The basic structure of Gung Fu is based on the theory of Yin/Yang, a pair of mutually complementary forces that act continuously, without cessation,
in this universe. The black part of the circle is called Yin. Yin can represent anything in the universe as: negativeness, passiveness, gentleness, insubstantiality,
femaleness, moon, darkness, night, etc. The other complementary part of the circle is Yang, which represent positiveness, activeness, firmness, substantiality,
maleness, sun, brightness, day, etc. The common mistake most people make is to identify this Yin/Yang symbol, T'ai-Chi, as dualistic; that is Yang being the opposite
of Yin, and vice versa. As long as we separate this "oneness" into two, we won't achieve realization. Actually, all things have their complementary
part; It is only in the human mind and his perception that they are being separated into opposites. The sun is not the opposite of the moon, as they complement
and are interdependent on each other, and we cannot survive without either of them. In a similar way, a male is but the complement of the female; For without
the male, how on earth do we know there is female, or vice versa. The "oneness" of Yin/Yang is necessary in life. If a person riding a bicycle wishes
to go somewhere, he cannot pump on both the pedals at the same time or not pumping on them at all. In order to move forward, he has to pump one pedal and release
the other. So the movement of going forward requires this "oneness" of pumping and releasing. Pumping then is the result of releasing, and vice versa;
Each being the cause of the other.
In the Yin/Yang symbol there is a white spot on the black part, and black spot on the white one. This is to illustrate the balance in life, for nothing
can survive long by going to either extremes, be it negativeness or positiveness. Therefore, firmness must be concealed in gentleness, and gentleness firmness,
and that is why a Gung Fu man must be pliable as spring. Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo will bend with the wind. So in
Gung Fu, or any other system, one must be gentle yet not giving away completely; be firm yet not hard, and even if he is strong, he should guard it with softness
and tenderness. For if there is no softness in firmness, he is not strong; in a similar way, if one has firmness concealed in softness, no one can break through
his defense. This principle of moderation provides a best means of preserving oneself, for since we accept this existence of the oneness (Yin/Yang) in everything,
and do not treat it dualistically, we thus secure a state of tranquility by remaining detached and not inclining to either extreme. Even if we do incline on one
extreme, be it negative or positive, we will flow with it in order to control it. This flowing with it without clinging is the true way to get rid of it.
When the movements in Yin/Yang flow into extremes, reaction sets in. For when Yang goes to the extreme, it changes to Yin; and when Yin (activated by
Yang) goes to the extreme, it returns back to Yang (that is why each one is the result and cause of the other). For example, when one works to the extreme, he
becomes tired and has to rest (from Yang to Yin). This incessant changing of Yin/Yang is always continuous.
The application of the theory of Yin/Yang in Gung fu is known as the Law of Harmony, in which one should be in harmony with, and not against the force
of the opponent. Suppose A applies strength on B, B shouldn't oppose or gives way completely to it. For these are but the two extreme opposites of B's reaction.
Instead, he should complete A's force, with a lesser force, and lead him to the direction of his own movement. As the butcher preserves his knife by cutting along
the bone and not against it, a Gung Fun man preserves himself by following the movement of his opponent without opposition or even striving (Wu-Wai, spontaneous,
or spirit action). This spontaneous assisting or A's movement as he aims it will result in his own defeat.
When a Gung fu man finally understands the theory of Yin/Yang, he no longer "fusses" with so-called "gentleness" or "firmness";
he simply does what the movement requires him to do. In fact, all conventional forms and techniques are all gone, his movements are those of everyday movements.
He doesn't have to "justify" himself like so many other masters have, claiming his spirit or his internal power; to him, cultivation of martial art
in the long run will return to simplicity, and only people of half-way cultivation justify and brag about themselves.
by Bruce Lee
JKD Symbol Explained.
Explanation of the Elements.
It would be appropriate to use Bruce Lee's own words to explain the original school emblem, the yin and yang symbol:
"JKD is based on the symbol of Yin and Yang, a pair of mutually complementary and interdependent forces that act continuously, without cessation,
in this universe. In the above symbol, the Yin and Yang are two interlocking parts of 'one whole,' each containing within its confines the qualities of its complementaries.
Etymologically, the characters of Yin and Yang mean darkness and light. The ancient character of Yin, the dark part of the circle, is a drawing of clouds and
hill. Yin can represent anything in the universe as: negativeness, passiveness, gentleness, internal, insubstantiality, femaleness, moon, darkness, night, etc.
The other complementary half of the circle is Yang, which in its ancient form is written with the lower part of the character signifying slanting sunrays, while
the upper part represents the sun. Yang can represent anything as positiveness. activeness, firmness, external, substantiality, maleness, sun, brightness, day,
etc. The common mistake of most martial artists is to identify these two forces, Yin and Yang as dualistic (thus the so-called soft styles and the firm styles).
Yin/Yang is one separate force of one unceasing interplay of movement. They are conceived of as essentially one, or as two co-existing forces of one indivisible
whole. They are neither cause and effect, but should be looked at as sound and echo or light and shadow. If this 'oneness' is viewed as two separate entities,
realization of the ultimate reality of JKD won't be achieved. In reality, things are 'whole' and cannot be separated into two parts. When I say the heat makes
me perspire, the heat and perspiring are just one process as they are co-existent and the one could not exist but for the other. If a person riding a bicycle
wishes to go somewhere, he cannot pump on both pedals at the same time or not pumping them at all. In order to go forward, he has to pump on one pedal and release
the other. So the movement or going forward required this 'oneness' of pumping and releasing. Pumping is the result of releasing and vice versa, each being the
cause and result of the other Things do have their complementaries, and complementaries co-exist. Instead of mutually exclusive, they are mutually dependent and
are a function each of the other. In the Yin/Yang symbol there is a white spot on the black part and a black on the white one. This is to illustrate the balance
in life, for nothing can survive long by going to either extremes, be it pure Yin (gentleness) or pure Yang (firmness). Notice that the stiffest tree is most
easily cracked. while the bamboo or willow survive by bending with the wind. In JKD, Yang (firmness) should be concealed in Yin (gentleness) and Yin in Yang.
Thus a JKD man should be soft yet not yielding, firm, yet not hard."
"Bruce added two arrows around the Tai Chi circle to further emphasize that the JKD fighting techniques must contain the harmonious interplay of
Yin (pliable, yielding) and Yang (firm, assertiveness) energies." It is to emphasize the continuous, unceasing interplay between the two forces of the universe:
Yin and Yang.
The Chinese phrases surrounding the symbol are: "Using No Way as Way" and "Having No Limitation as Limitation," pronounced "Yee
Mo Faat Way Yao Faat" and "Yee Mo Haan Way Yao Haan" respectively. Regarding the first statement, one is to approach combat without any preconceived
notions, and simply respond to "what is." In this way, the martial artist is adaptable and pliable enough to fit in with the opponent and situation
instantaneously. He is using no particular or set way that was preconditioned in him. "No-mindedness'' is a term often used to describe this state of unconscious
consciousness or conscious unconsciousness. And, indeed, it is an ideal state that is difficult to attain but which one aspires to. In addition, one tries to
be like water when using this "no-way" approach. Water automatically assumes the container that it is poured in, thereby constantly fitting in with
and adapting to the situation.
By having no limitation as the only limitation, one can transcend martial arts boundaries that are set by style, tradition, race, individual preferences,
etc. Lee gave the JKD man the freedom to explore other martial arts with the only limitation being that he has only has two hands and two feet and the objective
is how to use them to the maximum. Furthermore, Lee wanted us to search deep within ourselves to find what works best for each one of us. No longer are we dependent
on the teachings of various styles or teachers. But by taking an honest assessment of our own strengths and weaknesses, we can improve our martial skill as well
as our daily living. Like he said, "Knowledge... ultimately, means self-knowledge." With this freedom to improve our skill and life in any way that
we like, one is able to honestly express one's self.