The following is excerpted from the book: The Tao of Gung Fu: A study in the way of Chinese martial art by Bruce Lee, John Little
Question: What is the best way for a person to learn Chinese Gung Fu?
Bruce Lee: By being himself. The main thing is teaching a man to just do his thing, just be himself. The individual is more important than the style. If a person is awkward, he should not try to be agile. I’m against trying to impose a style on a man. This is an art, an expression of a man’s own self.
Do we need more than basics?
Question: I am training with a Chinese instructor who drills us again and again on basics – like side kicks, straight punching, etc. When we spar, we are instructed to use only his chosen basic techniques, though sometimes we can use combinations and everything. Do you not think we need variety?
Bruce Lee: The best techniques are the simple ones done correctly. And in martial art, it is not how much you have learned, but how much you have absorbed in what you have learned (italics are mine). As long as the basics are on meaningful means that will lead to the ultimate end of actual application in broken rhythm, they are never wasted. Efficient basics are like the strong foundation of a house. Of course, one must avoid basics that have the “aliveness” taken out of them and are “performed” in rhythmic routines. Have patience, my friend. I’m sure your teacher knows what he is doing.
On the need for belts in the martial arts
Question: Most proficient karate people have black belts. Some really advanced masters have red belts. You’ve been called a master of martial art, so what color belt do you have?
Bruce Lee: I don’t have any belt whatsoever. That is just a certificate. Unless you can really do it – that is, defend yourself successfully in a fight – that belt doesn’t mean anything. I think it might be useful to hold your pants up, but that’s about it.