Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Philosophy of Bruce Lee and Chess

 The late Bruce Lee is my childhood idol. I saw all his movies all of them more than once. I remember the day I saw Fist of Fury in the theatre. The next day I went again and the day after that. All in, I saw that movie seven times when it was first released.

The following article is published on Cyberprimo and I am translating it into English here with his permission.

The Philosophy of Bruce Lee and Chess

When I think of Bruce Lee what comes to mind was that peculiar cry before launching one of his famous side kick or  spectacular one inch punch .

Bruce Lee was a before and after the martial arts, his legend is still there to this day and inspiration continues to guide many people through his philosophy of Jeet Kune Do.

Bruce Lee saw his principles of Jeet Kune Do in Taoist philosophy, the relationship of yin and yang. Jeet Kune Do really is philosophy in action. Bruce felt that for people to grow and evolve, they should get to know themselves through the medium of their choice: dance, music, art or martial arts.

In this post I want to show how it relates to the philosophy of Bruce Lee Chess. And while one is physical and one intellectual, the two focus on the Art of Attack and Defense.

Chess is an ancient game that holds many mysteries and truths that amaze anyone, is related to almost anything that is present in our lives.

"If you follow the classical models, these comprising the routine, the tradition, the shadows, but you're not understanding yourself." - Bruce Lee

It's funny that before Bobby Fischer chess legend and world champion in 1972, followed this philosophy and applied it in their style of play. He was against any opening theory and book, creating his own brand Chess 960 for explanation. For Fischer chess was an art and more than that, as he said in his famous phrase: "Chess is like life, is life itself."

But aside from the rebellion against the system, forms the philosophy of Bruce and Jeet Kune Do is much more to offer us Chess and daily life.

Bruce Lee understood the false divide that so often catches students of Taoism, the false division to recognize the Yin and Yang as opposites, rather than as complements. The Tao is the path undivided.

We live in a dual world: the Yin and Yang, the day and night, good and evil, man and woman, white and black pieces of a chessboard. These dualities are complementary and form a unified whole, as one and zero binary system form the basis of computing and its applications.

"The truth is the relationship with the opposite, constantly in motion, alive, never static." - Bruce Lee

As we saw before the main mistake is to understand the Yin and Yang as opposites, and not as accessories, as part of a whole. In Chess is common among beginners make a division of roles according to the colors, white for the active role (attack) and black to the passive role (Defense).

We forget that Yin (Attack) and Yang (Defence) are two complementary forces in ceaseless interaction of movement. Strategies should be flexible and adapt to circumstances.

"When the opponent expands, I contract I. When he contracts, I expand. And when there is a chance, I do not hit, the blow is given by itself." - Bruce Lee

I remember as a child hearing this phrase: "It is soft but not docile. Firm but not hard, "I wondered, what does that mean? Now I understand, everything in this world is connected. There is no light without darkness.

Bruce did not believe in learning by accumulation, but believed that the greatest form of mastery was the simplicity of "iron out the inessential." In chess this rule applies who increased their level of play.

The Economy Moves Bruce Lee tells us we set specific objectives and highly effective combinations, so will result in energy savings. Have to use common sense in Chess and in Life. Why spend time in five moves if you can get the same result by two. Rapid and efficient development of the pieces as suggested by Capablanca, World Chess Champion in 1921.

"If you love life, do not waste time, time life is made." - Bruce Lee

In Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee pays close attention to the Central Line, this refers to an imaginary line which is right in the center of our body. The theory is to exploit, dominate and control the opponent's centerline. All attacks and defenses are designed to protect you own line in the center and to open the line of the opponent.

The three guidelines for centerline are:

- He who controls the centerline will control the fight.
- Protect and maintain your own centerline while you control and blow up your opponent.
- Check occupying the center line.

Impressive is the similarity with the techniques of chess, it might seem that the text was taken from a book of chess strategy, but it is the philosophy and application of Jeet Kune Do by Bruce Lee. In ending I want to leave one of his last words, which I consider one of the best of Bruce Lee.

"Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless, like water. You put water into a cup it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or drip or crash. Be water my friend. "

Note by Jimmy: The above words were actually part of Bruce Lee's lines on an episode of the American TV series Longstreet where Bruce appeared. I think this episode was aired in Malaysia sometime in  1972. Bruce also appeared in other famous detective series like Ironside and Marlowe

The original Longstreet clip is here


Captain Planet said...

Duo Xie Liao... Impressive.. Glad That You Share It Sir...

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