To Bruce Lee, his fighting was just an extension of his personal philosophy. He believed in the ‘Art’ as much as the ‘Martial’.
Like water, sparring should be formless. Pour water into a cup, it becomes part of the cup. Pour it into a bottle, it becomes part of the bottle. Try to kick or punch it, it is resiliant; clutch it and it will yield without hesitation.
In fact, it will escape as pressure is being applied to it. How true it is that nothingness cannot be confined. The softest thing cannot be snapped.’
‘When in actual combat, you’re not fighting a corpse. Your opponent is a living, moving object. Deal with him realistically, not as though you’re fighting a robot. Don’t indulge in any unnecessary moves. You’ll get clobbered if you do, and in a street fight you’ll have your shirt zipped off you.
In other words, when someone grabs you, punch him. To me a lot of this fancy stuff is not functional’.
‘Like any art, the martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock hell out of the guy in front, but to knock hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups. Once that is clear, then you can express yourself clearly.’
‘Classical forms, rituals, and unreasonable stances are useless. They are just too artificial and mechanical and don’t really prepare a student for actual combat. A guy could get clobbered while getting into his classical mess.’
‘A martial artist who drills exclusively to a set pattern of combat is losing his freedom.’
‘I don’t have any (honorary) belt at all – that belt doesn’t mean anything. It might be useful to hold your pants up, but that’s about all!’
‘You must ask yourself how can you honestly express yourself at that moment. When you punch you must really want to punch, not that you want to punch to avoid getting hit, but to really be in with it and express yourself. It doesn’t matter how you are built, how you are made, you must go in there and be that punch.’