07. Dharma "Initiative"

07. Dharma "Initiative"

Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee taking forceful initiative against enemies.
"Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one's potential."

-- Bruce Lee

Born to a poor family in San Francisco's China Town in 1940, Bruce Lee built himself into a cultural icon through his work as an actor, martial artist and philosopher. Initiative was one of Bruce Lee's greatest strengths. It drove him to develop his mind and physical being to their fullest potential, which ultimately became his trademark.

Bruce Lee's innate inner drive is captured through his quote, "...since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth." As a child growing up in Hong Kong, Bruce Lee took it upon himself to expand and grow as a person. He never stopped pushing himself. When he was 18, his growth was taken to a new level when he emigrated to the United States and found vast opportunities in the relatively undeveloped field of martial arts. Bruce Lee recognized the exclusionary rules for teaching martial arts during that period of time, mainly the fact that Chinese or Japanese instructors could only teach to Chinese or Japanese students, capped the potential for the growth of martial arts internationally.

Initiative was taken to change the system of teaching martial arts at that time because he thought, "...the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one's potential." Bruce Lee thought reaching one's potential is the function of "a quality human being", regardless of national origin. He developed his own style of martial arts known as Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist). It was a combination of all other forms of martial arts. He removed the rigid boundaries that were constructed over time through traditions passed down in Chinese and Japanese martial arts and substituted in a more fluid approach towards self defense. Much controversy surrounded his style of martial arts but was ultimately accepted after demonstrating its effectiveness.

A lifetime of initiative drove Bruce Lee to fight against preconceived notions of what is accepted as one's potential, which is noted today as one of his greatest gifts to humanity.