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"Bruce Lee Said What?"
   'Finding the Truth in Bruce Lee's Writings'

Part 2

by Kip Brockett

     In this part, we're going to take a look at several more examples contained within the Tao of Jeet Kune Do that lack reference to their sources. Most of these are simply copied passages contained within Bruce Lee's personal notes.

    There is no doubt that Western Boxing had a significant impact on the mind of Bruce Lee. It has been said that Bruce Lee had over 250 books on Western Boxing in his personal library.

    World Champion kickboxer Joe Lewis (private student of Bruce Lee) said in an interview, "He also had great assistance from a boxing manual that came out in the 1940's…" "His Tao of Jeet Kune Do used a lot of theories on fighting from this book."

    In the acknowledgements at the beginning of the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Edwin L. Haislet's book, Boxing, (copyright 1940) is cited as a major contributor with no less than 19 pages of the Tao of Jeet Kune Do mentioned.

    Mr. Lewis does not mention Haislet's book by name, but I can't help but think this is the one he's referring.

    Although there are many examples used from Haislet's book in the Tao of Jeet Kune Do, I would like to focus on but a few. Most specifically (except for the first 2 examples) are ones that are not cited in the Acknowledgements of the Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

    These first 2 examples are cited, at least by page number, but you can see how Bruce Lee changed the wording to fit the art of Jeet Kune Do.

        Tao of Jeet Kune Do, page 34

    "The primary purpose of JKD is kicking, hitting and applying bodily force. Therefore, the use of the on-guard position is to obtain the most favorable position for the above-mentioned."

        Boxing by Edwin L. Haislet, page 2

    "The primary purpose of boxing is hitting. Therefore, the use of the fundamental position is to obtain the most favorable position for hitting…"

        Tao of Jeet Kune Do, page 34

    "To hit or to kick effectively, it is necessary to shift weight constantly from one leg to the other. This means perfect control of body balance. Balance is the most important consideration in the on-guard position."

        Boxing by Edwin L. Haislet, page 2

    "…To hit effectively it is necessary to shift the weight constantly from one leg to the other. This means perfect control of body balance. Balance is the most important consideration of the fundamental position."

    You can see that there are only minor changes involved in these examples, such as substituting "JKD" for "boxing" and "on-guard" position for "fundamental" position. Also you can see the added elements such as "kicking" and "applying bodily force" since boxing is restricted to punching techniques only.

    

    Next, I am going to list several examples that are obviously taken from Haislet's book, but no acknowledgements are given. Some have minor changes, but for the most part, these examples are direct copies of Haislet's work.

        Tao of Jeet Kune Do, pages 31 & 32

    "In Western boxing, the head is treated as if it were a part of the trunk, generally, with no independent action of its own. In close-in fighting, it should be carried vertically, with the point of the chin pinned to the collarbone and the side of the chin held against the inside of the lead shoulder…"

        Boxing by Edwin L. Haislet, page 5

    "In boxing, the head is treated as if it were a part of the trunk with no independent action of its own. It should be carried forward, with the chin pinned down to the breast-bone…"

        Tao of Jeet Kune Do, page 32

    "The point of the chin is not tucked into the lead shoulder except when angling the head back in an extreme defensive position. Tucking the point of the chin into the lead shoulder turns the neck into an unnatural position, takes away the support of the muscles and prevents straight bone alignment. It also tenses the lead shoulder and arm, preventing free action and causing fatigue."

        Boxing by Edwin L. Haislet, page 5

    "The chin is not 'tucked' behind the left shoulder except in an extreme defensive position. 'Tucking' the chin into the left shoulder turns the neck into an unnatural position, takes away the support of the muscles, and prevents straight bone alignment. It also tenses the left shoulder and arm, preventing free action and causing fatigue."

    Notice the change from "left" shoulder to "lead" shoulder, since Bruce Lee fought right side forward?

        Tao of Jeet Kune Do, page 32

    "With the chin dropped and pinned tight to the collarbone, the muscles and bone structure are in the best possible alignment and only the top of the head is presented to the opponent, making it impossible to be hit on the point of the chin."

        Boxing by Edwin L. Haislet, page 5

    "With the chin dropped directly forward and pinned tight to the breast-bone the muscles and bone structure are in the best possible alignment, and only the top of the head is presented to the opponent making it impossible to hit a man on the point of the chin."

    Notice the change in these passages from "breast-bone" to "collarbone". The first thing that comes to mind is if the best possible alignment of muscles and bone structure is with the chin pinned to the breast-bone (according to Haislet), then how can a change to the collarbone still keep this alignment? Maybe this is a perfect example of Bruce Lee using his personal notes to work out a particular aspect of his martial art. Yet without a reference to the source, again, confusion arises.

        Tao of Jeet Kune Do, page 29

    "The on-guard position is that position most favorable to the mechanical execution of all the total techniques and skills. It allows complete relaxation yet, at the same time, gives a muscle tonus most favorable to quick reaction time."

        Boxing by Edwin L. Haislet, page 1

"The fundamental boxing position is that position most favorable to the mechanical execution of the techniques and skills which make up boxing. It allows complete relaxation yet at the same time gives a muscle tonus most favorable to quick reaction time."

    Again we see the change from "fundamental" position to "on-guard" position.

Page 2

                                             

© Copyright 2001/2002
Kip Brockett
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