"Take what is useful and discard the rest."
Famous quote by Bruce Lee.
First I want to say that when we talk about Bruce Lee, people tend to fall into two categories. Those who say, nah, he's not that good, Tony Jaa is better, or something like this. And then there are those that say, Bruce Lee was and will always be the best, even if he had no legs he would still beat God! It's important not to fall into either one of these two extreme point of views.
To me Bruce Lee was a man who had enormous talent, great success, and influenced the world greatly. In his martial arts journey, his point of view as with any other human being changes. He wasn't always awesome.
When he said, take what is useful and discard the rest, to me this goes against the true way.
Simply because it sounds like a selfish statement. You see true martial arts is not about taking.
When I was young and dumb, I did exactly that, I researched styles and played Dr. Frankenstein to create my ultimate style.
As good as I thought I was at the time, I was still a young pup.
How can a beginner know what is good quality, what is important, what is best? The answer is they don't.
And now at the age of 35 I can say that the answer to those things is that there is no best. And there is only preference. And whether something is useful or not comes down to how much hard work you've put into it, meaning, anything can become useful.
So this particular quote made famous by Bruce Lee to me is not a good quote, but in my arrogant, angry, and brash youth, I was able to identify with it. And that is why Bruce Lee was probably so popular because you could identify to him, you wanted to identify with him. But over time I had to pay the price. I suffered a lot of injuries because I fought challenge matches. I lost a lot of friends and training partners because I thought I was so awesome, basically becoming a tyrant. And it also affected my normal life, because I had become a jerk. And then I had to take a cold long hard look at myself and then change myself, which is not a bad thing, because I think martial arts at a low level is just getting some skill. At a higher level it's about getting a mirror and looking at it, seeing the truth of yourself, and then have the courage and strength to change your personality for the better.