Peter Pan Meets Bruce Lee

Peter Pan meets Bruce Lee

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During my recent, week-long visit to New York for a family memorial, I bumped into the ‘New York Martial Arts Academy’ in Williamsburg in Brookyln.

For those of you that might not know Williamsburg, it is basically the hipster capital of the world. Fun place.
Of course, I stepped in and spent a few hours reading the ‘Tao of Jeet Kune Do’, a book compiled of wisdom & aphorisms Bruce Lee wrote while lying down for months, unable to move due to a back injury. 

Did you know Bruce Lee had a library of about 2000 books about physical conditioning, martial arts, fighting techniques, defenses and related subjects?

So, here is a little compilation of what impacted me most of the quotes in that book, all contained within the first few pages. The rest was about his martial art, which is less of interest to me compared to the underlying philosophy, realizations and understanding he had.
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Some martial arts are very popular, real crowd pleasers, because they look good, have a smooth techniques. But beware. They are like a wine that has been watered. A diluted wine is not a real wine, not a good wine, hardly the genuine article. Some martial arts don’t look so good, but you know they have a kick, a tang, a genuine taste. They are like olives. The taste may be strong and bittersweet. The flavor lasts. You cultivate a taste for them. No one has ever developed a taste for diluted wine.

Art reaches it’s highest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make.’

The consciousness of self is the greatest hindrance to the proper execution of all physical action

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.

Let yourself go with the disease, be with it, keep company with it – this is the way to be rid of it.

An assertion is Zen only when it is itself an act.

‘The point is the doing of them rather than the accomplishments. There is no actor but the action; there is no experiencer but the experience.’

‘To see a thing uncolored by one’s own personal preferences and desires is to see it in its own pristine simplicity.’

The perfection of art is not to be found in shape and form, but must radiate from the human soul.

Eliminate ‘not clear’ thinking and function from your root.

All vague notions must fall before a pupil can call himself a master.

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So there we have it.

As a bonus, here is Bruce Lee’s interpretation of Buddhism’s Eight-Fold Path:

  1. Right Views (see clearly what is wrong)
  2. Right Purpose (decide to be cured)
  3. Right Speech (Speak so as to aim at being cured)
  4. Right Conduct (You must act)
  5. Right Vocation (Your livelihood must not conflict with your therapy)
  6. Right Effort (The therapy must go forward at the ‘staying speed’, the critical velocity that can be sustained.)
  7. Right Awareness (mind control) Feel & think of it incessantly
  8. Right Concentration (meditation) Learn how to contemplate with the deep mind.
Of course, to be kept in mind, is that Bruce Lee died of cerebral edema. I’m venturing into risky territory by saying this, but I somehow always thought that that might have had something to do with forcing too much, building up too much pressure in the head. 
Sometimes, perhaps, feeling & thinking of one’s goals incessantly might be too hardcore. We’re all human, let’s not forget to have fun, enjoy ourselves and celebrate! 😉
To conclude, here is a little quote by me, inspired by the above:

You are not acting or doing. It is happening through you. Replacing your consciousness of ‘doing’ optimizes perspectives and happenings, eliminates isolation and ego issues. By functioning out of ego, you starve it and it retracts.

and my favorite of the lot, by Bruce Lee:

‘Do not run away; let go. Do not seek, for it will come when least expected.’

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