The art of life can be simply to simplify…

This month is the 40th anniversary of Enter The Dragon, starring the one and only Bruce Lee.

Of course, Bruce Lee is best known for his martial arts and movies. He was one of the best and in some ways, still is. Bruce Lee inspired so many people in the ways of martial arts and fitness.

However, all too often, people stop there – they think that Bruce was just about movies; specifically action movies with violence – or that he was just a “martial arts/karate guy”.

Like almost anyone, putting Bruce in one small niche was incorrect and incomplete; ‘to label is to negate’ (Kierkegaard)

Bruce Lee went to college and studied philosophy. He was lifelong student of philosophy and wrote and spoke about it often.

“Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough, we must do.” – Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee developed an art that was particular to him and he called it Jeet Kune Do (JKD). Translated Jeet Kune Do means the “Way of the Intercepting Fist” .

One of the key things about Bruce’s philosophy and martial arts was “Using no way as way, having no limitation as limitation”.

The basic principles of JKD are 1.) Directness, 2.) Simplicity, 3.) Non-classical form or the form of no form. www.brucelee.com

The techniques of JKD apply to real life situations and real combat. You can apply the philosophy to life, to investing, to fitness, art, etc. There is an inherent harmony or balance in the philosophy.

There are still countless websites, books, and tributes to Bruce Lee years after his 1973 death. Men’s Health magazine named him the 2nd all-time fittest man in history. The Giants paid tribute to him this year. The U.S. Congress honored Bruce this year. (http://www.brucelee.com/site/blog)

“There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”–Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee was a small business owner; starting martial arts studios. He was an action hero and movie star. His philosophy encouraged simplicity and simple systems as well as a quest and the pursuit of perfection and mastery.

I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”– Bruce Lee

One of the most important influences on Bruce was his exposure to Taoist philosophy. Taoist philosophy is the development of the Chinese sage Lao Tzu, who in the sixth century BC wrote the definitive work on the subject, the Tao Te Ching.

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

Another big influence on Bruce Lee, philosophically, was the Brahmin philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti. Bruce found that Krishnamurti’s viewpoints on life ran parallel to his own. In his book Freedom from the Know, Krishnamurti writes: “You cannot look through an ideology, through a screen of words, through hopes and fears. The man who is really serious, with the urge to find out what truth is has no concept at all. He lives only in what is.” Bruce adapted this idea in forming his martial art philosophy: “You cannot express and be alive through static put-together form, through stylized movement. The man who is really serious, with the urge to find out what truth is, has no style at all. He lives only in what is.”

“A classicist or traditionalist will only do what the teacher tells him and that’s it. The teacher is pedestalized and you do what he says and you don’t question him,” says John Little, the historian of the Bruce Lee Estate, “but Bruce was drawing from some very diverse sources, such as gestalt therapy, Krishnamurti, etc. Not that these people were necessarily creators either, but they saw a certain truth that they wrote about. Bruce saw that same truth.” -http://www.becoming.8m.net/bruce02.htm

The below is from http://www.thefeelgoodlifestyle.com

Top 10 Greatest Quotes from Striking Thoughts (A book Bruce Lee wrote):

#10 “Be a practical dreamer backed by action”.

There are a lot of dreamers out there, and countless people working their hard at their job. But it’s only those who do both, dream big AND act big that really shine and change the world. Choose to be one of them.

#9 “If you love life, then do not waste time, for time is what life is made of.”

Time-management & Personal Productivity are hot topic these days. If you haven’t already, I urge you to make this something you strive to get better at.   

#8 “Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning.”

This is one of the utmost principles of Optimal Living. Learning is not something we do only in a classroom. It’s something we do everyday, as we try new things, analyse the results, and constantly tweak how we think and act. And that’s how we evolve and get better at life.

#7 “The power of will is the Supreme Court of my mind.”

Willpower is the engine behind living a great life and making things happen. The good news, it can trained and developed. In new his book aptly named “Willpower”, Florida State University Professor Roy Baumeister tells us: “If you exercise it, you can make it stronger. There’s nothing magical about it.’’ How do we do that? Best way I’ve found: take on The 30 Day Cold Shower Challenge.

#6 “Remember my friend, that is is not what happen that counts, it’s what you make of it. It can be stumbling block or a stepping stone.”

Everyday, stuff happens. Some is awesome, some… not so much.  I’ve personally developed a strong faith that everything happens for a reason, and as Steve Jobs says, we simply can’t connect the dots forward. When something bad happens to me, I make it a game of seeing how quickly I can start looking at it in a positive lights, and even turn it into an opportunity.

#5 “There is no such thing as defeat until you admit so yourself.”

Persistence, persistence, persistence. It’s without a doubt one of the most essential human traits for life excellence. It’s a better predictor than talent and intelligence in the quality of the life we create. Whenever I get scared about my plans to start a business next year, I remind myself that failure is impossible because I simply won’t give up until I make it work and achieve my goals. Plain and simple.

#4″When I look around, I learn one thing: to be yourself, and express yourself.”

We each can offer wonderful gifts to the world but do so, we need to let our through colours shine through. Sadly, we live in a society that makes this way harder than it should be, but the truth is that we’re all unique beings, and we should embrace our uniqueness, not hide it. So live for yourself, do what feels right to you, and don’t worry about what other think.

#3 “Concentration is the root of all higher abilities in men.”

Concentration is a lost art in today’s world. Distractions come in more shape and forms than ever before, and this is affecting many of us. But without concentration, nothing great gets done. In my opinion, the best way to build our concentration ability is without a doubt the daily practice of meditation.

#2 “Real Living is living for others”

We all have these phases when we get all caught up in our own stuff (I’m certainly prone to that), but we need to keep remembering ourselves that, happiness is rooted in helping others“. Sometimes, it’s good to pause and reflect on how we’re living, and whether we’re really offering our full gifts to the world.

A little bonus: It’s been shown that whenever we help someone, it significantly boosts our levels of serotonin, one of the main feel good neurotransmitters in our brain). It also boost the serotonin of the person we help, AND anyone watching our good deed. How cool is that! 

#1 “I’ve come to discover through earnest experience and dedicated learning that ultimately, the greatest help is self-help. It is the only help.”

We are in control of our life. We write our own story, and and everyday, through all the small decisions we make, we shape ourselves into the best version of ourself, or a diluted version of it.

—-

Bruce’s philosophy can be summarized here well…..

The core philosophy of Bruce Lee was to “know yourself.” It is clear that all the avenues Lee took in life were in pursuit of self-cultivation, which leads to the ultimate destination: self-knowledge. His art and philosophy were the vehicles he used to gain an understanding of himself, to feel and fully appreciate the experience of what it means to be a human being. To achieve that, he spent countless hours learning, training, reading and researching.
 
The biggest adversary in our life is ourselves. We are what we are, in a sense, because of the dominating thoughts we allow to gather in our head. All concepts of self-improvement, all actions and paths we take, relate solely to our abstract image of ourselves. Life is limited only by how we really see ourselves and feel about our being. A great deal of pure self-knowledge and inner understanding allows us to lay an all-important foundation for the structure of our life from which we can perceive and take the right avenues.
 
Fear comes from uncertainty; we can eliminate the fear within us when we know ourselves better. As the great Sun Tzu said: “When you know yourself and your opponent, you will win every time. When you know yourself but not your opponent, you will win one and lose one. However, when you do not know yourself or your opponent, you will be imperiled every time.”
 
Krishnamurti, the great philosopher who influenced Lee, said: “We must first understand ourselves in order to know anything and to understand and solve problems.”–FROM http://logos_endless_summer.tripod.com/id163.html

Bruce Lee had so many great strategies and wisdom; most ahead of his time. He inspires hedge fund managers, movie stars, teachers, fitness coaches, leaders, children, young and old.

·    Jeet Kune Do does not beat around the bush. It does not take winding detours. It follows a straight line to the objective. Simplicity is the shortest distance between two points.
 
·    The art of Jeet Kune Do is simply to simplify.
 
·    The man who is really serious, with the urge to find out what truth is, has no style at all. He lives only in what is.
 
So, like you should with anyone, the next time you see Bruce Lee on TV, remember not to limit him and be inspired by his work at bettering himself, at his quest for self-actualization, his leadership, his faith in himself and others, his growth, his belief systems, his constant proactive nature, his philosophy and commitment to follow his own way.
 
Wishes to you for finding simplicity and balance in your life.
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