#124 A Gung Fu Man: Part 2


In this episode, we continue our discussion of Bruce Lee’s cards he wrote to his friend and first assistant instructor Taky Kimura. In these cards to Taky, Bruce lays out these principles on how to be a Gung Fu man and how to own and operate a school in the best way without Bruce being there himself.

In Part 1 we talked about self-cultivation, no-mind, no-thought, and following nature. Listen to #123 A Gung Fu Man: Part 1 here.

Yielding will overcome anything superior to itself; its strength is boundless. The yielding will has reposeful ease, soft as downy feathers—a quietude, a shrinking from action, an appearance of inability to do (the heart is humble, but the work is forceful.) Placidly free from anxiety one acts in harmony with the opponent’s strength. One does not move ahead but responds to the fitting influence. Nothing in the world is more yielding and softer than water; yet it penetrates the hardest. Insubstantial, it enters where no room is. It is so fine that it is impossible to grasp a handful of it; strike it, yet it does not suffer hurt; stab it, and it is not wounded.

Law of Non-Interfering
One should be in harmony with, and not rebellion against, the strength of the opponent. Such art will “preserve ourselves” by following the natural bends of things; consequently, we achieve immortality because we do not wear ourselves out. This theory is illustrated in Taoism, [in the story] about the perfect butcher whose carving knife remains perpetually sharp because it always goes between the bones and tissues and never meets any resistance.

To Rest in Weakness Is Strength
“Alive, a man is supple, soft; in death, unbending rigor. All creatures, grass and trees, alive are plastic, but are pliant, too, and [in] death all feeble and dry. Unbending rigor is the mate of death, and yielding softness, [the] company of life. Unbending soldiers get no victories; the stiffest tree is readiest for the ax. The strong and mighty belong to the bottom, the soft and yielding rise above them all. The strongest is he that makes use of his opponent’s strength—be the bamboo tree which bends toward the wind; and when the wind ceases, it springs back stronger than before.”

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