This Week with ECJKD: Bruce Lee & The Stoics

Exploring the Stoic Undercurrents in Bruce Lee's Legacy

In our Youtube video this week we examined the parallels between Bruce Lee's martial arts philosophy and Stoic thought. Bruce Lee was a voracious reader and thinker whose personal library contained thousands of diverse philosophical texts. Although he did not directly cite Stoic philosophers, his teachings often resonate with Stoic principles.

Bruce Lee's Philosophical Insights

Bruce Lee’s approach to martial arts was deeply philosophical, focusing on personal mastery and the essence of self-expression. "Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own," Lee advised, emphasizing the Stoic value of using only what serves you in the pursuit of excellence.

Stoic Echoes in Jeet Kune Do

Jeet Kune Do promotes flexibility, efficiency, and a minimalist approach, reflecting Stoic practices. Stoicism teaches the importance of adaptability and focusing only on what is within our control, a theme evident in JKD, “Be formless, shapeless, like water.” This advice encourages a responsiveness to life that is strikingly Stoic in nature.

Bruce Lee's call to "Hack away at the inessentials," closely mirrors Seneca’s idea that "It is not the man who has too little, but the man who craves more, that is poor." Both philosophies advocate for a life stripped of superfluities, focusing on the essentials that truly enrich our lives and craft.

Connect with Us

Dive deeper into this topic and explore more about the connection between Bruce Lee’s philosophy and Stoicism in our latest YouTube video. We also invite you to experience the principles of both philosophies firsthand at our group classes in LA, held Tuesday and Thursday from 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM. Your first class is free, and if you bring a friend that signs up for a month, you’ll receive a free month yourself. Learn more about our class on our website here.

This exploration of Bruce Lee's approach and Stoic philosophy is a reminder to ask yourself if what you’re doing in any given moment is necessary. And if it is, to do it as if it’s the last thing you’ll do.