‘Then one day in 1965, he came by my house to say goodbye before leaving for Hong Kong where he said he intended to become the biggest star in films. “You remember our talk about limitations?” he asked “well, I'm limited by my size and difficultly in English and the fact that I am Chinese, and there never has been a big Chinese star in America films. But I have spent the last three years studying movies and I think that the time is ripe for a good martial arts film - and I am the best qualified to star in it. My capabilities exceed my limitations”.
This was a small man whose right leg was an inch shorter than his left and was seriously short sighted which for a martial artist was rather a handicap but got over this by wearing contact lenses which in the 1960's where not the most comfortable!
The man in question was Bruce Lee and this story comes from Joe Hyams who wrote a book called ‘Zen in the martial arts’.
Bruce Lee made a point of saying that because he was sort sighted he trained first in close quarter Wu Shu and then when he got contact lenses learnt to fight from a distance. For his short leg he formulated and perfected a stance which led to his powerful kicking technique.
The history of achievement is full of people that started with a disadvantage and because of their determination to be as good as others the skills that they developed from their disability meant they surpassed their rivals.
For me the great example is that of Django Reinhardt probably the greatest jazz guitarist of all time. Django an illiterate gypsy was so brilliant that after hearing a piece of Bach once could play it back on the guitar; his playing was truly amazing but Django only had two fully functional fingers on his fretboard hand so the licks that he played that seem impossible anyway were played by someone with a crippled hand.
So let us use our limitations to be creative.