Bruce Lee Philosophy Gung Fu Explained!
Bruce Lee Philosophy is very much like his fighting ability: direct and to the point. This directness he would call simplicity, and the essence of the Bruce Lee Philosophy ends up being very zen.
An interesting twist, somebody raised in a Taoist influenced society coming up with a zen like viewpoint.
In the Bruce Lee Essay, ‘My view on Gung Fu,’ he talks about art being the expression of self, with a minimum of movement and energy. This he contrasts with the classical martial arts obsession with fancy forms and movements and artificial techniques.
In Zen one is supposed to adhere to a ritual of simplicity, until he becomes that simplicity.
One can see the similarity here. The Little Dragon minimized motion, and Zen adheres to simplicity. Really, the same thing.
Another example, from the same essay, ‘the more complicated and restrictive a method is, the lesser the opportunity for the expression of one’s original sense of freedom.’
While classical martial arts do fall into this trap, when one applies zen to the thing it becomes a smaller form, a tighter mold, which is easier to break and find the essence within…the man’s soul.
I am sure there will be some who dislike this comparison of Bruce Lee Philosophy to zen, but remember Bruce’s favorite analogy… ‘You must be shapeless, formless, like water.
This analogy reminds me that Bruce DID go through a classical system: Wing Chun Gung Fu. Thus, he DID go through a ritualized method.
But, he came out the other end, realizing that all the shapes and forms rely on the water ~ the spirit ~ within.
The problem with the classical martial arts, in the Bruce Lee Philosophy, is that martial artists are trying to pour themselves not into just a cup, or a teapot, but into a 100 different teapots and cups and saucers and pans and whistles and toots and…and they lose sight of the simplicity, the zen or The Tao, of the expression of self.
This is proven by the last statement of the Bruce Lee Philosophical Essay.
“When someone attacks you it is not technique number one (or is it technique number two, stance two, section four?) that you are doing, but the moment you become aware of his attacks you simply move in like sound and echo without any deliberation. It is as though when I call you, you answer me or when I throw something to you, you catch it, that all.”
Thus, all the classical movements, all the fancy flourishes, whether in Shaolin or Karate or whatever, they resolve to the simplicity of question and answer…cause and effect…sound and echo.
But, I don’t ask that you believe this simple analysis of this Bruce Lee Philosophy on life and martial arts and everything in between…just check out ‘My view on Gung Fu.’