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sensei8
KF Sensei
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14498
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sat Oct 03, 2015 5:15 pm    Post subject: The Incomplete Point!! Reply with quote

For grins and giggles, if for no other reason(s)...

Don't you hate it when someone starts to provide a point, yet, they take a left turn away from the point with some other point? Well, I do...drives me batty...real batty!

Here we are, 42 years later, and there's still this one unfinished point that's driving me super batty. I mean come on...I seem to be unable to let it go.

Let's go back 42 years to this event, and see if I can get through this together; I'm seeking your help because I just can't let it go!!

Two men are sitting, talking and drinking tea. They're in a quaint, yet peaceful garden, with the birds chirping away; it's day. Another young man approaches them, one of these men, excuses himself from the table, to join the young man..."It's Lao's time."

The meet, then they bow to each other!

This is the conversation between them two...

"Kick me. Kick me."

Lao kicks!

"What was that? An exhibition? We need emotional content. Try again."

Lao kicks again!

"I said emotional content, NOT ANGER! Now try again, with meaning."

Lao kicks again; the two, if only for a very brief moment, engage one another!

"That's it. How did it feel to you?"

"Let me think."

"Don't think. Feel. It is like a finger pointing away to the moon"

[[Tap on top of the head]]

"Don't concentrate on the finger or you'll miss all that heavenly glory. Do you understand?"

Lao smiles, and bows, incorrectly, in which he is reprimanded for, as well. Their session's over.

Those two, Master and student, were Mr. Lee and Lao, from the blockbuster movie, "Enter The Dragon"!

Fine! The lessons over! Lao had his lesson! Nonetheless, there's still one small thing left unaddressed. That's the incomplete and unfinished point by Mr. Lee...that point can be found above in the bold type above.

Mr. Lee's original point was stopped when Mr. Lee reprimanded Lao for staring blankly at Mr. Lee's pointing finger. At that moment, Mr. Lee went on about "concentrate", "finger", "miss", and "heavenly glory", and for me, that was like taking an unplanned left turn to wherever going somewhere.

"It is like a finger pointing away to the moon."

OK!?

Just HOW is it like a finger pointing away to the moon? Why is the finger pointing away to the moon?

What is WHAT like?

Why does it have to be a finger?

Mr. Lee was about to make a valid point, otherwise, he'd never have said what he started to say, unless he's prone to babbling and rambling, and I doubt that he is.

I feel as though I was left in an unbridled quagmire of confusion!! Just what point was Mr. Lee GOING TO MAKE at that moment, and why did he say what he said, to only be turned away toward another point?? Both points seem to fit with one another, but they also, imho, seem to be separate from one another.

"It is like a finger pointing away to the moon" HOW SO?? I suppose I'm truly a carrot-stick type of a person; can be lead so easily! How was Mr. Lee going to complete that pointed point??

What was THAT point? Incomplete that it was, imho, just what was it?? Not the second point, but the first point?? I might've been changed in ways that can only be imagined! Ways that might've improved my MA betterment beyond anyway I could ever dreamed about.

This drives me CRAZY!! Both the forest AND the trees are in the way of each other at the same time!!

Aaarrgggghhhhh!

Your thoughts, please!!



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DWx
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2015 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's just a film. Purposely scripted that way to make Lee seem like the mysterious all-knowing Kung-fu master.

I've always taken what he said as meaning don't concentrate on what's in front of you otherwise you'll miss the bigger picture... so don't concentrate on the kick but see the fight as a whole... Bit cryptic but like I said it's supposed to make Lee seem like a master.
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sensei8
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Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2015 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't believe that Bruce just did anything; movie or not. Seems to me that he always had some type of deep meaning/lesson to pass onto the viewer, MAist or not.

I agree that what Bruce was teaching was to see the whole picture, and not just a small picture.

I'm simple minded, because 42 years later, I STILL want to know what COULD'VE he added to "It's like a finger pointing away to the moon", and as I've stated, the entire direct and indirect point was fully made. As a student of the MA...what is it like? What is what like?

I agree, that his incomplete point, as I've labeled it to be, was the preamble of the entire point. Maybe my OCD, won't let it rest, and wants to know...what is it like and what is what like?

It is like a finger pointing away to the moon....and...now...oh, never mind...I forgot what I was going to say because you were just staring at my finger, and not paying attention to anything else but my dumb finger.



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Kai-M
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Joined: 08 Dec 2015
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Styles: Shotokan Karate, Aikido, Aikijujutsu

PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Sensei8,

Are you still there? I can see this thread is a couple of months old, but only just found it.

I don’t think it is a random “Left turn” at all actually. I think the scene flows perfectly; and when he talks about the finger pointing at the moon, Bruce Lee is explaining the relationship between the “omote” side of our art (the kick itself as a physical movement; the finger pointing at the moon); and the “ura” side (the “emotional content” of the kick; the heavenly glory of the moon).

(Please note that I’m using these terms in their general philosophical sense, not as they are often applied to different types of bunkai.)

Bruce Lee is referring to a classic Buddhist metaphor: “Always remember, truth cannot be said, it can be shown. It is a finger pointing to the moon. All words are just fingers pointing to the moon, but don’t accept the fingers as the moon. The moment you start clinging to the fingers – that’s where doctrines, cults, creeds, dogmas, are born – then you have missed the whole point. The fingers were not the point; the point was the moon” – Osho

In a martial arts context, you could take this as referring to becoming overly obsessed with “technique”. In other words, we learn technique, and of course that’s essential, but it’s not our ultimate goal. There is profundity and the potential for deep / primeval / visceral / emotional learning within the martial arts which go way beyond technique or language.

The techniques are just hints or pointers to get us there – just as words can point us toward the divine but are not divine in themselves – just as the finger can point us to the moon but is not the moon itself.

So I believe he is applying this metaphor in this case to illustrate the point he is trying to make to Lao, about emotional content. Our heads are so full of words and thoughts. But when you let go of these and connect with silence, the experience of the body, and emotion, we can start to access our “true self” and a different level of healing and growth. Learning a martial art can be an ideal way to access this state.

Taisen Deshimaru says, “In Zen as in Budo, we must achieve direct, immediate unity with the truth of the cosmos. Our thinking must think beyond our personal consciousness, with our body and not just our brain. Think with the whole body”.

So I believe that Bruce Lee is using this metaphor to teach his student about:

- Learning to access your body's own wisdom, which means sometimes letting go of words and mental "thinking".
- Training with intent at ALL times, never just going through the motions.
- Truly connecting with your partner / opponent, not just focusing on your own technique as you experience it. This is the principle of aiki (as in aikido, aikijujutsu), where we learn to harmonise with the attacker


Last edited by Kai-M on Mon Dec 14, 2015 7:41 am; edited 2 times in total
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Kai-M
White Belt
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Joined: 08 Dec 2015
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Styles: Shotokan Karate, Aikido, Aikijujutsu

PostPosted: Sun Dec 13, 2015 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again

sorry for double-posting to your thread

I couldn't stop thinking about your question, so had a look around online. Found this really helpful quote in an article called, "The Science of Footwork" by Ted Wong (to be fair I found it because it was cited in a thread on Martial Arts Planet where someone had asked what Bruce Lee meant by "emotional content")

"Bruce always stressed emotional content or intensity in the execution of one’s techniques. Learn to react not plan. Let it flow from within. Personally, I had a real problem with this in my early years of training with Bruce. Often he would look at me and say "Ted, you lack a killer instinct," meaning that I wasn’t able to summon enough pure anger or violent energy from within when I performed my techniques. I’ve learned however that "killer instinct" is hard to switch on or off like a light switch, it is largely a situational reaction to you circumstances.

Based on the degree of self-knowledge I’ve obtained, thanks to Bruce Lee’s teachings, I know now that I do possess "killer instinct" in abundance. And that should I ever need it, it’s there. The key is to maintain a clear mind that is unobstructed by thoughts or concerns. Your reaction must be pure and honest and, If the intent is expressed honestly, your opponent will be in serious trouble."
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sensei8
KF Sensei
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14498
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kai-M wrote:
Dear Sensei8,

Are you still there? I can see this thread is a couple of months old, but only just found it.

I don’t think it is a random “Left turn” at all actually. I think the scene flows perfectly; and when he talks about the finger pointing at the moon, Bruce Lee is explaining the relationship between the “omote” side of our art (the kick itself as a physical movement; the finger pointing at the moon); and the “ura” side (the “emotional content” of the kick; the heavenly glory of the moon).

(Please note that I’m using these terms in their general philosophical sense, not as they are often applied to different types of bunkai.)

Bruce Lee is referring to a classic Buddhist metaphor: “Always remember, truth cannot be said, it can be shown. It is a finger pointing to the moon. All words are just fingers pointing to the moon, but don’t accept the fingers as the moon. The moment you start clinging to the fingers – that’s where doctrines, cults, creeds, dogmas, are born – then you have missed the whole point. The fingers were not the point; the point was the moon” – Osho

In a martial arts context, you could take this as referring to becoming overly obsessed with “technique”. In other words, we learn technique, and of course that’s essential, but it’s not our ultimate goal. There is profundity and the potential for deep / primeval / visceral / emotional learning within the martial arts which go way beyond technique or language.

The techniques are just hints or pointers to get us there – just as words can point us toward the divine but are not divine in themselves – just as the finger can point us to the moon but is not the moon itself.

So I believe he is applying this metaphor in this case to illustrate the point he is trying to make to Lao, about emotional content. Our heads are so full of words and thoughts. But when you let go of these and connect with silence, the experience of the body, and emotion, we can start to access our “true self” and a different level of healing and growth. Learning a martial art can be an ideal way to access this state.

Taisen Deshimaru says, “In Zen as in Budo, we must achieve direct, immediate unity with the truth of the cosmos. Our thinking must think beyond our personal consciousness, with our body and not just our brain. Think with the whole body”.

So I believe that Bruce Lee is using this metaphor to teach his student about:

- Learning to access your body's own wisdom, which means sometimes letting go of words and mental "thinking".
- Training with intent at ALL times, never just going through the motions.
- Truly connecting with your partner / opponent, not just focusing on your own technique as you experience it. This is the principle of aiki (as in aikido, aikijujutsu), where we learn to harmonise with the attacker

Solid post!!



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sensei8
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Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 14498
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kai-M wrote:
Hi again

sorry for double-posting to your thread

I couldn't stop thinking about your question, so had a look around online. Found this really helpful quote in an article called, "The Science of Footwork" by Ted Wong (to be fair I found it because it was cited in a thread on Martial Arts Planet where someone had asked what Bruce Lee meant by "emotional content")

"Bruce always stressed emotional content or intensity in the execution of one’s techniques. Learn to react not plan. Let it flow from within. Personally, I had a real problem with this in my early years of training with Bruce. Often he would look at me and say "Ted, you lack a killer instinct," meaning that I wasn’t able to summon enough pure anger or violent energy from within when I performed my techniques. I’ve learned however that "killer instinct" is hard to switch on or off like a light switch, it is largely a situational reaction to you circumstances.

Based on the degree of self-knowledge I’ve obtained, thanks to Bruce Lee’s teachings, I know now that I do possess "killer instinct" in abundance. And that should I ever need it, it’s there. The key is to maintain a clear mind that is unobstructed by thoughts or concerns. Your reaction must be pure and honest and, If the intent is expressed honestly, your opponent will be in serious trouble."

I suppose that I'm just going to have to live with the fact that I'll never know, not that I was suppose to know in the first place, what might've else been said/taught instead.



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DWx
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 15, 2015 5:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting thoughts Kai-M, I enjoyed reading your post.
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Kai-M
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Joined: 08 Dec 2015
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Styles: Shotokan Karate, Aikido, Aikijujutsu

PostPosted: Wed Dec 16, 2015 3:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thank you DWx
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Hawkmoon
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 18, 2015 6:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

...thanks... thanks a bunch ... now my OCD demands I watch the film again and try and discern some obscure point that is never completed..

yeah! thanks for that buddy!
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