Wednesday, October 31, 2018

The Double Assassination of Malcolm X

Cartoon depicting the continuous working behind the scenes of the efforts to
sabotage the civil rights era Black Empowerment movement.

Michael McGrath - Was Malcolm X gay?

Muhammad Rasheed - Despite a lot of bloggers and even some Quorans' decision to accept the "Malcolm X was gay" claims of a 2005 article published in The Guardian, I am not convinced.

Considering the nature of how the pro-Black Empowerment figures and their movements were infiltrated and destroyed, combined with how "sexual deviancy" was perceived in the mainstream, I'm wondering why these accounts by these so-called witnesses should be taken as default truths that definitively happened.
"I want to be remembered as someone that was sincere even if I made mistakes, they were in sincerity. If I was wrong, I was wrong in sincerity. I can deal with a person that's wrong, as long as they are sincere." ~Al-Hajj Malik Al-Shabazz
Even though I understand that in today's progressive political climate we of the modern day accept that homosexuality and its lifestyle should no longer be demonized, it would seem that a reasonable person should have EVERY reason to doubt the validity of these claims made about Malcolm X considering the context of what was going on around him that led not only to his assassination, but to the dismantling of the pro-Black militant groups that his life and death directly inspired. To me it seems obvious that these claims were being made as a character assassination attempt—to counter the militancy-inspiring force of his martyrdom—that is now being "cleaned up" because of our newly pro-gay political clime. I think it is short-sighted and narrow-minded to take these claims at face value, and we should be less gullible and more critical in our assessment of what is presented to us.

Matthew James - Outstanding. I couldn’t agree more.

Friday, October 26, 2018

Paying to Play Indian: The Dawes Rolls and the Legacy of $5 Indians

"Iron Eyes" Cody, the Sicilian man famous
as the publicized face of Native Americans.
The Dawes Commission, established in 1893 to enforce the General Allotment Act of 1887 (or the Dawes Act), was charged with convincing tribes to cede their land to the United States and divide remaining land into individual allotments. The commission also required Indians to claim membership in only one tribe and register on the Dawes Rolls.

Article by Alysa Landry, originally published at on 27 Mar 2017.

Paying to Play Indian: The Dawes Rolls and the Legacy of $5 Indians | Dawes rolls rife with ‘opportunistic white men’ and early appropriation

It may be fashionable to play Indian now, but it was also trendy 125 years ago when people paid $5 apiece for falsified documents declaring them Native on the Dawes Rolls.

These so-called five-dollar Indians paid government agents under the table in order to reap the benefits that came with having Indian blood. Mainly white men with an appetite for land, five-dollar Indians paid to register on the Dawes Rolls, earning fraudulent enrollment in tribes along with benefits inherited by generations to come.

“These were opportunistic white men who wanted access to land or food rations,” said Gregory Smithers, associate professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University. “These were people who were more than happy to exploit the Dawes Commission—and government agents, for $5, were willing to turn a blind eye to the graft and corruption.”

The Dawes Commission, established in 1893 to enforce the General Allotment Act of 1887 (or the Dawes Act), was charged with convincing tribes to cede their land to the United States and divide remaining land into individual allotments. The commission also required Indians to claim membership in only one tribe and register on the Dawes Rolls, what the government meant to be a definitive record of individuals with Indian blood.

The Curtis Act, passed in 1898, targeted the Five Civilized Tribes (Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek and Seminole), forcing them to accept allotments and register on the Dawes Rolls. The two acts—which came during a “period of murky social context” after the Civil War when white and black men were intermarrying with Native American women, aimed to help the government keep track of “real” Indians while accelerating efforts to assimilate Indian people into white culture, Smithers said.

“By 1865, African Americans and white Americans were moving into the Midwest, into the Indian and Oklahoma territories, all vying for some patch of land they could call their own and live out their Jeffersonian view of independence,” he said. “The federal government poured a lot of effort and energy into the Dawes Commission, but at the same time it was very hard for both Native and American governments to keep track of who was who.”

The Dawes Commission set up tents in Indian Territory, said Bill Welge, director emeritus of the Oklahoma Historical Society’s Office of American Indian Culture and Preservation. There, field clerks scoured written records, took oral testimony and generated enrollment cards for individuals determined to have Indian blood.

That included authentic Indians, Welge said. But it also included lots of people with questionable heritage.

“Commissioners took advantage of their positions and enrolled people who had very minimal or questionable connections to the tribes,” he said. “They were not adverse to taking money under the table.”

“Now we have people who are white but who can trace their names back to the rolls used by tribal nations to ascertain who has rights as citizens,” he said. “That means we have white people who have the ability to vote at large; it means political rights; it means the potential to influence tribal policy on a whole range of issues; it means people have access to health care, education and employment. The implications are quite profound for people who got away with fraud.”

On the flip side, while non-Natives paid to play Indian, many authentic Indians who didn’t trust the government chose not to register with the Dawes Rolls at all, said Gene Norris, a genealogist at the Cherokee National Historical Society. That means people with legitimate claims to tribal enrollment and the benefits are now excluded.

“Native Americans are the only racial group defined by blood,” Norris said. “Even that was arbitrary. In the 1890s, siblings who talked to different commissioners emerged with different blood quantum. Because they didn’t apply together, some of them have different blood degrees.”

In short, the Dawes Rolls forever changed the way the federal government defined Indians—and, in many cases, the way Indians still define themselves.

In 1900, one woman registered on the rolls with 1/256 Cherokee blood, Norris said. Now, some enrolled members of the Cherokee Nation have as little as 1/8,196 Indian blood.

The Dawes Rolls—even now—are a murky and “very inaccurate” gauge of Indian citizenship, he said. In the 2000 Census, the number of people claiming Cherokee ancestry was three times that of official tribal enrollment.

“That’s what happens when the federal government established the rules, not the Natives,” he said.

Smithers has no estimate of the number of people who fraudulently registered on the Dawes Rolls—or who lay false claim to Indian citizenship now. But five-dollar Indians did not represent an isolated case of appropriation.

“What we had was simply white people claiming to be Indian,” he said. “They were early wannabes, just like we have today. Five-dollar Indian is just another term for that.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

FANTASY MATCH: Jon "Bones" Jones vs "Iron" Mike Tyson

The “street fight” part doesn’t really matter. Whether it was in the ring, the Octagon or in an alley setting, both of these guys would try their best to win.  But which of the two would have the edge?

Both Jon “Bones” Jones and “Iron” Mike Tyson are gifted athletes, and when both are in their prime, fight-ready fitness state they are “bad men.” The general rule is that a bad little man (Tyson) can never defeat a bad big man (Jones), but we know from the shocking outcome of The Fight of the Century that this rule isn’t always true. There are many other very relevant factors that can give the little bad man a real shot at winning. So what do we have here?

Jon has a lot more tools in his arsenal than Tyson, and can fight effectively using his long-limbs to keep his shorter opponent away which is what he has to do against Tyson. His weakness is that he does allow game opponents inside to tag him, which would be the kiss of death in a Tyson match. Would he allow his ego to let him stand and trade hands with Tyson, or would he fight the best strategy and keep Kid Dynamite at distance to finish with a take down + submission? One of Jones’ greatest strengths was demonstrated in the Belfort fight, when he powered through a potentially disastrous moment (that would have broken a lesser man) thought quick on his feet, and forced a victory with an impressive show of his champion’s heart.

The great advantage that a prime era Tyson would have would be his status as a professional boxer. At his peak, Tyson would have the potential ability to walk Jones down for a late KO just like Mayweather did to McGregor using his superior endurance skills alone. But that’s not how Tyson was trained to fight, and is not a strategy he’d likely entertain. Tyson was trained to take all of his risks early, to rush pass his taller opponent’s reach and bombard the head & body with lethal combos. If the taller opponent is able to effectively manage these attacks, Tyson has proven to check out of the fight and become discouraged and lethargic. This is Tyson’s great weakness, one that he’s never demonstrated the ability to overcome.

I would say that Jonny “Bones” Jones would be able to solve the Tyson puzzle and score the win.

See Also:

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Notes While Observing: Breaking the Chains of Plunder

Cartoon satirizing the disunity of the Black Diaspora
and their stalled ability to wrench themselves free from
the hideous evil of anti-Black systemic racism.

Matthew James - Is the “Bank Black” movement still in full gear or was it just a fad?

Muhammad Rasheed - It would seem to be a wonderful idea on the surface—especially for those learned in the history and economic successes of the Tulsa, OK “Black Wall Street” community—but I really can’t imagine it being more than just a fad. It’s true that the basic concept of a “Black bank” is a vital component towards the African-American achieving the long-elusive Economic Inclusion they need to be fully enfranchised U.S. Citizens, but here are the two immediate hurdles I’ve identified that would prevent the ideals of the “Bank Black” movement from becoming a reality within the current system:
  • These banks aren’t “owned” by Black people. They are actually cells of the Federal Reserve banking cartel, and function according to their rules and laws as the finance arm of the West’s anti-Black systemic racism. The Black people over them are allowed to manage them only by making sure they are strictly aligned to the parent cartel’s goals.
  • In order to work for us in the way we excitedly (and naively) imagine an “OMG! A Bank Black movement!” to work, the Black “owners” would need to come together and provide the same special “hook ups” to the Black community that their white counterparts provide to their own same-race customers, i.e., give lower interest rates, tax breaks, great deals on land ownership, etc. In other words, the Black bank “owners” would have to conspire to create a pro-Black systemic racist cartel—yes, the very same mythical “reverse racism” the white conservative Internet trolls pretend is a real thing—and there is NO WAY! the parent Federal Reserve cartel would ever allow that to happen. Ever. They ONLY allow Black people to have those high positions over major white institutions if the hopeful candidates have already demonstrated the coonish behavior that will assure a commitment to defending the White Supremacist Ideology. Consequently, I would expect the Black bank to give its Black customers even worse deals than the white banks would, since these high-achieving Black professionals are famous for working 3–5 times harder than their white counterparts anyway. They sure as hell aren’t working that hard for US.
So I do expect the “Bank black” movement to be a rapidly fading fad, since the first wave or two of enthusiastic Black customers probably did not experience any actual financial benefit to making that switch. If their wealth was going to get plundered in banking fees as dictated from the same anti-Black banking cartel source anyway, then they might as well had stayed where they were.

Matthew James - With black buying power at $1.5 trillion dollars, what are some ways these resources could be pooled to end poverty and fund every academically deserving student of color?

Muhammad Rasheed - I think all of the OP’s proposed ideas would work great; I see no reason why they wouldn’t all by themselves. In addition to those I would add the funding of major endowments for every industry, well managed by dedicated Black professional investment teams, with regular grant payouts provided to ALL accredited Black professionals within each of those industries as a permanent stream of income (in addition to their normal salaries).

We do have a very high buying power. The fact is that Black people are not “poor.” Despite the use of our ethnic group countenance traditionally displayed as the poster child for impoverishment, we don’t have a problem generating wealth and never have. The root cause of our economic condition is that we live in a society that built its wealth from Black pain. The great wealth of the Western Civilization was generated by exploiting Black bodies, and plundering Black communities, preventing them from amassing wealth over generations. Allowed to keep a tiny bit to “get by,” our $1.5 trillion has gone to build and maintain the white racist aristocracy, creating the infamous wealth gap.

The solution to our actual economic issue then is to self-segregate. We need to cut off the thieving plunder of the ever-treacherous rival group and allow the self-strengthening principles used by the Tulsa, OK “Black Wall Street” to build up the Black American people as a whole, enriching every individual family. This would enable us to fund our own political enfranchisement campaign and build up our socio-economic and political power rivaling that of every other successful ethnic group in the country. Naturally, this would include a rejection of the Federal Reserve banking cartel, and the development of our own baking system that is pro-the people instead of the pro-corporatist racist global war monger system we’re currently used to.

Of course this would literally be a declaration of war to the dominant group, and we would be forced to defend ourselves to protect our new-found freedom. The fight would be worth it however, since it is literally the only way we’ll be able to realistically pool our resources to definitively end poverty and fund every academically deserving Black student within the modern era.

Matthew James - That’s was an incredible answer. Thank you very very much for the time you obviously spent to create such a thoughtful answer.

On the subject of banks, that’s why I’m wondering if a 100% Black owned credit union might be a better route to go with all of the benefits you mentioned?

I agree that it would be a declaration of financial war against the existing racist economic system, but it would seem to me we already had declared on us 400 years ago and we’d be launching a counteroffensive even though that’s not the way it would be perceived.

Either way, count me in! Again, thanks so much for such a great answer Muhammad!

Muhammad Rasheed - A 100% Black-owned anything designed to sever the chains binding us to our traditional enemy is needed to have the full freedoms we want. The Federal Reserve system is a major component of the rival’s war machine against us. We CANNOT play their game. Did you notice how they FREAKED OUT when BitCoin first came on the scene? They calmed down only because they’ve established these middleman institutions designed to get you to volunteer your personal information and convinced the populace they have to go through them to get their crypto-currencies. Don’t fall for it, kids! Do everything in your power to buy them directly! If you’re being asked to break your all-powerful privacy to make a transaction, it’s a Federal Reserve trap. Beware!

Not a declaration of “financial war,” but WAR. Racism IS financial to begin with; all of this is about money and the power it affords. If we tear ourselves loose from this monster it will absolutely trigger the American Civil War 2.0 without doubt. Personally, I think the sooner we get the hardships of the Race War of Legend behind us, the better.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Rejecting the Call

Cartoon decoding the essence of Bill Cosby's 2004 "pound cake" speech
message to the Black community.

Rasheed, Muhammad. "Rejecting the Call." Cartoon. The Official Website of Cartoonist M. Rasheed 13 Oct 2018. Pen & ink w/Adobe Photoshop color.

Terrence Clay - Was Bill Cosby mocking black people in his infamous "pound cake" speech from 2004? Was he also minimizing the struggle of black people in America?

Muhammad Rasheed - Of course there was some mockery involved in his delivery; he IS a legendary stand-up comic after-all. He was absolutely NOT minimizing the Black struggle however, but actually reminding the community of the tools that we used to use in order to aid us in overcoming.

I’m amused that everybody acts like Cosby was the one that made that stuff up, when in actuality, he was just the mouthpiece of his socio-economic class. The Black Bourgeoisie Elite have been talking that way since the slave era. As harsh as it sounds in the 21st century—especially when uttered by a salty old curmudgeon Black comedian irritated that he can no longer see his lawn to fuss at you about walking on it—it’s pretty harmless. Basically it’s just a call for the lower classes to take the challenge and rise to the Black Excellence Standard, talk we were all used to hearing from the elite before the ‘Integration Era’ began, back when all of our socio-economic classes had to live together to survive jim crow. Note that in those days, the average lower class Black person was suited up and well-groomed, and the poor weren’t permitted to have their own class distinctive style. “We’ll all rise up together!” was the motto of the times, and now that the poorer neighborhoods have been abandoned, caused by the ‘Integration Era' class segregation, there were no Black Excellence figures around to keep the people to the standard...

…until Bill Cosby went on his tour calling for everyone to get on the same page, reminding everyone of the responsibility of looking after each other on every level. Divorced from the cultural lessons of the previous generations’ insights, the people he was critiquing didn’t understand the context, and understandably pushed back. Unfortunately, Cosby’s own life-long, star-quality personal successes caused him to be quite out of touch with the people, and he didn’t know how to talk to the folks that weren’t already sitting in the choir, so to speak. But he was determined to keep it going as his way of giving back after a storied successful career, and spending from his own deep pockets on a mission that he obviously felt was long overdue. He had made it his personal mission to consolidate the Black Tribes under the ole school banner of BLACK EXCELLENCE. That’s powerful stuff. The effort alone was powerful, and obviously dangerous for the anti-Black establishment if the movement would indeed have caught on, so it was sabotaged.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Liberate Yourself From Classical Karate by Bruce Lee


I'm posting this masterpiece essay by Bruce Lee—that is a foundational component of my own personal philosophy—as a reference resource, since it has become increasingly difficult to find reliable, stable links of it. From now on whenever I need to reference it, I'll link to this here blog post.

Very respectfully,

M. Rasheed
Cartoonist | Novelist | Socio-Political Analyst | Muslim | Graphic Novel Serialist | #ADOS
Second Sight Graphix


WHAT IS JEET KUNE DO? I am the first to admit that any attempt to crystalize Jeet Kune Do into a written article is no easy task. Perhaps to avoid making a thing out of a process, I have not until now personally written an article on JKD. Indeed, it is difficult to explain what Jeet Kune Do is, although it may be easier to explain what it is not.

Let me begin with a Zen story. The story might be familiar to some, but I repeat it for it’s appropriateness. Look upon this story as a means of limbering up one’s senses, one’s attitude and one’s mind to make them pliable and receptive. You need that to understand this article, otherwise you might as well forget reading any farther.

A learned man once went to a Zen teacher to inquire about Zen. As the Zen teacher explained, the learned man would frequently interrupt him with remarks like, “Oh, yes, we have that too…” and so on. Finally the Zen teacher stopped talking and began to serve tea to the learned man. He poured the cup full, then kept pouring until the cup overflowed. “Enough!” the learned man once more interrupted. “No more can go into the cup!”. “Indeed, I see” answered the Zen teacher. “ If you do not first empty your cup, how can you taste my cup of tea?”

I hope my comrades in the martial arts will read the following paragraphs with open-mindedness, leaving all the burdens of preconceived opinions and conclusion behind. This act, by the way, has in itself a liberating power. After all, the usefulness of a cup is in it’s emptiness.

Make this article relate to yourself, because though it is on JKD, it is primarily concerned with the blossoming of a martial artist – not a “Chinese” martial artist, a “Japanese” martial artist, etc. a martial artist is a human being first. Just as nationalities have nothing to do with one’s humanity, so they have nothing to do with the martial arts. Leave your protective shell of isolation and relate directly to what is being said. Return to your senses by ceasing all the intellectual mumbo jumbo. Remember life is a constant process of relating. Remember, too, that I see neither your approval nor to influence you towards my way of thinking. I will be more than satisfied if, as a result of this article you begin to investigate everything for yourself and cease to uncritically accept prescribed formulas that dictate “this is this” and “that is that”.


Suppose several persons who are trained in different styles of combative arts witness an all-out street fight. I am sure that we would hear different versions from each of these stylists. This is quite understandable for one cannot see a fight (or anything else) “as is” as long as he is blinded by his chosen point of view, ie. style and he will view the fight through the lens of his particular conditioning. Fighting “as is”, is simple and total. It is not limited to your perspective or conditioning as a Chinese martial artist, a Korean martial artist or a “whatever” martial artist. True observation begins when one sheds set patterns, and true freedom of expression occurs when one is beyond systems.

Before we examine Jeet Kune Do, let’s consider exactly what a “classical” martial art style really is. To begin with, we must recognize the incontrovertible fact that regardless of their many colorful origins (by a wise, mysterious monk, by a special messenger in a dream, in a holy revelation, etc.) styles are created by men. A style should never be considered gospel truth, the laws and principles of which can never be violated. Man, the living, creating individual, is always more important than any established style.

It is conceivable that a long time ago a certain martial artist discovered some partial truth. During his lifetime, the man resisted the temptation to organize this partial truth, although this is a common tendency in man’s search for security and certainty in life. After his death his students took “his” hypothesis, “his” postulates, “his” inclination, and “his” method and turned them into law. Impressive creeds were then invented, solemn reinforcing ceremonies prescribed, rigid philosophy and patterns formulated, and so on, until finally an institution was erected. So, what originated as one man’s institution of some sort of personal fluidity has been transformed into solidified, fixed knowledge, complete with organized classified responses presented in a logical order. In so doing, the well-meaning, loyal followers have not only made this knowledge a holy shrine, but also a tomb in which they have buried the founder’s wisdom.

But the distortion does not necessarily end here. In reaction to “the other’s truth”, another martial artist or possibly a dissatisfied disciple, organizes an opposite approach – such as the “soft” style versus the “hard” style, the “internal” school versus the “external” school, and all these separative nonsenses. Soon this opposite faction also becomes a large organization, with it’s own laws and patterns. A rivalry begins, with each style claiming to possess the “truth” to the exclusion of all others.

At best, styles are merely parts dissected from a unitary whole. All styles require adjustment, partiality, denials, condemnation and a lot of self-justification. The solutions they purport to provide are the very cause of the problem, because they limit and interfere with our natural growth and obstruct the way to genuine understanding. Divisive by nature, styles keep men apart from each other rather that unite them.


One cannot express himself fully when imprisoned by a confining style. Combat “as is” is total, and it includes all the “is” as well as “is not”, without favorite lines or angles. Lacking boundaries, combat is always fresh, alive and constantly changing. Your particular style, your personal inclinations and your physical makeup are all parts of combat, but they do not constitute the whole of combat. Should your responses become dependent upon any single part, you will react in terms of what “should be”, rather than to the reality of the ever-changing “what is”. Remember that while the whole is evidenced in all its parts, an isolated part, efficient or not, does not constitute the whole.

Prolonged repetitious drillings will certainly yield mechanical precision and security of the kind that comes from any routine. However, it is exactly this kind of “selective” security or “crutch” which limits or blocks the total growth of a martial artist. In fact, quite a few practitioners develop such a liking for and dependence on their “crutch” that they can no longer walk without it. Thus, any one special technique, however cleverly designed, is actually a hindrance.

Let it be understood once and for all that I have not invented a new style, composite or modification. I have in no way set Jeet Kune Do within a distinct form governed by laws that distinguish it from “this” style or “that” method. On the contrary, I hope to free my comrades from bondage to styles, patterns and doctrines.

What, then, is Jeet Kune Do? Literally, “jeet” means to intercept or to stop; “kune” is the fist; and “do” is the way, the ultimate reality – the way of the intercepting fist. Do remember, however, that “Jeet Kune Do” is merely a convenient name. I am not interested with the term itself; I am interested in its effect of liberation when JKD is used as a mirror for self-examination.

Unlike a “classical” martial art, these is no series of rules or classification technique that constitutes a distinct “Jeet Kune Do” method of fighting. JKD is not a form of special conditioning with its own rigid philosophy. It looks at combat not from a single angle, but from all possible angles. While JKD utilizes all ways and means to serve its end (after all, efficiency is anything that scores), it is bound by none and is therefore free. In other words, JKD possesses everything, but is in itself possessed by nothing.

Therefore to try and define JKD in terms of a distinct style – be it gung-fu, karate, street fighting, Bruce Lee’s martial art, etc. – is to completely miss it’s meaning. It’s teaching simply cannot be confined within a system. Since JKD is at once “this” and “not this”, it neither opposes nor adheres to any style. To understand this fully, one must transcend from the duality of “for” and “against” into one organic unity which is without distinctions. Understanding JKD is direct intuition of this unity.

There are no prearranged sets of “kata” in the teaching of JKD, nor are they necessary. Consider the subtle difference between “having no form”, and having “no-form”; the first is ignorance, the second is transcendence. Through instinctive body feeling, each of us knows our own most efficient and dynamic manner of achieving effective leverage, balance in motion, economical use of energy, etc. Patterns, techniques or forms touch only the fringe of genuine understanding. The core of understanding lies in the individual mind, and until that is touched, everything is uncertain and superficial. Truth cannot be perceived until we come to fully understand ourselves and our potentials. After all, knowledge in the martial arts ultimately means self-knowledge.

At this point you may ask, “How do I gain this knowledge?” That you will have to find out all by yourself. You must accept that fact that there is no help but self-help. For the same reason I cannot tell you how to “gain” freedom, since freedom exists within you. I cannot tell you how to “gain” self-knowledge. While I can tell you what not to do, I cannot tell you what you should do, since that would be confining you to a particular approach. Formulas can only inhibit freedom, externally dictated prescriptions only squelch creativity and assure mediocrity. Bear in mind that the freedom that accrues from self-knowledge can not be acquired through strict adherence to a formula; we do not suddenly “become” free, we simply “are” free.

Learning is definitely not mere imitation, nor is it the ability to accumulate and regurgitate fixed knowledge. Learning is a constant process of discovery, a process without end. In JKD we begin not by accumulation but by discovering the cause of the ignorance, a discovery that involves a shredding process.

Unfortunately, most students in the martial arts are conformists. Instead of learning to depend on themselves for expression, they blindly follow their instructors, no longer feeling alone, and finding security in mass imitation. The product of this imitation is a dependent mind. Independent inquiry, which is essential to genuine understanding, is sacrificed. Look around the martial arts and witness the assortment of routine performers, trick artists, desensitized robots, glorifiers of the past and so on – all followers or exponents of organized despair.

How often are we told by different “sensei” or “masters” that the martial arts are life itself? But how many of them truly understand what they are saying? List is a constant movement – rhythmic as well as random; life is constant change and not stagnation. Instead of choicelessly flowing with this process of change, many of these “masters”, past and present, have built an illusion of fixed forms, rigidly subscribing to traditional concepts and techniques of the art, solidifying the ever-flowing, dissecting the totality.

The most pitiful sight is to see sincere students earnestly repeating those imitative drills, listening to their own screams and spiritual yells. In most cases, the means these “sensei” offer their students are so elaborate that the students must give tremendous attention to them, until gradually he loses sight of the end. The students end up performing their methodical routines as a mere conditioned response, rather than responding to “what is”. They no longer “listen” to circumstances; they “recite” their circumstances. These poor souls have unwittingly become trapped in the miasma of classical martial arts training.

A teacher, a really good sensei, is never a giver of “truth”; he is a guide, a pointer to the truth that the student must discover for himself. A good teacher, therefore, studies each student individually and encourages the student to explore himself, both internally and externally, until, ultimately, the student is integrated with his being. For example, a skillful teacher might spur his student’s growth by confronting him with certain frustrations. A good teacher is a catalyst. Besides possessing deep understanding, he must also have a responsive mind with great flexibility and sensitivity.


There is no standard in total combat, and expression must be free. This liberating truth is a reality only in so far as it is experienced and lived by the individual himself; it is a truth that transcends styles or disciplines. Remember, too, that jeet kune do is merely a term, a label to be used as a boat to get one across; once across, it is to be discarded and not carried on one’s back.

These few paragraphs are, at best, a “finger pointing to the moon”. Please do not take the finger to be the moon or fix your gaze so intently on the finger as to miss all the beautiful sights of heaven. After all, the usefulness of the finger is in pointing away from itself to the light which illuminates finger and all.

~Bruce Lee; originally published Black Belt Magazine (Sep 1971).