The Origin and Development of "Personal Liberation"


I began training in Bruce Lee's martial art of Jeet Kune Do in 1973, at the age of seventeen and a half. At first, like most of the other students, I was primarily interested in the physical aspects of the art. I wanted to learn how to do the things Lee was able to do, such as stopping a three-hundred pound heavy bag dead in its tracks with a single kick, or reach an opponent standing ten feet away with a finger jab before that person could even react. However, as my training progressed, my knowledge and understanding grew, and I realized that there was more to Lee's art than simply the physical component. What made Jeet Kune Do truly unique and different from any other martial art was the underlying philosophical foundation upon which the art itself was built. The central or "core" theme of this philosophy was self-actualization and liberation of body, mind, and spirit through greater self-knowledge. Non-restrictive and non-limiting by design, it was a fluid, all-encompassing philosophy that allowed an individual to deal effectively and efficiently not only with combat, but also, and perhaps even more important, with life.

Lee's philosophy touched a place in my soul and lit a fire which has never been doused. The mental and spiritual aspects of the art became equally as important to me as the physical component. One of my primary objectives became to develop my knowledge and understanding of the philosophical principles and thought processes Lee synthesized and used. In addition to training in the physical aspects of JKD, I spent countless hours investigating and researching the various sources that informed Lee in his process of intellectual growth and development. Through my friendship and affiliation with Bruce's widow, Linda Lee Cadwell, as well as my teacher, Dan Inosanto, my close friend, John Little, and many of Lee's personal assistants, students and friends, I was privileged to have access to a tremendous amount of Lee's material, including his library of over 2500 books and his personal writings. Through my research and study (not only of Lee's material but also the sources where much of the material originated) I came to fully understand how Bruce Lee's thinking processes empowered him and enabed him to actualize his full potential.

Utilizing and building upon the philosophical "framework" that had taken root in my being gave me the freedom to stand on my own two feet as an individual and find out things for myself rather than simply taking things on blind faith or simply because someone else said it was so. It gave me the courage and confidence to try new things, to explore my capabilities. Through direct application of the principles I had learned and integrated I was able to discover certain talents I didn't know I had. As a result, I was able to write four books on martial art training, write and produce three series of training dvds, pen numerous articles for martial magazines, work as a consultant for profesional sports teams, and even choreograph fight action sequences for film and television.

I decided to make it my mission to share with as many people as possible the philosophical principles and thinking processes that helped Bruce Lee become the the self-actualized person he was, and help them to understand how, by integrating these principles and thinking processes into their own life, they can develop the ability to overcome obstacles, deal effectively with challenges they may face, and realize their innate potential in all aspects of their life. Building upon the core tenets of Lee's approach to living and utilizing the principle of "absorb what is useful," I have drawn from many diverse sources in developing Personal Liberation.

"Personal Liberation," the name I chose to put to the material I teach and share, comes from an inscription in a stone book that lies atop Bruce Lee's resting place, which reads, "Your inspiration continues to guide us toward our personal liberation." In the same way that Bruce Lee inspired me to chart a course toward my own personal liberation, my goal is to do the same for others.

In the Spirit of Personal Liberation,

Chris


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