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Bruce Lee Podcast

Apr 20, 2017

Bruce Lee played many characters that were unassuming and didn’t want to get into fights, but then could kick everyone’s butt in 10 seconds when he needed to. As a small Asian man, no one expected that sort of power from him. Because of the characters he played, many people think of Bruce Lee as an Underdog who became a Top Dog through dedicated training. He gave everyone who felt underestimated or undervalued hope and strength. In this episode, we talk about Bruce Lee’s broader philosophical ideas of The Underdog and the Top Dog. An Underdog is a person thought to have little chance of winning a fight or a contest; a person who has little status in society. And the Top Dog is usually an aggressive Alpha-type person. Bruce called the Top Dog and the Underdog the "two clowns" of our personality. “The Top Dog usually is righteous and authoritarian; he knows best. He is sometimes right, but always righteous. The top dog is bully and works with “you should’ and “you shouldn’t.” The top dog manipulates with demands and threats of catastrophe, such as – “I you don’t, then…you won’t be loved, you won’t get to heaven, you will die…” and so on.” “The Under Dog manipulates with being defensive, apologetic, wheedling, playing the crybaby, and such. The underdog has no power. The underdog works like this, “I tried my best; I can’t help it if I fail. I have good intentions.” So you see the underdog is cunning, and he usually gets the better of the top dog because the underdog is not as primitive.” “So the top dog and the underdog strive for control. They strive for each other for control. The person is fragmented into controlled and controller. The inner conflict is never complete because both the top dog and the underdog fight for their life.” People often view Bruce Lee as a perfectionist, but he was actually against perfectionism as the ideal. “The ideal is a yardstick which gives you the opportunity to brow beat yourself, to berate yourself and others. Since this ideal is an impossibility, you can never live up to it. You are merely in love with this ideal and there is no end to the self-torture, the self-nagging, self-castigating. It hides under the mask of “self-improvement.” It never works.” At the bottom of his essay on the Underdog and the Top Dog, Bruce writes: NOW = EXPERIENCE = AWARENESS = REALITY Take Action: Do you identify more strongly with Underdog or Top Dog? Can you identify the two sides within yourself? Once you notice where you let the Top Dog out or the Underdog out, try in that moment to reel it back to create more space and resist the habitual reaction. #AAHA This week our #AAHA shout out goes to Tony Award Winning playwright, screenwriter, and theater professor David Henry Hwang. His early plays dealt with the role of the Chinese American and Asian American in the modern world. David has won many awards including the Obie Award for FOB (Fresh Off the Boat) and was the first Asian American playwright to win a Tony Award for his play M. Butterfly. After that he became a frequent collaborator as a librettist with world-renowned composer Philip Glass. In 2014, David premiered his play Kung Fu about the life of Bruce Lee at the Signature Theater Off-Broadway. David has done a lot of amazing work and is excellent at shining a light on the depictions of Asians and Chinese in America. We think you’re awesome David Hwang! #BruceLeeMoment This week our moment comes from listener Tommy N.: “Listening to the podcasts and stretching, meditating, cooking organic food, going to the market, creating new recipes, really going with the flow and bettering myself, I realize that Bruce Lee was able to realize the 'Buddha' potential and was able to work daily on cleansing the mind, body, spirit, of uncleanliness that pervades our 'toxic' 'ecosystem environments.” Share your #AAHAs, #BruceLeeMoments, and #TakeAction progress with us at Find the full version of our show notes at