William Shakespeare and Bruce Lee are both revered as geniuses; Shakespeare in literary world, Bruce Lee in the martial art world. But what do these two men have in common? According Jonas Lehrer in his book “Imagine,” “… at the time Shakespeare was in London and developing himself as a writer, he was surrounded by other literary geniuses such as Christopher Marlowe, Ben Johnson, John Milton, Sir Walter Raleigh, and Francis Bacon, and numerous others. Shakespeare had a huge library which was very diverse and included respectable fiction, a wide range of popular romance stories. He drew from Ovid and Plutarch, borrowed from history books, read popular pamphlets which were the literature of the street, read Edmund Spencer and Chaucer as well as younger poets like John Dunne, and studied Thomas Wilson’s sonnets. Sometimes this literary approach got him into trouble. His peers repeatedly accused him of plagiarism, and he was often guilty, at least by contemporary standards. What these allegations failed to take into account, however, was that Shakespeare was pioneering a new creative method in which every conceivable source informed his art. He would analyze, deconstruct, and reconstruct. For Shakespeare, the act of creation was inseparable from the act of connection. Although Shakespeare was surrounded by literary geniuses, his genius remains unsurpassed.”
The following is an excerpt from my latest book -- “LIBERATE YOURSELF - A Guide to Personal Freedom”
To be in a position and state of readiness at all times is of paramount importance for any martial artist when they are engaging an opponent. If, for whatever reason, they are caught out of position, it will take them longer to act or react, giving an opponent the opportunity to more easily score against them more. By maintaining a proper fighting stance, or “ready position” a martial artist will be able to act or react quickly and appropriately. This can mean the split-second difference between seizing a target of opportunity and missing it completely. The ready position is the platform from which all of a martial artist’s actions are launched.
My JKD big brother, Bob Bremer, likes to tell the story about how he was watching Bruce Lee train like a lunatic one day and asked him, “Geez, Bruce, aren’t you afraid you’re gonna be over-trained?” Lee’s response was, “I’d rather be over-trained than under-trained.” An excellent point provided you keep it in the proper context. Bruce was working on technical skill training at the time. (When it comes to technical skill, especially in combat, I think it would always be better to be over-trained than under-trained). In addition, Lee had already spent years developing his physical fitness to an extremely high level which allowed him to put forth the energy and effort he did.
In his interview for the book, “Jeet Kune Do Conversations” by Jose Fraguas (Unique Publications, 2001) Dan Inosanto was asked about Bruce Lee’s quote “Absorb what is useful, Reject what is useless, Add what is specifically your own.” In his response, Dan stated that, “He [Bruce Lee] said that you had to capture the essence of each art. The essence is not the three thousand techniques you learn from white belt to black belt. Whatever he absorbed from a system, it had to fit in to his personal base system…”
There’s an old saying which states that “The more things change the more they remain the same.” As I look about the JKD world today I see various JKD factions or groups arguing and disagreeing about the very same things I saw groups arguing over thirty years ago. Things such as who is right and who is wrong about JKD, who is doing JKD correctly and who isn’t, who gets JKD and who doesn’t. It’s the same stuff, just a different year and a whole new crop of people.
“A good JKD man has no technique; he makes his opponent’s techniques his techniques.”
- Bruce Lee
There’s an old saying relating to technique that states, “Everything works and nothing works.” This is not a pessimistic statement but rather a simple statement of fact. Techniques work sometimes, and sometimes they don’t work. Nothing works one hundred percent of the time. There is no such thing as an infallible technique. I think every martial artist can remember one time or another when they tried to use a particular technique and for whatever reason, it failed.
Take one of Bruce Lee’s personal day-timer diaries and lay it next to any JKD school class curriculum. It doesn’t matter whether it is the curriculum from the Seattle school, the Oakland school, the Los Angeles school, or any JKD school for that matter, you will see quite a difference. The class curriculum lays out a basic structure of the training program for the particular school. Lee’s notes on the other hand, record a continual personal refinement of the various combative tools and skills (such as throwing 18,000 punches in a single month) and the development of his body to support and enhance the use of those tools and skills. One is an example of “class” curriculum and the other an example of “individual” curriculum.
The following is excerpted from my latest book, “LIBERATE YOURSELF - A Guide to Personal Freedom” which is now available in both paperback and e-book formats.
In his book, “Teaching with the Brain in Mind”, Eric Jensen, one of the leaders in brain-based learning, discusses the importance that the role of “processing” plays in learning. He relates the following three points:
The following is excerpted from “P.L.A.N. - Personal Liberation Action Notebook” - a resource workbook and personal journal which I wrote to accompany my book “LIBERATE YOURSELF - A Guide to Personal Freedom.” In the workbook each worksheet is laid out as a separate page for the owner to write in.