One of my heroes is Bruce Lee. He is probably in the top 10 of most interesting and physically gifted men to ever live. Just go to Youtube, and check out some videos titled ‘Bruce Lee Inspirational’ and you will see what I mean.
I don’t love his movies, mostly because the fight scenes are fake, and while it shows off a lot of his skills I would much rather watch him take on two guys in ping pong when he is using nunchucks.
He was as smart as he was physical, which is extraordinary. He developed his own martial art style, Jeet Koon Do, and philosophy to go with it. It is pretty radical in its simplicity and ease of understanding.
I particularly find his ‘Be like water’ philosophy to be extremely inspirational.
He describes water as something that takes the form of whatever it is placed within, engage your surroundings, embrace your circumstance, and understand how to make whatever situation you find yourself in the best it can be. Adapt. Water is formless, be formless. He didn’t believe in fighting style, just fighting as a human.
He also said that water can do two things; it can either flow or crash. You can either flow with a situation, an environment, or you can crash against it, try to hold it back from happening. He said both were appropriate actions when the time called for it. There is a time to flow and a time to crash.
He believed that humans were a combination of natural instincts and control. And that the best at what they did understood how to bring those two into harmony. Too far in one direction would cause a man to be wild while too far in the other and he would become mechanical, with no imagination.
It is easy to understand but difficult to achieve. Maybe that is why it is so beautiful. Learning to be like water looked easy for him, but it is difficult for me. I tend to crash when I should’ve flowed and vice versa. It is hard to keep your instincts on a long enough leash to guide you but not control you.
I know I’ll never master a two finger push-up, or a one inch punch, but I do work on being like water. Maybe one day I will have a better understanding of what it means and a deeper grasp on just exactly how to read a situation well enough to achieve it. Until then, I just keep watching kick-ass videos on Youtube.