Tao of Jeet Kune Do as Representation of Bruce Lee's Path to Personal Truth

One step at a time, find YOUR path to personal truth in the martial arts by learning how Bruce Lee found his through the art of jeet kune do as discussed in his seminal text, Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

The Tao of Jeet Kune Do teaches how Bruce Lee arrived at his personal truth, which he called jeet kune do. The path he used is a clear and concise method that every martial artist can easily apply to his own search. Here's how:


Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #1

SEEK THE TRUTH

You have to consciously want to know the truth and look for it. Seek the reality of combat for yourself. Don't rely on what your instructor, past masters or other martial artists tell you is the truth. Do your own homework. You won't learn by copying your neighbor's homework.

Take every opportunity to study what really takes place in an assault or self-defense situation — not just physically but mentally, too. What impact did fear, anxiety and anger have on the situation?

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #2

BECOME AWARE OF THE TRUTH

Know what you're looking for and don't be in denial when you discover it. Martial artists who have devoted years to training in a traditional system and practiced according to what they've been taught is the truth sometimes have difficulty accepting that they might have spent years studying a lie. They not only might have studied a lie, but they also might have spent years training according to that lie.

The important thing is to not dwell on the lie. Be thankful that you've become aware of it, then adjust your training to what you now know is real.

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #3

PERCEIVE THE TRUTH

Perception is everything — in life and in the martial arts. Make your perceptions as total in nature as you can. Gather as many facts as possible on the subject or situation before forming a perception.

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #4

EXPERIENCE THE TRUTH

When you discover what you perceive to be a truth, put it to the test. In most cases, that means putting on the protective gear and going full contact in a realistic scenario.

This is an extremely important part of discovering the truth, one that many people fail to do. Bruce Lee was fond of saying that you cannot learn to swim without getting in the water. Likewise, you cannot learn to fight without fighting.

A word of caution about determining whether the truth you're experimenting with has any value: If that truth involves using a new technique with which you're unfamiliar, don't be too hasty to discount it if it fails. We all know it takes time to master a new technique. The failure of the technique could stem from poor execution rather than poor design.

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #5

MASTER THE TRUTH

Once you've perceived a truth, experienced it and found it to be true, master that truth. This involves drills and repetitive execution. As you should have done while experiencing that truth, practice it from all angles against many different attackers in as many scenarios as possible. Add it to your training regimen.

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #6

FORGET THE TRUTH AND THE CARRIER OF THE TRUTH

What did Bruce Lee mean by this? If the truth you learned was punching skills, the carrier of that truth may have been boxing. Once you've developed your hand skills, there's no longer a need to associate them with boxing. It was merely a vehicle to get you where you wanted to go. Boxing is a truth that belonged to whoever created it. One person's truth may be another person's limitation. By not being bound by this system, you avoid those limitations. You have absorbed what is useful and rejected what is useless.

Bruce Lee Training Philosophy Concept #7

REPOSE IN THE NOTHING

You cannot rest in the satisfaction of the truth that you've discovered because that truth will change with time. Long ago, empty-hand defense against a sword might have been a truth, but today it's highly unlikely you'll be attacked by someone wielding such a weapon. But a knife or baseball-bat attack is quite conceivable. The truth of a sword attack has changed — or perhaps “evolved" is a more appropriate term. The fact is, the truth you discover today may be that the truth you learned yesterday is no longer true.

About the Author:

Raymond O'Dell is a freelance writer and martial artist.

BRUCE LEE is a registered trademark of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC. The Bruce Lee name, image and likeness are intellectual property of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC. For more information about the life, teachings and legacy of Bruce Lee, visit the official Bruce Lee website at brucelee.com.

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