Bruce Lee – Martial Arts Genius; But Were All His Ideas New?

Bruce Lee was an exceptionally accomplished and talented martial artist.  He was also very influential in popularising martial arts in the West, as well as making people already training in martial arts question what they were doing.  I have a huge respect for Bruce, but in all honesty, I can’t go along with the almost God like reverence that some people hold him in.  Bruce LeeHe is often quoted in a way that suggests his word should be the final word on all things martial arts.  But there are many very senior and knowledgeable masters out there who know just as much, yet have a different approach.  There is always more than one route.  Also, many of the things that Bruce Lee taught was common philosophy in the East, but he was just the first Asian master to open up that philosophy to the West (or at least, the first who had a media following to reach the wider public). Continue reading “Bruce Lee – Martial Arts Genius; But Were All His Ideas New?” »

Emotional Content In Martial Arts And An Interesting Experiment

This clip below is now an iconic scene from the Bruce Lee movie, Enter The Dragon, where Bruce Lee is teaching a student.

Bruce Lee:  “Kick me”.
Student looks surprised.
Bruce Lee:  “Kick me”. Continue reading “Emotional Content In Martial Arts And An Interesting Experiment” »

Kata: Training Beyond Technique

Much is debated and demonstrated about the fighting applications within kata (patterns/forms), myself included.  But not too much is spoken about the mindset, or mental approach you should take when performing your kata.  Yes we all know that we should concentrate and focus, but beyond that . . . . what? Continue reading “Kata: Training Beyond Technique” »

Is Kata (Forms/Patterns) Without Realistic Bunkai “Organized Despair”?

Bruce LeeBruce Lee once famously referred to the way that many traditional martial artists train as, “organized despair”.  The full quote is reproduced below for you:

“Instead of facing combat in it’s suchness, quite a few systems of martial art accumulate “fanciness” that distorts and cramps their practitioners and distracts them 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 despair!) are ritually practiced to simulate actual combat. Thus, instead of being in combat, these practitioners are idealistically doing something about combat”

So, are our katas/forms/patterns “flowery forms and artificial techniques“? Continue reading “Is Kata (Forms/Patterns) Without Realistic Bunkai “Organized Despair”?” »