How much did Bruce Lee actually know about traditional Chinese Martial arts?

Discussion in 'General Martial Arts Discussion' started by Tom bayley, Aug 22, 2019.

  1. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    A Recent post quoting Bruce Lee got me wondering. How much did he actually know about traditional Chinese martial arts?

    In the quote he described the practices of traditional arts and then criticises them. What he described as traditional Chinese arts and my personal experience of Chinese arts are poles apart.

    I just wondered what evidence is there that Bruce Lee actually knew about the arts that he criticised?

    Note: I do not question what Bruce Lee says about fighting. In fact have found traditional Chinese martial artists saying and teaching the exact same things. I question his understanding of traditional Chinese arts.

    Bruce lee was reputed to have done some win chung - but not completed the system. What evidence is there that he had a good knowledge of other traditional Chinese arts?
     
  2. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    I think the general consensus is that he had "limited" knowledge of Wing Hunter and a little of other styles. I'd say he understood fighting a lot more than many masters though after he got into a few fights.
     
  3. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Last edited: Aug 22, 2019
  4. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Limited exposure to Chinese martial arts other that tai chi and wing chun

    never completed wing chun

    won a high school boxing competition that's about it

    So limited exposure and to two of the Chinese styles least able to fight lol
     
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  5. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    So he understood fighting better than CLC the bak mei master in Hong Kong, who fought in two wars personally closed 13 schools down by defeating their masters and who had the dubious honour of having both the top Hong Kong police officers as his students and the founders of the 14k triad?

    Or he better understood it than dragon master Lam Yiu Gwai professional military trainer allowed to retire to Hong Kong because of his service and known for sparring all comers in China and Hong Kong?

    Or better than mantis master Yip Shui known for fighting Lol comers in Hong Kong and never losing?

    I think it's safe to say there were masters in Hong Kong who knew fighting better than Lee but he never met them so could only go of his limited experience
     
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  6. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

  7. SWC Sifu Ben

    SWC Sifu Ben I am the law

    I think what Lee did know about very well, and which is far more important, is the cultural attitudes in CMA. He was and is right that the Confucian filial piety which permeated from the rest of Chinese society is a massive drag on CMAs. His use of the words "gospel truth" do a very good job comparing the often blind uncritical obedience in CMAs and the often blind uncritical obedience in religion.
     
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  8. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    That's why I don't understand OJKD. Taking Bruce Lee's art as gospel seems just as silly. Especially when today people are testing out fighting theories all the time.
     
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  9. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    I get how it's a good place to start, and an interesting insight into bruces thought process, but treating it like a finished article seems kinda silly.
     
  10. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Yeah it's not bad but it was quite obviously unfinished and by today's standards not as good (well the grappling at least, which was rudimentary and compliant at best).
     
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  11. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Its a bit like studying some old school BJJ, (self defence or old school passing etc), interesting, viable, but from as slightly different context, which needs taking into account, otherwise you could be trapped in a "classical mess".


    Wierdly I can see how treating it like a finished product works if you want to sell the product of ojkd, and/or if you want to ensure its ongoing "purity",m that's why Dan I calls it Jun fan gung Fu, and then teaches his own stuff from that as JKD.
     
  12. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    It's like rorions pure water theory in bjj

    And holds up about just as well.
    But for marketing purposes it makes lots of money
     
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  13. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    ^ re interestingly I've been training with ex Gracie academy guy recently (they moved house so a moved gyms) they do a lot of modern stuff now, but noone ever mentions it's modern stuff, it's all assumed it's all pure water BJJ.

    Dlr, reverse DLR, imanari shots, rubber guard counters, I think renner etc have put some work into staying current, whilst retaining his marketing pure water schtick.

    I'm pretty sure renner took over the business last year.
     
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  14. icefield

    icefield Valued Member

    Didn't they have an in house competition with the Machado's years years ago which basically ended up with them being spanked and the arguement put to an end once and for all?
     
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  15. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Dan lukehart mentioned that on Facebook a few months ago, he did a breakdown of their marketing Vs what was happening at the time, everytime they lost something the marketing changed.


    But the one GA person I've rolled with is great, but he's not very representative, as he's trained everywhere too.
     
  16. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    This is the part that differs entirely from my direct personal experience and from what I heard from my teacher. I have never encountered these alleged cultural attitudes.

    My teacher emphasised the need to create thinking martial artists. He never espoused any "Truths" and actively encouraged his students to test out what they learnt. His own teacher also emphasised practical testing. when my teacher asked to learn the weapons his teacher's first reply was - "its not worth it. There are no proper fencing competitions any more you, can't test your learning, so how will your know if you can actually use it for real?

    I cannot believe that I found the one and only lineage of traditional kung fu that had a practical results based approach to learning and teaching.
     
  17. Pretty In Pink

    Pretty In Pink Valued Member MAP 2017 Gold Award

    Tbh I get taught jujuitsu and it makes no difference to me. I learn gi DLR and I don't give it a second thought.
     
  18. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Totally, but they make a big deal about teaching unchanged true BJJ, it would be like a OJKD school also teaching muay Thai, it's a good thing, but also a bit wierd unless they say it's muay Thai.



     
  19. Dead_pool

    Dead_pool the merc with the mouth MAP 2017 Moi Award

    Teachers who teach now, post MMA boom to westerners might be the good survivors left, after the insular ones who didn't spar and didn't teach outsiders, had their schools close.

    Populations differ over time.
     
  20. Tom bayley

    Tom bayley Valued Member

    maybe or maybe the story that the old ways have been corrupted was made up to make it easier to sell the new way - Bruce seamed to do fairly well out of it.
     

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