Bruce Lee, 5ft 7inches, 135lbs and jam packed with energy like teenage girls at a Justin Bieber concert.
Bruce Lee was an amazing martial artist. Most of the fighters in today’s mixed martial arts scene (UFC) look up to Bruce Lee.
‘I am the biggest fan of Bruce Lee’ says Anderson Silva (Silva was once ranked as the number one fighter in the world and he is one of the greatest fighters mixed martial arts have seen).
Here’s a list of some of Bruce Lee’s amazing physical feats!
- Punch 9 times in one second.
- Spring a 75-kilo opponent 6 meters away from a punch delivered at a distance of only one-inch.
- Thrust his fingers through an unopened can of coke (back when cans were made of STEEL).
- Complete multiple reps of push-ups on just ONE thumb.
- Kick a 135-kilo boxing bag so hard that it touched the ceiling.
- Hold a 56.6kg/125lb weighted barbell out in front of him with elbows locked for several seconds.
Impressed? You should be. Those feats are very impressive still in this day and age. Especially for a 135lb man. Some people may not know but, Bruce Lee was not just a martial artist. He was also a great thinker and philosopher. His mind and thoughts were just as strong as his body (if not stronger).
There are many great lessons Bruce Lee has taught about life and training in his books and articles. The thing is that not many people take the time to understand what is being said. I was one of them.
At first, I would read his books and I would see many quotes from him. I would read these quotes and to be honest, they made about as much sense to me as an assassin with squeaky shoes. Now I realise that I never gave the quotes the thought and consideration as they were intended to arouse.
As I matured (yes, it eventually happened one day!) I re-read these books and the quotes all started to make sense. I was fed up of getting the same results all the time, so I applied these tips to my training (and my life) and sure enough, my results started to change.
Here are 8 foundational Bruce Lee tips that can change the way you train and live your life!
‘Don’t fear failure- not failure but low aim is the crime. In great attempts, it is glorious even to fail.’
When I think about this carefully, it has great meaning. Fear is the biggest dream killer around. For some reason, the fear of ‘failing’ at something makes us not want to do it. We end up aiming lower so we can avoid the disappointment of failure. Fear and doubt should not stop us from trying.
Whether you want to be a UFC fighter, professional boxer, professional bodybuilder, Olympian or professional footballer it doesn’t matter. Whatever you want to do, aim high.
You don’t want to be that old aged man or women years from now saying, ‘I could have done this or I should have done that.’ We only get one life, so do yourself a favour and aim at the top!
‘Knowing is not enough we must apply, willing is not enough we must do.’
This one’s self-explanatory but it should still be pondered upon. Knowing certain things is not enough. We must do them. Knowing how to build muscle or be a better martial artist is no use until we start to do it. Wanting or willing to lose weight, be better at sports or gain more muscle is not enough by itself. We must apply the knowledge we attain to our training/life and work hard for it to yield results.
‘If you spend too much time thinking about a thing you’ll never get it done, make at least one definite move daily towards your goal’.
What I got from this is that we shouldn’t spend too much time thinking about things. We need to spend some time thinking and planning but we need make sure we don’t procrastinate. We should all set goals and actually take the first step forward towards them goals. Lee mentions we should make one definite move towards our goals everyday.
Lose a certain amount of weight, build a certain amount of muscle, whatever your goal maybe, try to make one move everyday towards the achievement of this goal. You can learn more about goal setting and how to set goals in this post.
‘As you think, so shall you become.’
There’s a lot of science behind what we think. It is said that what we think about long enough will eventually find its way into our reality. If you want to build muscle, lose fat, be a professional sportsman you should try and think about this in your mind as often as possible. You should try to create a picture of yourself as the person you want to become.
If you train with weights try and imagine your muscles actually growing and becoming bigger and stronger. If you’re running to lose weight imagine losing the fat as you run and imagine getting healthier by each stride. If you want to be a professional boxer imagine how you would look and the life you would live if you reached your goal. Whatever your goal is, keep it in your mind and imagine it as much as possible.
‘If you love life don’t waste time, for time is what life is made of.’
Time is something that will never take a break. It’s ticking whilst we sleep, eat, train and work. Bruce Lee says, that if we love life (which hopefully you do) then don’t waste time. Wasting time = wasting your life.
Try to get the most out of your day. Organize your day, make a to-do list, plan ahead, you can even make your lunch the night before. This way you will get the most out of your time. When you start to organize and plan ahead you will be far less likely to skip a workout or eat unhealthily because everything is prepared and planned. Planning ahead will also help you be on time to meetings, work and not miss your work deadlines.
‘Be self-aware, rather than a repetitious robot.’
Sit and think carefully of how many times we do unnecessary things, just because it’s a habitual routine. We waste a lot of time doing these things. We need to be self-aware of the time we use and the repetitive things we do that are actually getting us nowhere. Here are some examples that were making me a ‘repetitious robot’ in my training.
- I would train and in between my sets, I would routinely check my phone. This wasted time in the gym and sometimes I would get a message that I then responded too. This wasted even more time.
- I would do the same exercises routinely day in and day out by a set habit. Using the same weights. I got nowhere and I didn’t even know why.
- I would practice repetitively on the boxing strikes I was comfortable with. This was because it turned into a routine and I was ‘unaware’ that I was actually wasting time by not focusing on my weaker points, which could have got me a lot further when training for all round effectiveness in martial arts.
There are many little small repetitive things I found myself doing in life that were unnecessary.
- I would always iron my clothes when I went out, even when they didn’t need ironing!
- I would constantly think why? Or how? in my mind about new things. This sent my mind thinking for long periods of time. I over analyzed things, this usually resulted in missed opportunities.
- I would have the same repetitive routine running around the house making sure I had everything packed in my bag before I was about to start a night shift at work. This took up the good part of an hour. Most of the things I never used or needed and I could have spent that time with my wife and family.
(There’s a great post written over at Zen Habits website that I read called ‘Unconventional Productivity’ that details how you can get important tasks done when your mind seems to want to wonder. I suggest you give it a read, if you find that your mind does this when it’s needed to complete important tasks).
These are just some of the habits I got stuck in, that I was repeating over and over. Bruce Lee explains we need to be self-aware. We should have an ‘awareness’ of the things we do. We need to prioritize our training and life so we don’t get stuck in blindly repeating the same things over and over when they don’t work.
‘Defeat is a state of mind; no one is ever defeated until defeat has been accepted as a reality’.
We are only ever truly defeated when we decide to give up. If we accept defeat in our mind, then that’s the end of it, we are defeated. If your goal is to lose weight and you never managed to do so then set a new goal and try again. If you decide you have been defeated and think, ‘oh well, I tried and I couldn’t do it’, well then, you have just defeated yourself.
If you try something and fail, don’t accept defeat. Learn from it and try again. If you’ve set yourself a deadline to get stronger and deadlift a certain amount of weight, but you are unable to do so by the time is up. Don’t give up. Keep training and go for it again, you will soon reach the goal you have set yourself.
‘Be happy but not content.’
We should always strive to learn more. Being content and complacent stops us from growing and learning. It stops us taking our training or our life to the next level. Once we are content we kill our drive because we think ‘we’ve made it’. We should always keep progressing and bettering ourselves. Keep getting stronger, faster, more knowledgeable whatever it is, be happy but don’t be content.
So there’s my list of Bruce Lee’s top 8 tips broken down.
Remember that these tips can be applied to anything. They are not just for training but for life as a whole.
Do you implement any of these techniques in your life? Let me know what you think in the comment section below.