Tao of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee

Summary
  1. “An organic collection of writings that are meant to convey the essence of Bruce Lee’s art of jeet kune do…To understand JKD, one ought to throw away all ideals, patterns, styles; in fact, he should throw away even the concepts of what is or isn’t ideal in JKD.”
Key Takeaways
  1. Personal evolution is the ultimate message of the Tao. The Tao represents an individual’s pursuit of martial arts for self-realization. There is nothing more powerful than that for human development and martial arts excellence
  2. The consciousness of self is the greatest hindrance to the proper execution of all physical movement
  3. Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make
  4. The perfect way is only difficult for those who pick and choose. Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear. Make a hairbreadth difference and heaven and earth are set apart; if you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between “for” and “against” is the mind’s worst disease
  5. How can one respond to the totality with a partial, fragmentary pattern?
  6. To fit in with an opponent one needs direct perception. There is no direct perception where there is a resistance, a “this is the only way” attitude
  7. The Path to Truth – seeking after truth, awareness of truth (and its existence), perception of truth (its substance and direction), understanding of truth, experiencing of truth, mastering of truth, forgetting truth, forgetting the carrier of truth, return to the primal source where truth has its roots, repose in the nothing
  8. When there is freedom from mechanical conditioning, there is simplicity. Life is a relationship to the whole.
  9. Relationship is understanding. It is a process of self-revelation. Relationship is the mirror in which you discover yourself – to be is to be related
  10. This does not mean to do nothing at all, but only to have no deliberate mind in whatever one does. Do not have a mind that selects or rejects. To be without deliberate mind is to hang no thoughts
  11. Acceptance, denial and conviction prevent understanding. Let your mind move together with another’s in understanding with sensitivity. Then, there is a possibility of real communication. To understand one another, there must be a state of choiceless awareness where there is no sense of comparison or condemnation, no waiting for a further development of discussion in order to agree or disagree. Above all, don’t start from a conclusion.
  12. The physically bound go for puffing and straining and miss the delicate way; the intellectually bound go for idealism and lack efficiency and actually seeing into realities
  13. Better to discover causes of ignorance than seek knowledge
  14. Transcend dualistic comprehension of a situation
  15. The knowledge and skill you have achieved are meant to be “forgotten” so you can float comfortably in emptiness, without obstruction. Learning is important but do not become its slave. Above all, do not harbor anything external and superfluous – the mind is primary. Any technique, however worthy and desirable, becomes a disease when the mind is obsessed with it
  16. Fear comes from uncertainty. When we are absolutely certain, whether of our worth or our worthlessness, we are almost impervious to fear. Thus, a feeling of utter unworthiness can be a source of courage. Everything seems possible when we are absolutely helpless or absolutely powerful – and both states stimulate our gullibility.
  17. Pride is a sense of worth derived from something that is not organically part of us, while self-esteem is derived from the potentialities and achievements of self. We are proud when we identify ourselves with an imaginary self, a leader, a holy cause, a collective body or possessions. There is fear and intolerance in pride; it is sensitive and uncompromising. The less promise and potentiality in the self, the more imperative is the need for pride. The core of pride is self-rejection. It is true, however, that when pride releases energies and serves as a spur to achievement, it can lead to a reconciliation with the self and the attainment of genuine self-esteem.
  18. We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. Yet, it sometimes seems that intense desire creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents as well.
What I got out of it
  1. A great, in depth view of Bruce Lee’s philosophy of JKD. The majority of the book is a detailed look on the techniques, routines, training regimens and more that Bruce followed and taught. That part wasn’t too useful to me but you can see how Bruce applied his principles of JKD to all he did