Bruce Lee was a famous martial artist, actor, and philosopher who was born on November 27th, 1940 in Chinatown, San Francisco. He was raised in Hong Kong, but later returned to the United States for college where he studied philosophy at the University of Washington. Bruce Lee began teaching martial arts, and opened his own school where he trained some of Hollywood’s leading men. It was during this time that Lee was cast in The Green Hornet and began an acting career that included several of his most famous martial arts movies such as 'Way of the Dragon' and 'Enter the Dragon'.
Tragically, Bruce Lee died in 1973 at the age of 33 from a cerebral edema after having an allergic reaction to pain medication.
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Bruce Lee movies are more often the likely reason that martial artists get started in Wing Chun (and other more mainstream martial arts) today. Bruce studied Wing Chun before starting his acting career. He was, and still is, the undisputed Kung-Fu and silver screen legend. Bruce Lee achieved many things on his very brief visit to this earth that has left us all wondering, was he actually from another planet? I say this because he was incredibly fast and accurate with his art.
What is Wing Chun Kung Fu?
Wing Chun Kung Fu is known as a ‘soft’ style, but is in fact a blend of both hard and soft techniques. This blending of hard and soft is due to the fact that a sensible balance is necessary.
Bruce Lee had a rather wise old head upon those young shoulders of his, and coined some pretty amazing phrases and philosophical sayings. His deep Chinese martial art spirituality really shines through when reading some of his finest quotes. Here are some of my favourite, and frankly, awe inspiring quotes from the great man himself.
What does Bruce Lee mean when he says be like water?
"Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot."
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
“Mistakes are always forgivable, if one has the courage to admit them.”
“I am learning to understand rather than immediately judge or to be judged. I cannot blindly follow the crowd and accept their approach. I will not allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I have come to understand that life is best to be lived and not to be conceptualized. I am happy because I am growing daily and I am honestly not knowing where the limit lies. To be certain, every day there can be a revelation or a new discovery. I treasure the memory of the past misfortunes. It has added more to my bank of fortitude.”
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I remember watching my first Bruce Lee movie with my dad at around 8 or 9 years old. The Big Boss was a 1971 movie staring Mr Lee in all his youth and glory, along with that bad lip synced narration coupled and the 70's Batman and Robin esc sound effects, made for some seriously entertaining kick ass viewing. The choreography was mostly led by Bruce and he was an amazing sensai and team player throughout his career. Bruce Lee also had many supporting roles in television. The most famous character he played was Kato, in the Green Hornet. Kato even guess starred on the Batman TV series (1960s) more than once, Those kapow! and Whack! onomatopoeia sound effects, were probably created by the same production team in his later movies? He played many brief roles on long forgotten shows like Marlowe, Longstreet, Ironside and Blondie.
It's now 45 years since he left us (My age this year) but I will always admire his art and magical way on screen that still captivates us today. I've been studying Wing-Chun for few years now and will continue to study this great man and all that he left us.
Thanks for reading my post and please, be inspired to always try your best and 'Be Like 'Water.