Friday, November 27, 2015

4/5 Stars for Bruce Lee The Tao of Gung Fu

In the interest of full disclosure, I received this book from the publisher for review purposes
Title: Bruce Lee The Tao of Gung Fu
Edited by: John Little
Publisher: Tuttle
Format: Softcover
Cover Price: $19.95 $13.97(US)

    Today in America it is our national holiday dedicated to consumerism known as "Black Friday."  It is the day many of us will willingly practice a mixed martial art called "Buy Fu."  It is a modern martial art which focuses on a combination "karate chops shops" and kara "cart-rate."  But seriously, its dangerous out there.  Stay inside.
    It also happens to be the anniversary of Bruce Lee's birthday.  He would have been 75 today, and in honor of him, I'm going to review a book of his that was actually written by him during his life time.  It was an early writing, but you can easily see where the now famous and quotable ideas came from.  In fact, most of his philosophy is there already.


    The book is an original writing of Bruce Lee's that he intended to publish as a manuscript for Gung (Kung) Fu, to introduce it to more people.  Granted, it wasn't the finished version, but each section was completed.  It wasn't published during his lifetime, but it was the only book he wrote specifically for publication during his lifetime.  The Tao of Jeet Kune Do wasn't intended for publication, and was done so posthumously.


    I like that this Bruce's ideas in his own words.  This book was a conscious effort on his part to write to a western audience about kung fu in terms of physicality and philosophy.  As always Bruce Lee's words have a weight of truth to them.  Almost everything in this books can be applied to any martial art.  His words tend to focus more on the striking aspect of the martial arts, rather than the grappling aspect, but it still applies.
    One additional little thing I liked was the appendix of the book.  It looked at where Bruce Lee was in his studies at the time of this writing: He had studied Wing Chun for 7 years, Judo for 1 year, ect.  It helped put some of his ideas in perspective of where he was in his own path.


    I've read a couple of different versions of Bruce Lee's works recently, so some of the ideas are repeated from other writings.  That isn't to say that it isn't valid or valuable, just that if you're looking for "new secrets from Bruce Lee" this isn't the right place.  In fact, even a lot of the familiar language that we're used to from Bruce are initiated here.  "Be like water" and such.  So it shows almost a prequel to the man and the movies that we've all come to love.


    Overall I'm going to give this book 4 out of 5 ninja stars.  I love the philosophy that Bruce Lee believed in and tried to expand on for everyone else.  I think this is a polished look at where Bruce Lee was at this point in his journey.  It gives a very good spotlight of his views at this part of his path, and you can easily see where his more famous and quotable ideas originated.  You can also see how the notes he took in, what became, Tao of Jeet Kune Do started to change his ideas of martial arts.

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