Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by Wilson, May 5, 2006.

  1. Wilson

    Wilson Valued Member

    Can somone explain this to me?
    "you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot it beomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or it can crash. Be water my friend." -Bruce Lee

    my friend keeps bothering me with this and I cant figure it out.
    thank you
  2. BEsposito

    BEsposito New Member

    I've never seen this quote, but I am assuming he is referring to adaptation. Adapt or you will fail.
  3. Visage

    Visage Banned Banned

    It's quite a famous quote. I think what Bruce was saying is that you have to be able to adapt to all situations you find yourself in. Like when you put water into a cup, it fits into the cup, and the bottle and so on and so on.

    As for the last part - water can flow or it can crash - well. I take it to mean it can behave gently, or it can destroy. IE, as a martial artist, you can do only what you need to, or you can obliterate if you need to.
  4. aikiMac

    aikiMac aikido + boxing = very good Moderator Supporter

    One thought:

    Water can take those shapes because it doesn't resist the energy imposed on it ---> don't resist the energy coming at you. More simply, don't block a punch with your face.

    Water can crash ---> non-resistance doesn't mean be a wuss. I've been knocked off my feet by ocean waves. Water will kill a person while simultaneously conforming itself (non-resistance) to the shape of that person.
  5. Banpen Fugyo

    Banpen Fugyo 10000 Changes No Surprise

    Bruce also said "To change with change is the changeless state."

    But then again, Bruce didnt ever make up any of these quotes himself..

    The point of "water" in most asian cultures is the philosophy of adaptation. To take things as they come. To be able to take any form, but also to be able to destroy most anything.
  6. slipthejab

    slipthejab Hark, a vagrant! Supporter

    What Bruce Lee was doing was simply rehashing old chesnuts that had no doubt been handed down by his teachers. It's somewhat of a Chinese tradition with these types of sayings. Most have either Buddhist roots or Taoist roots.

    It's much about going with the flow - redirection - a very big concept in many CMA's and in thus in JKD. There is even a fair bit in JMA's as well.

    One that flows in the same vein is this:

    In the world there is nothing more submissive and weak than water. Yet for attacking that which is hard and strong nothing can surpass it.

    Lao Tzu

    But as we can see it's not only the Chinese that could see the merit of fluidity and adaption. The Germans were getting in on it. Though it you put some thought to it - there is a fair difference in time between the two quotes.

    Water its living strength first shows, When obstacles its course oppose.
    Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

    hope that was some help.
  7. Wilson

    Wilson Valued Member

    thank you everyone, I get it now.
  8. neb

    neb Banned Banned

    And all this time I've been sitting outside concentrating on a bowl of water for hours on end. Eventually yelling "CHANGE!" nice and loudly, but alas I did not become water.

    What a waste of time that was o_O
  9. Cuchulain82

    Cuchulain82 Custodia Legis

    You took the words right out of my virtual mouth, stj. Just to add on to the above, much of what Bruce was talking about comes directly from Chinese philosophy, which views the world in terms of tensions between opposites/poles rather than in absolutes. In the West we tend to have a manichean, "black-and-white" way of thinking and even speaking. For example- Love, Justice, Good, Evil, and Truth; in the West these are all absolutes. This has to do even with our language- English (and most Western languages) are Subject-Object languages, where as Chinese, I have been told, is more process-oriented.

    Anyway, the paradox that Bruce creates when he says "To change with change is the changeless state." is actually something that Chinese philosophers have been saying for a long, long time.
  10. thepunisher

    thepunisher Banned Banned

    Where did you find this quote ? Just curious concerning the translation. Is there an original german one with it ?

  11. jroe52

    jroe52 Valued Member

    maybe his jeet kun do book? awesome quotes on every page

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