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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Learning about and from Bruce Lee

I have all of these, though they are
now available in a single volume.
I have been into the martial arts since I was about 13 or 14 years old.  And from very early on, I was drawn to Bruce Lee, as many people were (and are).  At the time, he had only been passed on for about 10 years, so his martial art of Jeet Kune Do was just starting to spread, and his popularity was gaining even more ground as the 80's embraced the martial arts in all things.

I determined right away that I wanted to be like him.  So, I studied his books, and took some classes.  But, I also came to the conclusion that I didn't really care for traditional martial arts study.  Maybe I had been influenced by reading his views on them, but regardless, I found that structured classes, with colored belts, forms, and rigid methods of learning made me feel stifled.  So, I took what I could from them, and moved on to study and practice on my own, often dragging my friends into the process.

After high school, that all kind of fell away.  I mean, I still loved martial arts.  I even carried my Bruce Lee's Fighting Method books through several moves, relationships, and into my second marriage (I still own them, and they are sitting right next to my desk).  But, I have fallen out of practice over the years, and my love of Bruce and his art have kind of been relegated to just another item in a long list of interests.  Until recently.

For some reason, about a month ago, I suddenly became very interested in the subject again.  This time, I apparently decided, I was going to delve a little deeper.  So, in the last few weeks, I have been reading a lot about the philosophy behind Jeet Kune Do, as well as everything I could about the man himself.  Incidentally, although I loved the movie Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, I am learning now how much that film got completely wrong.

As I learn more and more about what kind of man Bruce was, it occurred to me that he could serve as a model in aspects of my life.  I have been really unfocused, depressed, and generally unhappy with the course of my life (some aspects of it, anyways).  So, I decided that I would see if there were habits and outlooks that Bruce had that maybe I could adapt to my own life, in order to make things a little better personally.  And, I think I may be onto something.  Only time will tell.

One thing that found interesting was that he was always writing.  And back in the late 60's and early 70's, this meant pen and paper.  So, I figured, what the heck?  I have been carrying around this spiral notebook in my backpack for months, and doing very little with it.  So, today I tore out the sheets that already had stuff on them, and grabbed a pen.

One of the other things I have been doing is researching ways to study and practice Jeet Kune Do.  There is only one place here in Madison that offers any sort of classes, and when I had tried them a few years ago, I wasn't all that impressed (too much Muay Thai, and not enough Bruce Lee).  So, I determined that the only course I could afford was to do it on my own.  This ties into the afore-mentioned notebook.

Today I decided to map out how I would train myself to be a JKD practitioner again, and I would do it in a manner that Bruce might have appreciated.  So, with a slow day at work, I started writing.  And writing.  Ideas and stored knowledge just started pouring out, and before I knew it I had eight pages of hand-written text on the subject of fitness and body conditioning.

Now, I'm no expert on the subject, but I do know enough to speak intelligently about it.  And it was very cathartic to see the pen flow across the paper, and the words and ideas and theories to form and materialize from my own hand.  I had to smile because in my mind, I imagined Bruce Lee, sitting at his own desk in his home, doing much the same thing.

Anyways, I plan to continue this process, as well as try to work my way into being proficient at martial arts again.  But, that aspect will probably see life on my other blog, Fighting Man's Fitness.  That page is due for an upgrade, and some house-cleaning as it is.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

his discipline is what impressed me, and that is so much of the secret to all.