Was Being “Formless” Really Bruce Lee’s Idea? And What Does It Really Mean?

This post builds on last weeks post, How To Train For Reality In Your Martial Art.

Bruce Lee famously said:

“You must be shapeless, formless, like water.  When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup.  When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle.  When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.  Water can drip and it can crash.  Become like water my friend”.

Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee

This is often quoted by those who follow his teachings as a criticism of traditional Oriental martial arts who from their perspective, place too much emphasis on the form of techniques (precise body mechanics & structures) with little to no emphasis on how to apply those movements under pressure.  It is argued that the fluid and chaotic nature of real fighting does not lend itself to trying to perform techniques with such correctness and precision, we need to be much more free flowing.  Read more

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