What Can Bruce Lee Teach Us About Osteopathy?

Bruce Lee6Strange title! I have always been very interested in Bruce Lee. First, and most obviously, as a child growing up through the 1980’s I found Bruce Lee as the most famous martial arts actor. Secondly, and the reason Bruce Lee will never leave my mind, is due to the fact that Bruce Lee was a philosopher that worked tirelessly to disseminate the principles of martial arts as a form of physical expression of the inner self. Don’t listen to me though, keep reading and listen to Bruce Lee in his own words!

Bruce Lee4Hopefully you took the time to actually watch the above video (it is just under 20 minutes long). Bruce talks about fighting styles – he says that unless a person has 3 arms and 4 legs there is only 1 fighting style because humans have a basic structural anatomy which means that we are bound by our anatomy with regards to the physical realities of fighting. To me, this is quintessentially useful to an Osteopath – we are trained to understand the realities of human anatomy and work with it to aid our patients. To improve his fighting ability, Bruce Lee dove very deeply in to various Kinesiology and Bio-mechanic texts running back to the late 1800’s (this is anecdotal for me and I am not sure what in particular he read). Bruce seemed to pay keen attention to what the body was capable of. He spoke about punching straight, punching up, punching down, and punching in a circular manner – these are the basic options/principles and then the fighter can apply these in any way they need – a lot like a CAO student being trained to apply the principles of Osteopathy to create their own “techniques” in any position for any lesion as needed.

Bruce Lee5Another interesting point to me is Bruce Lee speaking about the process of discovering himself, examining himself and being honest about himself. He needed to know, really know, himself. His training helped him to display his truth on an ongoing basis so he was acutely aware of his capacities. This is important to an Operator as you MUST know whether or not you can truly deal with a case that is presented to you – if you are unsure that you can get the necessary result or you can not deal with the consequences of not obtaining the necessary results you should not take the case (I am very young in this profession and I force myself to ask that question with every patient I work with). Mr. Lee also speaks about being in the moment when fighting, if you are trying to apply technique you can not be in the moment – you need to train yourself so that the necessary tools for the fight happen naturally (you do not throw the punch, the punch throws itself). This is VERY important for an Osteopathic Operator as we are dealing with a full dynamic human being and we must be able to flow through our approaches precisely and efficiently or we will lose the treatment because we will be applying technique instead of dynamically interacting with our patient. I need to sharpen my skills (I am actually pretty positive that I will ALWAYS need to improve my skills).

I will leave with two statements:

1. Bruce Lee was a philosopher who showed the world important principles that are based on natural laws (whether he explicitly stated the natural laws or not).

2. Bruce Lee3


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