“Board Don’t Hit Back”…But Bruce Lee Used Them Anyway!

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“boards don’t hit back” Bruce Lee


Is this all you can come up with? Why don’t you look at the picture on page 38 of the book entitled Jeet Kune Do: Bruce Lee’s Commentaries on the Martial Way, by Bruce Lee and John Little and tell me what is Bruce Lee doing in the picture? Breaking boards. Or why don’t you pick up a copy of Bruce Lee: The Incomparable Fighter, by M. Uyehara, turn to page 29 and read. What does Bruce Lee talk about in detail? Breaking boards. What did Bruce Lee use to demonstrate his one-inch punch? Boards. What about his one-finger board breaks? Boards again. Photographs and footage of Lee also include him using heavy bags, speed bags, kicking shields, oh and of course the wooden dummy, none of which can “hit back.” Do we throw all of these training aids into the garbage just because they can’t “hit back?” Calasanz wanted his Super Break to be different from the multiple breaks that he had been seeing in martial arts tournaments. Usually someone stands over a pile of bricks, boards or cinder blocks and stares at them before finally delivering he final blow with a fist, elbow or foot. Instead, Calasanz would first perform a kata and then use some of the basics from the kata in a 30-minute, non-stop breaking session. Part of it was to demonstrate his stamina, which is crucial in martial arts, especially for fighters. The other reason for Super Break was to entertain audiences who enjoyed the martial arts. So while the quote about boards not “hitting back” is attributed to Lee, it seems that when it was convenient for him to further his career through demonstrations, he had no problem with board breaking. Aren’t other martial artists free to do the same?

4 thoughts on ““Board Don’t Hit Back”…But Bruce Lee Used Them Anyway!

  1. when bruce said “boards dont hit back” he was trying to get people to not focus so much on hitting a board as though you are hitting a person. breaking provides you with knowledge of your range and proper snap, but its useless if that power cant be applied realistically

  2. Bruce Lee didn’t say “Boards don’t hit back.” His CHARACTER IN A MOVIE said it. It’s pure fiction anyway, every action has an equal and opposition reaction, regardless. So yes, they all hit back.

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