What is it about a man like Bruce Lee that has made him a martial arts legend? While the fancy stunts of Jackie Chan and Jet Li provide us with heart stopping entertainment, most of these feats employ the use of trick photography, strings and trampolines. What is so intriguing about Bruce Lee is that the man was real and so were his martial arts. Regardless of who comes and goes at the box office, there will never be another Bruce Lee.
Bruce Lee’s Fighting Method: Basic Training was released by Bruce’s wife, Linda Lee Caldwell, in 1977. During his lifetime, Bruce was hesitant to publish his training material because he wanted to avoid people learning from his books and then misleading the public into believing that were personally trained by him. It is important when reading Basic Training not to get sidetracked by the antiquated training equipment. These photographs were taken in the late 60’s and do not depict what we modern day martial artists are used to by today’s standards. What does require your attention is his training philosophy and the means by which you may improve your overall body conditioning. While following his training guidelines will not turn you into another Bruce Lee, you will improve your skill and fitness level if you put in the effort.
One of the key ingredients to being able to handle yourself on the streets is good physical conditioning. It is also important to master simple, effective strikes that may be accessed during a time where adrenaline is flooding your body and clouding your mind. It is in these moments that simple is best. All the fancy, rehearsed combinations fly out the window. This book prepares you for that reality.
Basic Training wastes no time in getting to the heart of Bruce Lee’s training philosophy. Chapter One launches into the importance of increasing your aerobic endurance and then proceeds to show you how. This is followed by Chapter Two, entitled The On-Guard Position. A detailed discussion of the importance of maintaining a proper on-guard stance also includes an analysis of classical fighting stances and how many of them hinder efficient defensive movement. Correct body alignment and the importance of maintaining proper balance is also addressed in this chapter. Basic Training then logically proceeds to developing proper footwork in Chapter Three. Bruce Lee’s evasion principles are introduced as they show martial artists how to get out of the way of an attack.
The next two chapters look at power and speed and how to achieve both with the use of training equipment. Bruce Lee’s famous one-inch punch is discussed in Chapter 4 and readers are taught that generating such awesome power requires the coordination of everything from the right way to make a fist, to the proper way to pivot your hip. Using the hands and legs to strike objects like air shields, heavy bags, focus mitts and the makiwara is also demonstrated. Speed Training talks about the importance of building lightening speed without giving your technique away to your opponent. Bruce Lee learned about the importance of not “telegraphing” by observing the art of fencing.
Since opening his doors in 1979, Calasanz has sold over 1,000 copies of Basic Training. “This book inspired and helped me realize the depth of Bruce Lee’s skill,” says Calasanz. “He wasn’t a tournament fighter who fought for a fancy plastic trophy. Bruce Lee was someone who could survive on the streets.” Without degrading or upgrading any particular style of martial arts, Bruce Lee trained intelligently, dispensing techniques that were impractical for street survival. Bruce Lee’s methods are useful to any martial arts practitioner regardless of their chosen style and our students are still adhering to his training philosophy in the new millennium.
Basic Training does indeed get to the heart of its title. This classic is easy to understand, logically sequenced and fundamentally sound. Bruce Lee’s legacy lives on because he was …REAL…in all respects.
Calasanz Martial Arts and Fitness
507 Westport Ave,Norwalk CT06851