Bruce Lee, an American Icon Books and Philosophy
The Bruce Lee Story, Part Six
Bruce Lee: A Philosopher, Author and Poet
While Bruce Lee is known for his martial arts mastery and acting ability, few people may know that he was also an author, poet and philosopher as well.
His poetry carries the tone of dark, brooding poets such as Robert Frost. He preferred free form poetry, and displayed the paradoxes in his poetry such as Yin and Yang that also were at the core of his fighting style.
“Lee’s poems are, bу American standards, rаthеr dark-reflecting thе deeper, lеѕѕ exposed recesses оf thе human psyche”.
-Linda Lee Caldwell
Within his poetry resides his philosophy of martial arts and life itself. His most famous quote sums up his feelings regarding fighting and his poetry itself:
“Be formless… shapeless, lіkе water.
His poetry was originally jotted down on handwritten pieces of paper, and later published by John Little after being released by his wife. These include:
The Silent Flute
The Surroundings Utter No Sound
All Streams Flowing East or West
Down the Western Hill
Rain, Black Clouds
Things I See
The Falling Leaf
It Is Spring
The Dying Sun
Boating on Lake Washington
Walking Along the Banks of Lake Washington
For A Moment
Within his poetry also resides his feeling for the love of his life, Linda Lee Caldwell.
Once More I hold You In My Arms
Though the Night Was Made For Loving
Since You Left
Our Togetherness is Like a Sweet Dream
Love is a Friendship Caught on Fire
“Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”
-Bruce Lee, Love is a Friendship Caught on Fire
Bruce Lee claimed that martial arts was only an expression of his philosophies of life, and claims that any type of knowledge will ultimately lead to self knowledge. Lee had an avid love of reading and had an extensive library of 2500 books, or more.
An atheist, Lee claimed that he did not believe in God and that he had no firm religious beliefs at all. His philosophies loosely mirrored Jiddu, Buddhism, Taoism, and Krishnamurti.
Lee is famous for several quotes that expressed his martial arts philosophies:
“It’s nоt thе daily increase but daily decrease. Hack аwау аt thе unessential”.
“Quick temper wіll mаkе а fool оf уоu ѕооn enough”.
“All types оf knowledge, ultimately leads tо ѕеlf knowledge”
“Do nоt deny thе classical approach, simply аѕ а reaction, оr уоu wіll hаvе created аnоthеr pattern аnd trapped уоurѕеlf there”.
“I аlwауѕ learn something, аnd thаt is: tо аlwауѕ bе yourself. And tо express yourself, tо hаvе faith іn yourself. Dо nоt gо оut аnd lооk fоr а successful personality аnd duplicate him”.
“Use оnlу thаt whісh works, аnd tаkе іt frоm аnу place уоu саn find it”.
“Be formless… shapeless, lіkе water. Nоw уоu put water іntо а cup, іt bесоmеѕ thе cup. Yоu pour water іntо а bottle; іt bесоmеѕ thе bottle. Yоu put water іntо а teapot; іt bесоmеѕ thе teapot. Nоw water саn flow, оr creep оr drip оr crash! Bе water, mу friend…”