Friday, April 15, 2011

Bruce Lee's Notes

There are two volumes of Bruce Lee's note that have been published: The Tao of Jeet Kune Do (1975), and Jeet Kune Do: Bruce Lee's Commentaries on the Martial Way (1997). Both are interesting and highly problematic. The Amazon blurb for second volume states, "This landmark book serves as a complete presentation of Bruce Lee's art of jeet kune do." That is an embarrassing statement, even if they are just trying to sell books. Where to start? For one thing, Bruce, for all that he did show and was open about, was actually very secretive, so many things that were dear to him, technically and strategically, would not have been made explicit. Things that are made explicit require closely supervised and subtle training, none of which is available in either volume, or possible to get in book form anyway. For that matter, notice how often in the book there will be something like, for example, a list of defense solutions to the side kick, and at the end of the list will be "Training Aids." Well folk, "training aids" are the drilling processes that make any of the techniques functional, and none of that is spelled out. Also, how are we to make use of such entries as "Understand!"??

So, are the books useless? Of course not; they are food for thought, but at each entry, ask yourself "Do I really understand that? Is that something I can do? And if not how might I construct training that will help me develop that skill or attribute?"

Again, in JKD, it's not what you know, but rather, what you can do.