Bruce Lee's article Liberate Yourself From Classical Karate, first published in the September 1971 issue of Black Belt magazine.
Text code used in the discussion
I am the first to admit that any attempt to crystallize Jeet Kune Do into a written article is no easy task. Perhaps to avoid making a 'thing' out of a 'process'. I have not until now personally written an article on JKD. Indeed, it is difficult to explain what Jeet Kune Do is, although it may be easier to explain what it is not.
Let me begin with a Zen story. The story might be familiar to some, but I repeat it for its appropriateness. Look upon this story as a means of limbering up one's senses, one's attitude, and one's mind to make them pliable and receptive. You need that to understand this article; otherwise, you might as well forget reading any further.
A learned man once went to a Zen teacher to inquire about Zen. As the Zen teacher explained, the learned man would frequently interrupt him with remarks like, "Oh, yes, we have that too...." and so on.
Finally, the Zen teacher stopped talking and began to serve tea to the learned man. He poured the cup full, and then kept pouring until the cup overflowed. "Enough!" the learned man once more interrupted. "No more can go into the cup!"
"Indeed, I see," answered the Zen teacher. "If you do not first empty the cup, how can you taste my cup of tea?"
TKDTutor Comments: As stated here, this parable makes no sense. The teacher is actually saying, “To taste my tea, you must pour out what I have already poured into your cup so I may pour more into your cup.” In other words, to learn from me, you must forget all I have previously taught you.
This version of the Empty Cup story makes more sense:
Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen.
Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.
The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself. "It is overfull. No more will go in!"
"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I show you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"
- Next >>