Bruce Lee - Wisdom for the Way

Bruce Lee - Wisdom for the Way

by Bruce Lee

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Summing up the philosophies of the greatest modern martial artist of all time, this compilation includes a variety of proverbs coined by Bruce Lee himself. Touching on martial arts, the universe, and life in general, this collection defines the concepts behind both a warrior and a martial artist. Ideal for fans and philosophers alike, this compendium is an attractive, elegant, and compact guide to the insight of a legend.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780897502528
Publisher: Black Belt Communications
Publication date: 10/01/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 70
Sales rank: 963,336
File size: 20 MB
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About the Author

Bruce Lee was an iconic figure in martial arts who pioneered the concept of jeet kune do from his physical training, personal research, and formal education in philosophy at the University of Washington–Seattle. He acted in several motion pictures, including The Big Boss, Enter the Dragon, Fists of Fury, and Way of the Dragon. He is the author of Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

Read an Excerpt

Wisdom for the Way

By Shannon Lee, Sarah Dzida

Black Belt Books

Copyright © 2009 Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-89750-252-8


Empty your mind.
Be formless,
shapeless — like water.
If you put water into a cup,
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.

Using no way as way; having no limitation as limitation.

The original founder of a style
started out with hypothesis.
But now it has become
the gospel truth,
and people who go into that
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
be that product.
And that, to me, is not right.

Whenever I look around,
I always learn one thing,
and that is:
Always be yourself ...
express yourself,
have faith in yourself.
Do not go out and look for a
successful personality
and duplicate him.

To me, ultimately,
martial art means
honestly expressing yourself.
Now it is very difficult to do.
It is easy for me to put on a show
and be cocky and
then feel pretty cool.
Or I can do all kinds
of phony things.
Or I can show you some
really fancy movement.
But to express oneself honestly,
not lying to oneself
— that, my friend,
is very hard to do.

If I tell you I'm good,
probably you will say
that I'm boasting.

But if I tell you
I'm not good,
you'll know I'm lying.

Be pliable.
When a man is living,
he is soft and pliable;
when he is dead,
he becomes rigid.
Pliability is life;
rigidity is death,
whether one speaks
of man's body,
mind or his spirit.

success is a journey,
not a destination.
Have faith in your ability.
You will do just fine.

You know how I like to think of myself?
As a human being.
Because, under the sky,
under the heavens,
there is but one family.
It just so happens
people are different.

Recognizing that
the power of will is
the supreme court over
all other departments
of my mind, I will
exercise daily when
I need the urge to act
for any purpose; and
I will form habits
designed to bring the
power of my will
into action at least
once daily.

You have to create
your own luck.
You have to be aware
of the opportunities
around you and
take advantage of them.

Defeat is a state of mind;
no one is ever defeated
until defeat has been accepted
as a reality.
To me, defeat in anything
is merely temporary,
and its punishment is but an urge
for me to exert greater effort
to achieve my goal.
Defeat simply tells me
that something is wrong in my doing;
it is a path leading to
success and truth.

Once I slow down
because I think
I have reached
my peak,
then my skills
will go nowhere
but down.

is definitely not mere imitation,
nor is it the ability
to accumulate and regurgitate
fixed knowledge.
is a constant process of discovery
— a process without end.

Recognizing that my emotions
often err in their over-enthusiasm,
and my faculty of reason
often is without the warmth of feeling
that is necessary to enable me
to combine justice with mercy
in my judgments,
I will encourage my conscience
to guide me as to what is
right and wrong,
but I will never set aside
the verdicts it renders,
no matter what may be
the cost of carrying them out.

I don't know what is
the meaning of death,
but I am not afraid to die —
and I go on, nonstop,
going forward.
Even though I,
Bruce Lee,
may die some day
without fulfilling
all of my ambitions,
I will have no regrets.
I did what I wanted to do,
and what I've done,
I've done with sincerity
and to the best of my ability.
You can't expect much more from life.

Art is really
the expression
of the self.

In building a statue,
a sculptor doesn't keep
adding clay to his subject.
Actually, he keeps
chiseling away at
the nonessentials
until the truth of his creation
is revealed without obstruction.

You must accept the fact
that there is no help
but self-help.
I cannot tell you
how to gain freedom
freedom exists
within you.

Subconscious Mind:
Reorganizing the influence
of my subconscious mind
over my power of will,
I shall take care to submit to it
a clear and definite picture
of my major purpose in life
and all minor purposes
leading to my major purpose,
and I shall keep this picture
constantly before my
subconscious mind
by repeating it daily!

A martial artist is a human being first.
Just as nationalities have
nothing to do
with one's humanity,
so they have nothing to do
with martial arts.

If nothing within you
stays rigid,
outward things
will disclose themselves.
Moving, be like water;
still, be like a mirror;
respond like
an echo.

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.

Recognizing the value
of an alert mind and
an alert memory,
I will encourage mine
to become alert by
taking care to impress it clearly
with all thoughts I wish to recall
and by associating
those thoughts
with related subjects
which I may call to mind

We shall find
the truth
when we examine
the problem.
The problem is
never apart from
the answer.
The problem is
the answer —
the problem
the problem.

Not being tense
but ready;
not thinking yet
not dreaming;
not being set
but flexible —
it is being wholly
and quietly alive,
aware and alert,
ready for
whatever may come.

It is compassion
rather than principle of justice
that can guard us against being
unjust to our fellow men.

We are told that
talent creates
its own opportunities.
Yet it sometimes seems
that intense desire
creates not only
its own opportunities
but its own talents
as well.

Self-actualization is the important thing.
And my personal message to people
is that I hope they will go toward
self-actualization rather than
self-image actualization.
I hope that they will search
within themselves for
honest self-expression.

It is like a finger
pointing a way
to the moon.
Don't concentrate
on the finger
or you will miss
all that

Independent inquiry
is needed in your
search for truth,
not dependence
on anyone else's view
or a mere book.

The meaning
of life
is that it is
to be lived.

Life itself is your teacher,
and you are
in a state of
constant learning.

Remember, my friend,
to enjoy your planning
as well as your accomplishment,
for life is
too short for
negative energy.

Recognizing the need
for sound plans and ideas
for the attainment of my
desires, I will develop my
imagination by calling
upon it daily for help in
the formation of my plans.

My friend,
think of the past in terms
of those memories of events
and accomplishments
which were pleasant,
rewarding and satisfying.
The present?
Well, think of it in terms
of challenges and opportunities,
and the rewards available
for the application of
your talents and energies.
As for the future,
that is a time and place
where every worthy
ambition you possess
is within your grasp.

What we are after is the root
and not the branches.
The root is the real knowledge;
the branches are surface knowledge.
Real knowledge breeds "body feel"
and personal expression;
surface knowledge breeds
mechanical conditioning
and imposing limitation and
squelches creativity.

The past is no more;
the future is not yet.
Nothing exists except
the here and now.
Our grand business is
not to see what lies
dimly at a distance,
but to do what lies
clearly at hand.

If you spend
too much time
thinking about
a thing,
you'll never
get it done.

Truth comes when
your mind and heart
are purged of
all sense of striving
and you are no longer trying
to become somebody;
it is there
when the mind is very quiet,
listening timelessly
to everything.

Success means doing something

Recognizing that my
positive and negative
emotions may be dangerous
if they are not controlled
and guided to desirable ends,
I will submit all my desires,
aims, and purposes to
my faculty of reason,
and I will be guided by it
in giving expression
to these.

think —

will give you power,
but character,

Every emotion
expresses itself
in the
muscular system.
Anxiety is
excitement held,
bottled up.

If every man
would help
his neighbor,
no man
would be
without help.

Be a
backed by

It is not a shame
to be knocked down
by other people.
The important thing
is to ask when you're
being knocked down,
"Why am I being
knocked down?"
If a person can
reflect in this way,
then there is hope
for the person.

is the

What I honestly value
more than anything else is
doing one's best
in the manner of
the responsibility and
craftsmanship of a
Number One.

What you habitually think
largely determines
what you will
ultimately become.

Realizing that my emotions
are both positive and negative,
I will form daily habits
which will encourage
the development of
the positive emotions
and aid me in converting
the negative emotions
into some form of
useful action.

A goal is not always
meant to be reached.
It often serves simply as
something to aim at.

Keep your mind on
the things you want
and off those you don't.

You will never get
any more out of life
than you expect.
Every man today
is the result
of his thoughts
of yesterday.

Probably people will say
I'm too conscious of success.
Well, I am not.
Success comes to those who
become success-conscious.
If you don't aim at an object,
how the heck on earth
do you think you can get it?

When I look around,
I always learn something
and that is
to be
always yourself.

And to express
To have faith in
Do not go out
and look for a
successful personality
and duplicate it ...
start from the very root of (your)
being, which is
"how can I be me?"

Research your own experience;
absorb what is useful,
reject what is useless and
add what is essentially
your own.

When I have listened
to my mistakes,

The mind
is like a fertile garden
— it will grow anything
you wish to plant —
beautiful flowers or weeds.
And so it is with
successful, healthy thoughts
or negative ones that will,
like weeds, strangle and
crowd the others.
Do not allow
negative thoughts
to enter your mind
for they are the weeds
that strangle confidence.

We do not live for;
we simply

We are always in the process
of becoming and nothing is fixed.
Have no rigid system in you
and you'll be flexible to
change with the ever-changing.
Open yourself and flow at once
with the total flowing now.


Life is wide,
limitless —
there is no border,
no frontier.

So, action! Action!
Never wasting energy
on worries and
negative thoughts.
I mean who has the
most insecure job
as I have?
What do I live on?
My faith in my ability
that I'll make it.
Sure, my back screwed
me up good for a year,
but with every adversity
comes a blessing
because a shock acts as
a reminder to oneself
that we must not get
stale in routine.
Look at a rainstorm;
after its departure
everything grows!

Be proficient in your field
as well as in
harmony among fellow men.

What is
true stillness?
Stillness in

One will never get any more
than he thinks he can get.
You have
what it takes.
Look back and see
your progress —
damn the torpedo,
full speed ahead!


Excerpted from Wisdom for the Way by Shannon Lee, Sarah Dzida. Copyright © 2009 Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC. Excerpted by permission of Black Belt Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Bruce Lee Wisdom for the Way 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I haven't read this yet, but got the free sample to see if I would enjoy this. Please nook customer service, if you're allowing a sample out please make sure it's a content on the book itself and not just the table of contents and copyright pages. That's not a good way to sell a book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is extremely short at a whopping $11 for 13 pages
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Mom-of-aBlackbelt More than 1 year ago
This is a great gift for the martial artist in you life. ven if you are not a black belt you can find great insperation in this book.