On Rejecting what is Useless...

"Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own." - Bruce Lee

I have been a Bruce Lee fan almost as long as I can remember.  Just the other day I was just thinking about a grade 10 field trip to downtown Montreal to see a court case (that's a whole other story) when Kenny, Andrew and I snuck off to a martial arts store in China town to buy practice nunchucks, ninja stars and Bruce Lee posters.

Since then, Bruce Lee has had a huge impact on my life.  I have studied his moves and his movies. I have battled myself to develop a physique somewhere between his and my other hero Arnold Schwarzenegger.  I have spent years studying martial arts, including Wing Chun Kung Fu, in an attempt to parallel Bruce's journey somehow.  I have read dozens of books on his life and his philosophy.  My whole life I have been connected to the art and philosophy of Bruce Lee.

Until recently, this connection was physical and martial - I read the philosophy but I didn't absorb it. Except I did.   Whether I knew it or not, from the study of the "simplicity" and "directness" of Wing Chun Kung Fu, to the development of my body and expansion of martial skills, to challenging myself in the MMA arena, it has all been fueled by Bruce and his philosophy.  I have been constantly searching for some new information, leaving behind what doesn't work and testing my skill, body and brain in fun, casual and organized competition.  By adding other personal elements - for example, a bodybuilders type body - the result is uniquely my own.

What I could never have known as I moved through life, somewhat sedated by routine and pre-occupied with busy, is that in reality I was always preparing for trying times, like what we are presently facing.  Even though on a physical level that manifestation was physical, what I realize now is that I was becoming mentally tough.  The ideas of feeling energy and physical movement, the "seeking hands" of Kung Fu, the "grips" of jujitsu is all about contact with others and reaction to the energy you are feeling - not just what you are seeing and hearing.

This extra dimension of sensitivity has created an enlightenment and a complexity to the current state of the world.  Having learned how to adapt to many difficult situations, my body and senses have changed in the current context.  Working at home, in isolation, behind a computer, in my pyjamas, with the camera off has created an interesting awareness of what I can bring to a situation when a physical presence is not an option.  It has raised my awareness of other people, learning to understand the non-verbal cues in their communication that aren't physical - the tone of voice, the cadence of their speech, the choice of words and their phraseology - all these things have created an almost "6th sense" about other people . 

In truth, these senses were already there - they just weren't developed because the prior situation did not require them.  It was only through accepting my new reality and learning new skills, adapting old ones and rejecting those things that were no longer useful that I have learned to exist in the current world without stress and anxiety.  Certain types of relationships and consumerism were all part of the "in-person" world I was a part of.  Having the clothes and toys and other trappings somehow became part of my comfort.  Now, I am learning to value the comfort of my personalized living space, the company of my closest supporters and the power of my imagination.  I am remembering the pure joy of a kung fu movie and crave the feel of cold iron in my hands.  I crave the laughter of a companion and not the respect of a colleague.  I don't chase conflict and victory at a personal cost, I seek resolution for a mutual benefit.

I think its time to upgrade this philosophy to "Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, adsorb the wisdom of others and BECOME uniquely your own."

#brucelee #rejectwhatisuseless #martialarts