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The Art of Expressing the Human Body Paperback – November 15, 1998

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Editorial Reviews


"All types of knowledge ultimately leads to self-knowledge. So, therefore, these people are coming in and asking me to teach them, not so much how to defend themselves or how to do somebody in. Rather, they want to learn to express themselves through some movement, be it anger, be it determination, or whatever. So, in other words, they're paying me to show them, in combative form the art of expressing the human body."—Bruce Lee

"I suggest you read this book and use it to motivate yourself to pursue whatever goals you strive for in life. Here is the record of a man who had to overcome his own obstacles in life, and who achieved success because he believed in himself. Perhaps you can use this inspiration to achieve your own success. Even now, I feel Bruce's presence and he still motivates me to this day. When I'm lifting weights…I max out my workout by doing one more rep for the old man upstairs, and then do one for Bruce. It never fails!"—Allen Joe, from the Foreword

"The Bruce Lee Library stands as a definitive presentation of Bruce Lee's magnificent legacy. Each volume belongs on the bookshelf of every serious martial artist."—JunFan Jeet Kune Do Nucleus

About the Author

John Little is considered to be one of the world's foremost authorities on Bruce Lee. He's the only person who has ever been authorized to review the entirety of Lee's personal notes, sketches and reading annotations, giving him an insider's look at Lee's training methods and philosophies. He's shared this information with Lee's fans in his books published by Tuttle Publishing, including: Bruce Lee: Artist of Life; Jeet Kune Do: Bruce Lee's Commentaries on the Martial Way; Letters of the Dragon; The Tao of Gung Fu: A Study in the Way of Chinese Martial Art; Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee's Wisdom for Daily Living and Bruce Lee: The Celebrated Life of the Golden Dragon.

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Product Details

  • Series: Bruce Lee Library (Book 4)
  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Tuttle Publishing; 1st edition (November 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804831297
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804831291
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.7 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,475 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

151 of 156 people found the following review helpful By Richard on October 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
Excellent book showing how Bruce Lee developed his awesome body and how he built-up the power behind it. The author has great sources that he got the material from, since some of the pictures are of actual notes that Lee himself wrote. Lee worked extremely hard to get his body in the near-perfect shape that it was in, and this book describes how he did it. This book contains alot of material that was previously unavailable before to anyone wanting to know how Lee trained, what he ate, how he taught his students how to train, what his views were on exercise, cardiovascular training, stretching, and most important, how to develop power from your workout. His training was based on his martial arts influence, as he always searched for ways to improve himself in his own martial art of Jeet Kune Do (JKD). This book shows how he incorporated various exercises and his training regimen during various parts of his life to constantly change and adapt to what he felt would benefit him the most at that particular time. If he felt he needed more endurance, he would incorporate more running and punching the heavy bag, if he felt he needed more quickness and speed, he would do more speed drills, jump rope, etc. An excellent book to learn more about how Lee trained himself and his students to get in the best shape of their lives, and also an example and inspiration to other who exercise and try to keep fit. Of course, if you want a book to show you "how" to workout with weights, then this is not the book for you, but if you want to learn how to improve your overall self through exercise, diet and training, then this is an excellent book.
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119 of 122 people found the following review helpful By Miyagi Senpai on September 8, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Some people may be skeptical about Bruce Lee as a martial artist, bodybuilder, fitness enthusiast, etc. But in reality one need not be a fan to understand the brilliance to his methods. The book always emphasizes that Bruce was all about changing things, looking and trying all aspects, then deciding what stays and what is unnecessary. Like chiseling away the pieces of stone to carve a statue.

After having done extensive research into bodybuilding, fitness, martial arts, Asian Medicine, Eastern Philosophy, exercise physiology, and dietetics I can honestly say that this book is very advanced. What I mean by this is that one has to do his/her own research to decide about the methods outlined. Indeed some of the research is outdated. For example the couplings of incomplete proteins and complete is slightly flawed in logic. However, you must not forget these methods were employed way before large advances were made in the way of sports nutrition and supplementation.

In the training aspect any normal human would indeed be overtrained. But the body is a magnificent creation and can adapt to anything that it encounters. Shaolin Monks, Ultra Runners, Olympic Gymnasts... they all do things that would overtrain any of us normal people. But they are not overtrained. Indeed Bruce had trained long and hard to become as resilient as such.

As someone who has done a little Personal Training I have to say that his development when he started lifting weights showed his ability to adapt. His body became very muscular very quickly. However, for those who think steroids were his thing... they were not. Not only did he believe in the natural way he also believed that a bulky body will decrease flexibilty and overall speed and endurance.
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41 of 44 people found the following review helpful By "lilsheminx" on June 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Bruce Lee was a man who truly made use of every spare moment he had. Long thought of as simply the pinnacle of martial arts, many fans and non-fans alike are discovering that Bruce Lee was also a thoughtful and profound philosopher. Even in this volume of the fantastic Bruce Lee library, you will find tremendous philosophy and insight by Bruce Lee, as retold by his friends and students. Mr. Lee saw exercise as "The Art of Expressing the Human Body," and he went to great lengths to craft his body--not for appearance--but for functionality. His circuits, weight routines, calisthenics, and cardiovascular workouts are just a few of the things detailed in this clearly exhuastively researched book. It reads quite well, and I have never worked harder at improving my own body as I have when I was actively reading this book. This is a *must* for all martial artists, and a fantastic book for anyone who needs any motivation to work out. Bruce Lee's example is all you need to really get moving.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Brupac on July 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a must for any martial artist, Weightlifter, Bodybuilder or even just cross-trainer. The book is a wealth of information which is clearly laid out and straight to the point. While other books and articles I have read claim to tell of Lee's discoveries and then don't, this reveals EVERYTHING. Apart from the fact that there are various punching and kicking drills, bodybuilding programmes, isometric, dynamic tension, cardiovascular, 10 reasons why you should jog{and more importantly tells you the correct of the three methods and how to achieve better results with jogging} etc. it is also incredibly motivating. It tells how lee performed exercises while curling a dumbell, reading a book and studying boxing matches at the same time while in a side splits. Most importantly, each section fills you in the little tips and tricks which Bruce wrote: for example in the FOREARM section (of which Bruce in unbeaten) Bruce writes to wrap a towel around a dumbell when performing curls and you will fill out you sleeves in 2 weeks!{it works!}
If that isn't motivation enough it has plently of pictures such as Lee performing THUMBPUSHUPS!! and balancing his entire body on just his traps on a weighlifting bench!!. It points out the differences between real functional muscle and the bulky muscle which bodybuilders want and shows how to achieve both{which serves to silence the fools who believe martial arts and weights are incompatible}. It explains why Lee took up weights. It presents helpful little charts which can be made at home and used for training e.g the training programme for dan inosanto or even just the 1964 measurements chart from a hong kong gym used by bruce. Even things such as the Nutrition section which every person should know about present helpful tips{and also things to avoid such as liquidising everything which Lee did!}
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