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What It Means to Understand Bruce Lee

https://www.theatlantic.com/culture/archive/2020/06/be-water-and-difficulty-understanding-bruce-lee/613234/

theatlantic.com

What It Means to Understand Bruce Lee
The martial-arts legend looms so large in pop culture that the mundane details of his life feel like a rare treat.

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Bruce Lee: The Symbol

Bruce Lee: The Symbol

In the 32 years he inhabited this planet, Bruce Lee created a legacy that is unparalleled in modern times.

His work, philosophy and lifestyle have influenced everything from video games to political protests. Bruce Lee’s short life garnered enough momentum to keep the flame glowing, powering future generations.

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Be Water

While trying to diffuse his anger, Bruce Lee once started punching in the sea and had a profound realization.

Water, he understood, is of a neutral nature, having no form or shape of its own. He realized that to be invincible, he had to be as formless as water.

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Giving Form To the Formless

The continued fascination with Bruce Lee and the never-ending need to capitalize on the man and the myth is the opposite of what he really intended.

His insights of being like water showcase his philosophy of having no philosophy at all. The formless structure that has to be assumed to live one’s life is destroyed the very moment anyone is influenced or tries to emulate Bruce Lee.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Bruce Lee as a philosopher

He studied poetry and philosophy in school. He focused his studies on Asian and Western philosophy, incorporating elements of Jiddu, Buddhism, Taoism, and Krishnamurti. 

This helped h...

Bruce Lee's impressive life

  • He wasn't a master of any standard form of martial arts. He was closest in mastering Wing Chun.
  • He invented his own style of martial arts. He based his style on the teaching of Man and what he learned of Wing Chun. He called his style Jeet Kune Do "the style of no style"
  • He starred in 20 films in Hong Kong before the age of 18.
  • He popularized the "1 Inch Punch" as seen in Kill Bill Vol. 2
  • He was a prolific poet and philosopher. He studied poetry and philosophy in school and was even published several times.
  • He was so fast, his moves were often too fast for a camera to catch.
  • He only made 5 feature films in the US, his last released posthumously.

Self-discovery

Martial arts was not merely a competitive sport for Bruce Lee, but in essence a means of self-discovery and self-expression.

By learning to fight, he was able to better understand who he was...

Be like water

Bruce Lee saw life as being in constant change.

Unless we learn to adapt to it, we’re bound to experience tremendous resistance that will entrap us in a constant state of suffering.

Kick dogma out of your life

Bruce didn’t subscribe to a dogma of any kind.

Although he was an avid reader of religion, philosophy, and martial arts, he viewed religious or philosophical ideologies at best only as signposts pointing to the truth, but not as the truth itself.

The truth for him was multi-sided and beyond what words can express.Therefore, it can't be named, packaged, and presented in a certain way without losing its essence.

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Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee was famous for being a martial artist and a movie star, but in reality, he was a Zen master. His philosophies are timeless, and his spiritual insights make him a rare cultural icon whose ...

Artist Of Life

Bruce Lee rivaled many great thinkers and philosophers with his new-age insights on life and his convictions on martial arts, family and love.

A collection of his notes, private letters, and poems are now published in the book **Bruce Lee: Artist Of Life.

Be Water

Nothing is weaker than water, and in that weakness, there is immense strength. Water is fine and impossible to grasp. It does not suffer any hurt, and cannot be stabbed, or cut. It has no shape of its own but molds according to where it is placed. It can be hard as a rock and also invisible as vapor.

Being like water, humble, adaptive, resilient and ever-changing, we become masters of our surroundings.