News > 6 Dragons Kung Fu
The real Bruce Lee's legacy
What Bruce Lee really taught us
Bruce Lee is not remembered by martial arts experts (only) for his film career but because he has drawn an indelible mark between the tradition of the crystallized past and the future.
Note - This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).
His martial thinking can be summed up with this quote:
"Absorb what is useful, discard what is not, add what is uniquely your own." - Bruce Lee.
This is the real value of his legacy: he taught us to look beyond appearances, in a rationally critical way.
How was Bruce Lee able to pave the way for the future of martial arts without having thoroughly mastered even one?
It is true, Bruce Lee has never reached the apex in any martial art or Kung Fu style he studied (besides his one, indeed perhaps not even that given his untimely death) and there is a specific reason for this choice but to explain it, we must before understand how the traditional learning method works.
The traditional learning method
The steps are:
Learn humbly, without thinking too much but only trusting your teacher
Only when you completely mastered the art you can then start to (eventually) evaluate, compare (etc.) the value of its teachings
Naturally this may appear rational: it is in fact true that only fully mastering a combat system a person can be in condition to assess (with cognition of cause) what works and what not but the problem is that (especially today where rarely theory is converted into practice, as it was instead in the past), this path has enormous limits.
Let's see them.
The limits of the traditional method: why does Bruce Lee has chosen a multidisciplinary approach?
The reason is simple and it is that, as we said, to completely master even a single combat system that he studied, takes a lifetime:
If we focus only on a closed method, at the end (after 30-60 years), we would be so conditioned that it would be incredibly hard to add or change something substantial
The true treasure of a practitioner comes (partially) from his / her natural instinct and (mostly) from his / her field experience, based on combat practice (that is what makes a fighter unique, read The instructor of 6DKF and the teaching method)
How then Bruce Lee revolutionized the world of martial arts without having mastered a single one? Changing the approach, moving the focus on the practical effectiveness.
How to avoid the risks of a wrong approach to Kung Fu (and martial arts in general)
In pure combat terms, if a beginner does not want to sacrifice his / her life to something that could be totally wrong, the proof of practice is the key.
The more our tests are realistic and far from formal rules the better it is. Only when we are near the contextual applications (far from the prehoredered schemes) we can understand what works and what not:
Personally for us
In the present days
In our contexts
For our goals
A note by Master Kongling - For example, we must not confuse what worked hundreds or thousands of years ago (read also Ancient Shaolin monks vs modern ones), in totally different scenarios, with what we should choose for us and today: the world of combat evolves at each fight.
How to carry out reliable analyzes on martial efficacy?
It is very simple: if at the same level of training and study (in an average, not short period of time) something gives greater results, it means that it is most likely more effective (read Is it legit? and How to know if a combat technique works or not); this naturally is not at a level of certainty but the advantage remains anyway greater and its name is: simplicity.
A note by Master Kongling - I know first-hand and through our Core Course's students that a multidisciplinary approach (like the 6 Dragons Kung Fu's one) is much more tiring: less linear workouts, the need to force the mind to the elasticity of the constant change, the need to find a personal balance, longer sessions (etc.) but such a routine imposes us a not passive learning path and this has an incredibly positive impact on the improvement curve (that normally drastically decreases after the first 6-12 months).
A few conclusive thoughts:
It is sad to say but if we talk about combat, all the martial arts that do not agree to evolve (at the test of practice) are bound to be outdated and their principles misunderstood with their formal aspects (read also The disadvantages of "traditional" Kung Fu)
Human beings learn from their mistakes, day by day, it is not rational to think of waiting an entire existence before making comparisons or trying alternative ways (read Measure ourselves with errors)
In our martial research, the most important thing is to "investigate" deeply, honestly and rationally, never taking anything for granted, neither our ideas nor those that have stood the test of time; it is not a matter of pursuing a superficial shortcut but rather of imposing ourselves a broader and more open study (read also 6DKF: what does it teach?)
In-depth video courses
Basic 6 Dragons Kung Fu Exercises - A set of selected exercises functional to the development of rela martial skills
Advanced speed and reflexes training - A deep study of combat speed, methods and exercises
Bruce Lee's training: which exercises and why - Bruce Lee's workout and its focus
The core concepts of Jeet Kune Do - The crucial aspects of Bruce Lee's Kung Fu
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
What is your opinion on Bruce Lee's martial arts view?