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Who Was Bruce Lee?

Michelle Liou

Posted on November 27, 2020 01:00

4 users

An introduction to martial arts icon Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee is known as a great martial artist and the creator of Jeet Kune Do. Lee founded this hybrid martial arts philosophy in 1967, intending for it to be a formless method of fighting. Jeet Kune Do is considered to be one of the first martial arts to mix styles, taking influence from fighting modes like Wing Chun, Kickboxing, Judo and Fencing. Standing 5'8" and weighing just 128 pounds, Lee's lean physique, superhuman speed and immense strength was nothing short of extraordinary. 

After he created Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee turned his focus to the film industry. Working with Hong Kong film company Golden Harvest, Lee produced several well-received films such as the famous action film "Way of the Dragon," which starred Lee's student Chuck Norris. His Hollywood breakthrough came when Hollywood film company Warner Brothers approached Lee with an offer to star in "Enter the Dragon," the first film to be produced jointly by Warner Brothers, Golden Harvest and Concord. The film, which was the highest-grossing film in 1973, catapulted Bruce Lee to fame and sparked a new interest in Chinese martial arts throughout America. 

Bruce Lee's joint roles as a martial arts icon, Asian-American movie star, and philosopher have cemented his status as a hero to the Asian-American community. Lee's participation and influence in Hollywood films not only popularized Chinese martial arts in America but also led to a radical change in the perception of Asian-Americans. Everything about Lee -- from his figure to personality -- challenged the western perception of weak Asians and inspired others to break the long-standing caricature. For example, his film The Way of the Dragon helped launch the career of the now-famous martial arts actor Jackie Chan. 

A fighter, as well as a philosopher, Lee's focus on self-reliance, formlessness, harmony and growth continues to influence the lives of young Asian Americans decades after his death. Lee's determined attitude and steadfast ambition drove him to success in a foreign country. Amid a global pandemic and a divided America, it is more important than ever to look to the wisdom of the past. Bruce Lee's powerful words remain with us today: "Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves … Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend."

Michelle Liou

Posted on November 27, 2020 01:00

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Source: LA Times

TV highlights for June 7-13 include a profile of martial arts legend Bruce Lee on ESPN's "30 for 30" and a "Grease Sing-Along"...

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