While on a boat on his way to Han's Tournament as an undercover agent, "The Dragon" Bruce Lee is gathered together with other men who also plan on competing in this tournament of elite fighters. One of the fighters on the boat happens to be a bully and is bullying some of the other fighters. At some point he looks at Bruce and says, "Do I scare you?". Bruce just stares. He then says,"What's your style?". Bruce replies, "I call it the art of fighting without fighting". The bully asks Bruce to show him some and Bruce said that there was not enough room. Bruce then suggests that they take the little safety boat that was attached to the big boat to an Island close by where they could practice. They bully agreed and Bruce began to help him down into the safety boat. Once the bully was in the boat, Bruce untied it and made sure the bully knew he had lost the battle. This was a classic scene from "Enter The Dragon".
I see Jiu-Jitsu as an art where this principle of fighting without fighting can be displayed very well. You can take the techniques of jiu-jitsu and use them in an very rough and aggressive manor or you can take them and use them in a very gentle, patient, methodical manor. To apply the art of fighting without fighting in your every day jiu-jitsu training you must learn to be gentle, patient and methodical.
The best way to practice this concept is to literally go into a rolling session with the mind set of not fighting. The idea is to NOT USE FORCE. That's right. Don't use the force Luke. You Simply let it happen. You are not going to create your own opportunities or situations to attack, you are going to focus only on what's given. Even when you do attack, you are not going to use much energy at all. You are just going to relax and go with the flow or as Rickson Gracie once said, flow with the go.
As spoken about in another blog post, in order to apply any of the techniques you learn in jiu-jitsu you have to have the opportunity first. What I mean is that you have to:
1. Be able to identify the right situation to use a move.
2. Be able to create the right situation to use a move.
An arm bar, for instance, can either be given by your opponent posting on your chest or you may have to work to set it up and trap the arm order to get that opportunity. The art of fighting without fighting relies on you learning to focus on identifying what is given. So often when we roll we are trying to force situations and end up wasting a lot of energy when in fact a different situation or opportunity is all ready given. Be aware and willing to go where your partner leads you.
One of the best ways that I have found to practice this is with your eyes closed. When you close your eyes you tend to FEEL more of what is given rather than trying to create. It is important to explain this to your training partners before you roll. Tell them that you want to practice rolling with your eyes closed and ask them to keep theirs open so they can keep you from bumping your head into anyone or anything. When you roll you will use some energy. You can't just play dead and expect to gain anything. You have to use some energy but the idea is to use as little as possible. Use a partner that is a little less skilled than you and try your best not to fight to keep a grip, hold a position, escape a position or submit your partner. Do not struggle to do anything. Be technical. Be aware, gentle, patient and be methodical. Then when people ask you what style you practice, you too can say, the art of fighting without fighting.