Bruce Lee, international film star, martial arts master, and founder of Jeet Kune Do, received his undergraduate training in Philosophy at the University of Washington in Seattle during the early 1960's. He studied Eastern and Western Philosophy, as well as the history of thought. It is unknown as to which specific philosophers Bruce studied during this time, however it is likely that he may have read some of Henri Bergson's work, given the nature of his academic career and of the philosophy he would later develop concerning the martial arts. Philosophies which reflect Taoism and Zen Buddhism, but also carry with them a scientific overtone virtually non-existent in most Eastern philosophy, while at the same time reflecting many of the assertions made by Henri Bergson.
[...] Much like a scientist can become a specialist in a field, and at the same time lose the basic roots of his science in the process, a martial artist can learn one style of martial arts, specialize in that style and lose all sense of grounding in the reality of melee combat. For example, a Wing Chung Kung Fu man can throw a punch that is perfectly sound within the form of his style, yet get out-punched by a novice street fighter. [...]
[...] He says, is the way to the absolute and to the essence of human life.” In what is often called the ‘Lost Interview' on the Pierre Burton Show of the late 60's and 70's, Bruce says, do not believe in style anymore Here I am as a human being, how can I express myself, totally and completely?”6 Bruce Lee calls for martial artists to dedicate themselves entirely whatever to action they are doing, much like Buddhism. In his film Enter the Dragon6, Bruce Lee wrote the dialogue in many of the scenes. [...]
[...] Emptiness and the absolute are one and the same in Buddhism. It is the emptiness of mind from analysis, and the absolute acceptance of ultimate reality, the situation at hand. The Jeet Kune Do practitioner is totally aware of his surroundings and reacts accordingly, both in and out of combat. All durational experiences are treated equally by Bruce Lee and the Jeet Kune Do practitioner. Martial Arts apply to everyday life, and to Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do is but one medium of the art of living. [...]
[...] Bruce Lee says, “Instead of facing combat in its suchness, most systems of martial art accumulate a ‘fancy mess' that distorts and cramps their practitioners and distracts them from the actual reality of combat, which is simple and direct Thus, instead of ‘being' in combat these practitioners are ‘doing' something ‘about' combat All such things are futile attempts to arrest and fix the ever-changing movement in combat and to dissect and analyze them like a corpse This had a garnered a very negative reaction from the fragmented and ethnocentric martial arts culture at the time, much like science and philosophy's negative response to Bergson. [...]
[...] “Like a finger pointing the way to the moon.”6 Bruce Lee emphasizes this point in his martial art. Since he does not teach any one style derived from analysis, he leaves the student with the tools needed to rely solely upon intuition. Jeet Kune Do, all technique is to be forgotten and the unconscious is to be left alone to handle the situation. To float in totality, to have no technique, is to have all technique.”3 Through this emptiness of mind and absence of analysis, the martial artist is free from the “classical mess” trappings of style. [...]
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