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Education Bookcast

May 7, 2018

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, entitled "Bruce Lee Interview HQ".