"Be like water" ?

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Mormegil

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What do you guys think about this quote from Bruce Lee: "Be like water."

I see three interpretations to this statement

1) Be fluid and flowing. This would be in direct contrast to the prevalent martial arts at the time, which were very hard and relatively stiff - traditional karate etc. So this would apply to most Gung Fu systems, "soft" styles.

2) Be adaptive in a tactical situation (moldable). For example, if you are fighting a kicker, stay out of long range where his/her kicks would be most effective.

3) Be adaptive in your martial arts and training methods. Adapt the martial arts and training to your own physical attributes and limitations, and let it evolve.

Combination of all 3?
 
Three good interpretations. Consider this also: Water is unrelenting. A slow trickle over many years can wear down hard rock. Niagara falls gets wider every year by something like almost ten feet. Water is soft, but water is very strong.
 
Originally posted by Crazy Chihuahua
Three good interpretations. Consider this also: Water is unrelenting. A slow trickle over many years can wear down hard rock. Niagara falls gets wider every year by something like almost ten feet. Water is soft, but water is very strong.

That's a very Wing Chun standpoint. Something like the constant forward pressure. It would apply pretty well.
 
Originally posted by Mormegil
What do you guys think about this quote from Bruce Lee: "Be like water."

I see three interpretations to this statement

1) Be fluid and flowing. This would be in direct contrast to the prevalent martial arts at the time, which were very hard and relatively stiff - traditional karate etc. So this would apply to most Gung Fu systems, "soft" styles.

2) Be adaptive in a tactical situation (moldable). For example, if you are fighting a kicker, stay out of long range where his/her kicks would be most effective.

3) Be adaptive in your martial arts and training methods. Adapt the martial arts and training to your own physical attributes and limitations, and let it evolve.

Combination of all 3?

Water represents the formless form. Water poured into a cup will fill the cup, conforming to the cup, continue pouring the water and it will overflow or overtake.

Water is soft. You can punch right through it, yet when running water hits a hard rock, it adapts and surrounds the rock. It is the formless form. To not be dictated by your technique but you will dictate your technique.
 
As I recall that quote is from his famouse interview in English (the only telivised one) and he actaully goes on to explain somewhat what it means.
 
I remember reading a book by Peter Ralston called "The Principles of Effortless Power" in which he backs up the case for the martial artist to assume the principles of fluidity.

The main points that I remember are that:
a) the artist reacts "in sympathy" with the opponent so that if he adopts a particular style, then you too adopt that style (e.g. if he mainly punches using boxing techniques, then be adaptable enough to do the same)
b) the artist moves in harmony with the opponents movements so as to render attacks ineffective, and to redirect the lines of force so that the opponents attacks are fluidly turned back on them

I think Ralston's primary style is Aikido, but it applies to all arts.

Whilst I don't necessarily wholly agree with this (i.e. if someone tries to punch me in a boxing style I'm just as likely to react with a kick!) I do see what he's trying to say about being ADAPTABLE< MALLEABLE and FLUID in movement and style.

i.e. the true stylist is all styles and none. A very "JKD" concept! :asian:
 
so most people here apply it to an apaption or philosophy in a tactical situation.

Interesting. I guess I could look up that interview. I'm sure it's eiether in Warrior's Journey or the anniversery Enter the Dragon.

BTW, Elfan, I hate to admit it, but I don't know elvish. Can you give me a translation of your sig? It seems to mention one of my favorite characters.
 
The interview is on the Collector's Edition of Enter The Dragon, for sure. It may , of course, be elsewhere too - but buy this version anyway 'cos it's packed with good stuff.
 
Okay found a clip from the interview where he says this. I don't feal like looking for my full VHS copy but I think this is it. Here is the "explanation":

"Emptey your mind. Be formless, shapless, like water. Now, you put water into a cup it becomes the cup, you put it in a bottle it becomes the bottle, you put it into a tea pot it becomes the tea pot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water my friend."

-----
"Master of doom, by doom mastered." Relates to Turin as you probably guessed.
 
Originally posted by MantisMan
I remember reading a book by Peter Ralston called "The Principles of Effortless Power" in which he backs up the case for the martial artist to assume the principles of fluidity.

The main points that I remember are that:
a) the artist reacts "in sympathy" with the opponent so that if he adopts a particular style, then you too adopt that style (e.g. if he mainly punches using boxing techniques, then be adaptable enough to do the same)
b) the artist moves in harmony with the opponents movements so as to render attacks ineffective, and to redirect the lines of force so that the opponents attacks are fluidly turned back on them

I think Ralston's primary style is Aikido, but it applies to all arts.

Whilst I don't necessarily wholly agree with this (i.e. if someone tries to punch me in a boxing style I'm just as likely to react with a kick!) I do see what he's trying to say about being ADAPTABLE< MALLEABLE and FLUID in movement and style.

i.e. the true stylist is all styles and none. A very "JKD" concept! :asian:

If you are attacked by a 'boxer type" you being "to fair" by adapting and using the same type of techniques as your attacker. It could be considered toadapting, I would call it confroming to, which isn't JKD.

Adapting and corforming in JKD means that you do adapt to but without conforming to.

Like the water, it hits the rock, but it adapts by surrounding the rock. If it were to conform, it would of become solid like the rock.

If you punch and I punch, we are on a level playing field. I don't like the odds. If you punch and I trap your arm, or I shhot in for your legs, then the odds are a little better.

I may not of "read" what your point was but at least you have anthe point of view.
 
water is soft and flexible you can damage it but its also hard itr can break through some of the hardest substances
 
If you punch and I punch, we are on a level playing field. I don't like the odds. If you punch and I trap your arm, or I shhot in for your legs, then the odds are a little better.

My point didn't come across too well. I wasn't saying that you should trade punches so that if he punches so do I - exactly. Not that simple. It's less sequential, and more immediate than that.

For example:
1. An opponent moves to execute a right-hand hook
2. Anticipating the movement from the arm you swing away from the point of impact - with the direction of the opponent's movement - hopefully eliminating their strike force
3. At the same time you execute your own punch along the same lines, which your opponent has opened up during his movement.

Does that make sense? Or am I barking up a very strange tree with this one?
 
Originally posted by MantisMan
My point didn't come across too well. I wasn't saying that you should trade punches so that if he punches so do I - exactly. Not that simple. It's less sequential, and more immediate than that.

For example:
1. An opponent moves to execute a right-hand hook
2. Anticipating the movement from the arm you swing away from the point of impact - with the direction of the opponent's movement - hopefully eliminating their strike force
3. At the same time you execute your own punch along the same lines, which your opponent has opened up during his movement.

Does that make sense? Or am I barking up a very strange tree with this one?

Nope. That makes perfect sense. But, personally, I prefer to step off line of the punch, but toward them - preferably angling just to the outside of their punch. This means I close the gap and get into the close range where I prefer to work. While moving, I punch. My preferred punch is one that "cuts his tool."

So, for instance, if he's throwing a left jab, I step diagonally forward to my right while throwing my right. I throw my right just over his left with my elbow down and forward pressure (from my stepping). This means that I not only hit him in the face (hopefully), but I also get some tactile awareness of one of his tools and get some control over his axis/balance.

Make sense?

Mike
 
That, sir, is precisely what I'm talking about. Thank you for that.
ROTATION -> PENETRATION -> ANNIHILATION.
 
Originally posted by MantisMan
That, sir, is precisely what I'm talking about. Thank you for that.
ROTATION -> PENETRATION -> ANNIHILATION.

Yup. I call that a "shooting punch." I've also heard it called "cutting the line" or "cutting the tool." It's a very common principle used in all the arts I train/teach (Kali, Silat, Kun Tao Silat, and Shen Chuan).

Mike
 
And a principle discussed by JKD practitioners too if this article is anything to go by :
The Four Corners (see one of the drills 2/3 of the way down the article).

Is this the "interception" that Bruce is referring to by calling the style the Intercepting Fist?
 
Originally posted by MantisMan
And a principle discussed by JKD practitioners too if this article is anything to go by :
The Four Corners (see one of the drills 2/3 of the way down the article).

Is this the "interception" that Bruce is referring to by calling the style the Intercepting Fist?

I'm far from an expert on JKD, but I believe that's at least part of the "interception." Another part would be the interception of the intent and timing (which may or may not be a physical thing).

Mike
 
That rounds off that discussion. All I have to do now is learn how to DO IT, instead of just chat about it :)

Thanks for your replies. I have some deep reading to do now!
 
Originally posted by Mormegil
What do you guys think about this quote from Bruce Lee: "Be like water."

I see three interpretations to this statement

1) Be fluid and flowing. This would be in direct contrast to the prevalent martial arts at the time, which were very hard and relatively stiff - traditional karate etc. So this would apply to most Gung Fu systems, "soft" styles.

2) Be adaptive in a tactical situation (moldable). For example, if you are fighting a kicker, stay out of long range where his/her kicks would be most effective.

3) Be adaptive in your martial arts and training methods. Adapt the martial arts and training to your own physical attributes and limitations, and let it evolve.

Combination of all 3?

Just another "angle" on this from me. I don't read enough but I do use this quote usually to indicate that I want you to suffocate your opponent. I am in American Kenpo so we have several techniques that move in on your opponent fast and hard from more than one direction like water rushing at and around and over a boulder in a river. Like in the rapids.

I also called one of our fighters a Kenpo Waterfall last week because, just like the water above, when this comes at you, you can't get him off. Just like the rock. He's all over you. Everywhere. I used to call him a train because it was like you couldn't get out of the way and you couldn't circle him because he'll track you like a missle, but I decided that the Kenpo Waterfall thing worked well. And it feeds off that "formless" idea that you seek your target/shape...

I hope that makes some sense. I only brought it up because it seemed to be different from what you guys have already said.

All of which looked good to me.
:asian:
 

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