#48 “I cannot teach you, only help you to explore yourself, nothing more”

Two days ago was Bruce Lee’s birthday. He would have been 80 years old. Once a year, I watch his interview on the Pierre Burton Show around his birthday to remind myself of his sayings. He might be know as a kung fu movie superstar, but he was a true artist. Every word from the interview is gold. One thing he said was ” ultimately martial arts means honestly expressing yourself”, and this has been the guiding principle for me since I watched the interview last year. Everyone can interpret it differently, but I see it as doing things (performing and arranging) in a way that would please me the most. This might not be the best “commercial” decision, and it might not be the best “career move”, but [I think] I am slowly learning how to live and not worry about how others would judge.

A different Bruce Lee video this year has provided reassurance in one thought I hold as a teacher, or rather, a “teacher”: “I cannot teach you, only help you to explore yourself, nothing more”. This was a line from the TV show, Longstreet, in which a blind man received martial arts training from Bruce Lee (never seen the show before, just a guess from the 9-minute clip I saw). I was fortunate to have teachers who expressed the same thought at different points of my life, to frame my view of learning: when I was in my second-to-last year of high school, my beloved economics teacher Mr. Siu told the whole class that he’s not smarter than us, and he’s just a man who knows more at that moment in time, and we should know as much as he does by the time we graduate from high school (Mr. Siu was the one person who advocated me to continue education in U.S.); when I was pursuing my undergraduate in music, Professor Bruce Frank said that his job is to teach us, so that he would lose his job.

A few summers ago, I was back in Hong Kong, and attended a Bruce Lee memorial exhibition. Included in the exhibition was a newly produced hour-long documentary on the life of Bruce Lee. I have always known Bruce Lee won a Cha Cha dancing competition when he was young, but apparently he was fond of creating his own moves by mixing and matching different steps. The true master creates…

Brandon Lee- Bruce Lee’s son – also had a cool interview. I can’t say I enjoy most of the it, as the host kept asking Brandon about Bruce. It’s more about Bruce Lee than anything. True, without Bruce Lee, Brandon Lee might have a more difficult start with his career, and perhaps it was necessary to introduce Brandon Lee to the audience with as much Bruce Lee as possible during a short interview. But… I am not going to defend the show anymore. Regardless, I thought Brandon Lee did a pretty good job presenting and expressing himself, as well as protesting the promotion stunt by saying hi to his girlfriend on TV. Smart and fun.

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