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Bruce Lee’s take on “Never give up. Never give in”

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Over five years ago, I wrote about Churchill’s admonition to “Never give up. Never give in,” as an ongoing powerfully peaceful battle call for criminal defense lawyers.

Thanks to my brother criminal defense lawyer and fellow martial arts practitioner Chris Flohr for posting an article in 2003 (here at page 5), which I just found, addressing Bruce Lee’s spin on Churchill’s urging never to give up.

Bruce Lee said:

If you think you are beaten, you are.  If you think you dare not, you don’t. If you would like to win, but you think you can’t It almost certain you won’t. If you think you will lose, you are lost For out of the world we find, Success begins with a fellow’s will- It’s all a state of the mind…

See the rest here.

Considering the source of these words, they hold true substance for me as I continue battling on the side of the angels when I prepare for and go to court for my criminal defense clients.

ADDENDUM: After re-reading the foregoing poem, apparently called the “Victor”, I recognized that it rhymes, and wondered why Bruce Lee was going to take time adding rhyming to his thoughts, during breaks from martial arts. The authorship may not be clear. This martial arts page, and many others, list the author as C. W. Longenecker, which seems to be a pen name inspired by a long neck beer bottle.

This anonymous online posting says the poem was in Bruce Lee’s office. Another anonymous writer says the poem hung at his Hong Kong home studio, and is seen in 1973’s Bruce Lee: The Man and the Legend. The writer tried without success to pinpoint the poem’s precise origins.

The words mean just as much to me, though.

Here are some more words of wisdom that hit home as I battle on:

No, try not/ Do or do not/ There is no try.” – Yoda.

“It is better to cry in the dojo and laugh on the battlefield, than to laugh in the dojo and then cry on the battlefield.” – Aikido saying

“Perceive the way of nature and no force of man can harm you. Do not meet a wave head on: avoid it. You do not have to stop force: it is easier to redirect it. Learn more ways to preserve rather than destroy. Avoid rather than check. Check rather than hurt. Hurt rather than maim. Maim rather than kill. For all life is precious nor can any be replaced.”  – Master Kan.