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Echoes of the Samurai: How Yagyu Munenori's Zen Teachings Shaped Bruce Lee and the Art of Jeet Kune Do

Yagyu Munenori was a renowned swordsman, strategist, and philosopher who lived in Japan during the 17th century. He was the founder of the Yagyu Shinkage-ryu school of swordsmanship and authored the "Heiho Kadensho," a classic text on martial arts philosophy. One of his most famous quotes is, "I am moving and not moving at all. I am like the moon underneath the waves that ever go on rocking and rolling." This quote has become a cornerstone of Zen teachings, influencing martial artists across different disciplines, including Bruce Lee and Jeet Kune Do (JKD) practitioners.

Yagyu Munenori's quote expresses a fundamental principle in Zen Buddhism - the notion of non-duality or non-dual awareness. It means seeing reality as it is, beyond dualistic concepts such as good or bad, right or wrong, self or other. In this sense, "moving and not moving" refers to being present in one's actions while remaining aware of one's surroundings without attachment or resistance. It's like being the moon...

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Be Like Water, Still Like a Mirror, Respond Like an Echo

bruce lee jeet kune do zen Nov 27, 2023

Today would be the late Bruce Lee's 83rd birthday. He was more than just a martial arts expert and actor, he was also a philosopher who left behind timeless teachings on the philosophy of life and martial arts. He was a prodigious reader and note-taker. Many of these quotes would end up published in the posthumous work, "The Tao of Jeet Kune Do." One of the most famous quotes from the book is, "If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo." This quote comes from the Daoist text, known as the Liezi, believed to have been written in he 3rd or 4th century AD. The text attributes it to the Buddhist bodhisattva, Guanyin. Today, on Bruce Lee's birthday, we will explore the meaning behind this quote and how it can be applied to your Jeet Kune Do practice and your life.

The first part of the quote, "If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves," tells us...

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Embodying the Wooden Doll: A Lesson on Ego-less Practice from Bruce Lee

bruce lee jeet kune do zen Nov 20, 2023

Bruce Lee's philosophy of martial arts transcends physical movements and techniques. Behind his iconic fighting style, Jeet Kune Do, is a deep understanding of the mind-body connection and the role of ego in practice. Lee believed that to reach one's full potential in martial arts and in life, one must learn how to let go of ego and become like a wooden doll. This principle was recorded in the writings of echoed Yagyu Munenori, a Japanese swordsman and Zen practitioner and later quoted by the Zen Buddhist writer and missionary D.T. Suzuki.

Today, we explore the concept of the wooden doll and its significance in martial arts practice. We'll take a closer look at the teachings of Bruce Lee and Yagyu Munenori and how they can inform our training. Whether you're a seasoned practitioner or a beginner, the lessons of the wooden doll can transform your approach to martial arts and help you reach new heights.

The wooden doll is not to be confused with the Mukyanjong, or wooden dummy used in...

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Embracing the Living Void: The Path to Becoming a True Jeet Kune Do Practitioner

bruce lee jeet kune do zen Nov 13, 2023

Bruce Lee once said, "Voidness is that which stands right in the middle between this and that."

This statement perfectly encapsulates the principles of Jeet Kune Do. The philosophy of Jeet Kune Do is centered around the concept of the living void, a state of being that is all-inclusive and has no opposite. Today, we will explore the meaning of the living void and how it can help practitioners of Jeet Kune Do become the best version of themselves.

The first step to understanding the living void is to recognize that it is not some empty, meaningless space. Instead, it is a dynamic force that is full of energy and potential. According to Bruce Lee, the void is the source of all life and power, and it is where all forms come from. In other words, the void is the ultimate creative force in the universe, and it holds the key to unleashing our full potential.

To tap into the power of the living void, practitioners of Jeet Kune Do must first learn to let go of their preconceptions and...

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