Influence of Yiquan on Bruce Lee, by Bernard K.

Influence of Yiquan on Bruce Lee

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Yip Man is commonly recognized as Bruce Lee’s teacher, but in his biography there were ten teachers from whom he learned martial arts, one of which was Liang Zi Peng – 梁子鵬, who was very well known as an internal arts teacher in Hong Kong during the 60s (but is almost forgotten now). He was also my Sifu’s first Yiquan teacher.Liang Zipeng was the teacher of Lee Hoi-cheun 李海泉 (father of Bruce Lee), to whom he was said to have instructed Liuhebafa. When Bruce Lee had been practicing Wing Chun for a while, his father suggested that Bruce should meet his teacher Liang. Lee became very interested in what Liang was teaching and wanted to learn from him. However, when Liang demanded that Lee give up other martial arts and leave behind all what he learned so far, Lee declined. However Bruce was a regular attendee at the student gatherings held at his house and his philosophy of JKD was heavily influenced by many Yiquan principles as shown below.The following is taken from my Sifu’s book on Yiquan:No Forms – Any Techniques can be used
Yiquan is a core system whose only objective is to attack the opponent and finish the fight at once. It starts by training abilities and conditioning the body. When you are physically prepared and mentally prepared, you start training to fight immediately. There is no sequence of forms or wasted time on flower window dressing or movement. Any techniques of any style or school can be employed and used in the fighting, as long as they embody the principles of Yiquan.Find out your strength, make use of your most powerful part, and create your own style
No Matter what you have practiced before you can combine and use them in fighting. Yiquan will digest and combine all you have learned in your body and system to become a unique system. If you have done Taiji, Baguazhang or Xingyiquan, you could bring them together, but you must avoid their conflicts. These ideas come from Liu He Ba Fa which is a style that combines all the techniques of the internal arts.Martial Arts Conduct
Never be a low class street fighter, try to read more theoretical books, books on Chinese culture, raise your standard, be polite, be humble and exercise forgiveness. Improve your level and become a master.

Seek Self Improvement, Develop your skills for interest, not to hurt people
Learning martial arts is to improve one’s own conduct. Try to feel the movement of the flow of Qi, the twisting of muscle, stretching of the limbs. Stand to explore one’s spirit and strengthen your body, do not think of fighting for the whole day.

Softness, Flexibility will create explosive power
Only when your muscles can relax and be soft, then can you explode in a very short moment with fast speed and strong strength. If your muscle is hard, these will impede your movement and speed.

Explosive Power that throws a person far away
Bruce’s previous experience in the martial arts was with striking arts. He never conceived that with soft power, his teacher could throw a person easily to the wall. This could only be achieved when he keeps a non-collapsed structure, with a strong frame and relaxed muscle, which can explosively burst with speed or power. These scenarios are always seen in Bruce’s movies, when he kicks or punches his opponents and they are always thrown away and their bodies hit the wall.

Unity Power – Keep a strong skeleton
Bruce’s previous experience was to use hand movements to strike. However, Yiquan’s emphasis is on whole body power. With a strong skeleton like a tank, and opponent that attempts to block the attack will be thrown away entirely. The damage is horrible.

Intercept before your Opponent’s attack
Yiquan’s combat theory is to hold a static stance, watching you with the eyes and being quiet in movement. Once you move, he covers you , controls you and intercepts you before your power can be extended and burst out. These theories are similar to most of Bruce’s theories in his system of Jeet Kune Do. Also these fighting strategies are always shown in Bruce’s movies.

Extend out your hands
Extend your hands to shut out and block opponent’s attack. Do not shrink and let your skeleton collapse. You must fully extend your hands.

Continuous Sound
Mr. Liang liked to sound out with his sudden explosive strength. This is common in northern martial arts and was widely used by early Yiquan practitioners. Liang showed different sounds when he moved his body up and down, forwards and backwards quickly. When he pushed or punched others, he issued a sound so that his opponent was shocked and thrown away. In most of Bruce Lee’s movies we can see he employed this technique.

Every move must be real and effective with full power and speed – no flowery actions
Yiquan techniques are simple; every move is real, useful and effective. They are developed from numerous fights. Fighters must be trained to keep balance while moving, maintaining the frame while rushing in or retreating, keeping full speed, maintaining enough explosive strength, flexibility and co-ordination and a keen mind to win. Only when the fighter can use all the mental and physical factors thoroughly can they win.

Posted 16th November 2011 by