, or the process of exposing ideas for open discussion so that the inherent weakness of ideas can be discovered. This Socratic Method is now used, not only in philosophy, but also in the scientific method of examination, in which a seeker will first formulate a hypothesis and then try to test or disapprove it. The science of ancient martial arts should be no different.


Bruce Lee’s personal expression of the martial arts was something Bruce Lee believed to be unique to him and his alone, because it was the product of his personal attributes and his shortcomings. Among his physical "problems" were being short-sighted, short and light, a bad back, and a leg that was shorter than the other. Their deficiencies in these areas were made up for by speed, timing and strength. Dan Inosanto, his protégé, said, “The total picture that Bruce Lee wanted to present to his student was that, above all else, he could find his own way. It is necessary to remember that Bruce Lee and his philosophy was a 'pointer' to the truth and not the truth itself. "


Bruce Lee did not believe in learning by accumulation, but believed that the greatest form of mastery was that of simplicity, of "filing the inessential", much like what Lao Tzu thought of the need to disperse all schools of formal learning. Without a doubt, Bruce Lee dispersed his own school system shortly after his death, unless his path is taken as "the path".


For Bruce Lee all knowledge led to self-knowledge. Bruce Lee placed a great deal of significance on this belief in his teachings. It was one of the most important concepts that derived from his study of Krishnamurti. As Krishnamurti said: “We must first understand ourselves in order to know anything and understand and solve problems." Bruce Lee felt that in order for people to grow and evolve, they must get to know themselves through whatever medium they choose: dance, music, art, or martial arts, to name just a few.


Clearly, Bruce Lee was most influenced by Lao Tzu's Taoist theories. As Diane Dreher wrote in her book The Tao of Inner Peace, “Unlike Confucius, who extolled tradition, Lao Tzu appeals to individuals to think for themselves, to depart from conventionality, and to seek the highest truth. He knew that the new solutions rarely come from old leaders, entrenched in the status quo. They often come from ordinary people who believe in the power to make a difference. ”Despite the fact that Bruce Lee was far from ordinary, Bruce Lee represents the perfect example of modern Taoist, a 20th century depiction of physical and spiritual exercise by Lao Tzu.


Read AboutJeetKune Do – JeetKune Do Today


Read AboutBruce Lee – The Legend – The Fighter – Bruce Lee Biography

Bruce Lee Philosophy Of The Legend

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