Absorb What is Useful -JKD Article

Hi all,

Steve Golden, an original Bruce Lee student, has written an article titled "Absorb What is Useful".

I am sure you will all find this interesting and it will hopefully finally explain what is considered by many as one of the most misunderstood statements within Jeet Kune Do lore.


Of course we will be discussing this on our forum as well.


BIG Sean Madigan

Thanks for posting that article Sean.

Here's my 2 cents:

I don't think there's much difference between "absorbing what's useful" vs. "absorbing what you like."

If you like something, it serves some use for you, martial or otherwise.

No offense, but there is nothing really enlightening in that article & I always took it to mean "what is useful to me".

I also think that alot of people put too much stock into the words of twenty-something kid...

Hi Robkali,

No offence taken at all, and I think its great that you always have had that understanding. Other have not though.

"I also think that alot of people put too much stock into the words of twenty-something kid..."

I understand and agree with that as well, I mean people have put some much stock in a line or two that Bruce Lee wrote as to justify what they do. For instance, how many people mistakenly take "Absorb what is useful" to mean "Absorb what my teachers says is useful"? You know? Or "The way of no way" to mean "The way of many ways."

Frekin odd.

I always liked "walk on" (the sign he had on his desk) Like it was some mystical enlighting thing about JKD being a journey...I believe it was Tom Bleecker who said that Linda told him that all it really meant was for people to not bother him & to literally walk on PAST!

Anyway - true or not, i like that version better...LOL

Sean, here is question i have though:

The absorb what is useful (to you) - how will you know what is useful & where to get it?

Thanks in advance

Hi Rob,

"The absorb what is useful (to you) - how will you know what is useful & where to get it?"

The only way that I know of is through what has been called "Alive Training". Unless you are working against a resisting opponent, then there is no way that you can honestly tell what problems you will have to face, that you don't already have an answer for. Our instructors can talk and talk and talk, but until we get taken down and tapped out, or blasted across a room, we will never understand.

As far as to where to get it from...well, simple, find people that have answered that problem before. Years ago I was on the opinion that I didn't need any grappling training. I figured I wrestled for four years (20 years ago LOL) and what more did I need. It was only after a student of mine took me down and tapped me out over and over again, that in finally sunk in. I began training with Matt Thornton and learned many lessons.

I sought out my training. How I knew who to seek out? Well, Alive training told me what I needed to work on.

I have a JKD instructor (Steve Golden), but when it came to ground fighting, he and I didn't bullshit each other into saying "What I have will work, I just have to learn some super secret whatever..." You know? I called Matt.

Now, I was fortunate enough to have an instructor without an ego. He suggested I talk to Matt, but he didn't care who I trained with, as long as I did to solve my problem.

Anyway, sorry for going on so long about this. LOL


Gotcha! Thanks for the reply.

The only way to know if something is useful is to try it out repeatedly in sparring against good opponents. This point is what most JKD people miss.

Hiya Burton - congrats on the Black Belt (BJJ right?)

Thanks for the input - that was what i was alluding to when i asked "how do you know what is useful?"... I assume that by "good opponents" you also mean opponents of varying system/styles?

Yes, exactly. If we really want a well-rounded approach, we need to spar with many different fighters who are highly skilled in their particular field. Try clinching with Randy Couture, try to pass Baret Yoshida's guard, try kickboxing with Dennis Alexio, try stickfighting with Eric Knauss. It is a pretty simple concept, but one has to be willing to spar with people who are at the top of their field in order to really improve your own art, and know what really will work. You don't roll with a blue belt in BJJ to test what works against BJJ. You roll with a top black belt. Simple, but you have to be humble and be ready to take some licks in order to find the truth.