The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Opinion & Letters to the Editor

January 10, 2013

Lee’s life lessons linger long

Thursday, January 10, 2013 — “It’s like a finger pointing away at the moon. If you concentrate on the finger, then you miss all of the heavenly glory.”

This is one of my favorite Bruce Lee quotes, from the movie “Enter the Dragon.”

I was watching the flick on TV the other day and was reminded how strongly Lee has influenced my life.

I’d never really stopped to think about it before, but he is one of the original reasons for my interest in the religious traditions of China.

Martial arts and religion, you say? Go on!

Lee accomplished much in his life: pioneered his own style of martial art, acted, produced, taught and wrote.

But underlying this all was his belief in yin, yang and the concept of chi.

Yin and yang, dark and light, is exactly what the symbol represents: the complimentary and opposing forces of reality bond together in a semblance of harmony.

Within this dichotomous belief structure there is the idea of chi, or the body’s internal energy or breath.

Lee harnassed all of these Daoist concepts in every facet of his life, especially when it came to his martial arts.

Most consider Bruce Lee as an actor, but many remember the martial arts demonstrations the man used to put on to demonstrate his own personal take on kung fu. He termed this style “Jeet Kune Do,” which is Cantonese for the “way of the intercepting fist.”

I would love to explain more about Jeet Kune Do, but I know next to nothing about it aside from its core tenent: strike before you can be struck.

However, I would like to talk more about chi and how Lee utilized it.

Go on Youtube and search for some of Lee’s demonstrations. They’re far more impactful to see, quite extraordinary really.

From a position standing still, Lee could throw a side-kick capable of tossing a man across a room.

Lee was also famous for his one-inch punch: with but an inch of space between his fist and the target, without reaching back his arm, Lee could deliver a punch that would launch a man into the air.

In his movies, more often than not the editors had to slow down the action sequences just so the audience could see what Lee was doing.

Lee believed that he could do all of these feats because of the power of harnessing one’s chi.

Demonstrations aside, what sealed the deal on my fascination for Lee was his take on Chinese philosophy.

“Be formless, shapeless, like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You pour water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put water into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or drip or creep or crash. Be water, my friend...” Lee was quoted in an interview.

When I first heard this, in high school, something clicked into place for me.

The saying resonated with me, voicing something I believed in, but didn’t know at the time.

I found similar resonances in the “Dao De Jing” once I read it in college.

All of this because of my interest in a movie star and my belief that the actor could be so much more than that.

Thanks for showing me “the style of no style,” Mr. Lee. I’ll never forget it.


Text Only
Opinion & Letters to the Editor
  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    NEW YORK - Economists love hamburgers. Specifically fast-food burgers. This is partly because all right-thinking human beings love ground meat on a bun, but it's also because the sandwich makes a handy yardstick for international financial comparisons. The ingredients and labor involved in preparing a Big Mac are pretty much the same no matter where you are in the world, so by looking at how many hours of toiling it takes a worker to earn enough to purchase one, you can get a sense of how wages really stack up across countries. The Economist famously created the Big Mac index in 1986 to see which currencies were overvalued. It started as a joke. Now, as the magazine proudly notes, it's a subject of academic study.

    April 22, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    WASHINGTON - What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 22, 2014

  • Doug Creamer All in the Family

    We had a family get-together at my brother’s house on Easter Sunday. It’s hard to get our family together because we are spread out, especially when you consider nieces and nephews. My parents and siblings all made the gathering this year. Some of my nieces and nephews are far away, but they all remember gathering at my brother’s house for the holidays. Easter is known for the Jell-O eggs and the famous Easter egg hunt.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 19, 2014

  • The case for separate beds

    WASHINGTON - The other night I slept on a twin bed in the guest room of the house I share with my husband and our two kids.
    It was the best night's sleep I've had in years.

    April 19, 2014

  • taylor.armerding.jpg Obama's equal pay exaggeration leads us all into danger

    The president's claims of national shame over gender-based pay inequity spring from distorted calculations, as well as some convenient political math.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • Teens trading naked selfies for mugshots

    Will teenagers ever learn? You think yours will. Maybe so. But it's likely that was also the hope of the parents of children who were so shamed by nude photos of themselves that went south - how else can they go - that they killed themselves.

    April 12, 2014

  • Brent Laurenz If you want to vote in primary, you need to register to vote now

    RALEIGH – North Carolina voters will head to the polls on May 6 this year to cast ballots in important primary elections across the state.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Scott Mooneyham Heeding the voter fraud call in N.C.

    RALEIGH – Legislators found the findings outrageous.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Doug Creamer Roots

    I took a few minutes over the weekend to enjoy our yard and the arrival of spring. There seems to be so much work that needs to be done, it is hard to decide what to do first. I am excited that I got to run my tiller through the garden. I didn’t go very deep, but I did at least break up the soil. I have a couple of raised beds and the soil in them was in very good shape. I didn’t plant my peas and now after the big rain we got on Monday I realize that I missed a window of opportunity.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Seasonal Content