Did you know that Bruce Lee, the famous Gung Fu and Jeet Kune Do Master, was also a philosopher? I didn’t except in the most general sense. I know quite a bit about martial arts for someone who’s never practiced them (although I’ve always wanted to) and one thing I know is that most forms of martial arts have accompanying philosophies. Sometimes they can be vastly different, but some concepts, like Honor, tend to be a part of all of them. Knowing this, I could have easily guessed that Bruce Lee had been something of a philosopher, but what I didn’t know is that he actually studied as a Philosophy Major at the University of Washington (my home state!).
One thing that makes Bruce Lee’s view on philosophy different is that he studied many different cultures and their ways of thought. He sought to find the truth with an open mind, and as a result, his words are a conglomerate of concepts from all over the world, but I’ll get more into that later.
“Why,” you may ask, “are you sharing all this with us?” Well, like said, I’ve always had an interest in martial arts. I didn’t get involved in them when I was younger initially because of health problems, and then because I was too busy, and then the health problems got really bad again. However, my former roommate is a black belt, and she shared a lot of her knowledge (not fighting techniques, but the philosophy they were taught) with me. My youngest brother has also always been interested in martial arts (and knows some) and he’s taught me a few things about protecting myself. He’s also the one who was telling me about a book he had just read, “Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee’s Wisdom for Daily Living.” It caught my interest, and next thing I knew I was borrowing it from him!
As I write this I’ve only read a small portion of the book so far. Two introductions that talked a lot about Bruce Lee’s life as both a martial artist and philosopher, and then a little bit of the first section, “Part One, On First Principles: Life.” I’ve studied some philosophy, theology, and comparative religions so I’m finding this fascinating. I’ve always loved examining different ways of thought, and as I’m reading it I find myself taking it bit by bit and processing it. My parents taught me at an early age to think through the meanings of things and not just to accept them at face value. So that’s why I’m doing with this book. I’m evaluating what he says against what I believe to be true, and I’m also simply absorbing information about other cultural points of view.
I’ll be writing more as I read more of this book. I’d like to share with you, my readers, some of my thoughts as I go through it. My plan is to share the occasional snippet of Bruce Lee’s philosophy, and then my thoughts and reflections on it. Hopefully this will give you things to think about as well!