BRUCE LEE AND CHINESE MARTIAL ARTS

Sifu Jordan Francis, Wahnam Instructor

Such a kick, which is typical of Bruce Lee, is not used in traditional Chinese martial arts as it is dangerously exposed. This picture is culled from http://fusionanomaly.net/brucelee.html .

The following discussion is reproduced from the thread Dispelling Ignorance and Untruths: A Case Study of Baguamonk's Posts started in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum on 25th September 2006.

Dispelling Ignorance and Untruths — A Case Study of Baguamonk1's Posts

“Nevertheless, his posts give us two important benefits. One, it enables us to train mental clarity. Two, it provide material for us to dispel ignorance and untruths.”

Sifu Jordan Francis

Sifu Jordan Francis

Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam England

25th September 2006

Greetings avid forum members,

Having followed some of the lively discussions here on our wonderful forum, I am inspired to create this thread on “Dispelling Ignorance and Untruths.” In particular I will be examining and commenting on posts made by forum member Baguamonk1. Please note that it is my desire to help continue the spread of quality information on this forum that I post, and not to personally attack Baguamonk1 or any other member.

Like Ronan and others, I too am bored by Baguamonk1’s posts. Sometimes you have to read his sentences two or three times before you can guess at their meanings. The following is an example ( original post here ):

Originally Posted by Baguamonk1

Relying on stylistic boundries as if it were seperate religions

Nevertheless, his posts give us two important benefits. One, it enables us to train mental clarity Two, it provides material for us to dispel ignorance and untruths. My brothers, especially Ronan and Anthony, have helped to dispel ignorance and untruths in other threads. I start this thread to dispel ignorance and untruths in Baguamonk1’s posts. Others are welcome to join in. Of course, Baguamonk1 is invited to give his views.

I chose the following post at random. It is reproduced below in full for your convenience. Baguamonk1 posted the following on the 20th September 2006 in the “Can a Disciple Surpass his Sifu?” thread:

Originally Posted by Baguamonk1

Bruce Lee's understand of WC, in my opinion, was not incomplete...How many of us meditate, and work out, train (he trained 3x a day, with a strict hard regimen), write, theorize, discover, etc. as much as he did? I think we would be lucky to do as he did in the final years of his life in just one lifetime!! Just consistently training the same BASICS over and over, and stopping to intectually contemplate every once in a while, will give amazing results in whatever yo uare doing.

Just because he didn't stay and learn from some old master for 40 years, doesn't mean he did not have a grasp of his art. In fact, his fighting prowness or reputation could not have succeeded without the "grasp" of CMA in general.Again, when I first started getting heavily into Shaolin (or CMA in general) I thought it was the answer to most questions, I was amazed at how "deep" and awesome it all was. I thought Bruce was wrong, not because of my own analyzations necessarily, but because of my teachers opinions on martial arts. As I read more of his essays, books, interviews etc. I realized that I misinterpreted what he was saying, and what ALOT of other people were saying. He never criticized tradtional martial artists for being "traditional" he criticized them for specific ridiculous attitudes. Which grew out of the times of modern china and its culture.

Such as (his word) ornamentation of "Techniques" and forms (like old wushu). Relying on stylistic boundries as if it were seperate religions. Hard Chi gong tricks (Not methods). In fact I too am ashamed by this, I used to think hard chi gong tricks were incredible, evidence of near-supernatural power. It is sad to know that most of it are simply "physics" tricks.Of course real martial artists don't use hard chi gong for "tricks." Wasting time when near supernatural abilities when learning how to defend yourself in the most direct way is more efficient. And as for spiritual cultivation, he was a HUGE advocator of this in the martial arts. Especially on the core elements of taoism, which in my opinion is a way of expressing "personal freedom." Wether its in spirit, mind, or body.To know that CMA is riddled with just as much mysticism, and lack of knowledge of kung fu in general by the chinese population as with western. You have no idea how many modern chinese men/women I've met (even some who practiced taichi/kung fu) said "I don't believe in Chi." Mostly because they are just as fed up with the esoteric, old school mystical way of describing these things (which make these methods seem supernatural) as many other people are.

Also as per Chuck Liddel argument, I wasn't trying to say that UFC or MMA was the end-all-be-all to fighting. Because its not. He isn't a warrior who "lives by the sword" and no I could not imagine him swinging a halbred...But I couldn't imagine any of us doing the same thing..actually "living by the sword." I dont think any of us do, we just don't live in that kind of time period. Even if we did live in a war-time period, it would be with guns and other detached methods of killing/fighting.

Also my criticisms towards CMA challenges and fights are ONLY directed to the last century, when CMA and chinese culture in general was falling apart due to the various economic and political circumstances.

When I looked deeper into this post, I was appalled. Everything – I repeat, everything – Baguamonk1 wrote in this post showed ignorance or untruth.

I am appalled not because of Baguamonk1’s ignorance, though I hope he would benefit from this thread if he is open-minded enough to study it. I also do not believe that Baguamonk1 chose to lie. His untrue statements, I believe, were unintentional. They were due to his ignorance.

But I am appalled that Baguamonk1 wrote as if he were an authority, and some forum members may unwittingly accept his ignorance and untrue statements as wisdom! This could cause much harm.

Now let us have fun as well as benefit and make some boring material interesting by pointing out its ignorant and untrue statements so that you would be more careful of what Baguamonk1 writes.

Please continue at the post below.

Jordan Francis

Franciskus

In Chinese martial arts whether in solo practice or in combat, stances are very important, but Bruce Lee discarded stances and bounced about

Continuing the Fun

Sifu Jordan Francis

Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam England

25th September 2006

This post follows on from above.

Originally Posted by Baguamonk1

Bruce Lee's understand of WC, in my opinion, was not incomplete...

He later qualified his statement in another post as follows:

Originally Posted by Baguamonk1

I don't mean "complete" but certainly not totally "incomplete." I think he had the basics down, and that is all that matters to me. For other people, it might matter that he didn't learn all the sets etc

As Subclock has pointed out, stances are basic in Wing Chun as well as any other style of kung fu , whereas Bruce Lee did away with stances and bounced about.

Kicks are basically low in Wing Chun, whereas Bruce Lee’s kicks were high.

Anyone seeing a performance of Wing Chun and of Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do in combat or solo practice can readily see that they are basically different.

Baguamonk1’s comment that other people might think Bruce Lee’s training in Wing Chun was incomplete because he did not learn all the sets, also reveals Baguamonk1’s ignorance, as well as his mistaken belief that other people might not realize that sets were not all important in kung fu training.

Originally Posted by Baguamonk1

How many of us meditate, and work out, train (he trained 3x a day, with a strict hard regimen), write, theorize, discover, etc. as much as he did? I think we would be lucky to do as he did in the final years of his life in just one lifetime!!

Baguamonk1 was of the opinion that if one trained like Bruce Lee did, he would be a complete martial artist. Baguamonk1 was ignorant that if one did so but trained wrongly, he would have harmful effects.

Baguamonk1 thought one would be lucky to train like Bruce Lee did. This could be very dangerous for those who mistake Baguamonk1’s untrue statements as useful advice. In fact Bruce Lee was unlucky. Had he been lucky and understood kung fu philosophy, he would not have over trained and die young. Baguamonk1, you wouldn’t want to die young, would you?

Originally Posted by Baguamonk1

Just consistently training the same BASICS over and over, and stopping to intectually contemplate every once in a while, will give amazing results in whatever yo uare doing.

Again this shows Baguamonk1’s ignorance. If you follow his advice, you would waste a lot of time – if you were lucky. Much worse, you could harm yourself seriously.

Baguamonk1 does not understand what is meant by basics. He thinks what Bruce Lee did, like pushing himself to the extreme with mechanical means and taking drugs to enhance performance, are the basics. Many other people think that going over and over kung fu sets or free sparring are the basics. As a result they become “amazing” in set demonstration to please spectators or routinely hurting themselves and their partners in sparring.

Originally Posted by Baguamonk1

Just because he didn't stay and learn from some old master for 40 years, doesn't mean he did not have a grasp of his art.

This untrue statement again shows Baguamonk1’s ignorance and shallow reasoning. In fact, today many kung fu and wushu practitioners today may have stayed and learnt from some old masters for many years, yet do not have a grasp of their arts. On the other hand, some practitioners may have a grasp of their arts after learning from genuine masters for a relatively short time.

Originally Posted by Baguamonk1

In fact, his fighting prowness or reputation could not have succeeded without the "grasp" of CMA in general

This statement is untrue. Bruce Lee had little or no “grasp” of Chinese martial art. For example, he did not know that the first consideration is good health, combat comes later. He did not know that overtraining is dangerous, and that taking chemicals is unhealthy.

He also did not know that stances are crucial, that every movement in Chinese martial art has martial application, and that there is no need to incorporate any techniques from outside because Chinese martial arts are already complete. Yet, without a “grasp” of Chinese martial art in general, Bruce Lee had succeeded remarkably in his fighting prowess or reputation.

Further dispelling of ignorance and untruths will follow.

Jordan Francis

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