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Jeet Kune Do --- Freedom

Updated: May 5, 2021

Some instructors of Martial arts favor forms, the more complex the fancy the better. Some, on the other hand, are obsessed with super mental power(like Captain Marvel or Superman). Still some favor the deformed hands and legs, and devote their time to fighting bricks, stones, boards, etc. etc.

To me the extraordinary aspect of martial arts lies in it's simplicity. Martial arts is simply the 'direct expression' of one's feeling with the minimum of movements and energy. Every movement is being so of itself without the artificialities which people tend to complicate it. The easy way is always the right way, the martial arts i nothing at all special; the closer to the true way of martial arts, the less wastage of expression there is.

Instead of facing combat in it's suchness, quite a few systems of the martial arts accumulate 'fancyness' that distort and cramp their practitioners and distract hem from the actual reality of combat, which is 'simple' and 'direct' and 'non-classical'. Instead of going immediately to the heart of things, flowery forms and artificial techniques (organized dispair) are 'ritually practiced' to simulate actual combat. Thus, instead of 'being' in combat, these practitioners are idealistically 'doing' something without combat. Worse still, super mental this and spiritual that are ignorantly incorporated until these practitioners are drifting further and further into the distance of abstraction and mystery that what they do resemble anything from acrobatics to modern dancing but the actual reality of combat.

All these complexness are actually futile attemps to 'arrest' and 'fix' the ever changing movements in combat and to dissect and analyse them like a corpse. Real combat is not fixed and is very much 'alive'. Such means of practice (A form of paralysis) will only 'solidify' and 'condition' what was once fluid and alive. When you get off sophistication and what not and look at it 'realistically' these robots(practitioners that is) are blindly devoting to the systematic uselessness of practicing 'routines' or 'stunts' that lead to nowhere.

Martial arts is to be looked through the fancy suits and matching ties, and it will remain a secret when we anxiously look for a sophistication and deadly techniques. If there are really any secrets at all, they must have been missed by the seeking and striving of it's practitioners(after all, how many ways are there to come in on an opponent without 'deviating too much from the natural course'?). True martial arts values the wonder of the ordinary and the cultivation of martial arts is not daily increase, but daily decrease. Being wise int he martial arts does not mean adding more, but to do away with ornamentation and be simply simple---like a sculptor building a statue not by adding but by hacking away the unessential so that the truth will be revealed unobstructed. In short, martial arts is satisfied with one's bare hand without the fancy decoration of colorful gloves which tend to hinder the natural function of the hand.

Art is the expression of the self. The more complicated and restrictive a method is, the lesser the opportunity for the expression of one's original sense of freedom! The techniques, though they play an important role in the early stage, should not be too restrictive, complex or mechanical. If we cling to them we will become bound by their limitation. Remember, YOU are 'expressing' the technique and not 'doing' the technique number two, stance two, section four" 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's all.

--BRUCE LEE 1965


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