Bruce Lee : The Art of Expressing the Human Body

If you've ever watched a Bruce Lee film and marveled at his strength, speed, agility, endurance, flexibility or muscularity, this book should take pride of place in your collection. Unlike many other writings covering everything from Lee's training methods to nutrition, this book is based not on the recollections of people around him; but on Lee's own notes.
The book covers - in great detail - not only the various training he did from 1963 until his untimely death in 1973, but also his thinking behind each aspect of it. Reading through these is fascinating for two main reasons :
  1. The number of devices he designed (many of which are still in use - such as the hand and forearm equipment used in gyms throughout the world, just look at the WSB videos) and new exercise methods is astonishing. He employed ideas such as Static Contraction, Interval Training, PHA (a forerunner of Circuit Training) as well as many of the bodyweight exercises Matt Furey has been trying to stamp his name all over in recent years.
  2. The second is that despite clearly demonstrating the effectiveness of his training - and there are few who would question his physical prowess - he has remained unequalled for over 30 years.

One chapter of the book came as a bit of a surprise - that on nutrition. After stating that Lee didn't spend time studying up on nutrition (largely leaving things to Linda), it covers a few commonsense principles that guided their diets. In fact, without going to great lengths, Lee's diet was quite healthy by current standards.

The surprise was the fact that between the making of Way of the Dragon (known as Return of the Dragon in the US) and Enter the Dragon there was a marked change in physical appearance (much lower bodyfat), and yet there was no change in his diet. The only changes were in the training routines during this time.

As for the book itself, it is a large, high quality volume replete with photos showing Lee training, acting or giving demonstrations. These alone are a great source of inspiration.

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Scott Andrew Bird

Scott Andrew Bird is a writer, photographer and a guy who just loves this stuff. He's been at home in front of a computer for more years than he cares to remember (OK, 35) and is now making amends for years of many mistakes noted in the De-constructing Computer Guy articles (part 2) on T-Nation.

Find out what he's up to via Twitter, Google+, Facebook; and of course his online home. Enjoy.

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