Bruce Lee's Philosophies    

1. Life is a constant process of relating.


2. Man, the living creature, the creating individuals, is always more important than any established style.


3. Kung-Fu is not preoccupied with breaking bricks and smashing boards...We're more concerned with having it affect our whole way of thinking and behaving.


4. You can't organize truth. That's like trying to put a pound of water into wrapping paper and shaping it.


5. The greatest help is self-help; there is no other help but self-help - doing one's best, dedicating oneself wholeheartedly to a given ask, which happens to have no end but is an ongoing process.


6. All types of knowledge ultimately mean self-knowledge.


7. Empty your mind. Be formless. Shapeless. Like water. Now you put water into a cap, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.


8. Through the ages, the end of heroes is the same as ordinary men. They all died and gradually faded away in the memory of man. But when we are still alive, we have to understand ourselves, discover ourselves, and express ourselves.


9. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do.


10. I don't want to sound like "As Confucius say," but under the sky, under the heavens, there is but one family. It just so happens that people are different.


11. Because of styles, people are separated. They are not united together because styles became law, man. The original founder of the style started out with hypothesis. But now it has become the gospel truth, and people who go into it become the product of it. It doesn't matter how you are, who you are, how you are structured, how you are built, or how you are made...  it doesn't seem to matter. You just go in there and become that product. And that, to me, is not right.


12. All the time people come up and say, "Bruce-are you really that good?" I say, "Well, if I tell you I'm good, probably you'll say I'm boasting. But if I tell you I'm no good, you'll know I'm lying."


13. I believe that I have a role in Southeast Asia. The audience needs to be educated, and the one to educate them has to be somebody who is responsible. We are dealing with the masses, and we have to create something that will get through to them. We have to educate them step by step. We can't do it overnight. That's what I am doing right now. Whether I succeed or not remains to be seen. But I don't feel committed, I am committed.


14. To obtain enlightenment in martial arts  means the extinction of everything which obscures the "true knowledge, "the "real life." At the same time, it implies boundless expansion and, indeed, emphasis should fall out on the cultivation of the particular department which merges into the totality, but rather on the totality that enters and unites that particular department.


15. The way to transcend karma in the proper use of the mind and the will. The oneness of all life is a truth that can be fully realized only when false notions of a separate self, whose destiny can be considered apart from the whole, are forever annihilated.


16. Nothingness cannot be defined; the softest thing cannot be snapped.


17. The localization of the mind means its freezing. When it ceases to flow freely as it is needed, it is no more the mind in its suchness.


18. The point is the doing of them rather than the accomplishments. There is no actor but the action; there is no experiencer but the experience.


19. Art reaches its greatest peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make.


20. The perfect way is only difficult for those who pick and choose. Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear. Make a hairbreath difference and heaven and earth are set apart; if you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease.


21. Wisdom does not consist of trying to wrest the good from the evil but in learning to "ride" them as a cork adapts itself to the crests and troughs of the waves.

22. Let yourself go with the disease, be with it, keep company with it - this is the way to be ride of it.

23. An assertion is Zen only when it is itself an act and does not refer to anything that is asserted in it.

24. In Buddhism, there is no place for using effort. Just be ordinary and nothing special. Eat your food, move your bowels, pass water and when you're tired go and lie down. The ignorant will laugh at me, but the wise will understand.

25. Do not run away; let go. Do not seek, for it will come when least expected.

26. Give up thinking as though not giving it up. Observe techniques as though not observing.

27. There is no fixed teaching. All I can provide is an appropriate medicine for a particular ailment.

28. The aim of art is to project an inner vision into the world, to state in aesthetic creation the deepest psychic and personal experiences of a human being. It is to enable those experiences to be intelligible and generally recognized within the total framework of an ideal world.


29. Art reveals itself in psychic understanding of the inner essence of things and gives form to the relation of man with nothing, with the nature of the absolute.


30. For security, the unlimited living is turned into something dead, a chosen pattern that limits. To understand Jett Kune Do, one ought to throw away all ideals, patterns, styles; in fact, he should throw away even the concepts of what is or isn't ideal in Jeet Kune Do. Can you look at a situation without naming it? Naming it, making it a word, causes fear.


31. It is indeed difficult to see the situation simply - our minds are very complex - and it is easy to teach one to be skillful, but it is difficult to teach him his own attitude.


32. The great mistake is to anticipate the outcome of the engagement; you ought not to be thinking of whether it ends in victory or in defeat. Let nature take its course, and your tools will strike at the right moment.


33. Jeet Kune Do avoids the superficial, penetrates the complex, goes to the heart of the problem and pinpoints the key factors.


34. Jeet Kune Do does not beat around the bush. it does not take winding detours. It follows a straight line to the objectives. Simplicity is the shortest distance between two points. 


35. The art of Jeet Kune Do is simply to simplify. It is being oneself; it is a reality in its "isness." Thus, isness is the meaning - having freedom in its primary sense, not limited by attachments, confinements, partialization, complexities. 


36. Jeet Kune Do is the enlightenment. It is a way of life, a movement toward will power and control, though it ought to be enlightened by intuition.


37. While being trained, the student is to be active and dynamic in every way. but in actual combat, his mind must be calm and not at all disturbed. he must feel as if nothing critical is happening. When he advances, his steps should be light and secure, his eyes not fixed and glaring insanely at the enemy. His behavior should not be in any way different from his everyday behavior, no change taking place in his expression, nothing betraying the fact that he is engaged in mortal combat.


38. Punches and kicks are tools to kill the ego. the tools represent the force of intuitive or instinctive directness which, unlike the intellect or the complicated ego, does not divide itself, blocking its own freedom. The tools move onward without looking back or to the side.


39. Because of the pure-heartedness and empty-mindedness inherent in man, his tools partake of these qualities and play their role with the utmost degree of freedom. The tools stand as symbols of the invisible spirit, keeping the mind, body and limbs in full activity.


40. In the long history of martial arts, the instinct to follow and imitate seems to be inherent in most martial artists, instructors and students alike. This is partly due to human tendency and partly because of the steep traditions behind multiple patterns of styles. Consequently, to find a refreshing, original, master teacher is a rarity. The need for a "pointer of the way: echoes.