The Warrior Within: The Philosophies of Bruce Lee [Paperback ed.] 0809231948, 9780809231942

During his lifetime, legendary martial artist Bruce Lee formulated a complex personal philosophy--a synthesis of Eastern

564 61 23MB

English Pages 240 [244] Year 1996

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD FILE

Polecaj historie

The Warrior Within: The Philosophies of Bruce Lee [Paperback ed.]
 0809231948, 9780809231942

Citation preview

the 4>

-

^k&

WARRIOR The philosophies of

BRUCE LEE to better understand

the world around

you and achieve a rewarding

life

Foreword by LINDA LEE CADWELL

John

LiriuLi.

L

THE

WARRIOR WITHIN The philosophies of

BRUCE LEE to better understand the

world around you

and achieve a rewarding

John

Little

CB CONTEMPORARY BOOKS

life

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Little,

John.

The warrior within the philosophies of Bruce Lee to better understand the world around you and achieve a rewarding life / John foreword by Linda Lee Cadwell. Little cm. p. :

;

Includes bibliographical references

ISBN 0-8092-3194-8 Martial arts— Philosophy. 1 .

1940-1973.

I.

2.

(p.

)

and index.

Spiritual

life.

1996 GV1101.L58 796.8'01— dc20

Lee, Bruce,

96-14438 CIP

/

Interior

3.

Title.

design by by Frank Loose Design

Published by Contemporary Books division of The McGraw-Hill Companies

A

4255 West Touhy Avenue, Lincolnwood (Chicago), Illinois 60712-1975 U.S.A. Copyright © 1996 by John Little retrieval All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Printed

in

the United States of America

International Standard

7 8 9 10 11 12

Book Number: 0-8092-3194-8

CUS CUS

09876543

To

my

wife,

Terri,

and our

children, Riley,

Taylor,

and Brandon

i

r?
powerful

Something about Bruce Lee has this

book. You

— an opponent

sonality excited you, his films

many

Bruce Lee



sidered, but

of

this

a

tunity for you to

to pick



up

fast,

with

in superb physical condition,

deltoids, defined forearms;

still

philosopher? This

your

you

a great fighter

an actor whose per-

charmed you, and inspired you. Perhaps you have seen

times, classics

interest

book, John

man

to be feared; a

washboard abdominals, broad

attracted

image:

recall his screen

is

unsurpassed in the martial is

piqued.

Little delivers to

know

the

real

Read

man

of the

a side

on,

my

that

arts genre.

But

you haven't con-

friend, for within the pages

you an adventure of the

spirit,

an oppor-

Bruce Lee.

During our marriage of nine

years,

knew Bruce probably more thorlife, I saw him struggle to

I

oughly and intimately than most. In his outward

overcome stumbling blocks along the path his interior

life,

I

watched him struggle

curities that plague us

he was not

a

sion in

was

life

perfect to

all.

to the attainment of his goals. In

overcome the self-doubts and

Bruce would be the

first

person to

man, but more important, he would

become

a real

process of evolving, one step state

to

at a

human

tell

you

insethat

say that his mis-

being. His journey was

constant

a

time, with the object being not to reach a

of perfection, but to experience

life

with every nerve exposed,

fully in

touch with gut-level feelings and cerebral senses. To this end, Bruce delved deeply into his psyche to define and refine his All knowledge the

more

a

is

really self-knowledge,

own

philosophy of

Bruce often

said,

life.

meaning

that

person exposes himself to learning opportunities, the more these

The Warrior Within

viii

become

experiences enrich, enhance, and

was

a

model of

his junior year at the University

When

losophy.

Oakland,

Bruce

who

that person

Bruce

is.

of Washington, where he majored in phi-

open the Jun Fan Gung Fu School

college to

left

part of

man. His formal education extended through

a self-educated

his education did not stop. Far

from

him from an him to

the fascination that had driven

ing process of an individual propel

He

it.

early age:

continued

how

in

his quest,

does the think-

actualize his full potential in a

superior way?

Bruce was determined as

to learn about this process within himself.

mind

So intensely did Bruce focus

mind became

absolutely centered, while at

on

this task that his

the same time, he was filled with

around him

— the

essential

gung

fu

blossomed into the

real

blazing awareness of

a

his personal philosophy,

went on

which grew and

now

get to

know

as a

as a

prodi-

philosopher,

wise beyond his years.

There are others who ulous physiques.

Some

But there

talent.

is

able in the hearts

two decades

good

are

martial artists and fine actors with fab-

have achieved stardom and are richly rewarded for their

something about Bruce Lee

and minds of

after his death,

from people expressing

I

continue to receive

their admiration for Bruce.

after

him

in school; a professional

to

do well

moved

woman

Bruce died, writes

all

but similar in theme: Bruce Lee

human being. What is this all

me how Bruce

in his fifties tells

areas of her is

a role

me how

arts

his

young

because of Bruce, and her

The

model,

a

stories are a

innumerable,

hero image, and

a real

something about Bruce Lee that continues to fascinate peo-

walks of

life?

I

believe

it

which subconsciously, or otherwise,

is

the depth of his personal philosophy,

projects

from the screen and through

writings. His personality was such that he brought

changed your

has motivated

of Bruce's influence;

life.

than

stream of mail

man

was inspired to study martial

confidence has soared in

a steady

irreplace-

More

A thirteen-year-old young

to tell

in a positive direction because

says she

which makes him

his followers all over the world.

man, born years

ple in

that

Bruce Lee, the man you have experienced

gious fighting machine and that you will

man

all

man. By exploring the depths of his being,

he was able to nurture the seeds of

life

his

to search for the causes of his ignorance.

his attention

a

Even

he trained his body for strength and efficiency, so did he discipline

attitudes, altered

you into

his

his inner world,

your perceptions, fine-tuned your awareness.

Foreword

ix

This book gives you the opportunity to reshape your memories of Bruce Lee,

view him from

to

One who is

John

new

perspective.

has availed himself of the opportunity to learn

From

author of this book.

Little,

self in the

from Bruce Lee

an early age, John immersed him-

study of philosophy and Bruce Lee.

energy and

vast

a

intellect, tireless research,

Through

the application of

and cultivated

John has

insights,

undertaken to compare and contrast Bruce Lee's philosophy with age-old gurus and modern sages from the East and West. Second, he applied his philosophy to everyday

life

and more broadly

John opens the door

for

you

suits. Finally,

that

life

own

which

is

how Bruce

Lee's

way of

and nurture your

personal philosophy.

To paraphrase one of Bruce's

lines

from Enter

the

moon. Don't concentrate on the

that heavenly glory."

Look beyond

these thoughts, then feel them, then

I

from Bruce

useful to you, and in so doing, to develop

ger pointing to the all

to take

relates

to his lifelong pur-

Dragon: "It finger or

is

like a fin-

you

the words on these pages.

will miss

Think about

make them your own.

wish you abundant energy, good health, and quiet awareness.

C^ca_^6iJ^^-^ C^l^uujCC. Linda Lee Cadwell Boise, Idaho

Postscript:

honor of

my

A

scholarship in

son,

Brandon,

at

drama has been established

Whitman

College.

research has been established in Bruce and versity of Arkansas. royalties

from the

John

sale

of

Little this

grateful for his generosity.

is

book

A

Brandon

donating

in

memory and

scholarship for medical Lee's

a substantial

to those scholarships.

names

at

the Uni-

percentage of the

The Lee

family

is

Foreword

To

the general public, Bruce Lee was a famous Chinese movie star

in martial arts films.

who was

presence

To the martial

arts

community, Bruce Lee

a sensational martial artist with superb fighting skills and stage

was

few people know

also the

that

pher, and a scholar

founder of

Bruce Lee was

who had

a

a

new

also

fighting system.

However, very

an innovative thinker,

a

philoso-

deep understanding of Chinese Taoist and Zen

philosophy.

For me, at his

it

was

great privilege to

a

become one of

Los Angeles school in 1967. Bruce was

of the twentieth century of the Tao with

a

Chinese

of th e intercepting

a

a creative

genius

thoroughly effective unarmed fighting system,

kune do (commonly

calledJeet

master teacher,

who was able to combine the ancient philosophy Wing Chun system, modern Western boxing skills,

and karate kicks to create

which he

a

his students, training

or jkd. His teachings have

fist"),

"

translated into Englis h, as

awakened

in

the

me

a

way new

understanding of the ultimate reality in unarmed combat and have totally altered not only

Bruce printed in

my

training, but

many

my whole

publications over a period of

these periodicals have long since vanished it

life.

and writings regarding

Lee's thoughts

his

jkd philosophy were

some sixteen

from

existence,

Some of

years.

which has made

very difficult indeed for anyone hoping to learn more about Bruce Lee's

and philosophy.

who

It is

equally frustrating for those of us in the martial arts

have longed to learn more about particular aspects of his fighting

Fortunately,

my

friend

John

Little,

whom

I've

come

to

over the past twelve months, has succeeded in this respect.

mended Bruce

life

for tackling this

Lee's philosophy.

monumental

art.

know quite well He is to be com-

task of writing the definitive

John has spent over two years and traveled

book on

to at least

The Warrior Within

xii

three continents in an effort to gather

all

of the written and spoken words

of Bruce Lee. Intermingling Bruce's material with his

comments, John has created

a

own

well-researched

comprehensive book with seventeen chapters

under three major headings.

One may ter

whose heading seems

was written on

on the

coming

a particular

when

stands alone. Yet

body. This

book from beginning

read this

read any chapter

all

of relationships

Bruce attempted

to

(at

itive

even

a

chapter that John has devoted

background of each film and the hidden messages

convey to

its

viewers.

personal interview that John con-

Brandon Lee, Bruce's

son, that reveals a probing, inquis-

like his father's.

glimpse of Brandon's

life,

This chapter provides the reader with

his personality,

and

his aspirations in

becom-

a successful actor.

In the appendixes are

whom

philosopher tle's

is

a rare

mind very much

a rare

ing

late

cohesive

different levels), and his approach to over-

Also included are excerpts from

ducted with the

a

aspects of Bruce's philosophy, his personal views

Bruce produced, wherein he goes to great lengths

to describe the interesting that

to

aspect of Bruce's philosophy and, therefore,

There

adversity and stress.

entirely to the five films

one may choose

the chapters are combined, they form

book covers many

issue

to end, or

to be interesting, because each chap-

chronological

two very informative

essays

Bruce was particularly impressed by) list

of the important events in Bruce's

by Alan Watts as

well

life

as

and

John

(a

Lit-

a listing

of

Bruce's principal works. These are valuable records for anyone wishing to

know more

about Bruce's accomplishments' and contributions. For the mar-

tial artist at large,

book provides

this

a valuable

reference to better under-

stand the philosophical foundations of Bruce Lee's

unarmed combative

art.

For the jkd practitioner, the three stages of cultivation in Bruce Lee's martial art

and the four-step guide to self-enlightenment are

Since

I

was born,

raised,

fully explored.

and educated in China, and have been teach-

ing the Chinese language and culture

at

Pasadena College for over eleven

on medSamra University of Chinese Traditional Medicine in Los Angeles, I would like to make a comment regarding the English translation of jeet kune do. It has been commonly translated as "the way of the years as well as serving as a Chinese language translator and lecturer ical

terminology

intercepting

meaning of

at

fist,"

the

and

this

this translation

is

quite acceptable.

I

would

like to

expand the

however. The word Tao (pronounced "dao" in

Foreword

Mandarin and "doe"

lithe

way of nature"

governing the universe." Thus the term

ative force

would mean "the intercepting

the Chinese language ciples

means

in Cantonese)

or "the cre -

kune do written in

jeet

fist

xiii

that follows the prin-

of Tao."

The same word in the Japanese language, do, carries the meaning "the or "the method of." Thus, the following Japanese terms are translated as indicated: judo, "the way of gentleness"; kendo, "the way of sword fighting"; aikido, "the way of harmonizing the chi"; shodo, "the method of way of"

calligraphy."

The Chinese Tao

is

that

by which originates

sage Lao-tzu, the author of the Tao

from which

all

all

te

ching, stated:

The

things in the universe are created.

things are created

produced by

is

from Tao. This energy

is

this

divided into two aspects: Yin and Yang.

All things in the universe have Yin energy and Yang energy.

and Yang energies merge

together,

Bruce was so influenced by

this

When

by the Chinese

e mblem in

contains

the^T'ai

as

Ch

i,

concept of the harmonious existence of

the

both the firm and

Bruce added two arrows around the that the

Yin

is

pliable energies of

T'ai

Chi

referred

to be his school art,

w hich

Yin/Ya ng.

circle to further

emphasize

jkd fighting techniques must contain the harmonious interplay of

(pliable, yielding)

"in his

£Grand Ultimate?)

o rder to represent the core p rinciple of his Jkd fighting

a nd utilizes

Yin

they produce a state of harmony.

the Yin /Yang energies that he chose the Yin/Yanp- sy mbol (which to

process

energy or Ch'i, which

jkd fighting

art,

and Yang

(firm, assertive) energies.

He

emphasized that

one does not oppose force with force but rather "com-

plements" one's opponent's strong force with Yin, or yielding, energy. In his writings,,

Rmre

stated metaphorically that "the

tree

st iffest

is

eas-

flyc racked under pressure, but the bamboo survives by bending with the

wi nd."

He It

also

wrote: "Be like water b ecause

it is

soft, resilient,

and formless

.

can never be snapped." Since Bruce's passing,

yard with a few of ing.

I

have been training continually in jkd in

my own

students.

I

have closely followed Bruce's teach-

Aside from developing hard-hitting and powerful kicks,

trained in

t'ai

my back-

I

have also

chi ch'uan and push-hand techniques in order to balance

my

The Warrior Within

xiv

forceful

Yang energy with an appropriate degree of Yin energy.

studied

many Chinese manuscripts on

Ch'uan

classics in

and

gies

It

how

firm conviction that Bruce believed that jkd training must

involve the cultivation of both Yin and

Yang energy

weapons of

The

Yin energy, however,

involves increasing the sensisoft

and yielding

skill

one

a result,

is

able to

move

men tal

poise and

emo tional

calmness.

to a higher training level, developing the

of spontaneous adaptation. This

skill

allows one to quickly generate the

amount of energy, which complements the opponent's energy

appropriate

almost without conscious effort. During combat, for example, the goal use soft and yielding

skill

with additional

As soon

stiff

as one's

meet your opponent's force (Yang energy)

opponent overextends himself and senses

his

weakness

(Yin energy), one should attack immediately (Yang energy) to

retreats

accomplished

the

to

or resisting force (Yang energy).

defeat him. This training

skill

is

(Yin energy) to neutralize the force of one's oppo-

nent, rather than attempting to

and

of

and cultivating the relaxation of the mind and body, in addition

to developing a "detached" attitud e of

skill

and grabbing.

of execution by improving coordination, pre-

of one's body, improving the

pliability

one's limbs,

As

cultivating of

called one's martial

and power.

cultivation of

and

The

energies.

what Bruce

offense, such as kicking, punching,

also raise his quality

cision, speed,

tivity

Yang

involves the sharpening of

"tools," or the

One must

Chi

order to better understand the nature of Yin/Yang ener-

to develop them.

my

is

have since

I

Taoist philosophy and the T'ai

reaches

moving

at

its

it.

is

very challenging and exciting, and

As Bruce mentioned

highest level,

it

in his writings,

becomes

"as a

am

I

when

far

from

one's adaptive

shadow following

effortlessly

object," or "as a cork adapting itself to the crests and troughs of

the waves."

Bruce

reminded

also

move toward mentation. The

should

.

.

away

chisels

.

all

us in his writings that "the height of cultivation

simplicity.

It is

the halfway cultivation that leads to orna-

process to simplify

is

like a sculptor

The cultivation of the respective Yin and Yang book The Tao ofjcet Kune Do, which is readily

Bruce's that

I

will ever reach that level of proficiency in

always be

my

who

continuously

the nonessentials until he creates a masterpiece."

role

model and

inspiration.

my

energies are listed in available.

lifetime,

I

don't

know

but Bruce will

Foreword

To

book

my

fellow jkd practitioners:

so that

you may

hope you

I

xv

will have fun reading this

truly grasp Bruce's philosophy of jkd.

Follow

his train-

ing program, understand the three stages of cultivation and his four-step guide

The information John Little has presented in this more illuminating and satisfying expe-

to self-enlightenment.

book

rience.

you

make your

will I

would be

pursuit of jkd a

interested in exchanging ideas and sharing experiences with

(please contact

John

In closing, then, let ter teacher.

When

lated martial arts

touch with me).

to get in

me

quote from

he noticed that

while taking his

a

famous Chinese

his students t'ai

t'ai

chi ch'uan mas-

were learning

chi lessons, he

so

many unre-

admonished them with

the following statement:

Many is

students

make

readily available

tial arts

ing).

the mistake of neglecting that which

and

essential to you) to

Your error

is

is

near

(that

far (other

which

mar-

that are nonessential or not related to the very art you are learnin

judgment and pursuit

will take

off course. Therefore, you must be careful to

what

pursue what

is

essential to

you and what

is

make

you thousands of miles

a clear distinction

between

not.

Daniel Lee Pasadena, California

Foreword

The

course of a bird in flight pays no attention to the lines of East

and

West.

—Calligraphic inscription by Alan Watts £ .

ome

^^^^

*^,

from

time ago,

I

cere gentleman

-^ Zen Seattle to

eral years

he

learn and

was

by

my

Kyoto

still

received a telephone

call

from Japan from

who asked if could, recommend a few tapes on He went on to explain that he had traveled I

father.

to study in a

Buddhist monastery but that

had not received instruction in Zen.

grateful

a sin-

when

I

directed

him

to a

few

He was

after sev-

anxious to

favorite recordings.

East meets West: Bruce

Lee was a pioneer in using the

film

medium of Western

to teach

audiences — and even

Western

actors,

John Saxon

(left)

about Eastern philosophy.

such as



The Warrior Within

xviii

Although

was not

ironic, this

taught to Westerners in Japan since It

was

Zen

surprising, for

surprising, however,

often misunderstood.

it is

when

not apt to be quickly

is

recently

I

discovered that Bruce Lee

used to regularly record Alan Watts from the radio or television and play the

and interviews,

tapes for his students. In reading his notes

my

father's

works were an important influence

awareness of the Tao was central to his

Of

course, the

is

works of

a

Westerner with

But

certainly unusual.

ern approach to experience

is

that

it

John

as

—— *

""

life as

**

Both Lee and" Watts were involved

——

about Eastern wisdom

opposed

our

to,

or saying, "If the goal

The

is

the dance

itself."

historical division

And

as

it

it is

In

in a

Taoism^theyfbund a goal,

we

indas

would be the

with

were

a

invariably

my

a certain spot

best.

The

on

point of

life.

between the "objectionably objective" Western

world and the richly subjective East close, so that

"~^

were, re vealing the juix^

of dancing were to reach

so

how

communicate the essence of

attentiojt-alle'ad anchotitsrae ortTTe~p*e&ejTt_n

the floor, then obviously the fastest dancer

dancing

to reveafirTg~ '

p oselessnesTofli fe ^ For in~TnrecCirT^ouTs^rves toward >oint

father,

""""

-

directly.

iniquely practical philosophy dedicated

was fond

my

Easterner teaching his

in teaching endeavors that

be understood only

that can

like

"the problem with the West-

Little notes,

attempts to explain **•

it.

and

while finding "spiritual" inspiration

arts

a lifelong curiosity

sense attempts to "speak the unspeakable," to

something

life,

apparent that

it is

art.

phenomenon of an accomplished

Western students "physical" martial in the

in his

has, in the

twentieth century, begun to

today the characteristic ways of experiencing the world attrib-

uted to each are seen in direct contrast

all

over the world.

And

although the

worn by an American youngster is probably not well understood, the extended arm from the car in front of me in traffic gracefully performing the movements of t'ai significance of the

chi ch'uan

is

symbolism on

a colorful

Yin/Yang

T-shirt

obviously connected to an inwardly centered being,

who

at least

experientially understands something of the philosophy that inspired both

Alan Watts and Bruce Lee. For in the words of Bruce Lee:

Life that

lives, life is

and

in the living flow

a living

NOW!

— no

questions are raised.

Completeness, the now,

is

The

reason

is

an absence of the con-

Foreword scious

mind

divide that which

to strive to

pleteness of things

taken apart,

is

it

is

For once the com-

indivisible.

is

xix

no longer complete.

In these words, Bruce Lee revealed that he had discovered a secret that

seems to elude most modern people. The

we

secret, simply put,

can simultaneously live and contemplate

out of self.

self

it,

for the reflective aspect

As David Bohm, the is

that

On

thinks

it

it's

of the

self

is

life,

do

"The

is

that although

so takes

not the whole

British physicist, said,

the big

to

something

— or complete

trouble with the small

self."

the following pages, one will find essential ideas once expressed by

Alan Watts, Krishnamurti, both Suzukis, Joseph Campbell, and many others

— and

long before by Lao-tzu, Chuang-tzu, Buddha, and Shankara.

Although many of these ing art that points to "religion of Finally,

no it

a

ideas are not new, their expression

way of

liberation

my

embodies

a liv-

father once described as the

religion."

appears that after Eastern and Western cultures passed while

heading in opposite directions, the stage

is

now

set for

an East/West culture based upon the best of each

the development of

— the

adventurous

spirit

and curiosity of the West and the highly developed philosophical and aesthetic sensibilities of the East.

The mutual

receptivity of these elements has

already contributed greatly to the birth of well-integrated ways of knowing. It

now

around

only remains to be seen in a full circle to

if

the directions of each culture will

dance together in the

classic

image of

come

T'ai Chi.

Mark Watts San Anselmo, California

Preface

^^k M^r

^^rhile

y

1 §r

resides

it

may come

as a

profound surprise to those of us

are in the throes of an emotional or

remains that the answer to virtually

within us already.

It

exists in the

form of

life

who

the fact

of our problems

all

a vast

crisis,

reservoir of free-

that, when channeled to our muscles, can give us great when channeled to our brain, can give us great insight and understanding. The Chinese call this naturally occurring energy "chi," and

flowing energy strength and,

it is

their belief that

it

circulates in

Some have compared physics; that

mous with

is,

continuous cycles within our bodies.

this vast inner

energy to the quantum theory in

the subatomic energy patterns that are held to be synony-

the evolutionary forces underlying the

growth and development

Bruce Lee was able

to

generate

tremendous inner power, or what referred to in

Chinese as

chi.

is

The Warrior Within

xxii

of

all

things. This energy

process, either. Evidently as

not observable

is

we

soon

shall

learn,

readily discernible

more

it is

of

all

life

— from the atom

in the

form of

China

called tun-wu,

a great spiritual

him

was

to once

than

is

faith,

the

this

these great forces, causing

or not,

me

that

combined.

It is all these

I feel this great force,

this

this feeling

emotion mixed with

it

or warrior. After

would all,

as to

faith,

.

.

is

West have neglected our warrior

we

win many

that

however,

it.

to be,

drafts are checked.

we

we choose



is

like

martial artist

The end

We

we are

its

instantly

of our ultimate potential

a great

but, if mis-

Most of

us in the

presence and forgoing

result

is

that

we end up

of As American psychologist

"The Energies of Men":

are only half awake.

making use of only

a

Our

fires

small part

1

instead to tap into this inner energy,

ultimately can be

fully the flames

nemesis.

force, ignoring

of our possible mental and physical resources." If,

a

you

battles for

become your

in his essay entitled

"Compared with what we ought damped, our

by the image of

are fully capable

William James once noted

there

an image symbolizing one aspect of

even the attempt to connect with than

and

something

It is

this

attempt to symbolize this great inner energy

directed or neglected, can rise up to

far less

be compared.

best be represented

the warrior

Whether

.

but a lot stronger.

force that, if marshaled properly, can

becoming

greater

untapped power,

may

might be so bold

is

ambition, greater than confidence, greater than

feeling defies description,

I

culmination

its

martial artist Bruce Lee, not surpris-

the existence of

no experience with which

If

our

in

result in a

call satori.

great creative and spiritual force within

greater than

godhead

force, perhaps

all

that reaches

dynamic something within me. This

a strong

are

doing so can

awakening, what the Taoist sages of ancient

determination, greater than vision. it

a

comment:

have

/ feel I

that

is

and the Japanese Zen masters

cognizant of

fully

parti-

wave or

The dividend

to the solar system.

The legendary twentieth-century ingly,

a

combination of the two. In any event,

a

harmony of mind and body

total

which

in

not exactly

it is

apes this energy cycle in processes that are

learning to tap into these vast energy cycles

complete and

way

the

in, say,

or other solid forms of matter are, and yet

cles

we become

awakening our passions and fanning

— and our

lives

change.

We become

Preface

more

more

passionate,

certain

—more

— and we succeed, almost

around us

Bruce Lee was able to tap into

his

"those great spiritual forces within"

and begins

his

own

me how

It

to

prana

it

is

sounds bizarre, and

it

miracles.

the

him how

to tap into

life

already experienced

and

force,

but

it,

say that this creative power,

company

that

is

it's

when

to love,

his films

me and

is

it

chi; the fapanese, incredibly powerful.

few

unliable

channeled correctly, has the poten-

tural mores,

his wife

were

two

a

able to

principles underlying his martial art of jeet

world. This

is

brand-new

kune

brand-new outlook on

When

he

racial differences, cul-

oppose their

love.

do. its first

requisite the

many of

life

com-

us in the West,

and on the ways of the

an attempt to present just such a perspective through

the philosophical insights

left to

tention that what set Lee apart

was not

a

developing the revolutionary

philosophical perspective that, to

book

to

he negotiated with

who would

cultivation of the warrior within has as

will surely represent a

it

also applied his philosophic

overcome

and the bigoted opinions of those

a

films),

applied

50 percent shareholder.

(who

also utilized this creative force in

prehension of

when Lee

all,

and caused them to create

— of which he was

both he and

principles to their relationship)

Bruce Lee

it

one of the very

an understatement. After

produced

production company it

call

2

be successful

ation

his progress in the

life,

can't be explained adequately except to those

to

The

taught

The Chinese

will.

To

applied

in

studied privately with Bruce

how Lee

the realm of business (after appearing in only the

and

harness some of what was raging inside

my

completely at

it

who have

tial

his belief

warrior within:

ki; the Indians, .

was

"

period of six years, recalled

a

Bruce showed

.

it

what he termed

to channel

with an eye toward the future: "When man

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who

superstar

summon

.

and

at will,

use those forces in science, in business,

to

future will be unparalleled.

Lee for

our objectives. Certainly

effortlessly, at

warrior force

conscious vital realization of those great spiritual forces within himself

to a

Nba

ease with ourselves and the world

were possible when we learned

that great things

comes

at

xxiii

his physical

us by Bruce Lee.

It

has long been

from every other martial

prowess

(as

remarkable

as this

artist

of

my

his

con-

gener-

was) but his mind,

The Warrior Within

xxiv

and that

his insights

application than

My

and philosophical perceptions have

may have

contribution then, if you'd care to

of Lee's philosophy, which presentation.

My

a

much broader

heretofore been considered.

is

call

it

that,

is

not to the substance

entirely his achievement, but to the

form of

its

intention within these pages to take both the message and

teachings of Bruce Lee and present

have some relevance to your

life,

them

in a

manner

that will, hopefully,

whatever your occupation.

Acknowledgments

^ W ^rW Jm

WI

Ef

j

JT

Jr

y appreciation in preparing this pie. First

book extends

and foremost, immeasurable thanks

man whose

perspective and philosophy of

is

this writer's eyes to the pleasures

about the awakening of to those individuals

Man,

first

of philosophy and ultimately brought

as his first

whom

Lee learned

a

great deal, either

(and only) martial arts instructor, Yip

or indirectly, through the writings of philosophers of the as

served to

inner warrior. Further thanks are extended

and thinkers from

from people such

directly,

such

my own

I'm present-

life

ing within these pages, Bruce Lee. Lee's words and example

open

many peoowed to the

to

first

order

Lao-tzu, Confucius, Alan Watts, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Daisetz T.

Suzuki.

Appreciation

is

also

extended to Linda Lee Cadwell, Lee's widow, whose

insight into his philosophy as well as the viewpoints she shared

additional philosophical influences served to broaden

her

late

husband's belief system. In addition,

I

the support and example set by Adrian Marshall,

from 1969 solid

until Lee's passing in 1973.

encouragement

in

my

with their friendship.

ularly

with his less

I

my

Above

also

acknowledge

who was Bruce what

however, they have

I

take to be

also entrusted

thank Bruce Lee's students, partic-

to

Ted Wong, Daniel Lee, Taky Kimura, and Dan Inosanto,

me some

Lee's lawyer

Both Linda and Adrian have given me

this,

want

understanding of

like to

pursuit to present and preserve

the true legacy of Bruce Lee.

me

would

concerning

who

shared

of Lee's philosophic materials that he gave out to students of

Chinatown school

in the late 1960s,

and with

whom

I

have spent count-

hours discussing his ideas in general and his philosophy in particular.

Most of with

me

in

all

I

want

to thank the late

August 1992 caused

me

Brandon Lee, whose conversation

to seriously

examine the significance of

the spiritual side of the martial arts and to dedicate myself wholeheartedly

The Warrior Within

xx vi

to the task of locating

expounded

Many defunct.

and disseminating authentic firsthand materials that

his father's

unique philosophy and incredible legacy.

of the publications from which

excerpted materials are

I've

Other statements made by Bruce Lee

are either

from

his personal notes

Group's extensive selection. In

and

all

essays or

cases,

that have

now

been excerpted

from Little-Wolff Creative

however, an attempt was made to

locate either the authors or publishers of these materials for permissions.

To the men and

women who

logues with Bruce Lee,

I

owe

wrote, recorded, and videotaped their diaa

huge debt of gratitude

preserving this man's unique philosophy. To this end,

I

for their

would

work

in

thank

like to

the following publishers and journals for the selections that have been

excerpted in this work: Seattle Times, Seattle

Post-Intelligencer, Springfield

Union News, Ted Thomas, Alex Ben Block, Hong Kong Standard, Gastonia Gazette, Pierre Berton/Elsa Franklin,

Movie Mirror, ative I

TV and Movie

Screen,

Miami News ("Florida Report"),

TV/Radio

Mirror,

and

Little -Wolff

Cre-

Group. particularly

want

to thank

Ohara Publications and Black

zine for their invaluable assistance and permission to quote

Belt

maga-

from

their

extensive catalog of authentic Bruce Lee materials and for the tremendous

ongoing work they've done Bruce Lee.

in perpetuating the art

and philosophy of

Epigrammatic Insights from the Philosophy of Bruce Lee

Life

is

a constant process of relating.

c$o

Man,

the living creature, the creating individual,

than any established

is

always more important

style.

c&o

Gung

fu

is

not preoccupied with breaking bricks and smashing boards.

We're more concerned with having

it

.

.

.

affect our whole way of thinking and

behaving.

c^o

Brandon

is

being brought up in the midst of two cultures.

There are good

points in Chinese culture; there are good points in Occidental culture. will be taught to take

don

some

principles from one,

will learn that Oriental culture

ally exclusive,

some from

and Occidental

He

the other. Bran-

culture are not

mutu-

but mutually dependent. Neither would be remarkable if

were not for the existence of the

other.

it

The Warrior Within

xxviii

Linda and You have

more

I aren't one

and

apply yourself

to

We

one.

be a

to

are

two halves that make a whole.

family— two

halves fitted together are

than either half would ever be alone!

efficient

c&=,

It

sounded

sign

me up

houseboy

at first like typical

with

all that pigtail

stuff. I told

Dozier,

"Look,

and hopping around jazz, forget

if it.

you

" In

the past, the typical casting has been that kind of stereotype. Like with the

You never see

Indians.

a

human

being Indian on television.

C

You can 't organize trutlujj'hat

w rapping

paper and shaping

s

like trying to

put a pound of water into

it.

gSo

Because of styles, people are separated. They are not united together because styles

became

hypothesis. it

law,

man. The

But now

it

has become the gospel truth, and people

become the product of

how you

that,

to

me,

is

it.

It

doesn't matter

how you

are structured,

doesn't seem to matter.

original founder of the style started out with

You just go

not right.

are built, in there

how you

or

how you

and become

are,

are

who go

into

who you

arc,

made

.

that product.

.

.

it

And

The Philosophy

1E2S

j

4 J

W~ lfc» w

1

5

s

/

1 1

\

Iti

tV

k

a spare

moment



^*/

\

)

w.

xxix

Hk.**"*

B

Whenever he had

Bruce Lee

I

i^^H L^

of

or two (which wasn't often), Lee would

busy himself in crafting aphoristic statements that conveyed profound truths.

The

greatest help isksclf-heh p th ere

is

no other help but self-he lp r T

one's best, dedicating oneself u>holehcanc a fyio a given task, to

have no end but

is

an ongoing process.

J/^ j



doing

wlucnhayyens

/

/

) £o

All the time people come up and I say,

"Well,

if I tell

if I tell

say,

"Bruce



are

you

really that

good?"

you I'm good, probably you'll say I'm boasting. But

you I'm no good, you'll know I'm ly'Hg-'d-**

c?$a>

All types of knowledge ultimately mean self-knowledge.

-,

J

The Warrior Within Empty your mind. Be formless. into a cup,

it

Shapeless. Like water.

becomes the cup. You put water into a

You put

bottle.

or

it

can crash.

in a teapot,

it

Be

water,

my

it

becomes the teapot.

Now

bottle,

Now

you put water becomes the

it

water can flow,

friend.

c$iilf|

^p

one should focus on earning on expanding o nes owri~un"drrrtanding l

ways of

The

life.

desire to

creates a false dualism

the result t hat our

— an

emphas is

win

gram

actually goes against the

instant sepa7aTfTrJTT15T"~w"inning, shifts

from work ing

or tne

ot

and losing

— with

to resolve our personal prob-

lems and expanding our current level of understanding, to the tear ot losing

and the necessity of winning

at all costs.

As understanding and personal growth processes,

position of "I

a

against the grain of reality

know

all

and only

that calls

I

are

need

to

ongoing,

know

evolutionary

right

now"

goes

attention to the fact of an arrested

cognitive development. Instead of actively seeking converts to a position of partial truth,

ognize the

we

should instead seek to expand our understanding and to rec-

fact that

fixed at one point

you

knowledge,

are seeking to express, has

fore take great pains to

As the Tao

te

like life itself,

— or one point of view—

an ongoing process and never

in time. Truth, if that

no need of defenders

convey the obvious

is



follv so

it

simply

why

is.

is

what

To there-

trouble yourself?

ching says:

^ise

men

Men who

don't need to prove their point;

need to prove their point

In other words, those

who

insist

to listen to evidence or points of

what they

is

feel safe in believing,

aren't wise.

2

on dominating conversation, who

view

refuse

that are challenging or opposite to

have thereby laid the foundation for

dogma

The Warrior Within

18

and eventually choke out any

a position

of close-mindedness that will

possibility

of true learning. Bruce Lee pointed out the

mindedness with one of received

a

who was It

much

was obvious

Zen

He

own

Zen master who about Zen and



Jeff:

Zen

opinions and knowledge.

man would

we have

Finally, the

learned man.

a

to inquire

interested in learning about

explained, the learned yes,

of such close-

fallacy

of

master from the start of the conversation that the pro-

much

ing the master with his

"Oh,

tells

it

who had come

our friend

like

to the

fessor was not so

like

his favorite stories;

university professor

very

stifle

that,

as he

As

was

impress-

in

Zen

the

teacher

frequently interrupt him with remarks

too" and so on.

teacher stopped talking

poured the cup

full,

and began

to serve tea to the

then kept pouring until the cup over-

flowed.

"Enough!"

the learned

man

"The cup

once more interrupted.

is

over-

full, no more will go in!"

"Indeed, I see," answered the

of your

how

own

can you taste

The need

Zen

teacher.

for an

my

all

this cup,

you are full

cup of tea?"

empty

cup, or an

open mind,

physical starting point. Let us assume for the

do not have

"Like

opinions and speculations. If you do not first empty your cup,

shall serve as

moment

that

the answers. Let us begin with a blank

we

slate,

our meta-

in the

West

with no pre-

conceived ideas, biases, opinions, or prejudices that will influence our judg-

ment or impede our attempt of the world.

at

acquiring

a

new understanding on

the ways

Chapter Three

The Ways

ruce Lee observed that very nal state of the

new

ing;

human

cells replace

little

of the

about

life is static.

body, for example, old cells in

a

World

is

The

inter-

constantly chang-

never-ending process that

appears to us as highly dynamic and in constant flux. Yet despite this phe-

nomenon, the body

The concept of

has a certain balance, or inner immutability, that

the Tao

was heavily ingrained

from filmmaking and personal

in everything

Bruce Lee

essays to his beliefs about combat

and

is

as

did,

his

artistic sketches.

">

"

The Warrior Within

20

important to our survival perature fixed

as

change

itself.

Our

bodies strive to keep our tem-

98.6 degrees and our blood pressure within certain para-

at

meters while constantly dealing with the profound cellular changes that

occur on

moment

a daily

to

or monthly basis, as well as those that are taking place from

moment.

These changes

are the result of various influences

external and internal, that impinge

the

moment we

die.

upon

us

upon our

from before we

bodies, both

are

born

until

These influences can take the form of such things

as

and so on, and their

pain, joy, heat, cold, emotional conflict, muscular activity,

varied forms are what constantly threaten to disrupt our internal balance or

what American physiologist Walter the Greek homios,

meaning

B.

"similar,"

Cannon termed "homeostasis" (from and

meaning

stasis,

ically,

nature of the process entails change as a prerequisite to brings about an apparent paradox: in order for an

vation that It is a

ies,

"position"). Iron-

while our bodies strive to maintain this condition of homeostasis, the

"to

organism to remain change with change

a

changeless. is

its

achievement. This

condition of change being indispensable

Bruce Lee once made the obser-

the changeless state.

condition of "changeless change" that

is

the true state of our bod-

internal environment. Lee's aphorism serves to underscore the principle

of Yin/Yang, or the interdependency of apparent opposites,

non

for the survival of

our next chapter).

Our

as

the sine qua

our bodies (which we'll get into in greater

detail in

bodies, however, are simply reflections in miniature

of the natural laws that regulate the ebb and flow of the cosmic universe of

which they

are a part. This being the case,

to understand the

way of

it

becomes

possible for us to learn

the world without by taking

a

look

at

the

way of

the world within.

To

made

this end,

Lao-tzu

(circa

600

B.C.),

the legendary founder of Taoism,

this observation:

—47— One may know the world without going out of doors. One may see the Way of Heaven without looking through

When we

look

observe that change

hormone

at is

the

way of

the world within,

we cannot

an integral force there. Such factors

levels, electrolyte balances, fluid levels,

pH

the windows.

as

1

help but

blood

gases,

balances, blood sugar,

The Ways

World

of the

21

and other more complex processes are constantly shifting and adapting to the

and existence of

vicissitudes of life in order to preserve the internal balance

our physical bodies. Such a dynamic inner state of our organism further results in unceasing changes in

our

our emotions, impulses, sense of well-being, and even

As

spiritual perspectives.

much

reflection of a

us to learn that

phenomenon of change within

this

greater universal process without,

merely

is

a

should not surprise

it

metaphysical nature has been observed and theorized about

its

by both Eastern and Western philosophers for centuries.

The

pre-Socratic philosopher Herachtus (circa 500

for example,

B.C.),

once wrote: "All things flow; nothing abides." 2 Herachtus was referring to the ultimate reality of the external universe, which, as we've seen, operates

under the identical laws governing our metaphysical observation of flux

own

constant

as

physical bodies.



that

is

It

to say, of

is

upon

this

both our inner

and outer universe being comprised of multitudinous phenomena of varying polarity



we

that

can

come

of the world that surrounds

However,

to better understand the true nature, or way,

us.

innocent observation

this

where the mutuality of

is

cultural

perspectives ends. Bruce Lee subscribed to a very ancient world view that, to Westerners raised in a Judeo-Christian tradition,

is

very foreign indeed:

the fundamental Chinese Taoist and Indian Buddhist belief of

came into being. In these tence not through

follow if constructing that

We

disciplines,

house or

a

placed into this

commonly

much

way

a

dess of a

Mercy

(a

as earlier

The

based.

distinctly

goddess figure only

ing of the figure

is

is

when

as a

by something

flower suddenly blossoms. it.

to constructive

as

Kwan-yin

Chinese

activity

is

many-armed and many-headed

a

on

divine figure, such as the Tibetan figure of Avalokitesvara,

Kwan-yin

one would

— we simply grew out of — opposed —

represented in Eastern art by

nese goddess

like

airplane, but rather

like the

world

This particular form of organic

the world

held that the world came into exis-

model

a

happened spontaneously, much

were not

it is

step-by-step process of creation

a

how

is

sometimes

whom

known

belief, incidentally, as

as

the Chi-

the

God-

Kwan-yin became

she reached China), although the original

representation of the process and

mean-

power of nature

described. interesting thing about

three faces and up to

tempted to make

a

a

snide

Kwan-yin

is

that she

is

depicted

as

having

thousand arms. The average Westerner might be

comment

regarding the enormous problem of coor-

The Warrior Within

22



many appendages would have to present while remaining completely oblivious to the fact that we encounter no less of a problem in dination that so

simply being alive and going about our business day to day. As we've seen,

own

our

bodies are able to self-regulate change into

changelessness by performing

simultaneously

— and

yet

we

manner of

all

of apparent

state

incredibly complex functions

never once have to stop and think about each

individual aspect, process, or function, the

our daily existence. In

a

the

a related vein,

sum

total

of which accounts for

renowned Zen

author, Alan Watts

(1915— 1973), recounted the story of the centipede in his popular book The

Way

of Zen:

The

centipede was happy, quite,

Until

a

toad in fun

Said, "Pray,

which

leg goes after

This worked his mind to such

He

lay distracted in a ditch,

Considering

how

to run. 3

Bruce Lee was fond of relating

Do

— the Quantum Perspective")

pen

to us if

we

which?"

a pitch,

this fable (see

Chapter

to illustrate that the

11,

"Jeet

Kune

same thing could hap-

sought to understand the ways of the world solely by means

of analysis or self-conscious processes. Lee often pointed out that pausing to analyze what

we

are

"psychical stoppage."

doing develops If,

a

negative condition of what he termed

we pause to consider how our respirawe draw breath or how our central nervous impulses or even if we stop to analyze the more for example,

tory system works every time

system relays electrical

mundane such

as

things to which we've



grown accustomed

knitting or tying a necktie

in a labyrinth

—we

of thought, with the

result that

the simplest of tasks. Lee elaborated

Daisetz

T

Suzuki's

on

in

some mechanical way,

become

will, like the centipede,

this

we

are unable to

concept by citing

Zen and Japanese Culture

a

perform even passage from

that contained a

metaphor

involving Kwan-yin:

Kwan-yin,

the

Goddess of Mercy,

is

sometimes represented with up

arms, each holding a different instrument. If her

mind

lost

to

1,000

stops with the use,

The Ways arms (999)

for instance, of a spear, all the other ever.

It is

only because of her

Thus

strate that

when

on one body

the ultimate truth

may

Thus, the Westerner might ask this

Goddess of Mercy,

tantamount to asking, or

"How

parts of

do

I

to use so

"How

think about this process

would be

of democracy than

a

was

arms prove useful

meant

many

or another.

is

it

to

demon-

as 1,000

arms

4

possible for

Kwan-yin,

arms, faces, and eyes?" This

is

really

so

many legs?" many seemingly unrelated

my

ever having to consciously

can the centipede effectively use so

at

once without

Bruce

at all?"

thought, but rather by a process that

ical focal

way

"How

this:

many

that such processes are not

Lee's perspective

is

realized, even as

is

make my body function with

working together

it

the figure

each be serviceable in one

23

the use of one arm,

that all her

to another,

with the utmost degree of efficiency.

World

no use whatso-

will be of

mind not stopping with

but moving from one instrument

of the

Lee's

answer to

is

self-governed.

itself

of things

that the natural order

monarchy. In

a

of these questions

all

governed by any means of conscious

we

monarchy,

point, one central authority telling

all

is

more

like a process

obviously have one politthe other

members of

its

constituency what to do. In a democratic system, however, there exists some-

thing very

much

like a living

or self-regulating, wherein

all

organism.

It is

manner of

a

process that

is

self-governing,

different parts continue to develop

and change independently and yet function together in terms of nious pattern of Tao, of which Lao-tzu once said:

—34— The

great

Tao flows everywhere.

All things are born yet It

it

it,

itself into its

work,

makes no claim.

nourishes infinite worlds,

yet

it

Since

doesn't hold it is

on

to

merged with

and hidden it

from

doesn't create them.

pours

yet It

it

them. all

in their hearts,

can be called humble.

things

a

harmo-

The Warrior Within

24

Since

and

is

it

it

alone endures,

it

It isn't

aware of

thus

is

it

its

greatness;

truly great. 5

conceived the idea of an ultimate

universe by ruling it

things vanish into

can be called great.

it

Thus

all

—by

telling

it

what

to

reality that

do

—but

does not govern the

by, as

it

were, allowing

the freedom to organize itself harmoniously. In other words,

of Tao that while

teristic

are the

is

everywhere and

never possessive or dictatorial. Tao

all, it is

which

it

is,

measure of

in effect, the

measure of greatness

its

is

charac-

it is

in everything, giving life to

indifferent and unconditional,

greatness.

in those individuals

By extension, such qualities who follow its example and

accept things as they are without seeking personal gain or using others as

means ness in

to their ends. In fact, this

human

Living:

is

the only meaningful

way

in

The Oneness of Things

Fast-forwarding from the creation of the world to August

Black Belt magazine. first

public.

It

at

1993,

7,

I

was

Superior Galleries in Beverly Hills, California, for

called "The Bruce Lee Collection," and it marked many of Bruce Lee's personal writings were made

was

time ever that

One

a

great-

beings can realistically be measured.

asked to cover an event

the

which

of the most incredible papers auctioned off that

sophical point of view, was an essay Lee had

penned

day,

from

a

in the early 1960s

philo-

while

attending school in Seattle, Washington.

Lee had entitled the piece "Living: the Oneness of Things," and fectly encapsulated his

it

per-

views on the problems inherent in the Western philo-

sophical approach as contrasted with the Eastern

way of looking

at life.

In

trying to discern Lee's beliefs regarding the ways of the world or in d eter-

mining the nature of ultimate

reality

(what philosophy professors

to as jTTg^aphysics), this essay proves a

wonderful place to

like to refer

start, as

Lee speaks

of his axiomatic concepts and the nature of interdependent relationships:

The Ways Everything does have a

real relationship,

creates the object just as

much

of the

a mutuality in

World

which the subject

Thus

as the object creates the subject.

knower no longer feels himself

known;

be separated from the

to

FROM

experience, becomes absurd.

vividly clear that in concrete fact I

am

of things of which I

The Moon To

in the

To put

Conse-

of seeking

another way,

becomes

ONENESS

than the

self

it

aware.

Water

"moon

Lee cited Alan Watts' famous all

in

have no other

better illustrate the concept of the

the interdependence of

OUT OF LIFE,

it

the

the expe-

riencer no longer feels himself to stand apart from the experience.

quently, the whole notion of getting something

25

harmony of universal

in the

relationships,

water" analogy, which indicated

things. This might rightly be considered the

first

lesson to be learned in our quest to understand our place in the universe.

The analogy

reveals that

from the universe, but

much

greater

which

nature's

whole

— an

power

the

the subject

is

are not simply isolated entities that stand apart

active

and capable part of the

moon and

in the

the

water

moon

is

likened

the object.

to

is

when

the

moon

rises the

water does not wait

even the tiniest drop of water

The moon

reflection.

does not receive

its

facets

it,

totality

human

When

no moon in the water, and likewise when there

there

its

dynamic components of

of the

through

flows.

The phenomenon of The water

we

are instead

is

to receive its

there is

experience. is

no water,

no moon. But

poured out the moon does not wait

does not intend

to cast its reflection

image on purpose. The event

is

when

image, and

and

caused as

to cast

the water

much by

the

water as by the moon, and as the water manifests the brightness of the moon, the

moon

manifests the clarity of the water. Everything does have a real

relationship.

There

6

'. .

exists in

.

Western logic

excluded middle, which

states that

a rule entitled

the law of identity or the

things are what they are ("A

is

A") and

— The Warrior Within

26

that

it

impossible for one thing

is

space and time.

To the Eastern

inaccurate;

_at life is

and not

be

to

m jnd, how ever,

to be

something

this either/or

a nd

indeed possible for something to be opp osite

it is

same

in the

way of looking yet

man and womanin as much as they not so much opposites

the same. Within our species, for example, exist both

would think

opposites one

both human beings. In

are

— and fact,

same

yet they are the

man and woman

are

they are complementaries; divided in such a fashion

as

duce themselves with their union.

which the

Man

when one

of our species stands, and

life

as to

be able to repro-

and woman, then, are the half

is

legs

upon

whole

absent, the

perishes.

Our

bodies, as we've seen, are only able to evolve

they are comprised of processes that are less.

By

owing

to the fact that

once both changing and change-

extension, the universe consists of a similar relationship of comple-

mentaries, the nature of short and ally

at

which

is

akin to change and

loud and quiet, and hard and

tall,

and are experienceable

solely in terms

of the same universal process,

much

stasis,

front and back,

These things

soft.

of their being aspects

as positive

arise

— or

mutu-

poles

and negative are different

poles of the same magnetic system.

Our

universe

is

so interconnected in

so-called, can exist only in relation to

only in relation to physical sciences



all

other motion.

as a field

all It

all

of

parts that

its

one part of

it,

the others. All motion, too, exists

works

of forces. There



is

in the

terminology of the

no separate center

in

which

any motion or activity originates. All activity that occurs in any spot,

as

it

were, originates over the whole system.

A

problem

ar ises,

however when we deve lop evressive self-ronscious-

ness^ feeling ourselves to be process.

That

is

to say,

we

somehow

separate or independent

the experiencer and the experience, and then

on is

a

we

try to

to the other completely and attempt to control

breakdown when the experi encer

ing the whole ^pattern ot our

^.^ions— suc h_a

_s

when we

from

this

develop an excessive sensation of distance bet ween^

resists

make

the one latch

In other words, th ere _

the experience, thereby caus-,

turn on

c onsciousness to

w orry

it.

itself.

In such, condvz.

or worr y about worrying by sayinp to

oursel ves such things as "I must relax!" or "I must n ot think that way!" life-can It is

offers a

become

"an a lmost intolerable

burden



to ni any.

largely for this reason that the philosophy espoused

by Bruce Lee

way of

that has

deliverance

from the vicious

circle

of

life

been

The Ways

of the

World

27

brought about by thousands of years of Western theorizing. But having said any conscious attempt

this,

extrication

at

ing on the assumption that there

— of

trying to get out

extracted from the experience, and that, as we've seen, is

no exp eriencer

There

to

be

pvtmrtpq]

simply experie ncing.

is

pose of dancing

is

to dance," the

anothe r way of stating that

The up

According

analysis.

cally defined lives,

To better you with

ever,

you

Could

am

sit

to

purpose of

life is

to live

— which

is

simply

all

of

this

is

you should not get so caught

that

a

concept,

let us

tranquil evening.

from

apart

it

for the

purpose of

not live conceptually or scientifilife lies

simply in the

living.

assume that you are watching

The

a

scene and the whole experience

tremendous sense of peace and inner calm. Suddenly, how-

a

bolt upright thinking to yourself: "Something's missing here!

now?

right

an illusion. There

an experiential' process.

Bruce Lee: "People do

be that maybe

it

were,

it

can escape from, experie nce.

for the essential quality of living

on

as

Alan Wat ts' statement that "the pur-

you end up standing

illustrate this

beautiful sunset

who

or

,

like

is

work-

is still

world around you and searching for hidden cause-and-

effect relationships that

fills

it is

point to be drawn from

in analyzing the

(mm

Much



experiencer to be,

a real

is

were watching

I'll

I

could be experiencing even more comfort than

way

bet there's a

this sunset

from

a

to

make

this a better scenario.

nice screened-in porch

on

a

What

if

I

I

mild August

night on the shore of a lake in northern Ontario? I've heard that those north-

ern Canadian sunsets are really spectacular!

when

get back to the office

I

^The pro blem here

is

obvious.

better call

I'd

on Monday and.

my

travel agent

." .

.

You can become

so

wrapped up

in think-

.ing of ways to "maximize" your future enjoyment potential that you'll it

jrnpossi b le to experie nce

exists (the past

truly

all

that

we

he present joy

at all.

As the present

is

make

all

that

having expired and the future not yet born), the present should be concerned with.

Bruce Lee believed that as

t

if

you were

The now

is all

is

that can affect us.

in the midst of a life experience such

enjoying yourself, you should accept

it

for

what

it is.

Enjoy

living

and expe-

riencing the now, and don't try to pause or analyze the situation by stepping

out or away from the out of

moment

in order to see if

you

are getting the utmost

it:

The

essential quality of living

in the

life lies

simply

Do

not, as

when

moment and examine

your-

in the living.

midst of enjoying yourself, step out for a

The Warrior Within

28

with feeling happy, you want

to

feel yourself feeling

when

sure not to miss anything. Living exists

unhampered in this

is

Or

you are getting the utmost out of the occasion.

self to see if

in

the

flow, for he

its

IT

life

who

is

living

life lives

not content

happy-— 50 as be THROUGH us — to

not conscious of living, and

is

lives.

In other words, simply let

life

—with

of

all

its

experiences

— flow through

Leeuw (1893— 1934), the prominent Dutch "The meaning of life is not a problem to be

you. As Johannes Jacobus van der theosophical writer once

said:

solved, but a reality to be experienced."

This

is

what Bruce Lee was driving

precisely

rience living in

suchness?

life's

we

self-consciousness so that to

moment? According

How

do we

So

at.

how

does one expe-

bonds of

free ourselves of the

moment

can enjoy the experience of becoming

to Lee, the

that, in turn, entails a process

answer

go of the ego, and

lies in letting

of rigorous self-examination

until, bit

by

bit,

the superficial layers of "you" are peeled away to reveal only the irreducible

— —you.

More and as a

human

being.

thing or

is

.

my

In

is

it

mean

.

.

it's

becoming more and more simple

to

more and more

get over

is

And

listed.

— and

really

it

is,

the consciousness

pursuit of becoming

moment

not true?

Do

you

really

mean

it

to

What

constantly questioning myself:

that out, that's



or not



is this,

mean

over makes the observation that his pupil

He

a particular tells

it

is

is

the consciousness of

moment

In fact, during a private lesson with actor James

mark.

What

is.

I

it?

might

whatever that

Bruce?

Once

Is

I've

it

true

found

it.

the martial arts training film Bruce Lee's Jeet

executing

me

more and more

a realization in this regard as to whatever your pursuit

case, the

to

more and more I search [within] myself and more

a matter of simplicity]. It

it's

what man has

himself.

I

And

the questions are

see clearly [that

that

Dan,

more,

and more

be.

As Bruce Lee once revealed to Daniel Lee:

real

Coburn

is

in a voice-

being too self-conscious about

technique, with the result that he keeps missing his

Coburn: "You

are trying too

much

to control the

and by too much control, you're too concerned about fore you're too tight."

that appears in

Kune Do, Bruce Lee

its

movement,

execution. There-

The Ways

how

Coburn drops

enough, Coburn's very next kick

target!

maximum

When

the consciousness of himself.

to,

as

hits the target perfectly,

you ease the burden of your mind, you

and

that

a living

life is

mind

scious

in

the living flow

NOW!

to strive to

pleteness of things

is

its

original nature, which

answer

The

is

is its

life

it

all

Sure

just

do

it."

The

reason

is

an absence of the con-

is

indivisible.

For once the com-

no longer complete. All the pieces of

is

may

is

itself.

Right on the

see?

questions are raised.

divide that which

taken apart,

Heeding

essay:

Completeness, the now,

a car that has been taken apart

heartedly, the

— no

to

almost effortlessly

"You

impact, causing Lee to remark:

This concept was further illuminated in Lee's

Life lives;

how

mind of

were, complete

it

29

to raise his leg. In other

conscious effort, emptying his

all

analysis and leaves the technique alone

and with

when

to torque his body, or

words, he encourages Coburn to get over Lee's advice,

not to worry about

his student to relax mentally,

Lee instructs plant his foot,

World

of the

be there, but

function or

So

life.

is

it

no longer a car

in order to live life

in

whole-

simply IS.

Failure of Western Philosophy

If life, then,

is

an experiential rather than an analytical phenomenon, this

would explain why

so

many people who

earnestly seek peace of

mind

or con-

tentment come away frustrated and confused from their forays into Western philosophy, with

its

emphasis on analysis and then additional analysis of fur-

ther analysis (recall Wittgenstein's labyrinth of propositions and subpropositions

from the

last

chapter). This, as we've seen,

is

not only unnecessary but,

according to Bruce Lee, ultimately self-defeating:

In

life,

we

accept naturally the full reality of

what we

see

and feel

in

gen-

eral wit h

no shadow of a dou bt. Wester n philosophy, however, does not accept

what

believes,

life

jjich questions as: it

and

itxiv es to convert reality into a vroblejii

"Is this chair ITTat I see in

exist by itself?" Thus, rather than

in accord with

life,

Jrontof

making

life

Western philosophy complicates

me

.

Like asking

really there?

Can

easy for living by living it

by replacing the world's

"

The Warrior Within

30

tranquillity with the restlessness of problems. It



he breathes attempts

flow of

Why

think about the process.

to

life?

Why

create such fuss?

A

try to arrest

and interrupt

there

opposed

to revealing

experiencing and there

is

how

to experience

exclusive, existing in an inverse ratio to

one another; that

you spend

for

time

theorizing, the less

is left

with theorizing, according to Bruce Lee, tled it,

upon the

you

He

attempts

are mutually

more time The problem

the

is,

.

very foundation

and abstract

it

it,

set-

is

go around

to

away from

real-

noted:

Thus Western philosophy basic fact,

two

denial of reality by attempting to talk about

to catch anything that attracts our intellect

ity itself.

its

it

In other words,

experientially

that

is

that

is

it.

theorizing, and the

is

the

person simply breathes.

In a nutshell, the problem with the Western approach to explain life as

how

asking a person

like

is

immediately choke the breath out of him when he

this will

that

its

begins by saying that the outside world

existence can be doubted

which the

reality

sition but

one which needs

of the outside world to

affirmed

is

square a

to

for the

is

not a

that every proposition in

not an evident propo-

is

be divided, dissected,

stand consciously aside and try

Western philosophy, then,

is

and

and analyzed



it

is

to

circle.

most part not

really

concerned with

the issue of living qua living but rather in the construction of an activity

concerning theoretic knowledge. Most Western philosophers are not ested in living living.



in

purest sense

its

This inclination

the ultimate reality of it.

ing oneself

OUTSIDE

is

so

w ays

andhy peranalyz e.

doing^serve

ifest in

not conducive to either enjoying or experiencing

life,

but rather to an austere and detached contem-

as a

a thing implies maintain-

resolved to keep a distance between

it,

as inter-

they are in trying to theorize about

not what our world view sjiould be

pr ehensio n_i)f the sect

as

As Lee once observed, "To contemplate

plation of

This

is



if

of the world are to be our goals.

W

p miist_si^mply

it

and

ourselves.

happiness and true

open ourselves

We

com-

must not

dis-

to experience and,

conduit through which the real ity ol living

is

made

by

m an-

our e very move, thought, ac tion, and expe rience o f the moment.

Interestingly enough, verified in recent years

Bruce

Lee's

by modern

view of the world

physics.

According

is

one

that has

been

to current scientists,

The Ways the basic building blocks of existence are not matter

of the term

—but

rather probabilities,

energy. Thus, ultimately our universe

dynamic is

World

31

in the traditional sense

yet interrelated patterns of

composed, not of waves or parti-

but something in between.

cles,

David Bohm, the Professor Emeritus of Physics

don and the author of such books in



of the

Modern

as

and Wholeness and

Physics,

Quantum

at

the University of Lon-

Theory, Causality and Chance

the Implicate Order, has

advanced the

idea of an "implicate order" in describing the universe as a type of holo-

gram

which the

in

parts are themselves reflections

book The Turning

greater whole. In Fritjof Capra's the Rising Culture, a discussion

verse

"a

is

We

dynamic web of

are vortices

which appears

interrelated events."

is

a point that

in manifestation as

is

According

motion which increases

a whirlpool or tornado (whose epicenter

periphery.

The

in the



in

reality,

is

as

seen as an inseparably interrelated

and without

stars,

Bruce Lee:

in velocity in the

still) is

from nucleus a

to

phenomenon

— HOLD TO THE CORE.

— of the universe

actually be separated from the other (there

dim

is

whereas the vortex

that Lee's philosophy bears, perhaps, the

The world

to

a multidimensional force field

in this observation

It is

field

form of

one inseparable, interrelated

most serious consideration:

field,

no part of which can

would be no bright

the surrounding darkness, no stars at

stars all).

without

Opposi-

tions

have become mutually cooperative instead of mutually exclusive, and

there

is

To

no longer any

fully

understand

conflict

this

between the individual

man and

nature.

concept of the indivisibility of being, and

its

we will first need to become familiar with another we touched upon earlier and that is integral to Bruce Lee's phiThis is the principle of dynamic balance or, as it is more commonly

application to our lives, principle that

losophy.

and

motionless and eternal but

manner of

is

Point: Science, Society,

of the S-matrix theory indicates that our uni-

whose center

nucleus

and embodiments of the

symbolized, Yin/Yang.

Chapter Four

On Yin/ Yang

neo-Confucianism Confucianists (in

Chou Tun-i

a

profound impact upon Chinese thought

upon Bruce

and, in time,

pioneer),

had

fact,

the

called

(also

Lee.

The

writings of one of the

Neo-

man considered to be the movement's Chou Lien-ch'i and Chou Lien-hsi,

1017-1073), held particular import.

Chou Tun-i wrote two

short treatises, T'ai-chi-t'ti shuo (an explanation

of the diagram of the Great Ultimate) and T'ung-shu ("Penetrating the

Book

of Changes") that served to assimilate certain key aspects of Taoist philoso-

phy with Confucian thought.

The

T'ai

Chi ("Great Ultimate") diagram, or symbol,

West have taken pass the

to calling the

"Yin/Yang symbol,"

as

it

is

what we

serves to

in the

encom-

"one in the many" philosophy of Yin/Yang.

According

to the history of the Great Ultimate diagram, the Great Ulti-

mate through movement creates Yang.

When Yang

reaches

its

limit,

the

movement becomes tranquil, which generates Yin. This alternation of movement and tranquillity creates Yin and Yang, which, in turn, give birth to the Five Agents of Water, Fire, stitute

one

Wood,

Metal, and Earth. These Five Agents con-

vast interdependent system of

Yin/Yang, and Yin/Yang consti-

tutes the Great Ultimate.

According is

to

Chou

Tun-i:

"The many

actually differentiated into the

own

correct state of being."

This was

much

solace

in.

and the one its

1

a philosophical

and truth

are [ultimately] one,

many," and "the one and many each has

precept that Bruce Lee would eventually find

Lee went on record

in the early part

of 1962

as

33

The Warrior Within

34

gung

indicating that he began learning

sons that most of us take up

how

However, once he

to fight."

a rather

combat and hard physical training were only one

part tol-

that

mind

erance, and peace of

a

— and

much broader understanding but also of

comment It

it

was by

the

far

more

of the two

difficult

Lee persisted and, in time, came

to possess

of not only the combative elements of gung

philosophical underpinning of Yin/Yang, causing

its

him

to

to a reporter in 1962:

has changed

ing.

simply because he "wanted to learn

started his martial arts training in earnest,

aspects to cultivate. Nevertheless,

fu,

same rea-

fu at age thirteen, for the

art,

complex process. The other part consisted of understanding,

Lee soon learned of

martial

a

Gung

fu

my

whole

a

way of

is

Yin (negative) and Yang

life,

life

and

I have a completely different

as well as a

mode of

self-defense. It

where everything

(positive),

is

a

is

and

plans,

and how

to

think-

based on

Exam-

complement.

and man with woman.

ples are softness with firmness, night with day,

quiet awareness of one's opponent's strength

way of

It is

a

complement

them.

While many of few

are familiar

us return once

us in the

West

are familiar

with the Yin/Yang symbol,

with what the symbol actually represents. In

more

to the

words of Bruce Lee

this respect, let

to illuminate this ancient

philosophical principle:

Gung

fu

is

based on the symbol of the Yin and Yang, a pair of mutually com-

plementary and interdependent forces that in this universe.

.

.

.

The Yin and Yang

act continuously,

without cessation,

are two interlocking complementaries.

Etymologically the characters of Yin and Yang mean, darkness and ancient character of Yin, the dark part of the hill.

Yin can represent anything

circle,

is

a

The

drawing of clouds and

in the universe as negativeness, passiveness,

gentleness, internal, insubstantiality, femaleness,

moon, darkness,

other complementary half of the

The lower part of

signifies slanting sunrays,

light.

circle is

Yang.

night,

etc.

The

the character

while the upper part represents the sun.

Yang can

represent anything as positiveness, activeness, firmness, external substantiality,

maleness, sun, brightness, day,

y

i*

to^d*ntrfy~4li££e_ tu>o

soft style

and

etc.

forces as

the firm style).

The common mistake of most martial

artists

Yin and Yang, as dualistic (thus the so -called

But Y^jjVYaiw

is

one

iiisyijHiible forcc^oj

one

On Yin/Yang unce asing interplay of as

movement

two coexisting forces of one

.

viewed as two separate

is

gung fu won't

are conceived of as essentially one, or

indivisible whole.

but should be looked at as sound

ness"

They

and

They

echo, or light

entities,

are not cause

and shadow.

and

effect

If this "one-

realization of the ultimate reality of

be achieved.

According

Let's consider this principle in a little greater depth.

Lee, the basic theory of

permanent

35

Yin/Yang

is

"there

that:

Bruce

to

nothing in the universe so

is

as never to change.

To Lee,

this

meant

that

we

are

all

part of a universal process of

growth

and evolution, brought into being from the unceasing interplay of Yin/Yang.

Our

bodies, for example, are

one of which

is

composed of

billions

composed of microscopic

changing orbits of incessant energy. They

of

cells

— each and every

constituents whirling in ever-

are, in effect,

miniature universes

unto themselves and are evolving and interchanging with one another continuously.

Bruce Lee once wrote: "The flow of movements

changeability. "

when

there

is

He

also said:

stillness in

"The

stillness in stillness

movement

is

is

not the real

in

their inter-

This unceasing interchangeability of Yin/Yang was symbolically trated

Only

stillness.

does the universal rhythm manifest. illus-

by Lee when he placed two revolving arrows around the Yin/Yang

symbol

to represent the principles underlying his martial art of jeet

In other words, the arrows represented that

of one unified force. As he himself once

all

kune

do.

apparent opposites arise out

stated:

The emblem of

Lee's jeet kune do

school employed the Yin /Yang

symbol with two arrows encircling it,

of

emphasizing the interdependency all things.

symbol

in

Surrounding the

Chinese characters

is

phrase " Using no way as way; Jiaving n o limitation limitation.

as_

the



"

The Warrior Within

36

/

was asked by a so-called Chinese kung fu

and

really looked the part, with beard

and Yang to

answer and

has not come

still



instructor once

one of those that

what I think of Yin

as to

"Baloney!"

(firm). I simply answered:

my

hear

all



Of course

the realization that

to

(gentle)

he was quite shocked it

is

never

two.

Lee then went on to explain:

We

must realize then that

is

it

not a matter of the soft versus the firm, because

and firmness

as I've pointed out, gentleness

are always part of one whole

and

are equally important as well as unavoidably interdependent on each other. If

one

Those who

"physically

At

able.

bound"

least the

or "intellectually

"physically

and separa-

this will lead to separation,

rejects either the firm or the soft,

tion will run to extreme.

cling to either

extreme are known as either

bound," though the former are more bear-

bound" do

struggle.

This fundamental principle of the unity and interdependency of apparent opposites results in

condition of "changeless change," which has

a

its

ref-

erent in almost every culture. Heraclitus, for example, the pre-Socratic

whom we

philosopher

step twice into the

By

this

met

same

the "same" river that

it

ion supposes that what



a state for

for a time.

no time

Thus, in

a

was when you it

calls

But the

at all.

river, it

is

"One cannot

first

constantly flowing, with

never

stepped into is

something

it

is

it.

Common

opin-

endure

that will

you have

is

as

said

we

its

name.

are simply

a greater reflection

of the

Yin/Yang. While we ourselves and the

change on

a

daily,

almost imperceptible

basis, this

process of changing with the subtle changes of the universe

changeless

phenomenon

that has

new

and cannot ever be

with ourselves,

flow. This, too,

exist

static

has changed while

opposites, or

we

said:

according to Heraclitus, remains in such

sense,

microcosms of the macrocosmic universe within which

it

"the river"

In fact,

more personal

harmony of apparent

a river is

from upstream,

it

once

2

he meant that because

waters flowing into

statically

in the previous chapter,

river."

is

a

been ongoing since the beginning of time.

Again, recall the words of Bruce Lee from the previous chapter: "To change with change

is

the changeless state.

On More that

all

Yin/ Yang

37

to the point, this principle of constant evolutionary flow implies

things

— not our

to change. In

just rivers that ran

case,

we

through ancient Greece

are never the



are subject

same people we once were. With

each passing year, our bodily tissues renew through the process of metabolism, creating in

new

our bodies

cells to replace

the older ones. In other

words, everything in our universe (both inner and outer) flows in an intri-

would appear

cate relationship to what, ostensibly,

to be

begets death, day begets night, rise complements

The

female, and so on.

extreme point, tivity,

nature of the relationship

complement each

dict as well as

it

must become

on the other hand, returns

fall, is

such that they contra-

other. For example, if activity reaches

inactivity,

which forms Yin. Extreme

become

to

activity,

which

one condition becomes the cause of the other, and vice

The

ing goes

is

its

inac-

Yang. Thereby,

versa.

compl ementary and simultane ous increasing and decreas-

principle of

on

opposite: birth

its

male complements

in perpetuity,

and while these forces would appear

to

be in direct

^conflict with one another, they are in reality mutually dependent. Instead of opposition, there

Yin/ Yang

cooperation and alternation.,

is

miboXh*^-¥|dt riin each ofJrsjTjilygs

ol thtL opposite ha lf

Within the half

that

is

a_

small circle that

Yin

is

the color

this small circle represents

Yang, and vice versa. This serves to symbolize the fact that Yin and Yang interact

with each other in an endless succession of changes. Within even

the most masculine of men, there

woman

resides a small part that

The Yin/Yang, symbol,

as

it

wrote of

is

is

a

feminine component, and within

unquestionably male. an immensely interesting and descriptive

signifies that all things in nature are

greater totality tzu

or T'ai Chi,

is

— however independent or

it

an interrelated part of

individual they might appear. Lao-

thusly:

—n We

join spokes together in a wheel,

but

it is

that

the center hole

makes the wagon move.

We

shape clay into a pot,

but

it is

the emptiness inside

that holds

whatever

a

we

want.

"

The Wa r r

38

i ( >

k

Within

We hammer wood but

makes

that

We work

it

livable.

with being,

but non-being

Bruce Lee addressed

//;

I

reality,

me

in his writings:

to

the result of releasing

and

Things do have

When

parts.

are just one process

pump

go somewhere, then he cannot

or not

pump

on them

on one pedal and release the this

two

into

the one could not exist but for the other. If a per-

same time

pump

going forward requires

other.

3

use.

and perspiring

perspire, the heat

and

as they are coexistent

to

what we

phenomenon

this

son riding a bicycle wishes

ward, he has

is

"whole" and cannot be separated

things arc

say the heat makes

the pedals at the

for a house,

the inner space

it is

In order to go for-

at all. other.

on both

So

the

movement of

"oneness" of pumping and releasing. Pumping vice versa,

each being the cause

their complementaries,

and

result

and complementaries

Instead of mutually exclusive, they are mutually dependent

and

is

of the

coexist.

are a function

each of the other.

Lee then went on

//;

the

to explain the significance

Yin/Yang symbol

spot on the white one.

there

This

is

is

a white spot on the black part

to illustrate the

survive long by going to either extreme,

Yang (firmness). Notice that

bamboo

In

life,

be

it

the stiffest tree

is

balance in

life,

for

nothing can

pure Yin (gentleness) or pure most easily cracked, while the

Lee noticed that the Western approach was often



approach, if adopted repeatedly in dealing with

the wind. If the

to confront

in other words, to be Yang or firm about things. This

problems: "The American

wind

is

is

[typically] like

strong, he cracks.

life's

an oak

vicissitudes, can lead to

tree

The Oriental



he stands firm against

(prefers to] stand like

bending with the wind and springing back when the wind ceases

ever before.

and a black

or willow survive by bending with the wind.

things head on

boo,

of the Yin/Yang symbol:



bam-

stronger than

On

Yin/ Yang

39

In other words, instead of opposing the natural patterns of the universe, it is

far

more productive

to learn to flow

and blend with them.

The Law of Harmony Bruce Lee taught expressed

that the application

of the principles of Yin/Yang are

the law of harmony. This law indicates that one should be in

as

harmony with,

opposed

as

one should do nothing that

nature. In other words,

and force of

to rebellion against, the strength

not natural or spon-

is

taneous; the key tenet being not to strain in any way. In terms of combat-

ing an opponent, Lee explained the law of

When

opponent

A

uses strength (Yang) on B,

strength; in other words,

(Yang) but instead yield tion of his

own

harmony

B

thusly:

must not

resist

him

.

.

with

do not use positiveness (Yang) against positiveness to

him with

softness (Yin)

and lead him

to the direc-

When

negativeness (Yin) to positiveness (Yang).

force,

.

A's

strength goes to the extreme, the positiveness (Yang) will change to negativeness (Yin),

B

Thus

force (Yang).

his

then taking him at his unguarded the whole process

is

moment and

attacking with

[never] unnatural or strained.

movement harmoniously and continuously

into that of

A

B

fits

without resisting

or striving.

Lee liked to

illustrate this principle in relation to martial art,

harmony present

see the law of

of Brenda: She has been yos,

you understand, but

returning body

fat.

a

in

many

different areas. Consider the case

yo-yo dieter for

she's

caught in

Brenda always

a

years.

Not

that she

has of

how

diets too severely in

been overweight for

as

a

time

long

as

Unfortunately, poor Brenda to

extremes



when

she wasn't

on

diets

and

an effort to "force" a

mental picture she

she thinks she ought to "ideally" appear. In

remember

consumed yo-

never-ending cycle of fad

(Yang) her body into a state of complying (Yin) with

friends can

but you can

a diet

fact,

— and

known her. doomed to disappointment

none of her yet she has

they've is

because she goes

either total deprivation (Yin) or total gorging (Yang). If she

The Warrior Within

4 o

had adopted

more

natural position of moderation, she

would have obtained

been putting herself through. Bruce Lee believed

travails she's

dulum of

more

far

a

body of her dreams long ago and without anywhere near the

the

life

more modest, well-balanced

successful simply eating a

all

knew

I

their muscles appear

more

ately after the contest,

And

defined.

The bodybuilders would then comfort in order to that they

— the

kicked back in with

it

inner cravings

.

You

were simply being temporarily deprived o f

into the bloodstre am

glucose via c a rbohydrate as

down

.

talce

when

In fact, Jiilthe

of jL-b alanced

a result

vengeance.

a

this esse ntial^

from the body's perspective,

simply-jJie^form that carbohydrates

hvei

a

their

see^ their bodies didn't^

diet,

down

brolteh

bod y it

was

it

trom glucose,

nutrition they need to function errioentiy

itf^the

When

carbohydrates.

gorge themselves to the point of dis-

literally

satiate their

netic purposes;

by br ejuki ng

Immedi-

for a while.

hogs because their bodies were craving that component of

biology could no longer be suppressed,

qs.



to

make

order to

however, these bodybuilders would invariably become

well-balanced diet that had been denied

know

a contest in

worked

it

diet.

pumpers who used

several iron

of their carbohydrate intake prior to

as fat as prize

pen-

that the

required balance, and in Brenda's case, she would have been

In the realm of bodybuilding,

cut out

labors and

in the

doesn't receive

will create

an ami no acid called alanine and converting

its

own

into glu-

it

cose. Again, the penduhmi of life__must ha ve ba lance- Extreme nutritional habits are at odds with the prTrre*pl?>ot

the

way of

^he irat e,

ness. ^will

is,

we've seen,

as

the world.

same principle

applies

going to extremes in discussion.

t-n

example, you're having an argument with

and

Yin/Yang; which

don't lash back^wjth the

Your mate's anger.

r p q ilin

n^

sai-ne ->

a

— respond with

If,

for

becoming heated

spouse, and he's

passiveness and kind-

p*" mfrn^'"y ^'"^ Ipv^I ffiL

fr>

sustain itself

soon bur n out and g ive way to Yin or gentleness^ Again, any extreme

ylead nature

jts c omplem entary, so

course, content in the understanding that

ta ke its

that, again. " no t hinges ,

§q nj^rjaa ramt

as.

a

is

not to quarrel,

back and

let

do so and

kind of philosophical inaction,

with the natural course of things.

tered, the wiser course

sit

will

never_jo_chan ge."

Quiescence, fromXees perspective, was a refusal to interfere

it

fight,

or

If resistance

make war

(as

is

encoun-

in the case

On Yin/Yang and to win,

of quarreling nations), but to retire

silently,

yielding and patience.

been noted

ries

more

on earth

has after

It

all

through

if at all,

that passivity has

41

its

victo-

often than action. In other words, if you do not quarrel, no one will be able to quarrel with you.

The Law of Noninterference The

principle of the law of

harmony

has as

its

corollary the law of

non-

interference with nature, which, according to Bruce Lee, taught a person to

what was happening before him,

forget about himself and merely respond to like

echo

to

sound

trative purposes,

The

basic idea

strength.

nent,

—with no

is

That

is

to defeat

why

a

When

by swinging with violence,

Again using martial

it.

him and using

in frontal opposition to the direction

of his [oppo-

This law

illustrates the principles

of nonresistance and non-

reeds,

fir tree

snapped

weaker but more supple,

it.

also

tzu, the greatest

own

oppo-

being attacked, he will not resist but will control the attack

which were founded on the idea that the branches of a

Bruce Lee

his

asserts himself against his

under the weight of the snow, while the simple can overcome

art for illus-

as follows:

the opponent by yielding to

gung ju man never

and never [puts himself]

nent's] force.

deliberation.

Lee advanced the proposition

found profound and enduring truth in the words of Lao-

of the pre-Confucian philosophers,

who

pointed out:

—78— Nothing is

as soft

in the

world

and yielding

as water.

Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,

nothing can surpass

The

soft

it.

overcomes the hard;

the gentle overcomes the rigid.

Everyone knows but few can put

this it

is

true,

into practice. 4

The Warrior Within

42

From

this

In contrast, the

man

Yang

principle,

break under pressure.

It is

ples

Bruce Lee concluded: "Because he which

is

assumed

to

can yield, a he rigorous

man

and

interesting to note the value that Lao-tzu placed

As we

was on

to

shall see in

makes a

"

on the Yin princi-

of softness and pliableness, making them synonymous with

vival.

can survive.

hard,

life

and sur-

our next chapter, Bruce Lee believed that Lao-tzu

something when he

said that

we

could come

a

long way toward

understanding the essence of Tao by observing and understanding the nature

of water.

Chapter Five

Running Water

Empty your mind. Be formless,

shapeless, like water.

When

you put water into a

When

you put water

When

you put water into a teapot,

Now Be

water can flow

water,

cup,

it

into a bottle,



or

it

becomes the cup; it

it

becomes the

bottle;

becomes the teapot.

can crash.

my friend. Bruce Lee

c^$i=>

To

some of you reading

book, the above quotation may seem

this

an odd paean to things aqueous. However, the time

Lee's will have taken

you have finished

on

a

new meaning

entirely.

To be

with adversity until you are in position to overcome tenets of

Bruce Lee's philosophy



restricted solely to those individuals

personal form of martial

art,

jeet

a

philosophy

who were

kune

I

this chapter, this

do.

guarantee that by

aphorism of Bruce

able to flow like water it,

is

one of the key

that, until

select students

Even

then, by

now, has been of Bruce Lee's

no means did

all

of these individuals grasp the man's philosophic precepts with any degree of firmness, opting instead to keep Lee's teachings confined to the realm of

hand-to-hand combat. This myopic view of Lee's contribution, indeed true legacy,

is

unfortunate, because the teachings of Bruce Lee have so

his

much 43

The Warrior Within

44

more

merely

to offer than

a practical

prism through which to view

a street

fight.

Lee's martial philosophy,

which he named

meaning "the way of the intercepting

tonese,

kune do (from the Can-

jeet

with individualism,

fist") deals

self-expression, and learning to adapt oneself instantly and harmoniously to

whatever obstacle might stand in your path. Through

of har-

this process

monious adaptation, Lee believed, one could overcome adversity form. Lee's perspective was fresh, his insight into the

human



any

in

condition

unique, and most important, the self-actualizing philosophy that he pio-

neered has continued to work flawlessly to the benefit of sen to apply

But

it.

first,

all

who

have cho-

us consider the significance of Lee's water

let

analogy.

The Nature of Water For centuries, the Chinese have held

found awe of Kuan

is

(d.

645),

water

said that

in

[of the world].

.

Hence the

in water.

So

of

this

is

something

that has

It

comes forth Therefore

in metal

it is

its

complete

water

who would

Still

water

is

You can look It is

a

faculties.

...

is

is

something

it

and see the

bristles

A

carpenter could use

If

water

is

How much

it.

so clear, so level,

more the

spirit

of man? 2

is

spiritual.

transform the world

like glass.

in

It

concentrated

of Chuang-tzu:

perfect level;

pro-

in the various things

1

also in the writings

a

veins. Therefore,

and stone, and

said that

solution for the sage

— indeed,

collection of writings

wondrous element:

Heaven and Earth, and stored up

in living creatures. .

this to say

a

the blood of the earth, and flows through

is

accumulated

.

had

healthy respect

a

The Kuan-tzu,

for the nature of water.

Chung

Water it



on your

chin.

lies

Running Water

As we've

seen, water

The

was Lao-tzu's

symbol

for the Tao:

highest goodness, water-like

Does good

to everything

Unmurmuring But

favorite

so, is

to places

and goes

men

despise;

Way

close in nature to the

[Tao]. 3

To Bruce Lee, however, the nature of water revealed entirely.

When

the sea,

nese

call

itself,



a

sea that flows

profound experience while through

Hong

his leaving for

sailing alone in a

Kong's Victoria Harbor.

in fact, that contributed to Lee's experience of

tun-wu, (the Japanese, satori), the

itual insight or

Tao

a different lesson

Lee was seventeen years old (one year shy of

the United States), he had

junk upon the

45

Zen

equivalent of

It

was

what the Chia

sudden

spir-

awakening, causing him to believe that he had united with

the Chinese term for the force underlying

experience changed Lee's

life

and most certainly

Bruce Lee

all

his

of nature's ways. The philosophy of

(right) learning "the art of

detachment" from only



life.

his first

sifu, professor

—and

Yip Man.

The Warrior Within

46

As in

it

happened, Lee had spent the prior four years of his

arduous training in the

art

of

Wing Chun,

a

branch of Chinese gung fu

that stressed heavily the principle of gentleness in neutralizing nent's effort

and minimizing your

own

expenditure of energy

your oppo-

The

discipline

not in resisting one's opponent with strength charging head-on into

lay

strength, but rather in learning

how

to understand

and thereby

— much

opponent's force and energy to your

own

learn to use, not oppose, the forces of

wind and water

advantage

practitioners

how

to

utilize

like

your

one must

one wishes

to learn

Wing Chun

teaches

if

the art of effective sailing. In other words, the art of its

point

life at this

be their opponent's complementary,

as

opposed to

adversary, through a process of calmness and nonstriving (which should be starting to

sound familiar

to you, dear reader, about now).

found

In any event, as simple as the concept sounded, Lee

having some difficulty with

its

actual application.

he engaged in combat with an opponent,

which caused him

mind was

to beat his

Noticing that

that the

he was

moment

mind was angry and perturbed,

his

to use force (Yang) against, rather than compliance (Yin)

with, his opponent's techniques. After his

He found

that

his

a series

of blows,

opponent into the ground

all

that

remained in

decisively.

young student was not understanding the

lesson, Lee's

Chinese gentleman by the name of Yip Man, ap-

instructor, an elderly

proached and instructed him to

relax:

"Forget about yourself and follow the opponent's movement," he told

him. "Let your mind do the countermovement without deliberation. Learn the art

of detachment. Just relax." "Aha," thought Lee. "That's the secret

mulation of

this



thought had, in retrospect

I

must relax!" But even the for-

many

years later,

been an indi-

cation that he had, again, missed the point. As Lee was to later recall: "Right there I

I said

had already done something contradictory against 'I

must

relax.'

the effortlessness in

As

Lee's

The demand

for effort in

my

will.

That was when

'must' was already inconsistent with

'relax.'"

mounting

frustration

became apparent

to his old instructor, he

approached Lee again and offered the following advice: "Lee, follow nature

and don't interfere with her ways. Never

assert yourself against nature:

be in frontal opposition to any problem, but swing with this

week.

Go home

and think."

it.

never

Don't practice

Running Water Such an admonition only made than seethe.

he took

Still,

47

impossible for Lee to do anything other

it

and stayed home the

his instructor's advice

fol-

lowing week. After many hours of meditation, he gave up and decided to

go

As

sailing at sea alone in a junk.

he thought back on what

sea,

inability to apply the principle

and he punched

was

at

new

availed of

Right then,

me

I

moment,

softest

ofgungfu?

I stabbed at

it

with

it!

I

wanted

that instant, he

at

my

all

but

fit

I

it

the

struck

it

common water just just now, but

might, yet

any

illus-

did not

it

was not wounded.

it

was impossible. This

itself into

this water,

container.

water,

the

Although

it

be like the nature of water.

to

yet.

While

still

when suddenly

tinued to gaze into the water

savoring the insight, Lee cona seagull

upon the waves. This was the moment of

Right then as

own

his

could penetrate the hardest substances in the world. That was

But the lesson wasn't over

reflection

it,

substance in the world, could it

— and

suddenly struck me. Wasn't

ofgungfu? Didn't

then tried to grasp a handful of

seemed weak,

him and of

said to

of his might

all

a thought

the [Yin] principle

Again

had

insight:

at that

suffer hurt.

junk cut through the waves of the

of Yin properly. Suddenly his temper flared

the water with

the very basic stuff, the essence trate to

his

his instructor

I

flew over, casting

its

Lee's satori:

was absorbing myself, another mystic sense of hidden meaning

started

upon me. Shouldn't

tions I

had

in front

it

be the same, then,

of an opponent pass

that the thoughts

like the reflection

and emo-

of the bird flying

over the water? This was exactly what professor Yip meant by being detached. .

.

.

In order to control myself, I

my

not against

Lee then

lay

must

first

accept myself by going with

back in the boat, feeling that he had united with Tao.

had become one with the ways of nature. Letting the boat just lay there, enjoying a state

thought

to

be the

many opposing

conflict in his

forces of the

With

world were

mind: "The whole world

famous water analogy with which

in fact

He Lee

mutually

this understanding, there to

me was

This experience and the conclusion that Lee drew from ate his

drift freely,

of inner harmony, realizing that what he had

cooperative instead of mutually exclusive.

no longer any

and

nature.

we opened

it

unitary.

served to cre-

this chapter.

frequently evoke this analogy to illustrate the principle of

was

"

Yin

Lee would

as

it

applied

The Warrior Within

48

"Water can flow



or

it

can crash." Bruce Lee demonstrated the "crashing"

component of the water principle while an amazed James Garner looks on

Marlowe

during a scene from the movie

to facing adversity or leable that it

it

was impossible

was impossible

that

it

combating

to hurt.

It

remained one of the

and pure Yang, in that of matter.

It

it

force.

(ig6g).

Lee observed that water was so mal-

to grasp a handful

was

at

softest,

was

of

it,

and that when struck,

once both pure Yin, by virtue of the

most yielding substances

also capable

could be calm, like the

still

fact

in the world,

of penetrating the hardest forms

surface of a pond, or turbulent and

violent, like Niagara Falls.

The its

nature of water, then,

path and, by moving

mounting

we

it.

at its

is

to adapt itself instantly to any obstacle in

own

can learn to flow with adversity,

tionally,

it

is

it

it,

The lary of

life is

passes us by.

So you've got

we

be learned from water

will eventually

only through our flowing with

and grow. Indeed, with

pace, begin a natural process of sur-

In other words, the lesson to

to just

movement, with the

As Bruce Lee

said:

life

that

overcome

we

is

that if

it.

Addi-

are able to adapt

result that if

we

cease to flow

"Running water never grows

stale.

'keep on flowing.'"

nature of water, Bruce Lee held, also revealed a philosophic corol-

Yin/Yang



that of the necessity of

bending with

adversity.

^Part ~£wo 15-

°A

e Vo

9>:

Defeating Adversity

Chapter Six

Bend and Survive

August 1972, Bruce Lee was in the midst of fleshing out

In

7

for his fourth film.

The

was

film

concept

a

The Game of Death, and

to be titled

the concept he intended to convey was the absolute necessity for

human

beings to be able to bend with adversity and thereby adapt to what-

ever circumstances beset them. Although the plot would apply this princi-

Lee

ple to the martial arts, to

principles of

At

stood

also

am working

title yet,

on the

script for

but what I want

the first scene in

my

mind.

As

my

show

to

changing circumstances. The inability

to

is

next film. I haven't really decided the necessity to adapt oneself to

adapt brings destruction. I already have

the film opens, the audience sees a wide

of snow. Then the camera closes in on a clump of strong gale is

it

all

fill

it

the screen.

breaks.

tree falls to the

Then

the wind. Because

It

to

adapts

moves

It

is

a loud snap,

cannot yield

to a

itself to the

which

expanse

while the sounds of a

a huge tree in the center of the 'screen,

ground.

the camera it

complete yielding,

give,

This facet

is

trees

willow

to the

tree

force of the

which

is

is

and

and a huge

snow

bending with

environment, the willow survives.

should be noted that this principle of "bend and survive"

mean

have

There

covered with thick snow. Suddenly there

branch of the so

one of the fundamental

as

life:

present I

on the

it

is

not taken

simply collapse or defeat, but rather to

or pliability. As Lee once wrote:

is a

Be

soft,

Be

firm, yet not hard.

naturally occurring

yet not yielding.

phenomenon

that

is

present in almost every

of existence, from snow-laden trees to man-made architecture. Take, 51

The Warrior Within

52

we

for example, the bridges that sess this ability to

bend or

upon every

drive

yield slightly, they

day. If

would

they did not pos-

ultimately collapse. This

capacity to yield (Yin), while often considered a "feminine" quality,

means

a

(Yang)



sign of weakness.

In fact,

a quality traditionally

Once

again

we

different aspects of

Chapter



4).

In

fact,

is

is

based solely on

inherent in

all

its

is

as

able to have

pliability (Yin).

Such

is

things (we touched on this balance

the quality of balance

we might

present in order that

is

by no

considered masculine.

one and the same process. That the bridge

the natural balance that

of Tao

is

instead a sign of great strength

note that both Yin and Yang qualities are present here

the strength to endure (Yang)

in

is

it

— or the nonextremist nature

realize the ultimate expression

of

our true natures.

You

way

to

can, for example, always be certain that

convince you of his masculinity, he

sion of his

manhood. Likewise, when

a

is

when

a

man

goes out of his

suppressing the ultimate expres-

woman attempts to act 100 percent womanhood is in jeopardy. This

"female," the ultimate expression of her

observation caused Lao-tzu to write the following passage sometime between the sixth and fifth century B.C.:

—28— Knowing

the male but keeping the female,

one becomes

Becoming one

is

a universal stream.

a universal stream,

not separated from eternal virtue.

1

In other words, if the male can allow himself to be weak, and if the

female can allow herself to be strong, then both will be in accord with Tao

and allow themselves the

fullest

expression of their respective and highly indi-

vidual sexualities, which, in the final analysis,

not only of

human

So the question invariably

According

to

nese

can be obtained only call

lation

arises:

Bruce Lee, the answer

excessive self-consciousness. this

is

really the greatest strength,

beings, but of most living things.

A

how

is,

first

can

of

we all,

express our true selves? to get rid

certain "spiritual loosening"

when one

is

of the ego, or required, and

masters the principle of what the Chi-

wu-hsin (the Japanese, mushiri), literally "no-mind," or the deregu-

of self-consciousness.

Bend and Survive

53

The Way of No-Mindedness The concept of wu-hsin does not mean an empty mind all

emotion, nor

that

devoid of

is

simply quietness of mind. As Bruce Lee explained the

is it

concept: Although quietude and calmness are the

mind

receives,

his

in

let

as a mirror

the



it

grasps nothing, yet

As Alan Watts put

mind

or ego standing over

mind think what

likes

it

is

and

A

gung fu

refuses nothing;

a "state

is

without the sensa-

easily,

with a club."

2

What

he means

without the interference by the separate

thinker or ego within oneself. So long as absolutely no effort in letting go,

it

it

no-mindedness

it,

which the mind functions freely and

tion of a second to

mind

but does not keep.

of wholeness

is

"nongraspingness" of

the

is

it

that mainly constitutes the principle of "no-mindedness."

man employs it

necessary,

it

thinks what

it

wants,

there

the disappearance of the effort to

let

is

go

precisely the disappearance of the separate thinker.

Still, to

some of

us,

the question surfaces: but

how do we

"let

go"? Bruce

Lee responded: There

is

accepted,

nothing

try to do,

to

emotion or feeling, but being one is

a

mind immune

to

No-mindedness in

whom

feeling

ciple

is

and not the segments;

opposed

a

not sticky or blocked.

it

in

which everything

is

looking

at

It is

still.

process of employing the

to the individual leaf.

is

then not being without

emotional influences, like a river

In other words, wu-hsin

glory, as

is

is

flowing on ceaselessly without cessation or standing

totality,

moment by moment

for whatever comes up

including nouacceptance.

mind

to see the

the whole tree, in

According

to

all

of

Chuang-tzu, the

of Lao-tzu:

The baby That

is

looks

at

things

all

day without winking,

because his eyes are not focused on any particular object.

He goes without knowing where he is going, And stops without knowing what he is doing. He merges himself with the surroundings And moves along with it these are the principles



its

dis-

of mental hygiene. 3

The Warrior Within

54

In other words, concentration should not have the usual sense of restrict-

ing the attention to

of whatever

ness

sense object; rather,

a single

happens

be

to

no-mindedness allows one's mind sent nowhere.

A

According

gung fu man's mind

this or that object,

it

ing a pond, which

power because

it

.

to

it.

and be open

Chinese language. Phrases such

to

when

as

many

its

is

it

other names

like

is

can work

It

everything because

it is

pre-

related to

water

fill-

inexhaustible

empty.

— even within the

pen hsin (original mind), hsin hsin all

of our complete psychic

totality

The condition of

now.

The flow of thought

mind), and fu hsin (Buddha mind) are

segmented

quiet aware-

a

everywhere because

flow off again.

This phenomena of wu-hsin has

in

simply

can remain present because even

does not cling to

free,

is

.

always ready

is

and

is

Bruce Lee:

to

.

here

to be present

it

variants of wu-hsin, or the

faculty.

(faith

non-

Bruce Lee made the obser-

vation that any arresting of our conscious awareness on only one thought, aspect, subject, object, or focal point created a condition

page"

— the

of wu-hsin. Such

antithesis

believed, leads to

a

of "psychical stop-

segmented thought process, Lee

condition of hesitation or detachment from the now and

a

thereby creates the potential for serious problems



particularly for those con-

"The Tao of Wu-

fronted with a life-or-death situation (see Alan Watts's essay hsin" in the appendix of this book).

The he

basic

is

problem of a martial

engaged

thoughts or any object

day

his

mind

is

thing in one's else;

however,

known

as psychical stoppage.

encounters.

it

Unlike the fluid mind

"stopped," incapable of flowing from one object

without stickiness or clogginess. result, his tools

artist is

He

mind means attempt

to

that

it

is

to

in everyto

ceases to be master of himself

no longer express themselves in their suchness. So

to

When

deadly contest with his antagonist, his mind often attaches

in a

itself to life,

As Lee noted:

another

and

as a

have some-

preoccupied and has no time for anything

remove the thought already

in

is

it

to refill

it

with

another something!

In other words, thinking about achieving a state of nonfixatedness, or

no-mindedness,

entails

an application of mental

effort, or

what the Chinese

Bend and Survive wei (unnatural striving),

call

which

effectively prevents

55

attainment.

its

the equivalent of trying to relax by saying "I must relax!" the fallacy of

was pointed out by Lee

Chapter

in

this to say:

Ultimately one should be "purposeless. "

By

purposeless

absence of things where meant nothingness prevails.

be stuck in ance, .

.

of

its

it.

The

But when

.

A

The

is

object;

it,

it

is

not

is

it

to be

stuck there, your psychic energy loses

is

and no longer flows with

tipped in any one direction;

responds empty -mindedly

stuck

no "objects" are to

there prevails a state of purposelessness (which

nor

of purpose-

not meant the mere

object

by nature formless, and

state

empty-mindedness, or simply the everyday mind), the

nothing in

no

spirit is

anything

native activity becomes cramped

fluidity,

and

When

mental

a

must be present, of which Lee had

with thought process.

which

In order to achieve this natural state

5.

of nonanalytical observance and comprehension, less

It is

is

its

bal-

the stream. also a state

spirit harbors

transcends both subject

it

environmental changes and leaves

to

track.

Feline Analogy This quality of not being "tipped in any one direction," of not clinging observed quite readily in the behavior of

to things or being off center,

is

most animals, and particularly

in cats.

table,

relaxed and lands

The

cat

land,

make

does not

where

it

on the ground with fill

shall

its

mind with

go once

the leap in the

it

become

sorts



least

itself;

it

thud and continues on of thoughts

of

all

a

becomes completely

how

as to

—whether

it is

its

way.

it

shall

"safe" to

first place.

illustration, if that

leaping from the table, decided that instantly

all

from the top of

a cat leaps

go of

a gentle

does, or

To follow through with our

it

it

hit the

same

cat, in

did not want to leap

tense in trying to change

rather sorry state once is

When

for example, the cat simply lets

ground.

its

And

the midst of

at all, it

would

course and would end up in so in the

a

same way, wu-hsin

the avoidance of such mental tenseness, of paralysis by analysis. In this respect, the philosophy of wu-hsin, or no-mindedness, as espoused

The Warrior Within

56

by Bruce Lee can be likened to the natural response of the the tabletop. That

is

to say, the

moment we

we

are born,

from

cat leaping

can be said to be,

metaphorically speaking, placed in a state of hurdling from a position of existence (in



which we

in

which we

and

We

us.



one of nonexistence

to

of "falling" toward death,

are, in effect, in a state

nothing that can stop

there's

height to

are secure in our surroundings

are not).

Granted, some of us are given

However, instead of our going into

falling nonetheless.

a state

the thought of this fact and attempting to mentally cling to

during our descent (such

as

which have no existence be more

catlike in

are

of tension

all

at

of things

sorts

our memories of the past or hopes for the future,

in our

immediate

our perspective on

haps best illustrated in this

all

a greater

we

from, which prolongs our descent somewhat, but

fall

life.

reality),

This

is

we

should endeavor to

a perspective that

per-

is

Zen poem:

While

living,

be

a

dead man.

Thoroughly dead.

And

then whatever you do,

just as

you

will, will

In other words, attempting to arrest your self to objects that are

nothing.

It

It

is

fall (reality)

that there

also a case

(to live)

is

nothing that does not change

—which

in itself

is

Yin/Yang

a

Zen

of the law of inversion, or what the great

teacher Alan Watts called the law of paradox. That

the

by attaching your-

themselves impermanent will, ultimately, yield you

must be remembered

(move) in order to be permanent statement.

right. 4

be

more dead you become, the more

alive

is

to say, in

one

you become. The more

sense,

soft

you

become, the stronger you become. This, in essence, illustrated

by Bruce

is

the principle of "bend and survive," and

Lee's

image of the two

trees

with which

chapter. In the snow, the trunk of the firm tree stands rigid, piles

up and up, the branch doesn't give an inch

the weight of a little bit

its

burden.

its

snow and allowing

and renewed. This

is



and

until finally

it

willow, however, bends instantly

of snow accumulates on

the burden of the fresh

The

it's

perfectly

we began as

the

this

snow

snaps under

when even

branch, thereby effectively removing the branch to spring back up again,

not, then, a case of weakness or limpness.

It is

Bend and Survive

57

not softness in the sense of being just limp and flaccid, but of being springy,

of having give. Thus, the willow's example reveals to us that achieve what sity

— of

we want

through

to achieve

letting go. This, after

all,

is

a

we

can only

process of yielding with adver-

the easiest possible course and,

some

might observe, the very height of intelligence. As Lee once wrote: Nothingness cannot be confined; Gentleness cannot be snapped.

And

so the question

choose to be the strong,

problems to

more

burden, or

lem

as

it

Lee was the

endures

it

who



like the

firm tree

—who

until you, too, snap?

does not

resist

Do

you

allows personal

Or

are

you

the weight of problematic

but rather gently bends by dealing with each prob-

live a life that

latter

good

jkd

spring; he

is

is

free of

compound emotional

was

first

to learn to yield to

does not oppose force or give the

turmoil? Bruce

type of person, and he taught his students that the best

to tackle adversity

A

type

presents itself so that you can spring back stronger than before and,

by so yielding,

way

willow: one

who

posed, what type of person are you?

up one upon the other

pile

like the

is

stoic

way

it:

completely.

He

is

pliable as a

complement and not the opposition of his opponent's strength.

HE HAS NOT TECHNIQUE; HE MAKES HIS OPPONENT'S TECHNIQUE HIS TECHNIQUE. He has no design; he makes opportunity his design.

To

attain a state

of wu-hsin, however, requires

or rather, a special type of nonaction, that

and

is

a special

known

in

type of action,

Chinese

as

wu-wei,

in Japanese as mui.

Nonaction The

mony



principle of

wu-wei

(literally,

either within or without

grain of things,

"nonstriving") indicates that har-

— cannot be obtained by going

which only promotes

conflicts

one allows one's self-consciousness, or ego,

against the

and extreme reaction.

When

to yield to the natural flow of

The Warrior Within

58

things, the highest action

obtained

is

— the action of no

Bruce Lee

action.

described the process thusly:

Wu

means "not"

or

"non," and wei means "action," "doing," "striving,"

"straining," or "busying." However,

mind

to let one's

alone, trusting

it

to

it

work by

the sense that the governing force

in

During

sparring, a

movement of

gung

fu

his opponent,

movement without any

man

As

ungrasped. turbed,

free to

and adopts a supple

resistance,

soon as he stops

and he

mind

leaving his

to

lets his

think, his

mind

spirit or

thing

action,

not that of the senses.

and follows

learns to forget about himself

performed without self-assertion; he

all

means

mind and

the

is

fu,

nothing, but

The most important

itself.

gung

not to strain in any way. Wu-wei, in

is

mean doing

doesn't really

make

its

attitude.

own

the

counter-

His actions are

mind remain spontaneous and

flow of movement

will be dis-

immediately struck by his opponent. Every action, therefore,

is

has to be done "unintentionally" without ever trying.

Such unintentional,

Watching Lee

in action,

his technique

is

ciple

dancing

no

man

interval is

almost

one

(in

a

trademark of Bruce

Crown

feels to

him

to a partner as if

hav-

also well versed,

Good

Colonies in 1958).

they are but one single organism; there

as if

When

between the man's lead and the woman's following.

accustomed

Lee's.

fundamental thing in

central,

which Lee was

the cha-cha championship of the

dancing partners typically move is

was

that the

he responds to any attack without interval. This prin-

also observable in

is

won

ing

that

effortless action

you note

with

whom

she were part of his

he's

worked

for

some

a

time, she

body because she moves

so

com-

pletely responsively to his initiative.

In

much

initiative it.

the same way, the leaf

is

true

when you

instantly to the slightest being no interval

in

It

a tree

responds to the

of the wind; the wind blows and the leaf simply goes along with

The same

wei.

on the bough of

entails a

is

see a ball floating

upon the

modulation of the waves.

And

the real meaning, to Bruce Lee's

high degree of mental or

water.

It

this attitude

way of

spiritual balance,

responds

of there

thinking, of

wu-

of not being tipped

any one direction or inclining toward extremes of any nature. This

tude of being emotionally and spiritually centered, or in balance,

is

atti-

one of

Bend and Survive

59

the core tenets of Bruce Lee's philosophy and, indeed, the fundamental precept of Yin/Yang.

The Role of Balance Balance

losophy

as

is

one of the primary

— almost axiomatic — concepts of

ance inherent in

all

things. In the realm of nature, for example,

you would

volitionally opt to upset this balance; rather, self to

its

Taoist phi-

the philosophy of the Tao has a basic respect for the natural bal-

you should always

flow. In other words,

made

avoid, say, the kind of mistake

nization (who). In

its

try to

you wouldn't

try to adapt your-

go along with

it

and

by the World Health Orga-

in the 1950s

attempt to eliminate malaria in northern Borneo,

who

employed the pesticide dieldrin on the local mosquito population, which was

known

to carry the disease.

At

first,

the people

at

who

believed they had

solved the problem, since the use of the chemical had significantly diminished the abundance of mosquitoes (and even

flies

with them, the incidence of malaria. But then roofs of the villagers' huts began to collapse

a

and cockroaches) and, along strange thing happened: the

on top of them and

a

typhoid

epidemic broke out.

The with the cats

reason was that local lizards began eating the insects that were laden dieldrin.

of the

village,

The

lizards, full

of the toxic chemical, were eaten by the

and that effectively wiped out the

With

cat population.

the cats gone, the local rat population skyrocketed, and they ran unchecked

throughout the

villages, carrying

with them typhus-infested

fleas.

The

roofs

then began collapsing because the dieldrin, in addition to killing the mosquitoes, cockroaches,

and

flies,

have consumed the caterpillars lagers'

wasps that ordinarily would

unchecked, were

now

eating the vil-

thatched roofs. Through such an interference with the balance of

who, for a The philosophy of

nature, the

best illustrated it,

also killed the

that, left

time, found itself in

some

difficulty.

balance, or rather the respect for balance,

by squeezing

the ball will yield, but

it

a

rubber

ball.

never loses

its

However balance.

or wherever It's

the safest

is

perhaps

you squeeze form

in the

world, completely contained and never off center. To be completely con-

The Warrior Within

60

tained, never susceptible to being put off center or phased

what

is

aimed

at in

Similarly, those

to

be possessed of

matter

with

how

life

hard

is

the philosophy of Bruce Lee.

of us

this

who

wish to cultivate

a stress-free existence

have

same sense of balance, never being put off center no

we seem

same way

in the

by anything,

to get squeezed.

We

have to learn

that the ball responds to the

how

to flow

movements of the

water, that the leaf travels with the wind, and that the martial artist cultivates a state of

accomplish

harmony between himself and

this,

we need

his

opponent.

never again be snared by conflict

When we

— of any

can

kind.

Chapter Seven Relationships

Life

is

Man

a constant process of relating.

relationships

living in a relationship,

is

and

in

we grow.

Bruce Lee

£=>

ruce Lee's philosophy makes the point that universal process and that

be related



live in a

vacuum

some

capacity.

in

is

we

are part of a vast

human

impossible for

beings to

or to be isolated. In other words, to exist

Lee defined relationship

two

challenge and response between

wife, parent and child, individual relations), nation

it

and nation, or

entities,

and death

(in

corollary of these

gives rise to the corollary concept of society, as the

individuals

is

what

to

the sense of nonintimate

— and any

primary relationships. The relationship of individual to individual, in

what

is

an interconnected

whether between husband and

and individual life

as

fact, is

compounding of

creates the mass, or group, that collectively

is

known

as

society.

Similarly, the

concept of family

band and wife, and parent and

is

child,

a corollary

which,

of the relationships of hus-

in turn,

form the

relationship

of intimacy, or communion. To communicate with one another, then, ously a

form of relationship

R eja rionjvh ip — the concept —

of self-revel ation^n^-srj f-revelation

is

is,

in fact, a

is

obvi-

pro cess

simply the offsp ring born of observ-

ing oneself in relationship with others. 61

The Warrior Within

62

Bruce and Linda Lee were the textbook

example of a

relationship that

was

perfectly centered in the

principle of Yin/Yang.

Undoubtedly, countless forms of relationships (and indeed, as all is

five

quite

we

exist

within our universe

have seen, within our very bodies), and to address them

beyond the scope of

primary relationships

we

this

book.

We

shall nevertheless focus

on the

have just touched upon.

Husband and Wife In the case of the relationship of to Linda

was

a perfect symbiosis

halves that would, in time, their relationship ity

and

serving often forceful,

and

was as

a

husband and wife, Bruce

Lee's marriage

of two independent though interconnected

merge into one greater

totality. In

many

respects,

perfect example of Yin/Yang, with Lee's personal-

pure Yang, in the sense of being extroverted, masculine,

his wife

Linda being the perfect complementary compo-

Relationships

63

nent to these qualities in the form of pure Yin, being more introverted, feminine,

and

flexible.

Together, they complemented and completed the totality of the other;

when one would expand, the other would contract, and vice versa. For example, when Bruce, who had been the principal breadwinner of the family, was unable to

work owing

instantly filled the gap

to a severe back injury he sustained in early 1970, Linda

by taking an evening job.

When

Linda was

down

about

something, Bruce was up, with the result that his positiveness raised her spirto a point

its

more

closely approximating perfect balance. Their energies

flowed together and adapted

By

their path.

gate

— and thus

Bruce Lee,



like

water



to

whatever obstacles appeared in

husband and wife were

so doing,

through

pass safely



all

able to successfully navi-

manner of

adversity.

commented on

in an interview in the early 1960s

sophic aspects of his relationship with his wife: "Linda and one. ily

We

— two In

are two halves that

make

halves fitted together are

what

little

a whole.

more

You have

efficient

One

apply yourself

to

one and

be a fam-

than either half would ever be alone.

spare time he could find, Lee

nese poetry into English.

to

the philo-

I aren't

was fond of

translating

such poem, by the ancient Chinese poet

Yeh, contained

a stanza that

relationship of

husband and wife:

"

Chi-

Tzu

underscored perfectly Lee's beliefs regarding the

Do

you not

see

That you and

Are

as

Of

one

I

the branches tree?

With your

rejoicing

Comes my

laughter;

With your

sadness

Start

my

tears.

Love,

Could

life

be otherwise,

With you and me?

When

one reads these

lines,

one immediately

recalls Lee's

Chapter 4 regarding the wholeness and coexistence of nature of complementaries.

One

all

words from

things and the

truly could not survive but for the existence

The Warrior Within

64

of the other, and love

is

Love



this

is

never more apparent than in relationships in which

a part.

The

Relationship

as

nature of love, according to Bruce Lee,

concepts to comprehend.

not be created by

strict

Instead, love



love.

true love, that

of the workings of the

is



say "ceased"

its

a

is

many



as

opposed

this state,

varieties

understanding what love

what I'm sure

Although having

said that, sex

definitely a physical

of the body

of consciousness

true relationship only

you must

the

body or the

will be the chagrin of many, love

believe,

component on one

it is

level, that

a

is),

is

not sex.

is

is

to

something constant about

whom you is

are expe-

inherently

enduring and tightly "connected" to what you perceive to

the individual in question were perceived truly

is

this state

mutual experience. That

there

be the identity of the person in question. Were

it

is

to the experience of love, an involvement

physical appearance of the person with

intrinsically

love

indeed, a part of love. In other words, there

is

riencing this sensation of love and that this physical constant

ity,

when

not.

is

well as of the mind, and

as

say,

and

to their sim-

an understanding

what do we mean by love? Perhaps we can understand

first

First off, to

is

or condition of being wherein

a state

is

I

of

self in all

can be said that there

present, but

better by

"If one loves, one need not

it:

To experience

ply being suppressed or denied.

It

can-

it

"

the activities of the self have ceased.

required.

difficult

adherence to various doctrines, which only render

the term sterile and empty. As Bruce Lee put have an ideology of

one of the more

is

not obtained by intellectual urgency;

It is

you would

as

otherwise, if the

body of

impermanent (which,

in real-

it

in effect be "in love" with,

by

definition, a

dif-

ferent person every day.

As we've

seen, however,

rate to say that

that

we

is

do change or perhaps

are change, as

Bruce Lee referred to

cess in love

we

to have

its

as

it is

ability to

being "the changeless

change with change

state."

The key

to suc-

experience transcend your physical body (and the

subatomic variations that comprise biosis

our very

would be more accu-

it

it),

in order for the love to evolve in

with the pure essence of the other individual with

riencing this powerful emotional

state.

Inasmuch

as

you

whom you

sym-

are expe-

are successful in this

Relationships

Where

regard, the sensation of love will endure.

the

the emotion of love

spirit or, in this case,

being able to change with change

two

component of

their relationship

ing to cling to

— or

evolve in

let it

its

possess

own

of Tao. Think about saying, "I love

other person

you

is

— nature

to possess

much

— and the

of not

result that

apart."

to, as this is

If

itself.

the natural result of try-

you don't cling

you can have

a truly

to

but rather

it

wonderful expe-

another individual goes against the gram

moment;

this for a

so

a state

—with the

that they sooner or later (and mostly

natural process,

But the attempt

rience.

not present,

individuals cling solely to the physical

They have

sooner) end up frustrated.

"grow

literally

when two

often happens

simultaneous evolution of

results in a changed state

and quite

lovers eventually

What

is

65

the person

who

possesses

is

in effect

own you," thereby preventing the

that / must

—from

living, evolving,

relationship itself

and grow-

This dooms the relationship to the very opposite of growth: death.

ing.

Please don't mistake this perspective as being antirelationship or anti-

marriage, because stressed

of



love.

it

in fact, just the opposite.

is,

in the strongest possible terms

It

is,



However,

that possessiveness

is

it

must be

the opposite

indeed, the projection of an individual ego over the soul of

much like the humorous story of the man who claimed: "I loved much that climbed a mountain and named it after her I called Mount Mrs. Jimmy Kindelal" Oh! Be still my heart! If you try to possess people and you make your sexual passion possessive

another,

my it

in

wife so



I

any way, then you

are, in effect,

Since the physical world behavior, and this will

is

trying to cling to the physical world.

itself illusory,

doom

you're engaging in nonreality-based

your relationships

to failure.

If,

however, your

experience of love can allow you to "let go" by not clinging or attempting to possess another, you'll find

more spirit.

ego

interesting, but will

grow

your relationships will not only become

In other words, love can only exist in an

—where one

with

his

it.

is

free of

possess "love" but rather lived the

in the present to the fullest possible

rience of

environment that

has forgotten oneself.

To Bruce Lee, one did not have or emotion

far

into a very strong unity of body, mind, and

degree and reveled in the expe-

Lee was of the opinion that the love and happiness he enjoyed

wife was built upon their ability not to "be in love" but simply to

"love." This

tremendous

physical, mental,

ing to Lee, grew most successfully out of

and

spiritual experience, accord-

a solid

base of friendship. In what

"

The Warrior Within

66

remains one of the most

described love thusly: "Love a flame, very pretty, often hot

grows

given on the subject, Lee

lyrical definitions ever

caught on

like a friendship

is

and fierce, but

our hearts mature and our love becomes as

older,

fire.

In the beginning,

only light and flickering.

still

As

love

deep burning and

coals,

unquenchable.

The

happiness that

not from

from

a

a

couple enjoys should be derived, Bruce Lee believed,

a

whirlwind romance

more balanced

extreme emotional

that involves an

relationship

(remember

through temperance and moderation

—not

that true

Yin/Yang

by running

is

but

state,

expressed

Lee

to extremes).

once noted: The happiness will

go

is

derived from excitement

is

like a brilliant fire

Before we married, we never had the chance

out.

We

clubs.

that

only spent our nights watching

ples live a very exciting

life

when they

their lives are reduced to calmness

TV and

chatting.

are in love. So,

and

dullness,

to



go out

soon

Many young

when they

it

to night-

marry,

cou-

and

they will feel impatient and

will drink the bitter cup of a sad marriage.

Yin/Yang and Midlife Changes Lee's point

is

well taken. In a previous chapter,

we

learned about the prob-

lems inherent in attempting to defy the natural order or balance of things.

And ships. life

this

point

Many

is

perhaps never more true than in the subject of relation-

of us have heard of the concept of male menopause: that time in

(believed to be around age forty)

suddenly panics, thinking that such

a stage,

when

a

man

life (read: living)

looks back on his

has almost passed

the male of our species will engage in

ploys (from buying a toupee, to speeding around in a

ing younger

women)

he actually "lived

The exists



that

manner of

"had some fun" out of



if in fact

(i.e.,

the Western

suppression of actually living

life

At

pathetic

when

male menopause truly

mode of hyperanalysis)

for the

by.

it.

nothing endures in excess and, going through

outside looking in

and

sportscar, to chas-

in an attempt to "turn back the clock," to a time

life" or, at least,

reason for this skewed perspective is

all

new

life

him

life

from the

will result in the

purpose of analyzing

it.

One

can

stand on the sidelines, suppressing reality, for only so long before snapping

and rebounding to the extreme opposite direction. You may

recall

Bruce Lee's

Relationships

words from Chapter pered life

in

IT

who

flow, for he

its

"Living exists when

3:

living

is

is

THROUGH

life lives

us

67

— unham-

not conscious of living, and in this

is

the

lives.

Lee taught that we must be aware of the interrelatedness of microcosm

we must come

and macrocosm, that

with one another. Lee is

not by standing apart from

through relaxing and letting all

to understand our unity

also held that the

way

and analyzing

it

flow through

life

with nature and

to allow life to live it

(the

us,

through us

Western approach), but

understanding that

part of the vast cosmic cycles of energetic flow as

embodied

we

ciple

of balance within Yin/Yang: "Nothing can be secured by extremes.

Only

sober moderation

of anything midpart

and

that persists through all time.

pendulum

preserved because the

[of

life]

Only

how

easy to see

a lifetime

ing analytically about paying the

.

.

must have balance, and the

spent in

bills,

working nine

to five, of think-

meeting the mortgage, earning that

bonus, and planning for retirement can lead to one's feeling has, indeed, passed

one by

— whether

then, to getting the most out of life in

.

the midpart

the balance.

is

It is

is

lasts,

are

in the prin-

it

occurs

life lies

at

as

age forty or

though

later.

The

life

key,

simply in your decision to live your

accordance with the principle of Yin/Yang and to learn to cooperate

with



This

is

as

opposed

precisely

to standing apart

from

— the

natural patterns of our world.

what Bruce Lee meant when he

rigid schedule. I try to live freely

from moment

to

said:

moment

"I couldn't live by a

letting things

happen and

adjusting to them.

In other words, simply let your career

expressions of

who you

and

daily activities

be harmonious

truly are.

Parent and Child

On

the topic of parent-child relationships, Bruce Lee thought

tant to instill a strong sense of "family" in his children.

It

may

my

impor-

not be as easy to develop that attitude [of respect for one's family] in

the United States as

for

it

According to Lee:

children to

go

it

is

to

in

Hong Kong.

school in

learn to respect their family

and

its

That's one reason

Hong Kong for traditions

— and

why

I

would

like

a while, so they can better that

way gain

self-respect.

— The Warrior Wi

68

i

H in

Bruce Lee's proudest moments were unquestionably the births of his two children. Here, proud father Bruce shares a

moment with daughter Shannon

(left)

and son

Brandon.

Bruce Lee observed that in the Orient, because of the strong sense of family relationship, there wasn't the same degree of delinquency or disrespect that existed

noted: "Hong Kong so,

a

among many of is

the youngsters in

a British colony, yon know,

Chinese boy growing up there knows that

grace upon

all his

kin

— upon

Lee noted during

a great

circle

if

and

is

North America. He

about half Western. Even

he disgraces himself, he brings dis-

And I think this is good." Hong Kong that the standard

of people.

his formative years in

child-rearing belief of the elder Chinese families was that a son could never

never



contradict his parents.

While he found much

method, he was nevertheless glad of the West had made

most of today's struck me,

this

Hong Kong it.

households. to strike

his

gung

He

pointed out:

Brandon.

I

this

and the influence guideline in

a

"My

father never

think a father can control the

You know what I mean?"

Indeed! Wasn't "swinging with

Lee from

admire about

once unimpeachable rule more of

and I'm not planning

situation by swinging with

to

that the passage of time

fu instructor,

it"

the very advice given to a

Yip Man? Wasn't

this

young Bruce

proven to be the way

Relationships closest

own

resembling nature's

ply the application of

Yin

in dealing

with adversity?

problem of Yang.

to a

ing in a Yang capacity (obstinate, forceful,

nothing by meeting

Yang

this

form of arguing with or

force with additional

personalities to develop

after

all, is

sim-

behav-

you would accomplish

Yang

force

(i.e.,

in the

The principle of noninterferwe must allow our children's natural

striking the child).

ence with nature would indicate that

become

If a

etc.),

It is,

stubborn child

69

and find expression. However,

way

forceful or in any

if their personalities

disruptive to the natural pattern of Tao, then

the only solution would be the natural one: complementing their Yang

behavior with an equal proportion of Yin. In a passage

from the Tao

sought to govern (whether

te cliing

a state, a

was directed toward those

that

department, or

a family),

that

Lao-tzu made

the following observation:

—30— Whoever

relies

on Tao

in

governing

men

doesn't try to force issues

or defeat enemies by force of arms.

For every force there

is

a

counterforce.

Violence, even well intentioned,

always rebounds

upon

The Master does

his

and then

He and

oneself.

job

stops.

understands that the universe

forever out of control,

is

dominate events

that trying to

goes against the current of the Tao.

The erate,

being that the child will

result

propriate

now

1

have their imbalanced and inap-

Yang energy centered and channeled

and desirable (from

a

into a

parental point of view!)

more manageable, mod-

mode

of behavior.

Shortly after the birth of his son, Brandon, in 1965, Lee was asked what lessons he, as a

sideration

Brandon in

new

from

is

all

father,

hoped

to impart to his son. His

answer bears con-

parents and parents-to-be:

being brought up in the midst of two cultures. There arc good points

Chinese culture; there are good points

in

Occidental culture.

He

will take

The Warrior Within

70

some

some from

principles from one,

and Occidental

ental culture

dependent. Neither would be remarkable

Much

other.

acquire,

of what Brandon

from

first

Brandon

the other.

will learn that Ori-

culture are not mutually exclusive, but mutually

his mother,

if

were not for the existence of the

it

from Occidental

learn

will

he will

culture,

then from his childhood playmates, then from

schooling.

Much me, and

of what Brandon will learn from Oriental culture will come from

I will

Zen

strong.

which

ance: Yin,

Having

firm.

have learned

has derived is

it

from gung

many of

which the

in

fit,

Zen

influence

feminine and gentle, and Yang, which

is

masculine and

accepted that basic idea, another must be added: there

thing as pure Yin or pure Yang.

should be modified by gentleness. learn that there

is

no such

Gentleness should cloak firmness; firmness

No woman

should follow passively. She must

an active way of following. She must have what the Occi-

is

dentals call "backbone. "

By

the

same

man

reasoning, no

should be totally firm;

must be softened by compassion.

his resolve

Once Brandon has

learned to understand Yin and Yang, he will

know

nothing can be secured by extremes. For instance, the haircuts worn by boys at this time are not haircuts at because

it

moderation

is

is

more

lasts,

tire the

The

that

many

fashion cannot

last,

wearer and the beholder. Possibly

boredom

quickly, but a vast

and

but disguises.

all,

extreme and will soon

is

the beholder

thing

is

concepts from the Chinese belief in bal-

its

for all in

that persists through all time.

any

Only

case.

Only

sober

the midpart of any-

preserved because the pendulum must have balance, and the midpart

the balance.

There

common

to

is

another

all

bit

of Chinese philosophy that has a bearing on problems

humankind. We say: "The oak

destroyed by a mighty

wind because

it

tree

resists the,

with the wind, and by bending, survives. "

We

When

becomes

rigid. " Pliability is life; rigidity is death,

own life,

man

is

living,

prejudices or actions.

and

to try to

evaluate

he

Further,

go away. This

To try

to identify

and

is

it

gone.

it

soft

elements; the

will be

bamboo bends

and

pliable;

when he

is

dead, he

whether one speaks of one's to

hyperanalyze one's

futile;

whatever was there

one should not try

to

look inside

is

also applies to a nebulous thing described as is

it

it.

To stand on the outside and try will

is

mighty, yet

advance the idea by saying: "Be

pliable.

a

is

like turning

on a

light to look at darkness.

"happiness.

Analyze

"

it,

Relationships

We

Zen

have a

parable that

tells

man who

of a

71

"Master, I must

said,

seek liberation.

The

teacher asked,

"And who

The student answered, So

"In that case,

the teacher said,

we sweat; So

in winter

we

Brandon

"He

is

me?

In

summer

speaking of a secret place where our only

that each

man

rance, laziness, preoccupation with self,

accepting the fact that

we

seek liberation of

the seasons of the year.

is

I will teach

winter

why

shiver.

the student thought,

problem

binds you?"

"I do not know. Perhaps I bind myself."

we

binds himself; the fetters are igno-

and fear.

He

must

are of this world, so that "in

liberate himself, while

summer we

sweat; in

shiver.

Individual and Individual Marsha was the so.

office gossip.

She always knew "the

She lived vicariously through the

lives

about so-and-

and deeds of others;

— somewhere —was doing something someone —Marsha by her reporting someone

felt

latest"

that

that

it,

her

might be of life

as

long

interest



as

to

had meaning.

Whenever you encounter such a person as Marsha, she is to be pitied. She is, spiritually speaking, lost. Her journey along the path toward finding her true self has somehow been preempted only she hasn't realized it. Mar-



sha has

ended up under the

ity to please others

illusion that her identity

by being

connected to her

is

able to "get the story" of

somebody

else's

abil-

private

affairs.

However,

as

the Tao clearly points out, this

is

not the way to get peo-

ple to accept you:

—30— Because he believes in himself,

he doesn't try to convince others. Because he

is

content with himself,

he doesn't need others' approval. Because he accepts himself, the whole world accepts him. 2

The Warrior Within

72

This may bring to mind images of our friend Jeff from Chapter like Jeff, the

and

2,

Marshas of the world never experience peace of mind or

feel-

The reason is that in order to make or, more peculiarly, on another per-

ings of true fulfillment in their endeavors.

report on another person's

a critical

son's life

motivation or character,

for the

way of

life

requires one to stand apart

from

own

one's

purpose of analyzing and criticizing another's. This, to Bruce Lee's

thinking, was simply

a

wrong

case of looking in the

direction

— espe-

peace of mind, born of self-understanding, was the objective:

cially if

we

possess a pair of eyes, the function of which

Yet

many of

Yes, etc.

first

is

to observe,

to discover,

us simply do not really see in the true sense of the word. I

must say that when the eyes are used externally

to

observe the inevitable faults

of other beings, most of us are rather quick with readily equipped condemna-

For

tion.

it

is

yourself takes

and bad,

People they're

is

easy to criticize

maybe

something

like

all,

Marsha never enjoy

life

to

it.

knowledge simply means self-knowledge.

own

its

suchness because

They've blocked the inner

spiritual channels

their

somehow "emptying

lift

their cup"

and

they'll

and taking

life

in

somewhere along

flows. If they're fortunate,

ney the dense gray fog will

know

the spirit of others, but to

To take responsibility of one's actions, good

After

else.

no longer open

through which

and break down

a lifetime.

their jour-

be able to get back on track by

more

in a healthier,

positive,

personally edifying perspective. If they're unfortunate, they'll instead successful

become

through being rewarded by others for the suppression of their

(whether by receiving

know what

"wants to

a

his

salaried raise

and

spirit

from an equally insecure boss who

employees are doing" or by making

of their habit of external analysis by becoming,

say,

profession

a

professional "gossip"

reporters).

You might note an apparent successful,

rence in

as

on

one

is

well paid or

how can this be an unfortunate thing? It is an unfortunate occurmuch as it serves as an incentive to the Marshas of the world to

remain within their tinue

conflict here: as long as

as

spiritual trance, to call off their inner search

an observer from the sidelines of

would have been

like to ever take part in the

sentence for the soul.

The

inner warrior of

a

life,

game.

woman

and con-

never knowing what It is,

like

it

in effect, a death

Marsha

shall

never

Relationships reach

full

73

know-

expression, thereby eclipsing even the possibility of her ever

ing reality or truth, and preventing the attainment of inner peace and tented

The most

who

interesting people

liberally the various colors

spectrum of

can encounter

lations

upon

its

vast palette,

con-

life's

are,

The

by and

doers

large, the

ones

and experience the

— about your innermost

ing the behavior of others life's

hourglass.

more rewarding

is

Time

is

so

much

emo-

how

to

modu-

to learn

— that spending your time in analyz-

self

time that

irretrievably lost, like grains of sand

is

that should have

search for your higher

been spent in the

"**,

% Ml

f 9f

greater, far

self.

i^K(M

i3

full

vicissitudes as the cork adapts itself to the

of the waves. As Bruce Lee pointed out, there

about you

sampling

live life,

and pain. The doers learn

joy, sadness, pleasure,

adapt themselves to

from

we

are the doers of deeds, not the chroniclers.

tional

a

lifestyle.

K

i

1

jf

9

Nation shall speak

to nation:

with Enter the

Dragon

(1973), the first-ever

coproduction between Chinese and American filmmakers, Lee felt that he had brought the East a little closer to the West. Here, he the peace sign for the camera.

and American

costar John

Saxon flash

The Warrior Within

74

Nation and Nation Bruce Lee was hopeful

through

that

he could accomplish two

his films

way

things: one, reveal the Chinese culture in a dignified and educational to

Western audiences, and two, educate the masses of the East to some of

more

the

sophisticated elements of Western culture, such as art and film-

making. As nations are composed of people, the pertain to nations

one of relating

is

issue

to large masses of people.

of "fear thy neighbor," Lee did not subscribe to nalist in

Communist

the late 1960s about

the West, Lee replied:

too,

become more prosperous. They

like the rest

He was

When

it.

As

as

they

to the issue

asked by

a

jour-

China's apparent hostility toward

"Like any poor country or person they are hostile while

they are down. If you have nothing, you can afford they,

of relationships

of the world.

be hostile.

to

But wait

until

down and want peace

will soon quiet

just

"

particularly optimistic about the possibilities that could develop

by the East and West getting together. President Richard Nixon's

visit

to

When

China

asked his thoughts on what

in the early

1970s

meant with

regard to the potential benefits to both cultures, he responded: "Once the opening of

China happens,

it

will bring

more understanding! More things that

Western eye will seem different, you know? ison,

some new thing might grow.

Ironically,

sophical,

And maybe

So, therefore,

it's

in the contrast

to

the

of compar-

a very rich period to be in."

while Lee's perspective on East/West relations was very philo-

Lee himself would have disagreed vehemently with Plato on the

subject of politics, for he considered the worst conceivable

would be one

that

government

was run by philosophers. They botch every natural process

with theory, and their

ability to

make speeches and multiply

ideas

is

precisely

the sign of their incapacity for action. As Bruce Lee said:

Knowing Willing

is

is

The Western philosopher danger to

his society

not enough;

not enough;

we must

we must

apply.

do.

or intellectual could actually be considered

a

because he constantly thinks in terms of rules and laws;

he wishes to construct

a

society like

geometry and does not

realize that such

regulation destroys the living freedom and vitality of the parts. In following

the Taoist ideals of nonanalysis, the ideal leader or ruler

would be one who

Relationships regulated his subjects as

be away from in

which

Nature

is

is

and complexity toward

nature's "routine"? In a phrase,

of

it

is

a

it

would

artless simplicity,

nature.

routine of nonroutine.

natural activity, the silent flow of traditional events, the majestic

order of the seasons and the sky;

embodied

a state

would follow the wisely thoughtless routine of

life

What

he guided the nation,

possible; if

little as

all artifice

75

in every

the Tao, or Way, exemplified and

is

it

brook and rock and

star;

it is

that impartial, impersonal,

and yet rational law of things to which the law of conduct must conform

if

human beings truly desire to live in wisdom and peace. This law of things is, as we have seen, the Tao of the universe, just as the law of conduct is the Way of life; in truth, thought Bruce Lee, both Tao's are one, and human life, in

essential

its

and wholesome rhythm,

part of the universal

is

rhythm of the

world.

The

closest philosophical perspective to this in the

the hypothesis of

The Absolute

forth by

as set

Western world was

Georg Wilhelm Friedrich

Hegel (1770— 1831). The Absolute was taken to be the sum development. Hegel postulated

in their

web and

God

structure of natural law within

evolves. This concept

was

called "Dens sive Natura"

which

of reality

all

life

that

substance of place,

in

and

which

all

all

all

is

(God or Nature),

things as

the

or spirit grows and

but a

a single

form, it is

if

substance,

you

will,

of

in a similar cos-

the laws of nature are united to create an almost Spinozian

all reality.

all

of

West by Baruch Spin-

the cosmic Tao. According to Bruce Lee's philosophy,

mic Tao

total

Reason and Reason

actually anticipated in the

oza (1632— 1677) with his notion that

which he

as

In

it,

all

natural forms and varieties find their proper

apparent diversities and contradictions meet; particulars are resolved into

one

vast

it is

The Absolute

and interdependent web

of Hegelian unity.

Life and

Death

In the grand close



as life

scheme of

relationships, there

is

none

so inevitable

—nor

so

and death. These complementaries are the extreme antipodes

of Yin/Yang, which means that

a hair's

breadth separates them. Growing old

and death are the way of things, the natural way. Any passing prior to old age

is

tragedy, a flower cut off prior to

its

blossoming. Barring accident, death

The Warrior Within

76

is

as

reserved for the aged, with the result that youth and death meet one another

they walk the

Indeed,

streets.

upon

feeds

life

death,

life's

predicated on the perpetual birth and death of individual Shortly before this five

and died,

to press

of "old age."

technically,

to consider just It

book went

what exactly old age

struck me, as indeed

it

we

find that

have

was

incidentally,

less

Fundamentally, old age

young

as

The

moment

to pause for a

life cycle.

yet another example of Yin/Yang),

it's

philosopher of

of

my

father's:

condition of the

a

is

its life.

categories, a retardation of thought

and

me

relationship to the

its

eighty-

cause for grief. According to Will Durant, who,

a favorite

finds inevitably the limit

ies

caused

in

He was

father died.

must have Bruce Lee, that once we understand the

nature of this relationship (and again,

we

It

is,

my

endurance being

cells.

It is

a

of protoplasm that

flesh,

hardening of the

and blood;

a

man

is

arteries

and

as old as his arter-

as his ideas.

ability to learn decreases

with each decade of our

lives, as if

the association fibers of the brain were accumulated and overlaid in inflexible patterns.

New

material seems

no longer

recent impressions fade as rapidly as a politician's promises lic's

memory. As decay proceeds, threads and

dination wavers; the old

Then, old

man

man

just as the child

ages

falls

grew more

protected by insensitivity on

its

— and

unities are lost,

the pub-

and coor-

into a digressive circumstantiality. rapidly the

more quickly with every

by an apathy of sense and

room, and

to find

day.

And

younger

it

was, so the

just as the child

entry into the world, so old age

is

was

eased

will, as nature slowly administers a general

anesthesia before she permits time's scythe to complete the most major

of operations. ... As sensations diminish in intensity, the sense of ity fades; the desire for life gives

ing; the fear

of death

Perhaps then, love and

all

if

is

way

to indifference

vital-

and patient wait-

strangely mingled with the longing for repose.

one has lived

well, if

one has known the

full

term of

the juice and ripeness of experience, one can die with

some

measure of content." 3

So spoke Will Durant of old age collaborated

on with

in 1929.

Stirling Silliphant

onist of the story, a martial artist

Bruce Lee,

in a script that

he

and James Coburn, had the protag-

named Cord, meet

the

embodiment of death

Relationships as

one of three

he had to pass en route to self-mastery. During the

trials that

moments preceding

77

their encounter,

Cord

speaks to himself of acceptance

and an almost Durantian "apathy" toward death:

Of course

you're there. Death

swift.

is

not already yours?

less.

has led

It

— and

ing



— we

.

.

always

Everything

.

there.

me now

there

this truth

is

have met at

with

will conquer death

I

So why was

What

I afraid?

Your leap

can you take from

me which

have done until

is

— Death.

only one real fact

Death. Yet Death

last.

And

I

am

is

are liberated

has been fruitit

led to noth-

The

truth I have

also a seeker. Forever seeking

prepared. I

am

at peace.

Because

from the

fear of death.

That

is

for fear of death,

life

to say, if

you can obtain

mental

state

of accepting that you have nothing tethering you to

or this

life,

then you've got nothing to

ments in fear

to

then there

this world,

of losing them.

Once

proceed forward in

I

death.

In other words, by dying to the desire to cling to

we

now

There was no other path except that

to nothing.

before

been seeking me. So

is

You claws are sharp and merciful.

is

life

is

lose, for if

you

possess

no attach-

nothing that would cause you to

this attitude has

been accepted, you

a

this earth

live in

are then free

with an unobstructed mind.

The German poet Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1749— 1832) once wrote of this phenomenon in his poem "Selige Sehnsucht" ("Ecstasy and Desire") from the West

Ostlicher Divan:

Und

solang du das nicht hast,

Dieses: Stirb

und werde!

Bist

du nur ein truber Gast

Auf

der dunklen Erde.

(And of

so long as

this

You

you do not have knowledge

commandment: Die and become!

will

be but

a

dismal guest on the dark earth.) 4

As the Buddhist poem, written stated

it:

in

China

several centuries ago

by Bunan,

— Thl Warrior Within

"Youth and death meet each other

as they

walk the

streets.

" Bruce Lee during the

cemetery scene from Enter the Dragon.

While

living

Be a dead man Be thoroughly dead And behave as you like,

And The ness of

result self,

not only with

ability to

well. 5

of such an understanding

or ego, and thereby

the natural flow of things. life

all's

a

Once

is

this

is

a

all

things that would

out of the way,

better understanding of

enjoy and respond to each

renunciation of the conscious-

of

a release

life

its

we

dam up

are able to face

workings, but also with an

moment

thereafter with

renewed

appreciation. In another script that Lee cowrote with Silliphant, Lee had his

character say the following words:

Like everyone

way

to lose.

else,

you want

To accept defeat

to learn



the

way

to learn to die



to is

win, but never to be liberated

to

accept the

from

it.

Once

Relationships you

accept,

you are free

flow and

to

harmonize. Fluidity

to

the

is

way

79

an

to

empty mind. So when tomorrow comes, you must free your ambitious mind and

By

learn the art of dying.

this,

Lee was evoking the Taoist scripture of Lao-tzu,

who

wrote:

— 16— Empty your mind of Let your heart be

at

all

thoughts.

peace.

Watch the turmoil of beings, but contemplate their return.

Each separate being

Returning If

you don't you

serenity.

and sorrow.

in confusion

realize

where you come from,

become

disinterested,

amused,

kindhearted

is

realize the source,

naturally

you

source.

to the source

you stumble

When

in the universe

common

returns to the

as a

tolerant,

grandmother,

dignified as a king.

Immersed you can

in the

wonder of the

Tao,

deal with whatever life brings you,

and when death comes, you are ready.

The tually

fact that

we must

be claimed by what

eventually cease to exist

we

call

death



is



1

that

we

will

all

even-

not something to bemoan;

it is,

of even the greatest of

human

beings. Titans such as Socrates, Lao-tzu, the Buddha, and Shakespeare

— even

instead, the lot of

our species and the

fate

— eventually "shuffled off

Mr. Durant himself being

— however

significant



phenomenon during an interview the

end for heroes

away

in the

is

the

same

in

Hong Kong

as ordinary

men. They

memory of man. But when we

ourselves, discover ourselves,

this

mortal coil."

No human

escapes death's scythe. Lee noted this natural

and express

are

in 1972: all

"Through

the ages,

died and gradually faded

still alive,

we have

ourselves. In this way,

to

understand

we can

progress.

"

The Warrior Within

80

In other words, at

we must

ourselves,

must eventually cal selves are

immutable

some point during the search we've seen in

cease. In fact,

Bruce Lee: "To

realize freedom, the

movement without

is

The

energy that

our

is

momentary

a

man

soul of a

of wakening. The

as

it

But

we

look at

which

life,

beyond the

lies

field

is

vast

of con-

is

fields

source

life

an embryo

spirit lives

is

is

set free

would appear in the

tells

us

upon the

to have

we

at least

are

composed

are

the possibility

expiration of our

been Bruce

Lee's belief:

body of man. The day of death

the

day

abandons the ones

we

is

on." life

when

it

due to an error in our perception of the

largely

we

said that

of consciousness between two

physics

of energy suggests

remains hard for us to praise this

who

life

process,

Will Durant points out:

We

are not individuals;

scans unforgivable. In the body of strong. If

life;

we were

we

and

reality,

die

it

is

we

because

of us before the old form dies; generations,

It is

and elude

the

ourselves such that death

are but temporary organs of our race, cells in

and drop away

to live forever,

we think

so that

growth would be

life

may remain young and

stifled

no room on the earth. But through love we pass our

and youth would find

vitality

on

to live

bloodlines, the appearance, and often the passions of those us.

of the

enmity of death. 7

and through their children's children. Posterity

no longer with

new form

to a

through parentage we bridge the chasm

through progeny that our ancestors continue

their children

a

is

again look to the words of

to learn to

flash

modern

fact that

physical bodies. Certainly this

Yet

mind has

agreement with Alan Watts,

certainly in

not of matter but of infinite

love.

our energy

that

"

eternal darknesses."

"The

we know

of energy that span the length and

fields

bondage of time, for freedom

the

indeed infinitely "more than

that the

our physi-

earlier chapters that

of energy. Further,

solid matter but

breadth of the universe. With this in mind,

This

to understand

changing constantly and that our bodies are composed not of

but an outcropping of truly infinite

sciousness.

come

to

accept the fact that existence in our present state of being

on

— through

carries

who

on the

are

now

So with some of you, death may indeed have claimed

victory over one you have loved dearly, but the reality of

never win the war. Life always wins out through progeny

Yin/Yang completes

itself.

it is

as

that

it

shall

the cycle of

Chapter Eight

Racism

The

belief that being

born with

itage

endows one with

ment

is

a

a certain skin color

or cultural her-

moral superiority or rights of

entitle-

should have died out with the notion of the

a belief that

divine right of kings. Still, as

U.S.

cities,

evidenced with recent problems in Los Angeles and other major the issue of racism

The

century.

racist

ignorance;

is

it

flowers,

is

much with

us in the twentieth

Humans,

reality.

common

is

power

in

born of the union of hatred and

— not an entitlement — and therefore not the exclu-

a particular social status.

no matter what

genus, or

Racism

inaccurate.

a belief

property of

ception of

very

notion, however, that one has to be in a position of

order to be a

sive

still

is

regardless of

Racism

humanity

is

simply an incorrect per-

humans. Just

remain

their particular species,

root, of our

is

color, are

trees

as trees

and

and flowers. The

the important thing, and this

was the perspective of Bruce Lee.

As bad worse.

It is

may seem

as racial relations

well established that

today, in the 1960s they

both Bruce Lee and

were much

his wife, Linda,

had to

serious obstacles during the course of their relationship. Apart

face

some

the

more common problems

financial adversity, they

had

that

to

most couples

overcome what

cultures: an interracial marriage.

However,

from

in society encounter, such as

in the 1960s

in keeping

was taboo

in

two

with the philosophy

they both shared, neither Bruce nor Linda allowed the perspective and prejudices of others

the love they shared. beliefs

—which they knew they were powerless

knew

to exist

According to Bruce Lee's philosophy,

were the

result

to

change



to affect

and the incredibly unique relationship that they racist, prejudicial,

or jingoistic

of not seeing the whole picture, of not understand-

81

— The Warrior Within

82

ing the universal underpinnings

same everywhere.

are the the sky,

common

want

I don't

people are different.

on

human

'As Confucius says,' but

like

but one family.

is

Hong Kong

think that I

am

so

It just

in 1972,

when

traits

under

happens that

asked to elabo-

me, racial barriers do not exist in

to

Perhaps he

he

I think still

is

is

member of

a

and being

bluffing

in racial differences,

spective.

disagree,

"everyone under the sun

I say that

idealistic.

word

reality.

a universal family,"

But

anyone

if

still

If

you

believes

being too backward and narrow in his per-

does not understand man's equality and love.

Will Durant echoed Lee's statements brilliant

"Basically,

his feelings regarding racial issues, revealed the following:

Although others may

may

races:

all

"

Lee, during an interview in rate

sound

to

under the heavens, man, there

to

tapestries in his

when he wove

modest and poignant

yet another of his

little

book

The

entitled

Lessons of History:

"Racial" antipathies have some roots in ethnic origin, but they are also generated, perhaps predominantly, by differences of acquired culture

of language,

dress, habits, morals, or religion.

antipathies except a

broadened education.

teach us that civilization ples

have contributed to

is it;

A

There

no cure

is

for such

knowledge of history may

a co-operative product, that nearly all it is

our

common

peo-

heritage and debt; and the

civilized soul will reveal itself in treating every

man

or

woman, how-

ever lowly, as a representative of one of these creative and contributory

groups. 1

Bruce Lee would have concurred with Durant on believed that too

many people were bound by

tells a

evil,

child that a particular race or

the child will typically

grow up

for

he

the prejudices and traditions

of their families, their communities, and their peers. ent

this point,

group within

believing this

for example, a par-

If,

a

is

is

bad or

for

exam-

population

so.

When,

ple, the elder generation says no to something, then their children will

strongly disapprove of ply

is

— there

are

it

as well.

As we saw

no good or bad forms of

it.

in

Chapter

In fact,

it is

3,

however,

life

sim-

the very variety and

Racism multitudinous forms of

no

ence. Nature plays

favorites,

rior to the yellow rose

they

—nor

a perspective that

interesting and a joy to experi-

life

with the

result that the red rose

the rose to the carnation.

They

is

not supe-

are simply as

is

is

beyond such

classifications as

good and

the sphere of the great universe. Looking out into

we make no comparisons between

and wrong

right

at

it

night,

nor between

stars,

well and badly arranged constellations. Stars are by nature big and tle,

bright and dim. Yet the

sometimes makes our

And

so

it is

aware, are as

with

much

whole thing

human

a part

as

tradition

become

from her throne,

who,

beings,

of the universe

a

lit-

splendor and a marvel which

as

you

—which

now

well

Watts described.

It is

are certainly

as the stars

fact that results in

the belief in superior races

erations until they

is

creep with awe. 2

flesh

ignorance of this metaphysical such

evil, for

and undesirable. As Watts once wrote:

against, desirable

This

make

always have been, and always will be.

are,

It is

and

that

life

83

unchecked

are then

by

false

premises

handed down over gen-

And it is always an uphill battle to unseat no matter how dishonestly she may hold sway over tradition.

her subjects.

As we

shall see in later chapters, tradition

the independent use of the further

mind

in

its

impede the honest expression of

feelings.

is

also a

huge impediment to

quest to ascertain truth and serves to one's innermost (and

most honest)

According to Bruce Lee:

The simple

truth

is

that these opinions on such things as racism are traditions,

which are nothing more than a "formula" laid down by these elder people's experience.

As we

progress

and time changes,

it

is

necessary to reform this

formula. For example, some people fight with others because they believe different religions.

would never

fight

If,

liowever, they only

for such

a

foolish

gave the matter a

cause.

I,

never folloivs the formulas of the fear-mongers. is

black or white, red or blue, I can

barrier.

still

make

bit

Bruce Lee, So,

am

no matter

friends with

in

of thought, they a

man who

if

your color

you without any

The Warrior Within

84

Bruce Lee believed that

"under the heavens there is

but one family. " Here,

proud father Bruce holds one of the two beautiful children he helped bring into the global family



his

newborn daughter, Shannon (circa 1969).

But What About the Children? Bruce Lee was born an American citizen ebrated Chinese father and

born

in Everett,

Irish stock.

beautiful Eurasian mother. Linda

a

Their diverse blood

agree,

is

San Francisco, son of

The

lines

result, as

met

will

Emery was

who

most

Brandon, and their

in their son,

have met or seen the children

superb.

Yet shortly after the birth of Brandon on February

born on April

a cel-

Washington, the daughter of parents of Swedish-English-

daughter, Shannon.

would

in

19, 1969),

there were people

you bring up your son

in a

who

felt

1,

1965 (Shannon

compelled to

world in which prejudice

is

ask:

everywhere?"

Lee answered the question by recounting an appropriate Chinese folk

There was a fine butcher who used the same knife year never useful

lost its

and

delicate, precise edge.

effective as

his knife's fine edge,

attempt

to cut

it,

nor

when

it

he said. to

smash

after year,

After a lifetime of service,

was new.

When

asked

how

it

was

nor

to

contend with

it

yet

still

tale:

it

as

he had preserved

"I follow the line of the hard bone. it,

in

was

"How

I do not

any way. That

Racism

my

would only destroy the barrier. ter

To try

knife. " In daily living,

to assail

what some people

one must follow the course of

will say, barriers are not the experience

or

teach

Brandon

that everyone

— no

matter

who he

childhood that whatever occurs does not happen

come

is

or

where

from

if the occurrence isn't allowed

we have

a weighted dog, like your weighted clowns,

which points out a moral: "Fall down nine times, but To refuse

to be cast

down, that

Walk on and he

things that I'll tell

the lesson. to

[that he

fly.

intellectual,

my own

life.

I

much of myself

in

it,

Brandon

new

will see a

leave behind all

the inlet or clog the outlet of experience.

must not] enter

into anything with a totality of spirit.

spoken of material

is

it

spiritual.

have a

again ten times.

instructing

Walk on and

Something must be held back. The Occidental homily eggs in one basket, " but

rise

More than

walk on. Walk on and he

will see the birds

would dam up

him

is

him

in such precepts, I will teach

tional,

I will

— must know

into the mind.

In Chinese variety stores

view.

no mat-

of any one per-

any one group of persons. They are the universal experience.

son,

to

And

will only destroy the instrument.

it

85

lot to

but not

my

I can illustrate

Gung

fu

is

things.

beliefs

am

learn as an actor. I all.

is

"Don't put

your

all

I refer to the

emo-

by what I practice in

learning.

I

am

also a vital part of

investing

my

life.

Finally, through all Brandon's education will run the Confucianist philos-

ophy that to

the highest standards of conduct consist of treating others as

be treated, plus loyalty, intelligence,

vidual in the five chief relationships of erned, father

and

Equipped

friend.

Racism

in

son, elder

you wish

and

the fullest development of the indi-

life:

government and those who are gov-

and younger

brother,

in that way, I don't think

husband and

wife, friend

and

Brandon can go far wrong.

Hollywood how to deal with racism, Bruce Lee had problem himself when he was offered the role of Kato TV series. He made it clear that he wasn't interested in

Apart from teaching his children to

contend with the

in

The Green Hornet

playing

a

subservient role that

would only serve

to further perpetuate the

Chinese stereotype personified by the character of Hop-sing in the

TV series

Tm

86

The day

Wahhiok Wi

i

ii

in

before Lee recorded his

famous "Lost Interview" with Canadian journalist

Pierre Berton, he received the news that he'd lost the lead role in what turned out to be the

back

Kung Fu TV series.

if the individual

Lee held that such things as racism couldn't hold one

was true

to his or

her innermost

Bonanza. Lee indicated that he had to

was

lay

self.

down

ground

certain

rules if

he

to play the role of Kato:

It

sounded

producer],

at first like typical

"Look,

jazz, forget type.

it.

if

houseboy

stuff. I told

yon sign me up with

all

William Dozier [the show's

that pigtail

and hopping around

" In the past, the typical casting has been that hind of stereo-

Like with the American Indian. You never see a

human

being Indian on

television.

Years that

later,

racism cost Lee the lead role in the

he had helped to

the day before he

he

lost

the role?

sat

Not

create.

down that

He

TV series

had received the news

to record his

famous Lost

he wasn't right for the

Kung

Fu, a series

about losing the lead Interview.

part, but

The

reason

because he looked

"too Chinese" for an American audience to accept. As always, Lee took the

news without gnashing

his teeth or

venting his wrath.

He knew

that such

Racism behavior would not to a societal try.

Oriental



/

my mind

mean

always been the same

is

TV series

that,

way, the

you

man

like in

come

to

off.

a risk

it's

Hong Kong;

But true

— and

why my involvement

don't blame them. I

I

if a foreigner

would be

to his philosophy,

who had been

came here

represented the whole of that

we

Lee offered

mankind and

a

overcome

self



your

injustice

as

in the series

They think same

in the

star,

if

I

were

worries about whether

message of hope to

all

those

believed that the individual

that the happiness, the

knowledge,

many divergent sources The only way, he believed,

long for and seek from so all.

to

your innermost

soul: "It [racism] doesn't matter. Things will be all right, because if you

will be successful.

When

mean,

become a

was through being true and honest

honestly express yourself,

himself

to

my own

He

outside of ourselves ultimately reside within us to

an Oriental

there.

the victim of racial injustice.

and the meaning

to

Unfortunately such things [as racism/ do exist

with the money, I probably would have

or not the public acceptance

has

very out of date.

that's very,

audience would react is

it

around saying "Chop-

Like, in certain parts of the country, right?

see.

business-wise, it's

And

that.

how an American

should he shown. I mean

the bouncing

was discussed, and that

probably not going

in this world,

all



and

thing: the pigtail

the question as to

lead in a

that in the United States, something about

Oriental

the true

chop" with the eyes slanted and

But

that the incident pointed

bigger than the American television indus-

far

as always, philosophical:

had already made up

the

was

that

His viewpoint was,

I

what had happened, and

alter

problem

87

how

people perceive you doesn't matter, sec? Because you

You're going

to

do it!"

asked by an interviewer in the same discussion if he thought of

Chinese or North American, Lee's reply was short, to the point,

and philosophically dead-on:

"Neither. I think of myself as a

human

being.

"

'u

Chapter Nine Challenges

j

ff^M

Wf up

Kong-based

^f

artist

British journalist

Ted Thomas. The man

slightly,

and then answered:

to his lip in thought,

that good?' I say,

But

'Well,

if I tell

if

I

tell

"Okay, going back

And

that, baby,

you had

should I

Thomas

to

fight,

point being that,



himself

against

fists

recall

first

with a

all

you

really

will say that

I'm

'

am

let's

put

it

this

way:

before I get

I

have

very self-sufficient, and they do not

my mind

should I do anything, I have made up

me

as

of

'Bruce, are

you."

capable as Bruce Lee was of settling a con-

or feet, his confidence in his ability to take care of

anybody

in the

to have to prove himself to I

answer say,

over his joke, Lee then changed his jovial

being truthful with you,

better kill

frontation with his

and

you I'm good, probably you

no fear of an opponent in front of me. I bother me.

left

you I'm no good, you'll know I'm lying'

After chuckling with

The

whom

index finger

put his

"I will

joke, if you don't mind. All the time, people come up

tone:

to

the question was directed was Bruce Lee, the premiere martial

of the twentieth century. Lee smirked

boasting.

Hong

re y ou a bl e to take care of yourself in a real fight?" asked

m

world

— meant

that

he never

felt

the need

anyone other than himself.

an anecdote relayed to

me by

Lee's attorney,

Adrian Marshall.

The two of them had gone out for lunch with film producer Raymond Chow at an upscale Westwood restaurant. "During the course of the lunch, we were served by a jerk of a waiter recalled Marshall.

my

"He spoke

surprise, just smiled at the

asked Bruce a

who went

great

why

mood,

so

in a

man and

he put up with

why would

way to be rude to Bruce," condescending manner to Bruce, who, to

I

out of his

totally

this jerk.

ignored his rudeness.

Bruce

replied:

'I

came

choose to allow someone to ruin

I

finally

in here in it?'

89

The Warrior Within

90

When

Bruce Lee was in a great mood,

he refused

of

anybody pull him out

to let

it.

"This simple event made quite an impression on me.

No

purpose what-

soever would have been served by Bruce becoming disturbed by the antics

of

moron

a



one he could have destroyed

particularly

state

of security was such that

even

slightly."

Unfortunately,

comes at

many

to such situations.

sign of mental weakness, since

ered

a

else's

impulse or desire control your

make

a

power

to

it

sure that others

you

own

this

response could also be consid-

are, in effect, letting

will. After

all, it's

to fight or refrain, to argue, or to stew about something.

earth possesses the innate

when

be messed with. Lee would have considered

monumental waste of energy. Such

a

him

they have to put others in their place

feel that

the slightest perceived insult or threat in order to

be

in an instant. Bruce's

impertinent behavior couldn't offend

individuals don't share Lee's detached cool

Many

realize that they're not to

to

this

somebody

you who chooses

Nobody

else

on

make you do anything you

don't choose

Are you

really secure

to do.

The

question underpinning

within yourself?

If

you

are,

all

of

this,

yourself from similar impertinencies with

Bruce

however,

is,

then you will look upon your need to defend a

confidence

as

cool and calm

as

Lee's.

The

ultimate goal of

all

self-improvement and, from

human this,

beings, according to Bruce Lee, was

self-knowledge. This being the case, the

question that one must ask oneself

is,

What

can

I

do today

to

improve

Challenges

my understanding of myself

become

and, as a result, to

91

human

better

a

being?

Hong Kong

Lee, in an interview given in his attitude

who

toward people

challenging him. His response,

of us

who

are too easily upset

was asked

in 1971,

to present

constantly tried to "prove themselves" by believe, bears serious consideration

I

from

by the remarks of others:

These people who make challenges must have something wrong

their

in

hearts. For if their heart was right, they would not challenge other people fight.

Moreover, most of these people you mention

because they feel insecure and want

use a fight with

to

some unknown aim. Today everything can be to

art,

many

I too challenged

that challenging

means one

to

who

me

how you

means

choose

to

if

to

do so

achieve

you want

When

I first learned

But

I

have learned

to react to

it

means some-

a fight.

established instructors.

thing, but

me

challenge as a

by law. Even

settled

avenge your father, you need not challenge one

martial

all

thing else entirely.

What yourself,

is

you

afraid of that

And

if

get you? If you are secure within

to it?

treat

very lightly because you ask yourself:

very,

it

man? Do

does

treat

Lee then served up at life's

a

it

very

if

man

It is

road seems

one

that

In other words, ity,

are

is

going

to

a little

his

own

me?"

way

personal

too steep to climb:

let

is

coming on

bother us are things

like a rainstorm, their

our surroundings seem bleak for

get

"It's just a

strong,

but

come out again."

much of what we

temporary in nature, and

to

of us would do well to

all

case of learning to look at hardship as if today the rain

tomorrow, baby, the sun

going

is

I really

you do not have such fears, then

metaphor that underscored

life's

"Am

lightly.

darker periods.

remember whenever

it

have any doubts that that

I

you do not have such doubts and

you should certainly

of looking

How

your reaction

a

that, in real-

presence merely makes

time. But in keeping with the nature of

an intense rain, intense adversity cannot

last indefinitely,

and with

its

pass-

ing comes the benediction of the sun, which restores the natural balance of life.

rain

Both harmony and

adversity are required for spiritual

growth just

as

both

and sunlight are required for biological growth. Problems and solutions

are complementaries to

one another,

just as the sun

complements the

rain to

complete the growth cycle. Problems and solutions. Yin/Yang. Mutually

dependent and the way of

all

things.

Chapter Ten Stress Release

#n m

^^

keeping with his observance of the principles of Yin/ Yang, Bruce

Lee held that the mind and body were two halves of one other words, mental well-being has to be balanced by

tary, physical

its

totality. In

complemen-

well-being. To this end, Lee's personal philosophy evolved with

an eye toward maximizing both components of the greater whole. gral facet in the cultivation

physical and mental stress,

of these two constituents

which Lee considered

the natural and universal flow of

life.

is

An

inte-

the relief of both

obstacles that stopped

up

Unplugging these blockages through

physical activity, according to Lee, resulted in a

more joyous and

stress-free

existence.

The

late

pioneer of stress-research, Dr. Hans Selye, went on record

as

stating that mental stress can lead to a host of physical malfunctions, ranging

from heart

attacks to alcoholism

and

obesity. Conversely, Selye believed, the

Lee was a firm believer in all

forms of physical

fitness

— including yoga.

Here he assumes the

lotus

position on a dock during a

calm afternoon on Lake



'

Washington, Seattle. 93

The Warrior Within

94

relief

of

can go a long way toward relieving such problems. People asso-

stress

with work and noise, but

ciate stress

stress is also

the threat of physical danger, an injury such as

body

an old friend. Selye discovered that the

bad experiences can and do cause even

stress

successfully

we

and

we

in fact,

same to pleasure and perceive

everyone

is

good and

as

under some

asleep. Stress, then, correctly defined,

upon the body of

the wear and tear

on how

when

stress,

cut finger, or the sight of

reacts the

and sadness. In other words, what

success, failure

degree of

caused by intense exercise,

a

experiences, and

life

its

is

simply

depend

effects

are able to dissipate the energy such experiences cause

our bodies to accumulate. Certainly, the release of these beneficial,

and clearly exercise

example, that is

done

We

we

live in a

We

for us.

ride

on end. "Life

is

on

the best means to this end.

is

movement,"

become

and

escalators

as

Eugene Sandow once pointed deteriorate and

a

regular basis

We

is

know, for

mechanical, push-button age in which everything

in front of our television sets

sit

down

dammed-up emotions on

in elevators, cars, buses,

and

taxis.

with remote control in hand for hours

the famed European strongman and author

out,

and unless

old before our time.

A

we

use our muscles,

we

will

lack of exercise actually slows

the circulation of our blood and deprives our cells of sufficient oxy-

gen to function optimally.

Many

people

who

suffer

from chronic

fatigue have

indicated that they actually feel too tired to exercise, but by releasing their tensions through activity, they invariably find that their energy levels have

increased along with their stamina and that they feel

more energetic

afterward.

The Mind/Body Connection It

was no accident

to ever

walk the

that

planet.

ize the absolute limits

stemmed from the

Bruce Lee was one of the most

He was

beings

constantly exercising in an attempt to real-

realization that

with each progression he made spiritually (in

understanding of both his limits and his state

human

of his physical potential. Lee's passion for training

he was learning more about himself

heightened

vital

of self-knowledge

physically,

terms of adding to his

capabilities); this resulted in a

or, in Lee's

more

terms, "spiritual awareness."

Stress Release

Lee told interviewer Ted Thomas in 1971: "The most important thing

How,

in

myself?

how

the process of learning

use

to

my

body, can I come

to

95

me

to

is,

understand

"

While Lee was an ardent

physical fitness aficionado,

beyond the scope

it is

of this book to delve deeply into his complete approach to training, health,

and physical

contraction

Static

— and

role in the dissipation

its

a

of

it

into his

anybody who

is

Anyone, from child

on



sta-

own

it

specifically for his students but also incor-

training.

looking for

a

It

certainly

is

one of the

more convenient way

to senior citizen, can benefit

no peer

exercise that has

Another convenience

at

room, or living room)

Lee's personal of. It



doesn't take

all

it

takes

factor to consider

performed anywhere and hotel

regimen

from

be physically

program of

truly a

fit.

sta-

method of a

day!

that these simple exercises can be

static

actually can

and

like

running (of which Lee was

do well the very

first

also

against only yourself.

are quick to reveal themselves.

There

workout clothing, and there

is

conditions.

contraction requires no real

practice, and, in fact,

you

is

it's

answers

any time (you can do them in your bedroom,

that

tion, so to speak,

to

Lee's

easiest

of three minutes

total

a

is

is

— and under almost any

program of

much

contraction exer-

static

contraction exercises, and in terms of convenience,

sive

to focus here

stress.

high premium on the value of

not only recommending

cise,

porating

tic

do better

Contraction

Bruce Lee placed

for

will

single but very important aspect of Lee's physical fitness

one tic

we

For our purposes,

fitness.

it's

time.

skill to

one of those rare

speak

activities

also a private activity,

It is

an ardent devotee), the competi-

The

exists

sessions are short,

no need

no perspiration

to

and the

results

change into expen-

as in exercise

with move-

ment. Additional pluses are that there are no fancy exercise machines you

need to purchase, nor any hefty membership

fees to lay out to join the local

health club. As for the time investment, nothing has yet to this simple utes

and yet highly effective form of exercise,

as,

compare with

again, only three min-

of exercise performed every morning will increase your overall health

to a remarkable degree.

96

The Warrior Within

The rewards of incorporating stress-relieving exercises into his

daily schedule were

Bruce Lee

many for

— they included

providing a more healthful

environment

in

which

to raise

his children.

The Benefits The

benefits to be obtained

from the performance of these simple move-

ments are many; properly performed, tively exercise the body,

exercising the body,

it

relaxes

and sustained contractions and plex depending tic

all

contraction exercise will effec-

forces, or vital energy,

relaxations,

which can go from simple intensity generated.

contraction exercise will further serve

and

will

It

is

us. In

to

com-

Regular

sta-

strengthen the muscles,

to

also strengthens, the heart

(which

is

itself a

mus-

improve the circulation of the blood to the extremities.

In exercising the mind, each part that

within

the major muscle groups, with gentle, slow,

on individual preference and

ligaments, and tendons. cle)

static

mind, and chi

movement

focuses the attention

being targeted, thereby shutting out

thus relaxing the

mind while improving mental

all

on the body

distracting thoughts, and

focus.

With regard

to cul-

Stress Release tivating our warrior, or chi, forces within, the

performance of these move-

ments will deepen our breathing to the abdominal

more conventional

chest area.

rather than the chest

when

The advantage of fills

them more

The

practical medical benefits of this are obvious.

cise

on the beginner go much

further.

By

still

inner calm that

it

simply that the for-

efficiently

But the

and thoroughly.

effects

of the exer-

all

the while that the chest

all

of the advantages of powerful

supplies.

These movements as

is

and unexerted and that the stomach does the work, the indi-

vidual can increase his flow of chi, with

tem,

to the

breathing in deeply through the

nose and exhaling through the mouth, taking care

remains

opposed

area, as

using the diaphragm area

inhaling and exhaling air

mer method empties the lungs and

97

also exert a

powerful effect on our central nervous sys-

one must concentrate the mind,

free

during relaxation, and apply consciousness

it

of distractions, seek tranquillity

when

contracting the muscles. Such

tensing and relaxing can be accomplished only under the direction of the brain,

which

in turn affects the central nervous system.

Additional benefit

is

worked upon the

circulatory and respiratory systems,

internally affecting the vital energy, and externally the muscles, bones, and skin. Respiration should

be deep, long, natural, and gentle, concentrated on

the lower abdominal area, or what the Chinese call the dan tian region, in

an even and regular respiration that combines

movement of

the diaphragm

and abdominal muscles. Such movement improves blood circulation,

dilates

the coronary arteries, and strengthens oxidation.

Although Bruce Lee himself performed many variations of traction exercise (from tensiometers to

program

tainly the

selected as the focal point of this chapter

most convenient and effective for the purposes of a

mere four

a total its

of

six

brevity,

mended

static

is

that

contraction exercises, plus

movements

two conventional

the wide range of benefits that

you perform

it

in the

This form of exercise can be are already quite

fit,

make

it

mild or

is

cer-

one of the

this

of

exercises, for

program, apart from

provides. Plus,

comfort of your

as

con-

stress release. It consists

The beauty of

altogether.

static

power rack isometric programs),

own

as severe as

it's

recom-

bed!

you

desire. If

you

the contractions maximal, as hard as you can

from fit or somewhere in between, just perform these movements by tensing the muscles until firm and then sustaining this consqueeze. If you are far

traction for the prescribed period of time.

The Warrior Within

98

The Program According

1.

body

Full far as

own

Bruce Lee's

to

of bed, the student

to

is

stretch. Perform

you can

in

directions, every day before getting out

perform the following

5

full

body

static

contraction routine:

stretches:

Extend your

one direction, and reach your arms

the opposite direction. Maintain each stretch for

3

legs as

as far as possible in

seconds and then relax

for 2 seconds. Total time: 25 seconds. 2.

Back

arches. Perform

5

back arches: Bend your legs until the backs of

your thighs are just touching the backs of your upper slowly push your hips

upward toward the

calves,

and then

ceiling while simultaneously

flexing your buttocks muscles and pushing gently with your legs. tain each arch for

Main-

seconds and then relax for 2 seconds. Total time: 25

3

seconds. 3.

Leg

tensing. Perform 12 leg tenses: Slowly extend your legs

can, and then tighten the muscles of

tracted position for

3

your thighs. Maintain

as far as

this fully

you

con-

seconds and then relax for 2 seconds. Total time: 60

seconds. 4.

Abdominal

tensing. Perform 10 abdominal tenses: Deliberately and

fully contract

would do

your abdominal muscles

if (please

ment. Maintain

this

in a

forgive the imagery)

maximal contraction

manner

similar to

you were having for 3 seconds

a

what you

bowel move-

and then relax for

2 seconds. Total time: 50 seconds.

Bruce Lee placed considerable emphasis on the abdominal region, considering

it

to

be the most important area to keep

fit

paper interview in the early 1960s, Lee commented: the

abdomen.

At

It's

this part

off" with

two

the center of gravity

and

and healthy. In

"My

the source of real

a

news-

strength comes

from

power."

of the program, Lee recommended that the student "taper

additional abdominal exercises

nonstatic contraction) way:

performed

in the standard (or

Stress Release

5.

Sit-up touching toes. Perform back

flat

5 sit-ups

upon your mattress with your

touching

legs fully

Simply place your

toes:

extended in front of you

and your arms extended behind your head. Now, slowly reaching forward with your hands until they toes.

Hold

this position briefly,

99

come

your

raise

torso,

into contact with your

and then return to the starting position.

Total time: 10 seconds. 6.

flat

upon your

mattress with your arms outstretched behind your head. Slowly

bend your

Bent leg

raises.

Perform

5

bent leg

raises:

Place your back

legs and draw them up toward your chest, pausing briefly once they have

been drawn

as far

back

as possible.

Return your

legs to the starting posi-

tion. Total time: 10 seconds.

That marks the end of the It

this

is

should be

made

session. Total time:

3

minutes.

however, that

clear at this point in the proceedings,

not an exercise routine that

is

geared to make you

as lean,

muscular,

or powerful as Bruce Lee. Lee had specific exercises (and plenty of them) that

he incorporated into

his personal training routine to achieve specific fit-

ness results that he, as a practicing martial artist, required. I've just listed

method of

were prescribed by Bruce Lee simply

releasing stress

The

as

a

exercises that

very effective

from the body, while simultaneously cultivating

exceptional total health and fitness benefits for body, mind, and

spirit.

^Part ~£Aree

^

°A

e Vo

H>:

The Warrior Within

Chapter Eleven Jeet

Quantum Perspective

the

^r m ccording

^^^M ^f ^r energy

Kune Do —

to the Taoist perspective, the real genesis of creation

was an organic process. In the beginning was wu-ch'i (the void, or nonbeing), and out of the void evolved

—Yin

Demonstrating the core tenet of jeet kune do by reacting to

any opening the moment

it

presents

itself,

Bruce Lee

hook kick toward the head of Korean hapkido exponent during a scene from Lee's third Chinese-language film,

the

two processes of

and Yang. The interaction of Yin and Yang produced chi

Dragon

(released in

North America

as



instantly



(right) fires a

Won

In Sik

The Way of

Return of the Dragon). 103

— 104

The Warrior Within

energy

that,

by pulsating

at

varying frequencies, became the energy that

formed the universe and hence became the rocks, plants, solar systems,

cular activity and It

was

dna

and

all

to thoughts

qua non of

sine

human

aspects of the

and

spiritual awareness.

was

in the realm of the spirit that the force of chi

most readily in Bruce Lee. While he

creation

all

animal, from mus-

is

well

to manifest

known for being a who knew him

warrior in

the combative, physical sense of the term, those

tain that his true strength resided within. Indeed, the warrior

was the indomitable force driving nizant of

its

significance, causing

to an old friend in

have

/ feel I

this

Hong Kong

main-

of Lee's soul

every action, and Lee was fully cog-

his

him

in

best

comment on

to

vitality in a letter

its

September 1962:

great creative and spiritual force within

me

that

is

greater

than faith, greater than ambition, greater than confidence, greater than determination, greater than vision. it

the

is

godhead

It is all

dynamic something within me. This feeling no experience with which a strong

these combined.

or not, I feel this great force,

this feeling

emotion mixed with

faith,

may

this

.

defies description,

be compared. It

but a

.

Whether

.

untapped power,

and

this

there

something

is

is

like

lot stronger.

This "warrior within" that Lee had tapped into gave him complete and total

confidence in achieving anything he

When

you drop a pebble

expand

ripples that

what

will

I can project

my

mind

to:

into a pool of water, the pebble starts a series of

until they

happen when

set his

I give

encompass the whole pool. This

my

is

exactly

ideas a definite plan of action. Right

now

thoughts into the future. I can see ahead of me. I dream

(remember that practical dreamers never

quit).

.

.

.

I

am

not easily dis-

couraged, readily visualize myself as overcoming obstacles, winning out over setbacks, achieving

Once Lee

"impossible" objectives.

got in touch with his true

self,

he never swayed in

viction to maintain that connection and to allow sible,

whether through the medium of

family, or in his practice of martial art,

ing the

kune

human

body."

do, or "the

It is

way of

important,

it

film, his relationships

the intercepting

con-

with friends and

which he labeled "the at this

his

expression whenever pos-

art

of express-

juncture, to recognize that jeet

fist,"

consists of

both

a martial art,

which has and a

a

Quantum Perspective

and various combative techniques

physical discipline

as its

105

nucleus,

philosophy that both underpins and interconnects the practitioner to

higher spiritual awareness.

As

beyond the context of

it is

require,

would

I

kune do in ples

Let

and sifu,

it

like instead to

Let

it

be further settled

ponents in his students.

He

of self-development

In

growth fact,

viewed

was

as

restrictive

its

extent

a large

Japanese;

Korean

sure,

you

a

his teachings

personal process

conducive to indi-

at all

tae

origin

when looked most

racism, as

— superior

to

circular; Japanese karate

still is,

kwon do

is

The

others.

all

superior because

at in a

styles consider

is

rea-

the best

Korean; kali

it's

why

it's

the use of the feet, because, after

the best, such as "Tae all,

kwon do

in order to better one's chances

without suffering being struck in return," or "Ju

because 90 percent of

all

real fights

and/or tradition



it's

the best because

it's

Brazilian,

at

a

is

the best if

Chinese, American,

much

justifying myopia, and Bruce Lee

of

question of race

However, upon seeing the big

quickly realize that these are not valid reasons so

vincing attempts

jitsu

end up on the ground." But

pressed further, the proponents will always revert back to

Japanese, Indonesian, or Korean.

emphasizes

the legs are the longest weapons of the

body and therefore should be emphasized first

by the propo-

will hear other rationalizations delivered

nents of each style as to

art

or

are superior because they are Filipino.

silat

To be

striking

and not

body, mind, a teacher,

upon

because to label such

forms of applied

country of

soning was, and to it's

a "style"

art,

(i.e.,

of each of these com-

the various styles of the martial arts can,

— and the

their art

and

of totality

in any meaningful way.

certain context, be

because

man

because he was also

did not want people to look

simply another style of martial

vidual

a

that,

sought to cultivate the fullest understanding

he

Bruce

5.

be settled that Bruce Lee was

spirit).

to cover the mechanics of

examine the philosophical component of jeet

Chapters 2 through

in

book

viewed within the context of the Taoist princi-

this chapter, as

conveyed

this

anything approaching the depth such an exposition would

Lee's martial art in

as

— the

Kune Do

Jeet

picture,

you

they are uncon-

as

was keenly aware of

this fact.

As

in the formulation

of his world view, Lee didn't look

vidually but rather collectively, in their totality, seeing the inators that

connected the best components of

all

at styles indi-

common denom-

styles

— much

like his

The Warrior Within

io6

metaphysics connected

all races.

the various races, while the siologically

speaking,

The common

common

thread of humanity connected

threads of physics and physiology, kine-

connected the patterns of combative movement

advanced by these various pockets of humanity tion of cisely

which

by Lee

style

in a

British broadcaster

My

answer

a totality.

was the most

that, I

mean

which Lee

is

unless

we have another group of there can

no such thing as an

effective

that I personally do not believe in the

Because unless there are

us,

and pre-

brilliantly

in 197 1, in

told

Ted Thomas:

Why?

ferent from

was answered

Radio Hong Kong interview

to that is this: there

By

effective

Lee's response to the ques-

human

beings with three arms

Because we have only two hands and two

at all

style.

and four

legs,

beings on earth that are structurally dif-

be no different style of fighting.

While Bruce Lee was well adept

segment of

word

legs.

Why

The important

thing

that?

is

is,

forms of kicking, such as the flying

how

side kick

pictured here, he also realized that even the greatest kickers needed to balance their arsenal with a sufficient repertoire of to

become complete martial

artists.

hand techniques and grappling

skills in order

Kune Do

Jeet can

we

arated.

use them to the

They

maximum?

.

.

— the

Quantum

Because of

.

became

are not united together because styles

and people who go

It

it.

doesn't matter

you are there

built,

and become

To the

a

much

are,

made

that product.

And

.

body decides

make

fact

to

me,

that they

at

origi-

has become

You

how

go

just

in

not right.

is

styles in

were simply

defense of iso-

effective segments

While Lee might have concurred

weapon and

use of the body's longest

punch

it

are structured,

doesn't matter.

it

by the various

would have concluded

to take a

how you

are,

.

that,

greater totality of combat.

kicking does in

.

The

law.

now

become the product of

into that [style]

who you

are

rationalizations delivered

lationism, Lee

of

how you

how you

or

107

people are sep-

styles,

nal founder of the style started out with hypothesis, but the gospel truth,

Perspective

that if

some-

you, your leg can hit him, being the longer

punch could reach you, he

would have pointed

weapon, well before

his

out that there are

host of variables that such a segmented viewpoint

to account

a

What

For example:

for.

can get your kick off?

What

if

that

also

you're grabbed by the legs before

if

you're leg becomes injured?

What

you

if

fails

you miss

with your kick? Obviously in any of these scenarios, the kicker would be a

disadvantage and would be

Those who

left

with no means to defend himself.

specialize in grappling or

ground fighting take

delight in pointing the above out to their friends

favor kicking.

The

who

particular

specialize in arts that

grapplers, however, are just as guilty of

myopia

the others. Take for example their proposition that "90 percent of fights

end up on the ground." This

the fact that 100 percent of to a

do

if

fellow

one

all

is

a

as

any of

all

street

very interesting statement in light of

street fights start standing up

finds oneself in the unfortunate position

who

at

fights in that "rare" 10 percent?



so what's

one

of squaring off against

Or what

if

you're grappling

away fabulously on the ground when suddenly three of your opponent's friends

show up? What then? Again

it's

another case of putting

all

of one's

eggs in one basket.

Bruce Lee's advice a

balanced martial

your answers: "As far

who

is

right or

some

and look

long,

is

some

at

was

far

the big picture

more

is

better than.

Be

neither better nor worse. short.

"

philosophical: be

—not any one

as other styles or schools are concerned,

wrong or who

scape of spring, there urally,

to these martial artists

artist

style



for

take no thought of

not for or against. For in the land-

The flowering branches grow

nat-

The Warrior Within

108

To Lee, no one approach contained methods

valuable

that these

methods

are valid in

"The "But

too

are universally applicable to

areas of

all

trouble

many

is

the answers.

all

While there can be

for certain individuals in certain styles, this doesn't

combat

— the

that circumstances

all

individuals, nor that they

greater "totality" to

must

which Lee

referred.

what you do," Lee pointed out.

dictate

people arc looking at 'what

mean

from a position of thinking 'what

is'

should be.'" In

noncombative terms, always try and take in the much broader picture

of whatever

it is

you happen

system, leader, or sage

Remember

is

to be involved in,

likely to

the backdrop of the

have

Lee likened the

empowered with of

partiality

many of

tse,

his

no one

all

aspects of

the attempt to force unnat-

through the nonstriving nature of wu-wei. To

which he

drafted a fascinating philosophical treatise,

to

contemporaries in

on people. To unite with Tao, one must be

ural rules or restrictions wu-tse,

that

the answers to your problems.

all

the martial arts to the age-old problem of

with

mind

in

Yin/Yang concept of never going

extremes; by remaining neutral, you are nature's totality.

and bear

called

in accord

this end,

he

The Three Stages

of Cultivation.

The Three Stages of Cultivation Bruce Lee believed that knowledge and proficiency (including martial stages

art)

consisted of three stages,

which he

in

any endeavor

called the three

of cultivation:

The

first

stage

is

the primitive stage. It

is

a stage of original ignorance in

which a person knows nothing about the art of combat. In a

fight,

ply blocks and strikes instinctively without a concern for what wrong.

Of

course, he

may

not be so-called

scientific, but,

is

he sim-

right

and

nevertheless, being

himself, his attacks or defenses are fluid.

In other words,

it is

a stage

subject matter before you. in other words.

However,

of innocence, of not being familiar with the

Your responses as

you

are natural

lack the requisite

and reflexive



honest,

knowledge and condi-

you soon enter the second

centration, however,

when

stage



He

a person starts his training.

nal self

analysis,

practice

and sense of freedom

stage:



begins

taught the different ways of block-

is

and

and

are lost,

thinking. Unquestionably, he

his action

called "intellectually

his origi-

no longer flows by

movements for

to freeze at different

and even worse, he might be

109

and focused con-

knowledge of combat, but unfortunately

the scientific

His mind tends

itself.

Perspective

the stage of sophistication, or mechanical stage

ing, striking, kicking, standing, breathing,

has gained

Quantum

With more

tioning, they are often inappropriate.

The second

— the

Kune Do

Jeet

calculations

and

bound" and main-

tain himself outside of the actual reality.

This stage of sophistication (which Lee also referred to art"),

is

"the stage of

as

necessary step toward one's personal evolution. Although

a

fining by nature

(i.e.,

it

you

instructs

individual to a particular approach),

the "conditioned response"

it

how

in

it is

cultivates,

a

seeing

shown

ape what he or she has been subconsciously,

a

of truth for

knowledge

individual, however,

in

incapable of

is

and, instead, simply takes pride in having learned to

at this stage

it

The

along with

evil, in that

also plants the root

the successful acquisition and application of higher intuitive the fertile field of the subconscious.

con-

to act, thereby confining the

necessary

it

it is

more

is

the "correct"

way

to

form of learning has taken

significant

do things. But place with the

development of proper neuromuscular pathways. In other words, the technique learned because

it

applies to

is

not correct because your teacher has said

complied with

a certain universal

your particular

discipline.

the second stage, the individual est



is

third stage

when, all,



the stage

after years of serious

gungfu

is

to his

artlessness,

And

opponent

It

flows through the slightest crack.

to

be purposeless

and

is

reality, as it

— and high-

or spontaneous stage



occurs

practice, the student realizes that after

instead of trying to impose on his mind, like

water pressing on an earthen wall.

There

is

nothing

to try [to]

do but try

formless, like water. All of his classical techniques

standard styles are minimized,

He



proficiency has been achieved in

second innocence, or "artlessness":

and hard

nothing special.

he adjusts himself

of

order of validity

but rather

ready to evolve to the third

stage of learning, the stage of

The

Once

so,

no longer confined.

if

and

not wiped out, and nothingness prevails.

— 1

The Warrior Within

10

This third process,

as

you might have ascertained, requires

the original stage of innocence

losophy,

it

return to your true

a

may prove

helpful to look

at

Herb hated the tired of staying

grown

all

idea of learning

return to

in other words.

kune do phia

non-mar-

of Herb.

how

home every weekend.

up,

self,

principles of the jeet

an application of them in

setting. Let's consider the case

tial arts

had



comprehend these core

In order to better

a

Marge, was

to dance, but his wife,

After

all,

and there had to be more

she reasoned, the children

doing the

to life than simply

gardening and watching television. Herb was reluctant to comply, but not

wanting



to upset his wife

woman

a

he'd loved for

he grudgingly went along with her to attend instructor at the dance academy,

"When

welcomed Herb and Marge

who

first

his wife

it.

"Can't do

Gloria, the

to their first class.

thing to do

is

to

then proceeded to instruct the pair

it

and look

like a

damned

fool trying," he told

while soaking his blistered feet the day after his

he persisted. Gradually, over

a

with the basic moves and found that he no longer had fact,

he just needed to

the

moving

his leet

listen to

to the varied

to enjoy his Saturday nights

and would throw

himself.

in a

first

lesson. Still,

period of several weeks, Herb familiarized him-

demandingly on them. In

ative

forty years

class.

most rudimentary of dance maneuvers.

Herb hated

self

dance

one decides they wish to learn to dance, the

learn the steps," explained Gloria, in the

more than

his first

to concentrate so

he didn't have to pay attention to them

at all;

rhythm and beat of the music. Soon he found

rhythms almost of their with Marge

few fancy

Marge would laugh and

so

at

own

accord.

the dance hall.

steps here

would Herb

He

Herb grew

even got cre-

and there that he'd created

— they were having

a great

time.

Herb then went back

to the dance class to learn different

modes of dance,

and while he noted

that the steps

dance

found that the underlying process involved in learning

style,

he

also

each of them was the same. That ticular

how

to

and rhythms differed from dance

is,

at first

Herb knew

style to

nothing about the par-

dance he wished to learn (the stage of ignorance). Then he learned perform the intricate dance steps (the stage of sophistication). After he

had familiarized himself with the basic moves, he found that he no longer

had to pay attention to them anymore; he was able to simply with the flow and rhythm of the music (the stage of

let

artlessness).

himself go

Kune Do

Jeet

Bruce Lee noted

who came

those

phy of jeet kune

to

Then they became

Quantum

opponent

kune

all

for instruction in his revolutionary martial philoso-

At

they would find the moves difficult to execute.

first,

easy. Finally

the moves simply became an extension of

He

themselves, effortless and fluid in their execution. stage of jeet

hi

Perspective

of knowledge acquisition in

this three-stage process

him

do.

— the

do, there

was nothing

— and even yourself—were

all

to try to do.

noted that in the

final

Your technique, your

forgotten. Everything simply flowed

together into one harmonious whole.

Looking beyond the forms through which in

our scenarios, martial

art

denominator running through both that

competence

scription for developing

In a letter drafted to tion),

a

in

philosophy

itself

is

is

revealed is a

we

decide to pursue.

named George Lee

friend and student

Lee asked him to create three signs that could be hung on

half and one gold half of the

This served to

illustrate

The

first

polarity,

(no relaa

wall to

sign consisted of

one red

Yin/Yang symbol with no dot

extreme

(i.e.,

common

an incredibly potent pre-

any endeavor

symbolize the three stages of cultivation.

a

this

and dance), we observe that there

in either half.

where not even the suggestion of

component's opposite was present in either

half.

ther underscore this point, were then detached

The two

halves, to fur-

from one another. The cap-

tion to this sign, Lee indicated, should read:

PARTIALITY

The second

THE RUNNING TO EXTREME

sign consisted of the

Yin/Yang symbol

as

it is

commonly

ren-

dered, only in Lee's chosen colors of red and gold with a dot of gold in the

red half and a dot of red in the gold

half.

Lee then added the arrows around

the parameters to indicate the principle of

another endlessly.

The

FLUIDITY

The

Yin and Yang turning

into

one

caption on this sign read:

THE TWO HALVES OF ONE WHOLE

third sign was simply a blank board with nothing

on

it

except the

phrase:

EMPTINESS In other words, this ness"

— the

return, as

it

is

THE FORMLESS FORM

the return to nothingness

— or

were, to the stage of innocence,

rather,

a stage

"no-thing-

where there

— The Warrior Within

ii2

exists

no

reality. It

partiality,

To further underscore represented the

first

the

rank

first

A

of jeet kune do.

art

white or blank

— the pure beginner. The next

rank,

six

ranks were rep-

a

white

circle.

This simple

thorough understanding of the high-

Lee's

and most profound principle of Taoism: the principle of

est

a

circle

But the eighth and high-

colors.

was symbolized by

symbolism reflected

yet profound

limited par-

Bruce Lee created

this evolutionary process,

Yin/Yang symbols of varying

est rank, like

its

ultimate connection with the greater universal whole.

its

unique ranking system for his

resented by

through which to view

filter

transcendence and extension of the self beyond

is a

identity to

tial

no segmentation or bipolar

wu-ch'i, or the

"nothingness terminus."

According

first

white ring represents the nothingness

to Taoists, the blank or

terminus, which

is

The white

inclusive of everything.

rank of jeet kune do indicates that the student

martial art and

knows no

formlessness of the stage

styles at

when

all.

(This

is

completely ignorant of

the nothingness terminus, the

is

the student possesses

gram of the T'ai-Chi, or Yin/Yang,

circle indicating the

no

real skill.)

understanding of the various principles of motion and tranquillity.

Chi symbols represent

all

Finally, if

finds that

he

is

persistent

all

indeed,

is

now

all styles

and forms

— and can move

life itself

This stage

is

— having thoroughly comall

intuitively yet correctly, striking or avoid-

is

circle,

which

not considered to be nothingness but rather "no-thingness," indicat-

— or,

is

forms of combat, and,

represented by the white or blank

ing that the student has transcended "things"^

and

T'ai-

and dedicated enough, the student of jeet kune

he can transcend

at will.

The

"styles" of combat.

prehended the universal principles that regulate

ing blows

dia-

of the principles of force production/motion and

relaxation/tranquillity that underlay

do

The

indicates the acquisition of skills, the

now

therefore

possessed of deeper insight; he

bound by no

To further emphasize

particular

is

in this case, "styles"

"all styles"

or

"all

things," and

"way" of doing things or looking

this principle,

at life.

Lee placed Chinese characters around

the circumference of his jeet kune do

emblem

that read:

USING NO WAY AS WAY;

HAVING NO LIMITATION AS LIMITATION Jeet

kune do

— the philosophy —was

self-discovery and spiritual growth.

As

a process, a it

was

a

rung on the ladder of

means

to getting in touch

Kune Do

Jeet

with your innermost being,

— the

Quantum

Perspective

followed that there was no "way" that

it

be systematized for the purpose of instruction. In other words,

it

113

it

was

a

could

means

and one could no more pass on one's jeet kune do

to highly individual ends,

experience to another person than one could eat another's food for him. As

Bruce Lee told Black

magazine

Belt

yourself from whatever

You must accept the fact that there reason, I cannot

you



/

cannot

what not

tell

confining you

you how

I cannot

Bear

in

no help but self-help. For the same



since freedom exists within

you what you should

do, since that

mind

free,

that the

arts schools

do

Doing

definitely a step in the

and ery

is



definitely not

as

an indicator of progress in his

belts



as

method of

he believed, would only be rewarding and "accumulate knowledge," which was

direction:

mere imitation, nor

regurgitate fixed knowledge. Learning



formula; we do not suddenly

free.

ability to

wrong

to a

Bruce Lee did not award colored

that

so,

encouraging an individual's

Learning

adherence

we simply "are"

martial philosophy.

and assure medioc-

freedom that accrues from self-knowledge can-

strict

Such an approach meant other martial

you

tell

would be

a particular approach. Formulas can only inhibit freedom,

to

not be acquired through

"become"

to liberating

"gain" self-knowledge. While I can

to

tell

is

externally dictated prescriptions only squelch creativity rity.

down

boils

it all

"gain" freedom

to

you how

tell

to do,

in 1971,

that binds you:

it is

a process without end. In

jkd

[jeet

is

is

it

the ability to accumulate

a constant process of discov-

kune

do],

we begin not by

mulation but [by] discovering the cause of our ignorance



accu-

a discovery that

involves a shedding process.

The key

to this shedding process lies in the pragmatic intuition

the three stages of cultivation.

was found his

own

to

life.

work If

it

If,

for example, a specific

born of

way of doing

well for an individual, then he should incorporate

did not work, then

it

things it

into

should be discarded. This principle

can be applied to anything, from combat to successful job hunting. If you find

something

reduce

it

that

you

like or,

more important,

down, component by component,

until

that

is

functional for you,

you discover

its

essence, or

The Warrior Within

114

iy/J^uU^-.

^'

'*««._.

V-M

-

-