Bruce Lee: Jeet Kune Do by John Little

Summary
  1. Bruce Lee’s commentaries on the martial way
Key Takeaways
  1. Witnessing a person in mundane day-to-day activities reveals their true character
  2. When Bruce wasn’t reading or training, he was writing
  3. Eliminate silos and aim for total integration – don’t bifurcate into “either/or” – take in the whole picture
  4. Art is a bridge to higher learning – the higher up the ladder of martial art mastery one climbed, the clearer the view became that art was simply a metaphor for life itself and that it was indeed possible to “see the world in a grain of sand” and for one who had truly mastered a martial art to be availed of a new and wonderful insight into the human condition
  5. There are no opposites, only interconnected facets of the existence of which all of us are a part
  6. All knowledge ultimately means self-knowledge
  7. Style concludes. Man grows
  8. Qualities of a great martial artist – natural, instinctive primitiveness, natural blending of stillness and sudden, violent destructiveness
  9. Choiceless awareness = total emptiness, the optimal way to live and be
  10. Direct intuition is a return to original freedom
  11. Observe. Deduce. Apply – do more of what works
  12. Golden principle – each movement of yours must correspond to those of the opponent
  13. Generally fatal to start a bout with a set plan
  14. Courage and decision are essential factors to success in fighting
  15. Final choice of attack should depend on opponent’s reactions, habits and preferences
  16. The attack has to remain as simple as possible
  17. Daily minimize rather than daily increase
  18. Alertness of foot will transmute to an alertness of mind
  19. The whole secret of hard hitting lies in timing and mental application
  20. A blow is never hit at a mark. It is driven through a mark
  21. The essence of fighting is the art of moving at the right time
  22. To find stillness in stillness, not stillness in movement
  23. It is not about how much one learns but how much one absorbs what he learns
  24. The ultimate goal of discipline in JKD is where learning gained is learning lost
  25. Economy of form should always be stressed
  26. 3 stages towards mastery – synchronization of self, synchronization with opponent, application under fire
  27. Freedom lies in understanding yourself from moment to moment
  28. To know totality one has to be a total outsider
  29. Like the candle, I fuel myself
  30. True meaning of life lies in achieving peace of mind
  31. Your mind is the result of a thousand yesterday’s – wipe all this away to be born afresh
  32. Meditation is a freeing of the mind from all motives
  33. There is no help but self-help
  34. True observation begins when one is devoid of set patterns
  35. Freedom of expression occurs when one is beyond system
  36. Intelligence is the understanding of self
  37. Truth comes when your mind and heart are purged of all sense of striving and you are no longer trying to become somebody  it is there when the mind is very quiet, listening timelessly to everything
  38. The 3 faults – the invention of an empirical self that observes itself; viewing one’s thoughts as a kind of object or possession, situating it in a separate, isolated “part of itself” – “I have” a mind; the striving to wipe the mirror (totally purifying one’s mind simply through thinking and meditating – “mirror-wiping Zen”)
    1. Zen is not “attained” by mirror-wiping meditation, but by “self-forgetfulness in the existential ‘present’ of life here and now.” We do not “come,” we “are.” Don’t strive to become, but be.
  39. Intelligence is sometimes defined as the capacity of the individual to adjust himself to his environment, or to adjust the environment to his needs
  40. Simplicity is the end of art, and the beginning of nature
  41. The 4 idea principles – find a human need, an unsolved problem; master all of the essentials of the problem; give a new twist to an old principle; believe in your idea and act!
  42. The 5 step idea-getting process – gather materials; masticate the facts; relax and drop the whole subject; be ready to recognize and welcome the idea when it comes; shape and develop your idea into usefulness
  43. A choice method is the cultivation of resistance, and where there is resistance there is no understanding. A well-disciplined mind is not a free mind
  44. Affirmations – Bruce would carry these around with him at all times to inspire and remind him whenever he needed it
    1. Willpower – Recognizing that the power of will is the supreme court over all other departments of my mind. I will exercise it daily when I need the urge to action for any purpose; and I will form habits designed to bring the power of my will into action at least once daily.
    2. Emotion – Realizing that my emotions are both positive and negative, I will form daily habits which will encourage the development of the positive emotions and aid me in converting the negative emotions into some form of useful action.
    3. Reason – Recognizing that both my positive and negative emotions may be dangerous if they are not controlled and guided to desirable ends, I will submit all my desires, aims and purposes to my faculty of reason, and I will be guided by it in giving expression to these.
    4. Imagination – Recognizing the need for sound plans and ideas for the attainment of my desires, I will develop my imagination by calling upon it daily for help in the formation of my plans
    5. Memory – Recognizing the value of an alert mind and an alert memory, I will encourage mine to become alert by taking care to impress it clearly with all thoughts I wish to recall and by associating those thoughts with related subjects which I may call to mind frequently.
    6. Subconscious mind – Recognizing the influence of my subconscious mind over my power of will, I shall take care to submit to it a clear and definite picture of my major purpose in life and all minor purposes leading to my major purpose, and I shall keep this picture constantly before my subconscious mind by repeating it daily!
    7. Conscience – Recognizing that my emotions often err in their over-enthusiasm  and my faculty of reason often is without the warmth of feeling that is necessary to enable me to combine justice with mercy in my judgments, I will encourage my conscience to guide me as to what is right and what is wrong, but I will never set aside the verdicts it renders, no matter what may be the cost of carrying them out.
What I got out of it
  1. The philosophical part was great and although I don’t practice any martial art, learning about his training protocols and some basic techniques was interesting