Total Health Defense

In the process of decoding Jeet Kune Do I invented Total Health Defense. I don't mean to say Bruce wasn't all about health. I'm saying health the way we know it today is a classic "traditional mess." Like traditional martial arts were in 1967 when Bruce Lee turned things upside down and changed the world.

If you're not familiar with the "traditional mess" as Bruce calls it, let us quickly recap. In the 1960's there was no concept of MMA. It was all about traditional martial arts handed down by the Masters. Almost religious like. You would revere and follow the traditions, that was a big part of its attraction. Bruce Lee came along and made up his own martial art. This would be like going to church one day and telling the congregation you made up your own religion. Bruce did the equivalent of this at a famous 1967 martial arts convention in Long Beach, CA. He impressed half the audience and horrified the other half. Since he was able to walk the walk and talk the talk the rest is history.

I think what happened at that 1967 Long Beach convention was like a reformation for the martial arts. At that time all the arts were kind of lumped together and not all of them were about the fastest way to poke someone's eyes out. Bruce Lee inadvertently started an awareness of how they are not all the same and what each one is for. Everyone has been arguing about it ever since. The truth is the "best" martial art is the one that you made work. Isn't it the same when arguing about diet programs? All the programs in the world don't do any good if you can't make one work. Bruce used to say take what is useful discard the rest.

Take the Digital Literacy Exam

Don't study, just take it now.
Open the exam here:


What is important in life? What things will "sink the ship?"

Aristotle said:
    “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson said:
    “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

Be happy.
Be useful.

Who are you with Aristotle or Emerson? I say Aristotle. Emerson is giving me a headache. Not be happy? huh. Make a difference that you lived well? That sounds like a goal you'll never reach. Emerson says you need to be useful. That sounds like he's saying, "Keep busy, do busy work." Maybe Mr. Waldo E can't find happiness because he's chasing things randomly so of course it's endless.

Being in Usefulness is like going to the Gym. It works well but it's a waste of time. If you know how, you can go do things, and get exercise at the same time. I'm saying Useful is great and it's better than nothing but you can do better than that. Your whole life should be a Hobby, a goal. Being useful is just a Placeholder. What you want is a hobby and/or Goal. Your mind knows you are a sucker, why do stuff just to keep your mind busy? Don't fall for it. Walk on by. If all else fails make your Hobby Figuring Out what is your Hobby. Make it fun though!

Viktor Frankl said, "Our primary drive in life is not pleasure, but the discovery and pursuit of what we personally find meaningful."

Michel de Montaigne, the 16th-century philosopher, said: “My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.”  I think he means we are in our own way. I think Bruce Lee was saying this too. Get out of your own way. Typically this means meditate. Clear your mind. Calm down. Chill out. Chillax. I think we need to ramp it up for the digital era. We need be more aggressive. Back in the 16th century when philosopher Michel de Montaigne said that it probably seemed like everything was attacking you. We look back at that world and Monty Python shows us we weren't doing obvious things, as bloody peasants.. Today doing everything right is not enough. Getting out of debt used to be called progress. We need to ramp it up, we have to. Humans will get left behind or locked out.

How come we don't know how to do this? Because 900 years ago you weren't expected to know this stuff. And you didn't live long enough for it to matter. 900 years ago the definition of health was, if you survived to the weekend -you were healthy. Like try again Monday. In that analog world for ten thousand years you didn't have to worry until something attacked you. As long as you weren't being attacked you were okay. You were safe, you could light up a cigarette and relax. The better your man cave was the safer you were. A Medieval castle was really cool you could just chill out watch TV in there, you were safe. Until someone attacked then of course you had to go deal with it. Even if you were a lowly peasant you just get in your shelter you were safe.

“Every generation imagines itself to be more intelligent than the one that went before it, and wiser than the one that comes after it.”
― George Orwell 

The War On Health Pick Your Poisons

Philosophers have always been trying to describe being alive. I don't mean mindfulness or some meditative states, I mean just being here, the situation, alive today, what do you call that? We typically just say I'm alive - I'm here. In the Tao of Jeet Kune Do it's been described as "thusness" or just "is." I like to call it "situation." To defend it is to defend your self (your health). This "Health Defense" is cognitive. Not physical.

I use Jeet Kune Do for "health" defense. But it doesn’t have to be that one, or any particular style, because it's not about a style. It’s really about creating algorithms that’s the real secret. Bruce Lee went out of his way to emphasize that Jeet Kune Do is not a style. He said its a way. "Jeet Kune Do is a boat to get across the river" is actually what he said. 

If he were alive today I think Bruce would follow the Chuck Norris lead and create some sort of Health related products or equipment. I think his philosophy would evolve accordingly. I started using "health psychology" as a weapon at the same time I learned Jeet Kune Do 40 years ago. I've never heard of anyone using "fighting, weapon, and health" in the same sentence. Hand to hand combat hasn't changed much but "defending" your health has greatly changed. It's unrecognizable from 1973.

Use direct "concepts" rather than learning 500 different fancy moves or Katas. Jeet Kune Do philosophy fits perfectly with "Health Defense." How many times have we heard, "butter" is no good, but now it's good, but now it's no good? Same with sugar, eggs, milk, diet this diet that, etc. How can you keep up with every new "study" about this or that. Of course you have to keep up your base knowledge. It's better to use simple efficient defense rather than chasing every new study. Simple, straight to the point, fits every situation. Be adaptable but to the point. Be like . . . 

Jeet Kune Do is mostly associated with Kung Fu fighting. It turns out there is a huge philosophy behind Jeet Kune Do that goes way beyond fighting techniques. Where can you go to learn that? You don't pay a professional martial arts instructor good money to sit around drinking coffee discussing philosophy. Pour some coffee because that's what we're going to do here.

Bruce Lee was only 32 years old, imagine if he had another 32 years to expand his philosophy? He updated it every year. There are hints at where he was going in the future.
Total Health Defense that I'm talking about is not your grandmas notion of health. What we know of as health today is not really health. It's some sort of political economic cultural struggle with itself, it's a traditional mess. It's ready for new thinking. Bruce Lee was on the verge of a new direction when his untimely death froze his progress in 1973.

Edgard Varèse, the French composer once said, "An artist is never ahead of his time, but most people are far behind theirs." After they die we finally have an opportunity to catch up. We’re still catching up to Bruce Lee. After 1973 his fame and legend took off, without him. All based on his past. He left us an incredible legacy we're still using today. But what about his future? Here we are 50 years later, is Jeet Kune Do still in 1973? Not if I can help it. Would he still call it Jeet Kune Do today we don't know. He was using health to enhance his martial arts. I'm using martial arts to enhance my health. He was doing that but it was advice, it wasn't the goal of his $300 an hour classes that he taught. Steve McQueen, Lee Marvin, Kareem Abdul Jabar, Joe Louis, didn't train in Jeet Kune Do for that. What if it was the goal? What would such a class be like?

Back then you weren't being psychologically assaulted like we are today. Today we are fighting off psychological operations at the supermarket. Cyber assaults from social media and information brokers. You still need to know how to fight off six guys in a bar but the battlefield has changed. Pistols at dawn or knives at noon, forewarned is forearmed. The line is blurring between military and civilians. For about 10 years now we have been in global low level cyber version of WWlll and most people don't even know it. We are being attacked from the outside and assaulted from the inside.

In the John Little film interview Bruce says “To express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, to express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself—that, my friend, is very hard to do.” This concept doesn't get the attention it deserves. Was he simply talking about being able to admit to yourself your mistakes? He talked about challenging yourself examining your limitations so you will be able to overcome hardships in life. He talked about efficient communication with your self. A Navy SEAL would know exactly what this means. But what if you're not a Navy SEAL and you suck at martial arts? You're on the couch drinking a beer watching Enter The Dragon, you hate running, you hate the gym, you love unhealthy food, you can't afford Instruction or a Personal Trainer like the celebrities, then what do you do? Let's go deep in the weeds on this.

The Health and Fitness business has exploded in recent decades. You see this super fit Instructor on TV telling you selling you on getting fit. It always seemed to me there is this wide gulf or gap you could say between being in these programs and the real life most people actually lead. Like there are those on the "inside" and those on the outside. I have a friend who said he was on the South beach Diet. He said he was almost done and couldn't wait to finish it. Do you join the gym for six months and then it's over? In Jeet Kune Do you are suppose to LIVE IT not go for a few months. It's not supposed to end like a 3 month diet plan or a gym membership.

You know those people who are addicted to Running? Or someone who is ALL IN they do something to train every single day. For most of us it's something we turn ON and we turn it OFF. Bruce Lee lived it, breathed it, and got paid for it. When he said don't be like him the truth is we can't afford to! We have to go to our job every day.

I always had to work and on my time off I'm not a very committed workout sparring gym running practicing kind of guy. But I was in the Army for 40 years and they forced me to run and do all kind of @#&% things, let's call them. I hate running. But now in that kind of situation you learn quick how to "communicate" with your self because someone in your Chain of Command is pretty much threatening you! This is why most people don't want to join the Army, needless to say. Especially young people today. The military has a recruiting crisis right now. The shrinking pool of eligible candidates increasingly can't pass the Entrance Exam. With so much cool distractions today young people don't want to go be tortured in Boot Camp and beyond.

I see health out there as looked at as something you are really committed to, or you don't pay much attention to. It's a ON OFF big divide like a roadblock or a huge mountain right in your way. Remember the day President Obama passed ObamaCare, did you watch his speech?  

Combat is ultimately about defending your health is it not? In Jeet Kune Do the best defense is about offense. If you have to go to the doctor or the hospital that's not the focus that's the retreat. We really need to take things to the next level. Cognitive algorithms. We need to tap into the cognitive loop.    

Your Cognitive Loop is the FOE - Feedback of Everything