“Walk on.” There’s a story behind this famous quote. In 1969, Bruce severely injured his back during a routine training session because he didn’t warm up properly. He was told he could never practice martial arts again and may never walk normally. Devastated by this news, Bruce became a researcher of his injury, his body and ultimately created his own path to healing. The journey was long and there were many ups and downs. At one point he took one of his business cards and wrote “Walk on” on the back. He put this card where he could see it to remind him every day to move forward with his recovery. No matter what anyone else said, he would always “Walk on."
It is from this year-long recovery period that produced much of Bruce Lee’s writing. Since he was confined to his bed, Bruce would read and write constantly to stay active.
In one of his writings Bruce says:
“Whether I like it or not, circumstances are thrust upon me, and being a fighter at heart, I sort of fight it in the beginning. But soon realize that what I need is not inner resistance and needless conflict, rather by joining forces to readjust, I need to make the best of it.”
“Walk on and leave behind all the things that would dam up the inlet or clog the outlet of experience.”
Later when writing to a friend about his back injury:
“But with every adversity comes a blessing because a shock acts as a reminder to oneself that we must not get stale in routine.”
It’s not the situation that’s the problem. It’s how you react to it.
Bruce Lee used Buddhism’s Eight-fold path in relation to martial arts, but Shannon believes her father also used this path to design his recovery.
“You must see clearly what is wrong. You must decide to be cured. Speak so as to aim at being cured. You must act. Your livelihood must not conflict with your therapy. The therapy must go forward at the staying speed. You must feel it and think about it incessantly. And learn how to contemplate with the deep mind.”
“Walk On” is an action phrase. Here’s how you can take action with what we discussed this week:
Think: Do you have a phrase that you use that helps you? Or what could be a phrase that you can create that can help you with whatever you are struggling with right now?
Please share your phrases with us, we’d love to hear from you. Share via social media with the hashtag #BruceLeeMoment
#AAHA (Awesome Asians and Hapas)
This week's #AAHA shout-out goes to actress Constance Wu, currently on the TV show “Fresh Off the Boat.” Recently, she ignited a Twitter-storm in response to the news of Matt Damon being cast in a movie called “The Great Wall” which is about China’s Great Wall. Constance starts off strong: “We have to stop perpetuating the racist myth that only a white man can save the world. It’s not based in actual fact. Our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon. They look like Malala. Ghandi. Mandela.” Read her full tweet here. Bruce Lee was a huge advocate for casting people of color in leading roles and did not believe that America would only accept White lead characters. Thank you Constance for speaking truth and being awesome!
This week we have an email from a fan named Bryon Yu:
Hi my name is Byron from San Diego, CA. I've been listing to your podcast for a few days now and it's been very inspirational. It's awesome that you focus on Bruce Lee's philosophies, because there truly is more to him than the martial arts he's known for.
As a Chinese-American, I've always struggled with finding the balance between the culture I am born into and the culture I am born from. And hearing how one of the most famous Chinese-Americans thinks definitely helps me puts things into perspective. Perhaps it's not so important to find a defined middle path, but to simply walk the path you believe is good and right.
Thank you Shannon, Sharon, and the podcast team for doing this!