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December 2006
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February 2007

Cultivating Chi

A young man sent me an email and asked if Bruce Lee knew anything about cultivating chi. The young man didn't think so, because Bruce Lee did weight training as part of his workouts.

I believe some people have a very narrow view of what "cultivating chi" means. They think that if you aren't doing standing meditation or chi kung or tai chi or something similar, you aren't cultivating chi.

I would suggest a broader definition of what "cultivating chi" means. In my view, it means getting healthy and strong. Anything that helps you get healthy and strong helps you cultivate chi.

That would include eating right, getting enough sleep, weight training, aerobics, running, rope-jumping, sparring, working the heavybag, doing forms, doing chi kung, meditating -- all the things that make the muscles and bones stronger, the mind more calm, and the body's aerobic conditioning better.

I would urge anyone to avoid restricting themselves to such narrow views. If you buy into the concept of chi, you must believe that what makes you healthier and stronger also helps you cultivate chi.

Bruce Lee developed a lot of "chi" at a certain point, but in chi theory, too much yang turns to yin, and Bruce may have just burned himself out by the frenetic pace, overwork, and yes, the drug use that he was known to have delved into during his final months of life.