Bruce Lee is a hero of mine. He has been since my youth.
The guy was a work horse. He was a philosopher. He was a fighting machine. Determined and focused, Lee was an expert at his craft, a true artist.
When Bruce Lee first began martial arts he was taught Wu Tai Chi Chuan by his father. After joining a Hong Kong street gang and wanting to improve his fighting technique he studied Wing Chun Kung Fu under legendary grandmaster, Yip Man.
Bruce also became an excellent dancer (a Cha-Cha dancing champ). He added traditional Western boxing to his martial resume and sent a fair share of boxers home after knocking them out. Lee also took up fencing; learning from his brother – a champion in the sport. He went on to study Choy Li Fut, Judo, Praying mantis Kung Fu, Hsing-I, and Jujitsu. This varied background led Bruce to personally modify his Wing Chun Kung Fu base and when he opened his first martial arts school in Seattle it was under the name Lee Jun Fan Gung Fu.
“Absorb what is useful, Discard what is not, Add what is uniquely your own.”
Did he stop there? Of course not. This is the point of my post. Bruce Lee was constantly improving and refining his techniques. In a quest to become a better martial artist, teacher, philosopher, and human being and to attain a more realistic martial system he got away from certain forms and traditions and added more fluid and beneficial movements. He created Jeet Kune Do (The way of the Intercepting Fist) a realistic and applicable martial art philosophy.
Bruce’s emphasis was on, “practicality, flexibility, speed, and efficiency.”
How I wish more dog trainers/behaviorists/vets would have the same emphasis and work the same way with their methods! Instead, what I often find are “professionals” who use methods based in either way too much excitement (treats, treats, treats) which is not nature’s way or, on the other end of the spectrum, entirely too many leash-pop corrections, allegedly “alpha” rolls, and zapping with shock collars!
The majority of pros sadly do not take into account the individual personality, energy levels, and capacity of the dog or pup at the exact moment of time in training or in social settings! They seem to seldom consider what is most important to Mother Nature and to dogs and instead just plow forward with what is popular or what has been taught them by another human being or what they claim is their method. Bruce Lee had to deal with this stuff all the time because the major schools of martial arts in his day all claimed their style was the best.
A simple Google search will reveal the ridiculousness and arguments streaming in from differing trainers about “positive” or “negative” training methods. BOTH sides have little to no flexibility in their dogmas! How foolish to waste energy being concerned with either method particularly when our dogs are not concerned in the least about those categories. Dogs, unlike humans, are not thinking on positive or negative terms. They are free from that human garbage and are content with basic survival needs. And, by the way, dogs do, in fact, correct each other but it is always for the benefit of the group AND for the benefit of the individual being corrected or addressed and in order to control the energy levels so fights don’t break out and their adjustment or correction is used only to calm the individual down. It is parental and if done properly (which is rare among trainers) works wonderfully.
“Don’t waste yourself.” (is a quote from Enter the Dragon – I teach owners and dogs to save their energy not waste it!)
If one examines the dog training books and info we discover these are hardly better (many lacking in practicality, good results, and efficiency). Most training or dog behavior books are either much too treat/bribery oriented and ultra simplistic or, on the other end, are way too many wasted words and filled with ridiculous mental gymnastics that lose most readers. The methods and meaning in these mainstream dog training manuals then become lost to the general public and are usually devoid of direct solutions! Don’t worry, folks, I am have my own books readily available wherever books are sold! (Dog Myths: What you Believe about dogs can come back to Bite You! and So Long Separation Anxiety will help any reader on the path to healthy relationship and better behavior with their pooch.)
“Simplicity is the last step of art. Simplicity is the key to brilliance.”
Today Bruce Lee is considered by many to be the founder of modern mixed martial arts and the greatest martial artist of all time because of his combining of styles and his search to have no style except the one that works best for the individual practitioner and for the situation at hand. Lee yearned to be free and to teach others to be free of the rigidity and countless parameters of the varying fighting styles.
Bruce Lee has changed the world. I strive to follow Lee’s freeing footsteps and ideals in the dog whispering, training and behavioral modification world. Bruce Lee was right. We should all learn with an open and curious mind – it will sure help your dog!
“If you always put limits on what you can do, physical or anything else, it’ll spread over into the rest of your life. It’ll spread over into your work, into your mortality, into your entire being. There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
Be like water my friends!