There's a wealth of information in Bruce Lee's book, "The Tao of Jeet Kune Do" - the first time I read it, I was impressed. Now, sometime later and with better training, I'm even more impressed. Little details and nuances stick out to me.
I'd like to do a larger post looking at his philosophy sometime, but for today I want to put down something very practical. That is, you can and should incorporate movement, motion, and a basic "training" into your everyday life, no matter who you are or what your goals are.
"To become different from what we are, we must have some awareness of what we are."
That's the quote that starts the "Preliminaries" section of his book. Personally, I believe your body and mind work in harmony, and that this is inescapable. If you wish to be a scientist, philosopher, writer, or any other academic pursuit, you still need to train your physical condition. Your thoughts will be clearer, more lucid. You will have more energy and less distress. All things being equal, you'll live longer, and the years will be of higher mobility and quality of life.
"Training is one of the most neglected phases of athletics. Too much time is given to the development of skill and too little to the development of the individual for participation. Training deals not with an object, but with the human spirit and human emotions. It takes intellect and judgment to handle such delicate qualities as these."
Indeed. Training of any sort - and especially physically - helps you cultivate yourself spirit and emotions. What a magnificent quote. It takes intellect and judgment to train well. There is a terrible stereotype that physical training is not meant for thinkers, that is just the domain of men who use muscles and not their mind. This is false. Mind and body work in harmony. Training physically will help you harness and unlock more ability in your mind. The highest forms and quality of training require sharp intellect and judgment to reach.
"Training means not only knowledge of the things that will build the body, but also knowledge of the things that will tear down the body. Improper training will result in injuries. Training, then, is concerned with the prevention of injuries as well as first-aid to injuries."
Another important quote. I tried to go gung-ho macho whne I was younger, lifting heavy weight with bad form, and ripped some cartilage as a result. There was a time I could barely walk - I had do a long rehab and took massive amounts of anti-inflammatories, and I still have to be on a stretching program every single day or my legs start to hurt.
Training should be first and foremost about prevention of injuries. It's not an all or nothing affair to be jumped into - start small, light, and build up. Push your limits, but don't worry if your pace is slow - if you build habits of training and motion into your life and gradually improve, you will gradually see an increase in your health and mental ability.
The next part is a simple concept, but very insightful for me -
"Everyday opportunities for exercise
# Take a walk whenever you can - like parking the car a few blocks away from your destination.
# Avoid taking the elevator; climb the stairs instead.
# Cultivate your quiet awareness by imaging your opponent attacking you - while you are sitting, standing, or lying down, etc. - and counter the attack with various moves. Simple moves are the best.
# Practice your balance by standing on one foot to put your clothes or shoes on - or simply stand on one foot whenever you choose."
After I read that, I started consistently taking the stairs. I'm not stupid about it - if I'm going to meeting or in a hurry, I'll take the elevator. But otherwise, I take the stairs. If it's under a couple miles and I have the time, I'll walk instead of taking the subway or a taxi. If I'm at a bar or nightclub, I'll usually suggest walking home to whoever I'm with instead of taking a taxi. This gives an opportunity for good conversations as well. And I probably save $50 to $100 per year as an added benefit - saving money and getting exercise, and potentially getting in a good conversation. Win/win/win.
I'd recommend you slowly become the kind of person that loves moving and motion. I wasn't when I was younger, I liked reading books. But becoming the kind of person that loves moving and motion doesn't require a hardcore training regime. Just the opposite, actually. Start slowly building a little movement into your life - take the stairs, take the first parking spot you see even if it's far away, walk instead of taking the train, walk home instead of taking a taxi. Start adding motion and movement to your life - it'll train your mind and body.
What I recalled most from visiting Gandhi's ashram in Ahmedabad was that he cleaned the toilet too -- not just his, but public ones.
The same guy who met with the King of England.