Recently I had the honor of attending a seminar of a particular system of martial art. This system is a very popular one of today. As I observed all the practitioners of this art, I began remembering the words of Bruce Lee, talking about styles. How one can become a product of that style, and the ego that becomes perpetuated by that style. There I was surrounded by people in their gi’s with patches all over, and their hands on their belts, in a confident stance when this thought crossed my mind.
I began wondering if these people felt like real warriors or like mechanical men? I guess that is up to the individual.
It’s easy to get lost in the nostalgia of the martial arts, especially when face to face with the “patriarchs” of a system. To be wearing the same uniform as them, makes you feel like you belong to something bigger than yourself. To see your school logo everywhere gives you a sense of pride.
However, when all these things and people are gone, you are still you. You only know what you can apply, and you are still faced with having a human physical body.
“Man, the living creature, the creating individual is always more important than any established style or system.”
— Bruce Lee
“I mean this: I mean that man is always in a learning process. Whereas “style ” is a concluding, established, solidified something, you know? I mean you cannot do that, because you learn every day as you grow on, grow older. Each person must not be limited to one approach. We must approach it with our own self, you know? Art is the expression of ourselves, whereas if you go to, say, a Japanese style, then you are expressing the Japanese style- you are not expressing yourself.”
— Bruce Lee
“My answer to that is this: there is no such thing as an effective segment of a totality. By that, I mean that I personally do not believe in the word style. Why? Because unless there are human beings with three arms and four legs, unless we have another group of beings on earth that are structurally different from us, there can be no different style of fighting. Why is that? Because we have only two hand and two legs. The important thing is, how can we use them to the maximum?….. Because of styles, people are separated. They are not united together because styles became law. The original founder of the style started out with hypothesis, but now it has become the gospel truth, and people who go into that ( style ) become the product of it. It doesn’t matter how you are, who you are, how you are structured, how you are built, or how you are made….. It doesn’t matter. You just go in there and become that product. And that, to me , is not right. ”
— Bruce Lee
|Written by Tommy Robles | JKD Instructor & Practitioner
Certified under Felix Macias Jr. in O.J.K.D., Tommy is ready to share the beauty of this “way” with any who are willing to learn.