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BRUCE LEE QUOTES

10 Jeet Kune Do Masters Examine Bruce Lees Philosophy

BRUCE LEE is a registered trademark of Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC. The Bruce Lee name, image, likeness and all related indicia are intellectual property of Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved. www.brucelee.com

by Adrienne Lee Bell

Bruce Lee used to begin his jeet kune do classes with a short story to encourage his students to open their mind:

A learned man once went to a Zen teacher to inquire about Zen. As the teacher explained, the learned man would frequently interrupt him with remarks like, Oh yes, we have that too, and so on. Finally the Zen teacher stopped talking and began to serve tea to the learned man. He poured the cup full, then kept pouring until the cup overowed. Enough! the learned man once more interrupted. No more can go into the cup! Indeed, I see, answered the Zen teacher. If you do not rst empty your cup, how can you taste my cup of tea?
Lee believed that a martial artist could not learn anything new if he was already full of traditional and classical teachings. Claiming that the usefulness of the cup is in its emptiness, he encouraged his students to spill their cup so it could be re lled with his new and liberating approach to the martial arts. Because of the enigmatic nature of Lees teachings and the ever-changing way he viewed combat, however, practically everyone in the modern jeet kune do community has a di erent bit of Bruce in his cup. Black Belt decided to look up 10 of the most prominent rst-generation Bruce Lee students and second- and third-generation JKD instructors to ask what they think the Little Dragon was really trying to say.
BRUCE LEE is a registered trademark of Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC. The Bruce Lee name, image, likeness and all related indicia are intellectual property of Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved. www.brucelee.com For more information about Bruce Lee and the books he wrote, visit blackbeltmag.com/bruce_lee_books Editors Note: The original version of this article was published in the March 2000 issue of Black Belt magazine. Since then, Ted Wong, Larry Hartsell and Herb Jackson have passed away. Please note that all time-based references have been preserved relative to the original publication date.

DISCLAIMER

BLACK BELT COMMUNICATIONS, an Active Interest Media Publication, as publisher, does not endorse and makes no representation, warranty or guarantee concerning the safety or effectiveness of either the products and services advertised in this magazine or the martial arts or other techniques discussed or illustrated in this document. The publisher expressly disclaims any and all liability relating to the manufacture, sale or use of such products and services and the application of the techniques discussed or illustrated in this document. The purchase or use of some of the products, services or techniques advertised or discussed in this document may be illegal in some areas of the United States or other countries. Therefore, you should check federal, state, and local laws prior to your purchase or use of these products, services or techniques. The publisher makes no representation or warranty concerning the legality of the purchase or use of these products, services and techniques in the United States or elsewhere. Because of the nature of some of the products, services and techniques advertised or discussed in this document, you should consult a physician before using these products or services or applying these techniques. Specic self-defense responses illustrated in this document may not be justied in any particular situation in view of all of the circumstances or under applicable federal, state or local law. Neither Black Belt Communications nor the author makes any representation or warranty regarding the legality or appropriateness of any technique mentioned or depicted in this document. You may be injured if you apply or train in the techniques illustrated in this document and neither Black Belt Communications nor the author is responsible for any such injury that may result. It is essential that you consult a physician regarding whether or not to attempt any technique described in this document.

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What originated as one mans intuition of some sort of personal uidity has been transformed into solidied, xed knowledge, complete with organized, classied responses presented in a logical order. This knowledge is a holy shrine, but also a tomb in which they have buried the founders wisdom. Bruce Lee (Black Belt, September 1971)

Richard Bustillo
At age 24, Richard Bustillo began studying JKD under Lee at the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute in Los Angeles Chinatown area. Lee continuously emphasized the limitations of following a single established style, Bustillo says. Not only are those styles con ning, or tomb-like, but they keep men apart from each other, rather than unite them, Lee would often preach. Bustillo says Lee disliked labeling any kind of ghting as a speci c style. Instead, when a person trains to ght, he should prepare himself to handle any kind of opponent, no matter what his style may be. From Bruces beliefs regarding established styles, I learned to train with an open mind, Bustillo says. Essentially, he allowed me to be free from being closed into one particular style. Lee used to tell his students that if they wanted to be able to defend themselves, they must examine other arts, Bustillo says. He remembers how the students in Lees academy would test their skills in the sparring ring. It was anything goes: Techniques from boxing and muay Thai, as well as ground grappling, wrestling and long-range weapons, were allowed. By honing their skills in each art, the students learned how to e ectively apply defensive techniques in real-life ghting scenarios, Bustillo says.

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I dont know what you will do, but do it quick. Bruce Lee (Black Belt, January 1968)

Gary Dill
Gary Dill is a second-generation student who trained under James Yimm Lee at the Oakland Jeet Kune Do School. He has taught JKD for more than 27 years and now serves as the chief instructor of the Jeet Kune Do Association. Lees speed and power seldom go unmentioned, Dill says, and for good reason: The importance of those two attributes was ingrained in Dills head from day one. And fortunately for martial artists with less than Lees natural ability, both are learned skills. Because Lees JKD was developed for street combat, speed always received the lions share of emphasis in the classes Dill attended. A marital artist can be an excellent technician and can have perfect form, but if he cannot get a strike to hit its target, what good is he? Dill asks. Lee taught that knowing proper technique was not enough to become a successful marital artist, Dill says. Everyone should have the ability to expediently deliver strikes, and to develop that ability, the body must learn to relax. Relaxation is essential for faster and more powerful punching, Lee wrote, and Dill agrees. Thats why he teaches his students to concentrate on keeping their upper-body muscles relaxed while executing techniques. If the chest and arm muscles remain loose when a punch is thrown, Dill says, the student is better able to focus on the impact. Tightening the muscles while punching is counterproductive because the muscles that would retract the arm must ght against the muscles that are extending it, Dill explains.

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Leading with the forward hand, guarding with the rear hand, while moving to the side, makes negligible any opening that ordinarily results from a straight forward lead with the hand. Bruce Lee (Tao of Jeet Kune Do)

Ted Wong
Ted Wong met Lee in 1967, when the JKD founder was opening his school in Los Angeles. Wong was impressed with Lees demonstration of JKD and grateful for the opportunity to enroll in his rst class. Wong says the most important ghting technique he learned is the leading straight punch. It is absolutely crucial to jeet kune do because it is fast, easy to deliver and extremely accurate, he says. Bruce would say that the leading straight punch is the backbone of all punching in jeet kune do, Wong says. Although it is not the end-all of combat, the technique is essential to developing e ective skills in any type of ghting, he says. And because the st follows a straight path to its target, it stands a better chance of avoiding detection than do many other hand techniques.

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Please do not take the nger to be the moon or x your gaze so intently on the nger as to miss all the beautiful sights of heaven. After all, the usefulness of the nger is in pointing away from itself to the light which illumines nger and all. Bruce Lee (Black Belt, September 1971)

Herb Jackson
Bruce Lee always sought excellence in whatever he was trying to accomplish, says Herb Jackson, who met the master in Los Angeles Chinatown in December 1967 and became a student and close friend. For the last ve years of Bruces life, he was not absorbed in individual techniques or in forming a set pattern of reactions to a situation, Jackson says. Thats why he says the most important lesson Lee taught was to utilize the mind and body in an e cient manner. Jackson learned that if a martial artist purposefully thinks about his kicks and punches, he controls his bodys actions and limits his self-expression. In essence, he restricts his own freedom. Instead of restricting their freedom, Lee encouraged his students to condition their muscle pathways to ensure they could operate properly and apply energy e ciently during each phase of progressive expression and aggressive acceleration, Jackson says. In that way, they used exercise, training, visualization, and intellectual and emotional input to achieve a sophisticated level of expression. That is quite an accomplishment, he concludes. It is a great feelingalmost an out-of-body experience because you are able to observe your own body in action.

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At best, styles are merely parts dissected from a unitary whole. Bruce Lee (Black Belt, September 1971)

Jerry Beasley
Jerry Beasley, Ed.D., began practicing the marital arts in 1966. Like Lee, he studied philosophy as well as ghting strategies and techniques. In 1982, Beasley started training with a former student of Lees, former full-contact karate champ and Black Belt Hall of Fame member Joe Lewis. Beasley, who teaches a JKD course at Radford University in Radford, Virginia, claims Lewis did not emphasize any speci c technique that he had learned from Lee; instead, Lewis focused on the importance of being free to choose whichever style works best for the student. Lewis encouraged Beasley to experiment with various styles to discover the most e ective techniques of each one. Beasley learned to think like a ghter, rather than think in one particular style. I have learned to constantly change my strategy, he says. It evolves as I spar. I have learned to win by acquiring a superior mentality. Lee insisted that the opponents knowledge was also the martial artists knowledge, Beasley claims. On numerous occasions, Beasley has applied this element in sparring sessions. I was able to absorb my opponents energy to the extent that whatever he knew, I also knew, he says. You need to become your opponent. That is how you can best absorb the opponents energy, expression and tension.

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Style screws a guy up because he thinks he has to throw his punches and kicks at an exact path and rhythm. Theres no tested or practical theory behind the delivery. Just because someone centuries ago said that this is how it should be done, it may not necessarily be the best way. A style should never be gospel truth, the laws and principles of which can never be violated. Bruce Lee (Bruce Lee: The Incomparable Fighter)

Larry Hartsell
Larry Hartsell trained with Lee from 1967 to 1970. I learned that a person should not be bound by one martial art, Hartsell says. Instead, an individual needs to nd his own truth as a martial artist. To help his students discover their own truth and develop their ability to implement it, Lee constantly changed his martial arts curriculum, Hartsell says. He was always adding and deleting methods of crosstraining. Hartsell learned that the key to freeing himself from a speci c style was to build his speed and strength through plyometrics and tness exercises. Speed and strength enable a martial artist to ght e ectively against any opponent in any situation, he says.

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The leading nger jab is the longest of all hand weapons as well as the fastest because of the little force needed. You do not need power to jab at an opponents eyes. Rather, the ability to seize an opportunity with accuracy and speed is the main thing in the efcient use of the nger jab. Like a cobra, your nger jab should be felt and not seen. Bruce Lee (Tao of Jeet Kune Do)

Lamar M. Davis II
Lamar M. Davis II is a second-generation JKD practitioner who trained under Steve Golden in Chinatown and Joseph Cowles in Seattle. A 32-year veteran of the martial arts, Davis says the mandate to use the longest weapon to reach the opponents nearest target is among the most important lessons of Lee. Thats why Davis identi es the nger jab as the best JKD self-defense technique for the street. It puts the assailant at your mercy by completely disorienting him, he says. The idea behind the nger jab is not to shove the attackers eye back into its socket, Davis insists, but to quickly tap it, which causes his eyes to water and his vision to blur.

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Look at any tool as an art. Remember, for a single tool to be a masterpiece, it must have totality, accuracy, speed and power. Until you have the ability to move your body and adapt to whatever the object happens to be in front of you as well as punch and kick from any angle, you still havent gotten your total efciency. Bruce Lee (private conversation with Daniel Lee)

Daniel Lee
It has been 33 years since Daniel Lee trained with Bruce at the Chinatown school. Studying with Bruce Lee was a life-changing experience, Daniel recalls. He says Bruce freed him from blindly following xed ghting routines and from believing that traditional styles would actually protect him in a real combat situation. Instead of letting his student continue along his traditional path, Bruce urged Daniel to concentrate on boosting the quality of his punches and kicks and his ability to combine them.

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The most pitiful sight is to see sincere students earnestly repeating those imitative drills, listening to their own screams and spiritual yells. ... These poor souls have unwittingly become trapped in the miasma of classical martial arts training. Bruce Lee (Black Belt, September 1971)

Joe Lewis
Former heavyweight champion Joe Lewis is one of the few martial artists to have exchanged punches with Lee. Nevertheless, Lewis chooses to focus on the visions Lee was able to create within all his students. Bruce Lee was very keen about integrating a sense of philosophy into training, Lewis says. This, coupled with his ability to provide students with a philosophy about life, created a sense of spirituality. I nd that aspect lacking in other systems. Lewis says training with Lee was a unique experience because Lee helped him unleash the abilities that lay within. He allowed me to gain an inner awareness and to be able to completely express my innermost feelings, Lewis says. He also taught Lewis how to conceptualize his ghting tactics so he could meet the challenge defeating superior opponents. Without such a philosophy, there is no way you can control your execution of martial arts techniques, Lewis adds. Bruce Lee had a unique way of expressing that while being entertaining at the same time. There are instructors who are brilliant at times, and there are instructors who are on the cutting edge, but Bruce Lee had all that and more. His uniqueness was a rare gift in the martial arts.

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The core of understanding lies in the individual mind, and until that is touched everything is uncertain and supercial. Truth cannot be perceived until we come to fully understand our potential and ourselves. After all, knowledge in the martial arts ultimately means self-knowledge. Bruce Lee (Black Belt, September 1971)

Taky Kimura
Although Taky Kimura learned numerous physical techniques from Lee, he prefers to talk about the philosophical concepts Lee imparted. I was introduced to Bruce at a very low point in my own life, and he was the person that was best able to help me, Kimura says. Lee taught Kimura to understand who he was as a human being. Bruce encouraged me to conquer the insecurity within myself and to realize that I am a person, [that] I am no better or worse than anyone else, he says. Having gone through other trials and tribulations, Lee was able to rekindle the res in my belly, so to speak. I was nally able to realize that I needed to speak for myself. Lee taught Kimura that knowing himself and being comfortable with his self-image were essential to discovering the truth of the martial arts and the truth of life. When you get up in the morning and you are shaving or brushing your teeth, that is where the truth emits itself, Kimura says. You have to be honest with yourself.

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Bruce Lee and Jeet Kune Do Books and DVDs


BRUCE LEE: Wisdom for the Way
by Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee: Wisdom for the Way pulls from many of Bruce Lees sources quotes, pictures, sketches to create a visually comprehensive reference of the master. 144 pgs. (ISBN: 978-0-89750-185-9)

Book Code 491 Retail $15.95

Also available for iPad, Nook and Kindle! Click here for your favorite e-book site!

BRUCE LEES FIGHTING METHOD: The Complete Edition


by Bruce Lee and M. Uyehara

This restored and enhanced edition of Fighting Method breathes new life into hallowed pages with digitally remastered photography and a painstakingly refurbished interior design for improved instructional clarity. 483 pgs. (ISBN: 978-0-89750-170-5)

Book Code 494 Retail $34.95

Also available for iPad, Nook and Kindle! Click here for your favorite e-book site!

TAO OF JEET KUNE DO: Expanded Edition


by Bruce Lee

THE MOST INFLUENTIAL BRUCE LEE BOOK EVER PUBLISHED! Take advantage of this rare opportunity to learn directly from Bruce Lee one of the most celebrated and inspirational gures in martial arts history. 248 pgs. (ISBN: 978-0-89750-202-3)

Book Code 524 Retail $26.95


Also available for iPad, Nook and Kindle! Click here for your favorite e-book site!

CHINESE GUNG FU: The Philosophical Art of Self-Defense (Revised and Updated)
by Bruce Lee

This new edition gives martial arts enthusiasts and collectors exactly what they want: more Bruce Lee, including digitally enhanced photography, previously unun published pictures with Lees original handwritten notes, and introductions by his widow and daughter. 125 pgs. (ISBN: 978-0-89750-112-5)

Book Code 451 Retail $12.95


Also available for iPad, Nook and Kindle! Click here for your favorite e-book site!

BRUCE LEES FIGHTING METHOD: Basic Training and Self-Defense Techniques


by Ted Wong and Richard Bustillo

Bruce Lees jeet kune do, as explained in the book series Bruce Lees Fighting Method. This video covers the rst two volumes, with topics including warm-ups, basic exercises, on-guard position, footwork, power/speed training and self-defense. (Approx. 55 min.) DVD Code 1029 Retail $29.95

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