Liberate Yourself from Classical Martial Arts – Written by Bruce Lee

Written by Bruce Lee,

A learned man once went to a Zen teacher to inquire about Zen. As the Zen teacher explained, the learned man would frequently interrupt him with remarks like, “Oh, yes, we have that too. …” and so on.

Finally, the Zen teacher stopped talking and began to serve tea to the learned man. He poured the cup full and then kept pouring until the cup overflowed.

“Enough!” the learned man once more interrupted. “No more can go into the cup!”

“Indeed, I see,” answered the Zen teacher. “If you do not first empty the cup, how can you taste my cup of tea?”

I hope my comrades in the martial arts will read the following paragraphs with open-mindedness, leaving all the burdens of preconceived opinions and conclusions behind. This act, by the way, has in itself a liberating power. After all, the usefulness of the cup is in its emptiness.

Make this article relate to yourself because though it is on jeet kune do, it is primarily concerned with the blossoming of a martial artist — not a “Chinese” martial artist or a “Japanese” martial artist. A martial artist is a human being first. Just as nationalities have nothing to do with one’s humanity, so they have nothing to do with martial arts. Leave your protective shell of isolation and relate directly to what is being said. Return to your senses by ceasing all the intervening intellectual mumbo jumbo. Remember that life is a constant process of relating. Remember, too, that I seek neither your approval nor to influence you toward my way of thinking. I will be more than satisfied if, as a result of this article, you begin to investigate everything for yourself and cease to uncritically accept prescribed formulas that dictate “this is this” and “that is that.”

Peace & respect, Lak

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