… discard what is not. Add what is uniquely your own.

The first time I read this quote was back in 2004 when my buddy Matt gave me the book “Tao of Jeet Kune Do” for my birthday.

I’ve read the book cover to cover 5 or 6 times since and continually refer to it when looking for inspiration and wisdom.

This is such an important concept to live by however, I feel it’s often misinterpreted and/or mis-applied.

Here’s why:

Someone can read this and think, “Cool! From now on I’m gonna take things (info, instructions, lessons, coaching) and take what I want from it and integrate it into my way of doing things. YEA!”

But this is not the way to apply this wisdom properly, nor is it the way Lee applied it in his own life and training.

JKD is based on years and years of Lee’s training in Wing Chun.


It’s this MASTERY of one thing that allows for effective integration of other systems and philosophies (or ways of being, thinking and acting).

Only then, you’ll be able to take the new teachings and compare them up against what you’ve already mastered, which will reveal how and when to change things up.

So the wise course of action is to follow the advice or instruction or lessons of whomever it is you’re learning from, follow it to a TEE and follow it for a SUFFICIENT duration, whether it’s an amount of time, # of reps or whatever.

Only then will you truly know, that is, the combo of your mind knowing the concepts plus the testing of applying it, seeing how it works and getting feedback, that you can take what’s useful and then discard what is not.

All too often people take a little bit here and a little bit there and what ends up is a mish-mash, kinda like taking 1/3rd of a roast chicken recipe and 1/3rd of a chocolate brownie recipe and 1/3rd of a salad recipe and mixing them together.

The final result isn’t nearly the same as the full recipes stacked on top of each other.

So in martial arts, develop mastery in a discipline before trying to integrate other ideas into it.

In training, follow a single coach for at least a full program of theirs to see the results of his entire system since it should be designed synergistically (mine or anyone else’s – just stick to ONE).

This is simple but not necessarily easy, especially because of the vast amounts of info coming at us everyday.

So simplify your life and minimize the “noise” coming at you and you’ll find your results will not only improve, but you’ll be more at peace.

Trust me as I speak from experience as I used to subscribe to dozens of newsletters and found my mind so jumpy that it was causing me anxiety.

But since I’ve streamlined and now follow only a few key mentors, I’m more relaxed, efficient, effective and I even have more free time.

And when it comes to fitness, if that one person you choose to follow is me, then I’m humbly grateful and I promise to do my best to help you reach your goals.


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Elizabeth M Alexander
Elizabeth M Alexander
6 years ago

By the way, I have read Bruce Lee’s book many times as well and always come away with something new to work on. A must for anyone’s library.

Elizabeth M Alexander
Elizabeth M Alexander
6 years ago

Thx Eric, This is so true. At the moment I am culling the newsletters that I subscribe to and the people I follow as I spent way too much time on the computer. Too busy to read all the guff I was getting daily, too scattered trying to follow everyone’s advice, and not getting anywhere with my fitness and nutrition. I was in a very frustrated state. I now have 3 newsletters and 3 “gurus” to check up on each day and it takes me no time at all. No more time wasted sitting at the computer. Thx. E

6 years ago

Great advice, Eric. I was using your advice when I was doing yoga this morning. I was trying to stay in the Warrior 3 pose and my muscles were screaming at me and my plantar fasciitis was killing. I decided to ignore all that and just concentrate on my balance. It actually made it easier. I minimized the noise going on in my head and it worked great.