“Of all things in life there is nothing more precious then life.”
or Jeet Kune Do is the art & philosophy founded by Bruce Lee. Via JKD, Lee developed his highly evolved, yet simple and
devastatingly effective method of fighting. Jeet Kune Do outlined certain principles of approach to combative problems, which
also steel in resolving various problems of life and helping an individual to grow spiritually.
Tao of JKD was Lee's original work on effective thinking, living and succeeding. JKD literature often emphasizes that it is
difficult to define what JKD exactly is, but easy to define what it is not. So I decided to write an anti thesis on living
"The Cow of JKD" to emphasize how living can become unfruitful without application of tenets of JKD.
cow here is referred to as an animal, which is hard working and toils endlessly for the human system with no regard for it’s
personal welfare. Humans too work endlessly struggling in various areas of life like education, work, family and goals with
an extremely low effort-benefit ratio. Jeet Kune Do believes in the principles of Simplicity (minimizing resources), Directness
(movement towards the goal), Efficiency (attainment of goal), Open mindedness, Fluidity (harmony with the system, society
and social norms) and Non-traditional approach (not being conditioned by traditional values or past experiences). The "Cow
of JKD" is supposed to represent the typical human being and his erratic confused course of life, running in a frenzied rat
race at break neck speed towards illusionary imagined goals. On reaching there he realizes that it was illusionary and then
gives birth to yet another goal. In this fashion he keeps chasing goals till he reaches his unfathomable destination, Death.
By then it is too late to change the way he has lived. This is the life of the "Cow of JKD".
The cow is used in unisex reference, without resorting to additional vocabulary like "bull" or "cattle."
Out of the Crate: The King Sperm
semen contains 10 million spermatozoa per cubic mm. All of the millions of sperm discharged swim towards the singular female
gamete, the ovum or egg. There is a sense of combat and only the fittest of the lot will survive and penetrate the shell of
the egg, fertilizing it. In similar analogy you have to auto eject yourself out of the crate in order to escape the mold and
"have a life" So that you can relish the personal journey, while not playing slave to the system. But you must develop the
attitude of a king sperm in order to surprise and win at all cost - The treasure at the end of the pursuit being happiness
Life Phase One: CHILDHOOD:
Cow Confesses: The birth of a Prince
(the cow) was born to a cow; my birth was celebrated with great pomp and festivity. I felt like God being blessed with so
many people and pampered by everyone who came across me. I was the most important person in the house and all activities revolved
around me. My familys first priority was me and everywhere I went all related and unrelated people from society praised me
and offered to help with my affairs like change of nappy. I slowly realized that I was actually a prince and all others in
my family and society my subjects.
wondered whether I deserved to be a bottle inside the crate. Why couldn't I stay a prince over and above the others? In any
system there are rulers, administrators and labourers. For the man with average
attribute and intelligence, the end result of another ‘brick in the wall’ may be satisfactory, But a man who builds
over the ordinary attributes may want to end up as a ruler or an administrator. When the crate offered average learning, minimal
perks and lots of disadvantages, why wouldn't I have chosen to stay of it?
Life Phase Two EDUCATION:
B: Cow Confesses: I went to the School of Conformation
I went to school expecting the same royal treatment. It was then that I first realized that I was actually just another calf.
A ‘bottle in the crate’ or a ‘brick in the wall’. There were 100s others like me in my class - some
tall, some short, some dark, some light, some aggressive, some submissive. No one was special and we were all calves in the
cowshed. I spent almost 15 years in school learning how to become an ideal adult cow and till the soil. In school I learnt
that I can not get all that I want and a new character of frustration was born. I learnt to conquer frustration with anger
by bawling at others. I also learnt to crave for what I did not posses - an attribute called desire. I learnt to conquer desire
by working harder and harder since I was told that by working hard, I could even become the President. I learnt fear, which
was born by the insecurity of not getting what I desired. I started lusting for the opposite sex and learnt that one does
not get all that you crave for. I learnt to conquer lust with jealousy.
school, I realized my true value, that I was just a ‘bottle in a crate’ and a ‘brick in a wall’. I
learnt that my duty was to contribute to the system and toil hard for the soil. After my education I was now equipped with
the latest processor also known as Pentium 1 series. I also now had a spectacular IQ of 75 to deal with problems of my journey.
I entered school as a prince and exited as a fully-grown mature adult cow.
wonder, had I not gone to school, I would have not learnt the negative attributes of fear, lust, anger, frustration and jealousy.
But I would have had to educate myself by home study with rigorous discipline. The Internet, encyclopedia and DVD media would
have probably done a better job of educating me. I would have ended up with more knowledge rather than more information, more
learning rather than more education, more wisdom rather than educational degrees.
school did teach me about co-existence with peers and other members of the society. It also taught me how the world works
and interdependency of mankind. But school also taught me to conform, to play along with the herd and to ignore my life, and
myself and to bitterly accept that the system was more important than the individual. It also reminds me of how Bruce Lee
had no background of traditional martial arts other than a few years of training in Wing Chun Kung Fu. Yet he emerged well
educated and extremely skilled in the combat arts; and is undisputedly acknowledged as being a century ahead of his time.
Life Phase Three: MARRIAGE:
Cow Confesses: My Sex Life got replaced by my Sexy
school also contributed to my inner growth. By that I don't mean spiritual growth but phallic growth. I grew highly frustrated,
lusting for every good-looking chick. I bedded a few finding most of the experiences inferior to my fantasies. However I was
living my youth as a short-lived fuse, without being aware that a sudden detonation called marriage would blow my world apart.
“Make hay while the bum shines” was my philosophy and I was eager to have many sexual encounters. But work, study
and goals took priorities and I missed many interactions. I got more insecure with every interaction and began wondering if
my organ was good enough. My Insecurities were making me paranoid and I was jealous of each and every male who crossed my
path. Finally I met one female who went out of her way to convince me that I was phalically sufficient. With her I felt like
a man and she couldn't live without me. I proclaimed her my queen and swore to be with her all my life.
Queen had another idea. She thought my phallus would wander and in order to control my wanderlust, decided that a chastity
belt would help both of us, till death do us apart. I too was insecure that she might discover that my phallus was not as
large as she thought. Initially I was very resistant to the idea of tying the knot as I was pennis wise and pound pussy. But
I thought that a regular lay was worth an orgy in the bush and it was worth settling for an average relationship by reducing
went to the court, who indemnified her trust that I would not betray her and vice versa. I was happy that day and did not
realize that I had happily and willingly signed the death warrant “Death of my phallic wanderlust”. For me, marriage
was intended to be a partnership. I thought at the end of my work hours, I would be received by a smiling better half. We
would then cuddle in each others arms and have a romantic dinner followed by passionate love-making. Instead, I realized that
the only passionate part about my marriage was the cock fights and bitchy cat and dog encounters. This was no partnership,
but a security partnership to ensure no infidelity. I was ready to do anything including laying down my life for my wife’s
own smile. One exception to this rule - If she would find happiness in an orgasm with another man, then I would lay down her
life for my peace. She too would gladly kill me if she would even found me sitting next to a colleague. So our marriage became
an irreversible stalemate, which we had to rationalize and accept as supreme love.
our marriage consummated into a child and I was no longer bothered about my wife’s tantrums. I was too busy covering
my ears to stop my eardrums from being torn apart by my newborn’s wailing.
best times of my companionship were before marriage. Those times were non conditional where one does not take one another
for granted and there is mutual admiration for each other’s non compliance. I wonder why we had to go to a legal body
to endorse our love and sign a document for parenting or partnering. Man is the only species in the world that endorses his
love with legalization of relationships. May be I would have been more secure without legal marriage. May be I would be free
from commitments, maybe I would have been able to love many others not just sexually but by bonding at an emotional level.
Maybe I would not have found total love and commitment, but maybe I would have not needed total commitment had I been single.
today I am bound, my time is accountable. May be it is my fault, I should have given space and demanded space. I should have
given freedom and demanded freedom. Given rights and demanded it. It would have probably salvaged my marriage. But instead
I played a passive role. Now, I have to return back home and cannot leave home without explanations. I cannot bond anymore
with the opposite sex and form independent friendships without permissions. But there is a positive to all this. I learnt
the value of my freedom. If my wife conks off, I will still have another chance.
don't have what it takes to correct my mistake. I am yellow. I cannot think divorce. By now, I have got used to playing boss
in the office and slave at home. And besides I have such a loving and supporting wife.
grew up waiting for my knight in white armour on a black steed to come and sweep me off my feet. There were many knights,
but they only swept my better looking "Ass-etted and Bustier" friends away ignoring me. Finally a short, dark and awesome
man proposed to me. Awe-some because he was unlike any of my dreams or expectations. But someone did propose to me, that made
me feel good. So he was actually a camoflagued knight I consoled myself and married him. i decided that this one man will
be my ideal man, in the sense he will not look at any other gal, young, old or ugly. He pleaded that I believe him when he
said I was the sexiest woman in the world. I tried to convince myself. After marriage, he got extremely possessive and I responded
by playing along. I stopped my micro minis and cleavage showing tops and starting tieing my lovely tresses of hair, whenever
he wasnt around. In turn I made sure that he stayed away from the female gender by checking his emails, his cellphones and
occasionally surprising him in his office. The poor thing would call me every time he was late by a few minutes returning
from his office. Then I got pregnant. I stopped work and stayed at home. I was told pregnancy is the most beautiful
part of womanhood when everyone treats you like a princess and prioritizes over you. As my boobs grew my husbands obsession
for great boobs was satisfied and he started loving my bust with greater lust. My hair grew thick and my skin got fairer.
Then pop went the weasel and the kid entered my world. As soon as he entered within a few months my breasts were reduced to
collapsed bisleri bottles and my orifice loosened like a wide open bowl. My hubby found this a valid reason to find
other women sexy and once again started coming home late from office. Meanwhile I was staying at home to look after my baby
and had stopped work altogether. Slowly I started gaining weight and consoled myself that my life was now only about the upbringing
of my child and keeping tabs on my husband to stop his flings.
Life Phase Four: CHILDREN &
Cow Confesses: The Progeny of my Blood - Another Calf to endorse my Life
purpose of life is to procreate. That’s a fact I know. So I have to get married and have to have kids. I have to clone
myself and replicate the aberration that is me. A perfect dwarfish version of me - ‘mini-me’. Someone who shall
look like me and look up to me idolizing my pitiable life. And I always felt that my kids were innocent, actually I meant
they were naive. They didn't know I was ordinary and within the crate.
my kids grew up they were quick to realize my faults and my weaknesses and by then they no longer thought they were innocent.
I believed they had become cunning and corrupted by the system and had no value for my effort in bringing them up. I had sent
them to the best of schools, raised them up with luxury and made them feel like royalty. However today they are standing nose
to nose with me, pin pointing my faults and demanding their share of my property.
be I was wrong when I thought the purpose of life was to procreate. Who Had Said That? No God wants you to procreate. No religion can claim to dictate your
life. No family can force you to extend their lineage, more so, if there are other siblings. It’s only me that wanted
to clone myself - the replication of the aberration. Yes, children are sweet. They are beautiful. They remind you of the times
when you were yet to make those fatal mistakes. With the coming of the child you start dedicating yourself towards the upbringing
of the child. You get depersonalized. I wish I had recognized my child and me as two distinct personalities. Where there would
be preparation for a different character, a different individual with different ideas where I would reduce my expectations
and increase my indulgence in the relationship of one human to another.
Life Phase Five: WORK
Cow Confesses: Work – Giving my Today for a better
education prepared me for a career. My career for making loads of money. Money for enjoyment. Enjoyment for happiness.
I worked hard. Left office at late hours. Gave my weekends to my work. Burnt the midnight oil after returning from office
to cater to other time zones. Even while on vacation, I never disengaged from work. But contrary to my belief, I never got
more returns for more work. I got richer and learned to spend whatever extra I earned on my branded suits and stylized accessories.
I would sit impeccably dressed in my BMW and go to work. In my office I would be proud of being responsible for making millions
for my boss. In my delusion of grandeur, I would overtly believe that my boss and my company can-not do without me.
I progressed in my company from junior to senior positions, my responsibilities and liabilities grew and along with these
my EMIs grew, so my net balance relatively remained the same. My work hours increased and as I became richer in wealth I became
poorer in time, I became a loser in my relationships and a tormentor of myself, constantly depriving myself of my personal
needs and cravings. I denied myself of vacations, recreational activities, family get-togethers and chat up meets with my
friends. The only time that I would not go to the office was when I would visit the doctor and get my medical tests.
when I retired, I had reached the level of CEO, the highest level of achievement. I also had high BP, high cholesterol, stress,
backaches and was pregnant with fat pot belly. My wife had given up on me, my children had learnt to grow without my nurturing.
I had also gotten fed up of everything including myself and had started becoming more religious despite making so much money.
had become very insecure afraid of what new catastrophe would hit me next. I felt totally out of control and needed badly
to find some reassurances. I found this reassurance finally in God and firmly believed that God would help me in my financial
problems, cure me of my high BP and cholesterol and help in repairing the dent in my BMW.
I wish I had not wasted my life pursuing money. I wish I had been satisfied with my small house, my ordinary sedan and my
moderate investments. I wish I would have spent my adult years with my family, friends and pursued my passions in my recreational
activities. I wonder what happened to the youngster who was me - laughing till I coiled up with belly pain, playing sports
endlessly, singing and dancing all night to my favorite rock songs. Anyways, I rationalized. I had to make a house for my
wife and kids. I had to do it for them . Suddenly I realized that my father too had thought the same. That he too would strive
to spare me the troubles of life and so the cycle shall continue - Each generation catering to the next. Oh! what a fool I
had made of myself.
Life Phase Six: AGEING
Cow Confesses - “Old is not Wise”
I grew old. It caught me by surprise, out of the blue. As I was just about to achieve all my material goals, I accidentally
glanced at the mirror. What I saw shocked me. There was a defeated old man staring
back at me with a crumpled face and depressed eyes. The stooped body was draped in expensive clothes and extravagant accessories.
The Midas touch had shown its bad side. The spirit had aged.
had faded and I now required spectacles for every routine task. The knees had started becoming wobbly with disuse. The blood
pressure had reached alarming levels and the cardiogram was threatening. The doctor stated categorically that the arteries
of the heart were blocked. That a timely bypass surgery would help in reducing the chances of impending death.
was shocked. The cow was about to be taken to the slaughter house. My world threatened to end. I lost all hope and got depressed.
In the process of chasing ambition and building my social status I had “saved face and blown ass”. After the surgery
I retired. After the surgery, my life had become a story in futility, until my son discovered my utility. They decided that
they shall oblige me by bestowing upon me the responsibilities of looking after the grand children. Suddenly my life had a
new meaning, watching the innocent kittens grow. I spent all my time reading and explaining religious hymns to the innocent
and naive kids. “Believe in God and all shall be well” I croaked every time to them; while trying hard to believe
old age was unexpected. I wish I had more awareness of my rapidly passing life. I would have ‘prepared for the slide
to avoid the muck’. How I wish I had realized my fading youth, my faltering health and my dying spirit. I would have
cut short my material goals and aspirations and lived relishing ‘more life for each breath’. I would have celebrated
existence with my wife, my kids and above all with myself. I would have done all that I really wanted to do. We all have a
list of ‘ten things’ we want to do before we die. But we keep postponing everything for the future and live in
an illusion of immorality.
all work like we will live forever. Instead we should live like we are going to die tomorrow.
Phase Seven: DYING Cow
contemplates on Tao !
JKD Virtues: I would have liked to live outside the cage and emerge as a ruler or administrator of the crate. I would have liked
to go through the phases of my life differently so as to maximize the perks and minimize the disadvantages. But for succeeding
in all this I would need certain types of attributes and virtues.
ability to not complicate. Complications come when you work with more resources rather than ‘hacking away the unessentials’.
I wish I had not craved for more assets and more income. I also sometimes wish I had stayed single, not married or not produced
kids. Had I not married I would have been able to experience more relationships without the obligations of commitment. Had
I married and not produced kids, my wife and me would have experienced greater companionship without responsibility of the
after much meditation achieved Nirvana and concluded that all of life’s desires lead to suffering. Our goals, our dreams
and ambitions at work, our desire of possessing a woman and generating a progeny, our lust for immorality and youth all would
lead to suffering. Detachment to goals and desires would lead to peace and contentment. So if what one really seeks is happiness,
peace and contentment; then one should directly work on his mind, clearing the lust, settling frustrations, realizing cause
of anger and coming to peace with the fears. Rather than seeking happiness via material goals of ambition, money, assets,
possession of a possessive wife and expectations from expectant kids. ‘Directness is represented by the shortest distance between 2 points as a straight line, rather than convoluted
and tortuous curves’. In order to be happy, we need to work on the mind rather than make the
mind work on money, which we believe will give us peace of mind and happiness.
I wish I had not listened to the cardinal lies:
- All you want is money
- Money will buy you everything
- Money is got by working hard
- If you are enjoying, you are not working hard
- Work today and you can enjoy tomorrow
- Sex is bad, but not with me
- I am knowledge, I have logic and I will apply what I think is right
schooling did not make me wise. My marriage did not meet my expectation of companionship. My kids left me in my old age. My
work failed to make me rich and when I got rich I was old, fat and demoralized.
wish I had thought and contemplated before joining in the activities of the herd. I blindly went to school, joined work, got
married, had kids and built a business that took my youth, my body, my time and my peace.
I wish I had opted out for a different education and learning process, related to individuals without bondage, adopted an
orphan child and worked for just enough time to make my two ends meet, rather than working endlessly to cater to my lust.
realized, that by not subscribing to conventional template, I really would not have opposed the principle of harmony with
the system. The social structure made of my parents, my colleagues at work, my friends and family would certainly have wondered
and voiced their apprehensions at my unconventionality, but as long as my actions did not obstruct or disrupt their conventional
functions, they would not have ended up in arms and opposed me. Rather seeing my success outside the crate, I would have been
the subject of their admiration.
always thought I had an open mind but in fact, I was open only at one end; wherever it met my preconditioned ideology. So
in fact I was, like many others - ‘open mind and closed hind!’.
wish I were open to stepping outside the crate and living my life differently. For this, I would have to be open to newer
ideas, open to exercise ‘cautious boldness’, open to applying what my mind concludes. However now it’s too
late to change my past. My life, my beautiful life, my childhood, my youth, my adult years, my middle years, my old age..
the sport of rock climbing the highest obstacle is the overhang. The climber has 3 options. To negotiate successfully and
surpass the obstacle OR To perform a
half hearted effort, fail and hang endlessly from the obstacle OR a third option is to pull back and return to the base acknowledging the lack of capability and gracefully give
in life’s various phases, it is not mandatory to enter or attempt difficult phases. If one is ill equipped in mind,
body and spirit one should avoid the overhang. Few may attempt to overcome with proper understanding and appropriateness. Without understanding if one ventures into an overhang, one will end up hanging endlessly
from it. In case this happens, it is better to jump out of the overhang or step out of the phase in an attempt to repair life.
With respect to the various phases of life, the repairs can be attempted as follows:
basic schooling and a few years of formal education, one may contemplate seeking expertise and field experience rather than
by pursuing Masters of further degrees. Work can be moderated by moderating ambition, reducing income expectation and opting
for fewer work hours or comfortable mode of work or nearby work location.
for companionship, one can adopt live-in relationships and try a hand before entering into any commitments. One should refuse
to be emotionally blackmailed into legalized marriage. For those who are married and disappointed, a radical solution to be
considered is nullification of the legal commitment and then living together with respect for individual identity. The child
too should be allowed to grow rebelliously allowing for growth of individually different ideas, without coloring the child's
brain with one’s own set ideology. So it would boil down to not coercing the child to pursue higher academics while
encouraging other interests of sports or recreation. On reaching adulthood, child should be allowed to go and find his own
the subject of old age, one should plan to retire early and cater to fulfillment of one’s dreams (for which work began
in the first place) like touring the world or interacting with one’s friends or relatives. So in conclusion, in the
journey of life one should take time to smell the roses and not mistake the destination to be more important than the journey.
Thus the process of learning should be more important than the degree and the companionship of marriage or cohabitation be
more important than the bondage or restriction. The pleasure of aiding your child's growth be more important than his career,
the pleasures of spending money in making life comfortable or for experiencing ecstasies of life be more important than the
financial targets of the career. Old age and retirement is actually to be looked forward to as a stage where there is a fine
balance between material possession with balance of life left, and whatever is left of enthusiasm and zest of life.
In the words of Bruce Lee
“Walk on and see a new view
on and see the birds fly
on and leave behind all things
dam up the inlet of experiences.”
“Young man, seize every moment of your time,
The years fly by and you too shall
If you believe me now look at the
frost that is cold and cruel,
On the grass what was once green.”
always demands from you the strength that you possess. In life, one of the biggest obstacles is oneself - Our closed minded
approach and our rigid, inflexible attitudes of following the herd and blindly embracing tradition without tailor making it
to our attitudes, attributes and expectations.
every stage or phase of life, we must sit and contemplate enough before jumping into the traditional band wagon. The rule
of thumb in survival is “If you don't know what to do, do nothing.” Also understanding of the various phases of
life will help one to ‘prepare for the slide to avoid the muck’. The attitudes to the past, present and future
are also important. The past is to be used in learning, the present to be celebrated while securing one’s health, wealth
and peace of mind.
are to be repaired and rectified while remembering the golden rule “The deeper the ditch you jump into, the harder you
shall have to work to climb out of it.” So you must repair a failing education system by replacing information with
learning, you must repair a failed marriage by splitting the legal bandages, you must repair an obsession for your child with
non expectation and above all you must live your youth and fulfill your dreams before you grow old and incapable. So hurry
up, man and see everything as it is, in its suchness. And when you see it in it’s pristine reality you shall attain
satori or liberation. Then a great transformation shall occur and you shall change from COW to TAO.
sky on observation is initially clear. But on glaring and glaring, vision becomes blurred. Bye-bye cow. Welcome TAO. After
all life only demands from you the strength that you possess.
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The saddest thing
about the end of life is the regret, that in life, one did not exercise the freedom of choice.”
This article is reproduced here, taken from the original novel EASY LIVING authored by Erle Gooseberry, Earnest
Publications, UK, edition 2003, by permission