In the 70’s when Martial Arts movies ruled the lives of practically everyone in America many people joined Martial Arts clubs and schools.
Imagine, you are sitting on a bench in the park or by the lake and a stranger approaches you and asks “ What’s your style? “…
You’d probably say “Huh”.. thinking maybe I didn’t hear him read right or in some cases “He’s Talking on his phone or to himself.
This isn’t a common phrase.
In the early 70’s it was very common.
It was how we would identify ourselves
And how we classified ourselves.
The Martial Art was an opportunity for many of us to be a part of a special club or Brotherhood or Sisterhood.
It was a family and like most families there were identities, personalities and unique behaviors.
The History Of Martial Arts:
Although the earliest evidence of martial arts goes back millennia, the true roots are difficult to reconstruct. Inherent patterns of human aggression which inspire practice of mock combat (in particular wrestling) and optimization of serious close combat as cultural universals are doubtlessly inherited from the pre-human stage and were made into an “art” from the earliest emergence of that concept. Indeed, many universals of martial art are fixed by the specifics of human physiology and not dependent on a specific tradition or era.
Specific martial traditions become identifiable in Classical Antiquity, with disciplines such as shuai jiao, Greek wrestling or those described in the Indian epics or the Spring and Autumn Annals of China.
The earliest evidence for specifics of martial arts as practiced in the past comes from depictions of fights, both in figurative art and in early literature, besides analysis of archaeological evidence, especially of weaponry. The oldest work of art depicting scenes of battle, dating back 3400 BCE, was the Ancient Egyptian paintings showing some form of struggle. Dating back to 3000 BCE in Mesopotamia (Babylon), reliefs and the poems depicting struggle were found. In Vietnam, drawings and sketches from 2879 BCE describe certain ways of combat using sword, stick, bow, and spears.[better source needed]
The spear has been in use since the Lower Paleolithic and retained its central importance well into the 2nd millennium CE. The bow appears in the Upper Paleolithic and is likewise only gradually replaced by the crossbow, and eventually firearms, in the Common Era. True bladed weapons appear in the Neolithic with the stone axe, and diversify in shape in the course of the Bronze Age (khopesh/kopis, sword, dagger)
Some early examples are the depiction of wrestling techniques in a tomb of the Middle Kingdom of Egypt at Beni Hasan (c. 2000 BCE) and pictorial representations of fist fighting in the Minoan civilization dating to the 2nd millennium BCE
In ancient China, Yellow Emperor (2698 BCE) is described as a famous general who, before becoming China’s leader, wrote lengthy treatises on medicine, astrology and the martial arts. Literary descriptions of combat began in the 2nd millennium BCE, with mention of weaponry and combat in texts like the Gilgamesh epic or the Rig-Veda. Detailed description of Late Bronze Age to Early Iron Age hand-to-hand combat with spear, sword and shield are found in the Iliad (c. 8th century BCE) and also the Mahabharatha.
history _of_martial_arts wikipedia
Finding A Family:
The family analogy is important and even if you or I do not have a family that you can relate to, there is a chance that we still understand how it works.
Let’s just deal with the more well known of them.
These were the only ones that we’d hear about in the 70’s and as different as they were, many Americans had difficulty understanding them just by name.
Those of us that were practitioners and even the novice spent most of our days explaining that these (4) forms represented hundreds or even Thousands of Martial Arts Forms.
As I mentioned earlier about Family,the Arts may represent the parents and the various styles may represent its children.
The style is a representation and designed definition of the art and its form. In the way that a child takes their interpretation of their parents guidance and express and expand it…
Some styles at the time morphed into an animal with accompanying screams and yells.
As the introduction of the Martial Arts was underway many of us were the victim of our childhood desire to test gravity or try breaking boards.
Yes many of us spent some time in ER.
In the movie “Enter The Dragon “ we observe the late Bruce Lee demonstrate what he referred to as “Jeet Kune Do” ( The Way Of The Intercepting Fist) he also referred to it as “ the art of Fighting without Fighting “
It seemed that this art was similar to other Martial Arts because Mr. Lee explained ( there were many weaknesses in the various Arts) his (Bruce Lee) re-wired and rebooted the traditional forms and created a style of
Energy reserves (No Wasted Energy)
Time released ( contact was complete in minimal time)
Encounter The Dragon:
If you’ve had the opportunity to read my other “Bruce Me” blogs there is an excerpt from the movie “Enter The Dragon “ where the three characters and a few other are headed to the Island fortress to participate in a tournament.
They travelled on what was known as a “Junk”
a seagoing ship with a traditional Chinese design and used primarily in Chinese waters, having square sails spread by battens, a high stern, and usually a flat bottom. dictionary.com
Also mentioned in my other is a nuisance character that had been going about the boat with an apparent (Chip on his shoulder) he seemed to be especially hostile towards the Asian youth.
As he made his rounds he came by Lee ( Bruce Lee)
What’s Your Style:
After a time bullying the young fellas this guy ( He appeared to be Irish) stands in the area of Lee.
He begin to throw punches in the area of Lee being ( Seemingly) bit to hit Lee.
Do I bother you? (he asked)
Don’t waste yourself… ( Lee responds)
And here it is, the question we’ve all been waiting to hear.
We wanted to see the guy attempt to bully this (Asian)
But it didn’t, We were robbed because after he asked Mr. Lee.
What’s Your Style ?
Lee responded, the art of Fighting without fighting.
Do you now see what I mean? We were robbed…
But wait, maybe…
The Art of Fighting without fighting the guy repeat back “ Show me some”
Lee, replied, “Later” and that’s when “The Guy” blocks Lee…
Everyone in the theater “gasped” all of us at the same time.
At this point Lee says okay. He then says to “ The Guy” don’t you think we need a little more room.
The Guy replies then where? Lee points to an Island in the distance and convinced the guy that they would take an available boat and have their duel on the Island.
It was 1975, I sat still (I had to pee) but I wasn’t gonna leave ( This Guy was about to get it)
Imagine my disappointment when Lee tricked the guy to get in the boat first and grabbed the rope. Lee fed the guy could not get back on to the “Junk”…
I didn’t get it.
These scenes are so predictable. I was cheated, robbed and sad, yes, sad
I had to ask,I waited “For That?”
There was a especially important part when Lee gave the rope to the young boys that had been harassed and bullied.
Cheated, Robbed and Sad:
I was thinking that the predictable would happen and I toiled with the detour and deviation from what I had begin to consider “Due Process”
Yeah, I Know You Were Wondering… “Due Process?”…
the regular administration of the law, according to which no citizen may be denied his or her legal rights and all laws must conform to fundamental, accepted legal principles, as the right of the accused to confront his or her accusers.
You Reap what he has sown, Get his comeuppance or pay the piper .
What I learned,
What Bruce taught me.
There is an old saying that we do not hear anymore.
“There’s More Than One Way To Skin A Cat”
The interpretation is clear in this scene.
Fighting without fighting.
Do you remember the words “ Don’t waste yourself?”
Life is about 10% of what happens to you and 90% of how you respond. – Charles R. Swindoll-
I learned a lot from this Man ( Bruce Lee)
There are many that will say “It’s only a movie “
I am 58 years old at the time of this blog and will say without hesitation “ Most Of The Things That I’ve Learned In My Life Have Come From Bruce Lee Movies”
Never back down (fight without fighting)
Respect for women.
Treat everyone with dignity and respect.
Be prepared, oops… that I learned from the Boy Scouts.
I want to share a final thought and it is about how we respond and the differences in respond and react.
I don’t make a mistake of choosing sides when it come to the two.
When a person or situation occurs that requires my attention.
Pause: take a minute, just for a pause.
Prepare: What happened?,What does it mean.
Posture: No smile,No frown,No sudden move of gestures.
Pace: Slow and Low is the way we speak.
For response and reaction receive the same service…
Both predictable and unpredictable at the same time.