64. What Bruce Lee taught me about learning


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By Stanislaw Pstrokonski. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

A while back, I listened to an interview with Bruce Lee*. There were two things that I took away from it, neither of which I understood at the time: Bruce Lee's insistence that martial arts are first and foremost about self-expression; and the concept of "acting un-acting" or "un-acting acting" (elsewhere I have heard him talk about "fighting un-fighting"). Recently I was reminded of this interview, but this time it made sense to me, because of what I had learned in the meantime about the nature of learning.

Perhaps surprisingly, another look at what he had said got me to think of A Mathematician's Lament, an article by Paul Lockhart about maths education that had I previously covered on the podcast. I feel as though, armed with my new insights, I have a feeling as to what Paul Lockhart may have gotten wrong in his controversial piece.

Overall, then, I am able to extract some ideas from what Bruce Lee says in a rather more coded or mysterious way, and generalise them so that they can apply to any field, while showing how they apply to maths in particular.

Enjoy the episode.

*Full interview available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jfQSCbkA940, entitled "Bruce Lee Interview HQ".

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