Monday, November 9, 2009




Bruce Lee is generally considered to be the most famous martial artist of the last century. Bruce Lee's physical dexterity and mastery of martial arts propelled him to cinematic fame. He starred in only five feature films but his impact on society is regarded as having sparked interest in Chinese martial arts in the United States.
Bruce Lee is the father of Jun Fan Gung Fu, a martial art he developed. Translated Jun Fan Gung Fu means "Bruce Lee's Way of the Intercepting Fist". Jun Fan Gung Fu heavily borrows from a myriad of martial arts styles and is meant to by a dynamic form allowing room for the student to adapt to their particular fighting style. This form of martial art is still being taught today.
Of all the body parts Bruce Lee developed, his abdominal muscles were the most spectacular: rock solid to the touch, deeply cut and highly defined. Bruce believed the abdominals were one of the most important muscle groups for a martial artist since virtually every movement requires some degree of abdominal work. Perhaps more importantly, the "abs" are like a shell, protecting your ribs and vital organs.
Lee was more than merely a fitness fanatic; he was an extremist, always in search of new ways to push his body to the limit, constantly tuning it while striving to achieve maximum efficiency. He felt many martial artists of his day lacked the necessary physical fitness to back up their skill. In his book Tao of Jeet Kune Do, he wrote "Training is one of the most neglected phases of athletics. Too much time is given to the development of skill and too little to the development of the individual for participation."
(Jake Seal at



In 1959 a short, skinny, bespectacled 18-year-old kid from Hong Kong traveled to America and declared himself to be John Wayne, James Dean, Charles Atlas and the guy who kicked your butt in junior high. In an America where the Chinese were still stereotyped as meek house servants and railroad workers, Bruce Lee was all steely sinew, threatening stare and cocky, pointed finger — a Clark Kent who didn't need to change outfits. He was the redeemer, not only for the Chinese but for all the geeks and dorks and pimpled teenage masses that washed up at the theaters to see his action movies. He was David, with spin-kicks and flying leaps more captivating than any slingshot. What Canby missed is that it's the moments between the plot points that are worth watching. It was the ballet of precision violence that flew off the screen; every combination you can create in Mortal Kombat can be found in a Lee movie. And even with all the special-effects money that went into "The Matrix," no one could make violence as beautiful as Lee's. He had a cockiness that passed for charisma. And when he whooped like a crane, jumped in the air and simultaneously kicked two bad guys into unconsciousness, all while punching out two others mostly offscreen, you knew the real Lee could do that too.

Images from

Bruce Lee Biography:
Name : Bruce Lee
Birth name : Lee Jun-Fan
Date of birth : November 27, 1940
Place of birth : San Francisco, California, U.S.
Died : July 20, 1973 (aged 32)
Place of death : Hong Kong
Spouse : Linda Emery (1964-1973)
Children : Brandon Lee (1965-1993) and Shannon Lee (b.1969)
Profession : Martial Arts Master, Actor
Height : 5' 7"

The Chinese calendar says that 1940 was the Year of the Dragon. This is also the same year the wolrd's greatest and most inspiring martial artist was born. On November 27th 1940, Grace Lee had gone into labour and was taken to Jackson Street hospital. Later that day Lee Jun Fan, which means "To Return Again" was born. A doctor attending the birth gave the child the English name Bruce. This child would go on to do amazing things. THE WORLD WOULD NEVER BE THE SAME!
When Bruce was only 6, he began to appear in numerous Chinese films. His first film was called "A beginning of a Boy." It didn't stop there, but even Bruce did not know how far he would go. He played a problem child, always stealing or fighting. He made at least 20 of these Cantonese films including "Black Boy Jungle" and "Boys on the Street". When Bruce was only 14, he was horribly beaten up in a street fight. After discussing what had happened to him with his mother they both decided it would be best for him to learn martial arts and to develop his physique and self defense abilities. This was the last fight Bruce would ever lose. His first REAL teacher was a Wing Chun master, Sifu Yip Man. Bruce became fascinated with the ideas and philoshpies of Wing Chun(a non tradtional style of Kung Fu). Soon he became very good at it. His next teacher was Siu Hon Sung, a Kung Fu expert. Bruce had no means of paying for his Kung Fu classes. But he had been learning Cha Cha dancing and offered to trade his knowledge of dancing for Kung Fu lessons. It took most people 3 weeks to learn 30 Kung Fu moves, but Bruce found a way to master them in only 3 nights. His teacher never learned one Cha Cha step!
In 1958 Bruce earned the title, Hong Kong Cha Cha champion. He then went on to make two more Cantonese films, "The Orphan" and "Thunderstorm". Time passed, and Bruce grew stronger in his fighting skills and in the Cha Cha. He would fight in the streets trying to test his abliities to see just how good he was. It wasn't long before the police warned his mother that if Bruce didn't stop street fighting, he would be arrested. On April 1958, his father gave him $100 US and sent him to San Francisco (his place of birth). His dad hoped that Bruce would become more responsible. He got on a boat and left. Bruce made a little money on the way there giving Cha Cha lessons. When Bruce arrived in San Francisco he lived with his fathers friend, Ruby Chow. Bruce's only option was to work in a restaurant while living in its attic. Once he finished high school, he furthered his training and developed his skill. For Bruce being good was nothing, he had to be the BEST. Bruce eventually earned enough money and headed for Seattle to study Philosophy at the University of Washington. In 1959, he met a fellow Asian called Taki Kimura. He was twice Bruce's age and had suffered many years of racial abuse. Bruce persuaded him to take pride in his Asian identity and taught him martial arts. Eventually Bruce decided to open a school in order to make money. In China, Kung Fu was the secret Chinese weapon and philosophy which was never taught to any non-Chinese person. Bruce thought differently though, he welcomed ANYONE who was interested in learning what he had to teach. Bruce felt that Chinese people were not the only worthy people to learn this great art. He alone broke the racial barrier that had been forged over time!

Van Williams, left, stars as the "Green Hornet,"
Bruce Lee as his agile cohort, "Kato,"
August 1966 photo
From From

Bridget Hanley, Bruce Lee and Linda Dangcil, 1969
in "Here Come The Brides - Marriage Chinese Style"

The greatest martial arist of all, Bruce Lee
pictured in the early 1970s

Bruce Lee in the "Green Hornet" in 1971

His martial arts skills made him a novelty and celebrity. He began to attract other martial artists and fighters who were amazed at his skills. Each of them was a skilled fighter in his own right. Among them were: Jesse Glover, a black belt in judo; Ed Hart, a middle-weight pro boxer and street fighter; Howard Hall, Leroy Porter, Pat C. Hooks, another black belt in judo; Charlie Woo, Skip Ellsworth, also a judo player; James W. DeMile, a street fighter and heavy-weight boxing champion in the Air Force; Leroy Garcia, a boxer and wrestler; Taky Kimura and John Jackson, both judo players. These men became his inner circle, the charter members of his research and development team.


Bruce Lee by *kse332

A Rare Martial Arts Lesson from Bruce Lee

Bruce was an unusual teacher. His personal goal unchanged, he was driven, not to teach, but to perfect the science of fighting and to prove himself the best fighter in the world. Rather than teach them a formal martial art, he taught each of them attributes to enhance their own skills so that they could continue to challenge him. This in turn, forced him to grow. Many of these early students went on to teach the skills that they developed during their training with Bruce. After developing his fighting skills and philosophy for four years, Bruce broke from the group and opened his first school in Seattle. He taught for a year and a half before moving to California. He left the school to Taky Kimura. Jesse Glover and James DeMile also open a school with Bruce's blessing. James DeMile, fascinated by the fighting science he had acquired through Bruce, went on to codify his knowledge and create a self-defense system called Wing Chun Do.
Bruce Lee was one of the most successful movie box-office attractions of all time. Some would also call him the greatest fighter of his (and maybe of all) time. While almost everyone knows something about Bruce Lee, here are a few things you may not have known. His father was a highly celebrated actor in China, both on stage and in the movies. Bruce began acting in movies at the age of four. At the age of twelve, having made several movies, he starred in "The Little Dragon". This was the catalyst that sparked his martial art training. In it, he played a punk that cleaned up the street gangs in Hong Kong. The few martial arts moves he had been taught for the stunt scenes was all Bruce knew about fighting. That role made him the target of many street toughs. Out of self-preservation, he joined a gang himself, where he met a young man named William Cheung. Cheung, already a student of Yip Man for over a year, introduced Bruce Lee to Yip Man. Thus began Bruce's formal training in the martial arts. He was a dedicated student and quickly developed his skills to surpass most of Yip's students. Having little humility, he refused to exhibit traditional respect for his Sihings (elder students). The elder students approached Yip Man and used the fact that Bruce Lee was not 100% Chinese to force him out of the school. Traditionally, it was forbidden to teach kung fu to any student who was not full Chinese. Despite this, Bruce slipped back to Yip's apartment for late-night, clandestine training sessions. He continued to train with William Cheung and they began testing their skills by challenging and accepting challenges from street fighters.
Not happy with his supporting roles in the U.S., Lee returned to Hong Kong. Unaware that The Green Hornet had been played to success in Hong Kong and was unofficially referred to as "The Kato Show", he was surprised to be recognized on the street as the "star" of the show. Lee was then offered a film contract by legendary director Raymond Chow to star in two films produced by his production company Golden Harvest. Lee played his first leading role in The Big Boss (1971) which proved to be an enormous box office success across Asia and catapulted him to stardom. He soon followed up with Fist of Fury (1972) which broke the box office records set previously by The Big Boss. Having finished his initial two-year contract, Lee negotiated a new deal with Golden Harvest. For his third film, Way of the Dragon (1972), he was given complete control of the film's production as the writer, director, star, and choreographer of the fight scenes. In 1964, at a demonstration in Long Beach, California, Lee had met karate champion Chuck Norris. In Way of the Dragon Lee introduced Norris to moviegoers as his opponent in the final death fight at the Colosseum in Rome, today considered one of Lee's most legendary fight scenes and one of the most memorable fight scenes in martial arts film history.
In late 1972, Lee began work on his fourth Golden Harvest Film, Game of Death. He began filming some scenes including his fight sequence with 7'2" American Basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a former student. Production was stopped when Warner Brothers offered Lee the opportunity to star in Enter the Dragon, the first film to be produced jointly by Golden Harvest and Warner Bros. This film would skyrocket Lee to fame in the U.S. and Europe. However, only a few months after the film's completion and 6 days before its July 26, 1973 release, the supremely fit Lee mysteriously died. Enter the Dragon would go on to become one of the year's highest grossing films and cement Lee as a martial arts legend. It was made for US$850,000 in 1973 (equivalent to $4 million adjusted for inflation as of 2007). To date, Enter the Dragon has grossed over $200 million worldwide. The movie sparked a brief fad in the martial-arts, epitomized in such songs as "Kung Fu Fighting" and such TV shows as Kung Fu.
(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

From the 1973 film, "Enter the Dragon"

Images from Bruce Lee Club

Original Fists of Fury movie poster

Images from Bruce Lee Club

Bruce Lee in "Fists of Fury", 1971

Images from Bruce Lee Club

Basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, left
Martial artist Bruce Lee, right
From the movie "Game of Death," 1973
The film was released in 1978

Original Enter The Dragon Movie Poster

Images from Bruce Lee Club

From the 1973 film, "Enter the Dragon,"

Enter The Dragon Final Battle Video

Lee died a month before the release of his first U.S. film, Enter the Dragon. The movie would make more than $200 million, and college kids would pin Lee posters next to Che Guevara's. In the end, Lee could only exist young and in the movies. Briefly, he burst out against greater powers before giving himself over to the authorities.

"Bruce Lee exhibition - Memory of the Dragon"
Tokyo on Aug. 3, 1998
Actress Shannon Lee, left, and her mother Linda Lee Cadwell
daughter and wife of late martial arts actor Bruce Lee
stand in front of a photo panel showing the actor in a scene

A few of Bruce's awesome feats:
-Bruce's striking speed from 3 feet away was five hundredths of a second.
-Bruce could throw grains of rice up into the air and then catch them in mid-flight using chopsticks.
-Bruce did press ups using only 2 fingers.
-Bruce could thrust his fingers through unopened cans of Coca-Cola. (This was when soft drinks cans were made of steel much thicker than today's aluminium cans)
-Bruce was able to explode 100lb bags with a simple sidekick.
-Bruce would ride for 45 minutes (10 Miles) on a stationary bike, when he'd finished, a huge pool of sweat was beneath him.
-Bruce once caved in a protective headgear made from heavy steel rods, rods that had previously withstood several blows from a sledgehammer.
-Bruce's last movie "Enter the Dragon" was made for a modest $600,000 in 1973. To date, is has grossed over $300,000,000.

Flowers decorate the grave of Bruce Lee
Lake View Cemetery in Seattle, Wa in 1975

Bruce Lee Timeline:
November 27, 1940: Bruce Lee is born Lee Jun fan at the Jackson Street Hospital in San Francisco. He is later named Bruce Lee by the nurse.
1941, San Fransico: Bruce appears in his first film at the age of two months.
1941: Bruce and his parents return to their home in Kowloon.
1946, Hong Kong: Appears in the film "The Beginning of a Boy" at the age of 6.
1953: At the age of 14 Bruce enters La Salle College, a highschool. He is a poor student but has a clever mind.
1954: After being involved in numerous street fights Bruce begins training under Sifu Yip Man, a master of the Wing Chun system of Kung Fu.
1958, Hong Kong: Bruce Lee is crowned "Cha Cha King of Hong Kong".
1959, Hong Kong: After being expelled from LaSalle for too many street fights Bruce's father sends him to San Francisco.
1959, San Francisco: Bruce arrives in San Francisco but leaves for Seattle due to unexplained problems.
1959, Seattle: Arrives in Seattle and begins working as a waiter for Ruby Chow, a friend of his father. He lives above the restaurant and begins to teach Gung Fu in backyards and city parks.
1963, Seattle: Bruce enrolls at the University of Washington and meets Linda Emery, 17 years old. Majors in philosophy but never gets his BA or MA. According to a former secretary of the U of W philosophy department, Bruce is a poor student who drops out. However, he published his first book, Chinese Gung Fu, The Philosophical Art of Self Defense.
1964, Summer: Moves to Oakland and opens Kung Fu school after marrying Linda despite her parents' protests: "I want to marry your daughter. We are leaving on Monday. I'm Chinese, by the way."
1964, Oakland: Soon after opening school, challenged by Wong Jock Man from S.F. Though Bruce wins fight, he's annoyed at how long it takes and re-examines approach to martial arts.
1964, Long Beach: At Ed Parker's Invitationals, gives kung fu exhibition filmed by Jay Sebring, the hairstylist for Batman producer William Dozier and Sharon Tate (whom Sebring is later murdered with by the Mansons). Sebring shows film to Dozier, who is looking to fill part in TV pilot, Number One Son. The show never airs.
1965, Los Angeles: Dozier pays Bruce $1,800 retainer to wait a year for The Green Hornet to begin. Brandon Lee born and soon becomes, according to his mother, "the Number One spoiled child you've ever come across."
1966, September: Bruce debuts in The Green Hornet as Hornet's (literal) sidekick, Kato. Receives ton on fan mail and teen zine coverage but show cancelled after first season.
1967, Los Angeles: Meets Fred Weintraub to develop TV show, Kung Fu. Role is perfect for Bruce but given to David Carradine. Does cameos in Matt Helm, and Ironside and trains other actors at $250 an hour: "All of them would come and say 'Hey man, how do you do that?'" Students include Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Kareem Jabbar and screenwriter Stirling "Shaft In Africa" Silliphant, who helps Bruce with script idea.
1968, Los Angeles: Begins formulating philosophy of Jeet Kune Do, or "Way of the Intercepting Fist." Instead of blocking and then hitting, Jeet Kune Do, like fencing, focuses on intercepting and hitting in one motion.
1968, Fall: Silliphant writes hour pilot for Longstreet, a crime drama about a blind private detective. Reviews of the pilot (described by Silliphant as an hour lesson in Jeet Kune Do) are mixed but concede that Bruce is a highlight.
1968-69: McQueen and Coburn help land him occasional bits but racism and his abrasive personality hold Bruce back. Bides time by driving his Porsche on Mullholland with McQueen.
1969-70: Gives Silliphant outline for a script based on his dreams which would star McQueen and feature himself in several roles, including a panter and a monkey. McQueen balks, saying, "I'm not going to carry you on my back." Bruce literally shakes his fist and says, "Someday I'm going to be a bigger star than he is!"
1970: Coburn expresses interest and Warners picks up the script, now titled The Silent Flute (i.e. a call of the soul). Coburn, Silliphant, and Bruce go to India intent on filming, but trip ends in disaster when Coburn screams at Bruce for constantly humming along to pop songs. Crushed, Bruce agains shakes his fist and vows revenge, but The Silent Flute is abandoned. (Re-titled Circle of Iron, it is released in 1987, starring David Carradine, who declares that "when Bruce died, his spirit went into me. I'm possessed").
1971, Hong Kong: The Green Hornet's continuing popularity in Hong King compels producer Raymong Chow to offer Bruce the lead in the film, The Big Boss.
1971, October: Made for $100,000 in Bangkok, The Big Boss, later known in America as Fists of Fury, opens in Hong King to ecstatic response and grosses 3.2 million in first run.
1972, Hong Kong: Fists of Fury, Bruce's second film, later known here are Chinese Connection, is made for $200,000 and breaks all records set by a first film. In Singapore, $2 ticketsm fetch $45, and the film is withdrawn to ease traffic jams. In the Phillipines it's closed to give domestic films a chance. Eventually the first two films grossed over $20 million. The second film, though, is too similar to the first (what Chinese call "warming over yesterday's rice") and Bruce begins to feud with director Lo Wei ("No way, Lo Wei").
1972, Hong Kong: Bruce rejects Lo Wei and Chow's script, Stern Faced Tiger, in favor of his own idea, Enter The Dragon. This in turn becomes his third and worst film, Return Of The Dragon, which includes Bruce's fight with Chuck Norris in the Roman Colosseum.
1972, Hong Kong: Bruce announces his next project will be called Game of Death. Mentioning "death" in the title is bad luck (or bad feng shui). The $100,000 house he buys in Kowloon also has bad feng shui.
1972, Hollywood: Before Game of Death can be made, Bruce signs big deal with Warners, and upon his return to L.A., tells McQueen the good news. McQueen responds by sending Bruce autographed photo: "To Bruce Lee, My Greatest Fan, Steve McQueen."
1973, January: Production on Enter The Dragon begins in Hong Kong, despite Bruce's feuds with screenwriter Michael Alin and producers Fred Weintraub and Paul Heller. Bruce is now mobbed in public, forcing him to don disguises. He also receives challenges--even by mail and phone--from scores of tough guys. Too often Bruce accepts the challenges.
1973, Winter: Bruce injured several times during shooting. Said to look alternately pale and dark. On the set he hangs out with stuntmen from rival Triad gangs. The staged fights with 400 extras "often degenerated into a vengeful brawl." Bruce also vows to his buddies that "at the end of our big fight scene, I'm going to kill (co-star) Bob Wall." He is later talked out of it.
1973, May 10: During final edit session for Dragon, Bruce collapses, convulses, loses consciousness. Hong Kong doctors prescribe drugs to reduce the brain swelling they detect, but doctors at UCLA later find no trouble after series of tests. Bruce reportedly drinking as many as 20 sakes a night.
1973, July 20: Raymond Chow and Bruce meet at apartment of actress Betty Ting-Pei to go over new Game of Death script. Bruce complains of headache, Betty gives him a prescription herbalist pill called Equagesic, he lies down and hours later is dead of a cerebral edema, or massive swelling of the brain. Attempt to move body from Betty to Bruce's house exposed by Hong Kong critic Mel Tobias and fuels speculation of foul play. Original cause of death listed as "marijuana poisoning," later changed to "death by misadventure." An estimated 20,000 people attend his funeral in Hong Kong. Normall restrained Chinese weep in public.
1973, Summer: Rumors fly: he died while making love to Betty; he died because his house had bad feng shui; he died from the "Iron Fist" or "Vibrating Palm," a killing technique certain Kung Fu Grand Masters allegedly possess which channels all their energy into a single touch. In this last scenario, a Master put his hand on Bruce's shoulder purportedly because he had revealed too many martial arts secrets to Westerners.
1973, August: Enter The Dragon premiers. Rob Cohen, who would later direct the movie about Bruce's life, is at the American opening: "It was the first time I'd ever seen an audience respond to an actor as if he were part of a live sporting event. Cheering, screaming, applauding--I'd never seen anything like that before. Nor have I since." Though released in August, Dragon outgrosses all other films that year except The Exorcist. Made for $500,000, it has grossed over $150 million so far.
1978, Fall: Game of Death is finally released, featuring only 20 minutes of Bruce footage (the rest is filmed with stand-ins).

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