November 27, 1940
San Francisco, California
Died July 20, 1973
Hong Kong, China
Height 5'7 1/2" (1.71 m.)
Spouse(s) Linda Lee Cadwell
Fan Lee (Chinese: ???; pinyin: Li Zhènfán; November 27,
1940 – July 20, 1973) was an American-born Chinese martial artist,
instructor, and martial arts actor widely regarded as one of the most
influential martial artists of the 20th century, he is considered to
be one of the most respected and admired martial artists of all time
for his knowledge and understanding of martial arts. Lee's films, especially
his performance in the Hollywood-produced Enter the Dragon, elevated
the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film to a new level of popularity
and acclaim. His pioneering efforts paved the way for future martial
artists and martial arts actors such as Jackie Chan, Jet Li, and Chuck
films sparked the first major surge of interest of Chinese martial arts
in the West. The direction and tone of his films changed and influenced
martial arts and martial arts films in Hong Kong, China, and the rest
of the world. Lee became an iconic figure particularly to Chinese; as
he portrayed Chinese national pride and Chinese nationalism in his movies.
Lee as a model blueprint for acquiring a strong and efficient body,
as well as developing a mastery of martial arts and hand to hand combat
skills. Lee began the process of creating his own martial arts fighting
system based on philosophy known as Jeet Kune Do. Bruce Lee's evaluation
of traditional martial arts doctrines is nowadays seen as the first
step into the modern style of mixed martial arts.
was an American Born Chinese (ABC) born at the Chinese Hospital in
San Francisco to his Chinese father Lee Hoi-Chuen (???) and Chinese-German
mother Grace Lee (???). Bruce's maternal grandfather was German.
At the time Bruce was born, his parents were on a tour with an opera
company in the United States. At the age of 3 months, he and his parents
returned to Hong Kong where he would be raised until the age of 18.
Screenshot from Thunderstorm, one of a few movies Lee Siu Lung starred
in as a teenager.Bruce Lee's Cantonese given name, Jun Fan (??; Mandarin
Pinyin: Zhènfán), literally means "invigorate San
Francisco" (???). At birth, he was given the English name "Bruce"
by Dr. Mary Glover. Mrs. Lee had not initially planned on an English
name but deemed it appropriate and concurred with Dr. Glover. Interestingly
the name "Bruce" was never used within his family until he
enrolled in La Salle College, a Hong Kong high school, at 12 years of
age,  and then again at another high school, St Francis Xavier's
College, Kowloon, where he represented their boxing team in inter-school
Lee initially had a birth name Li Yuen Kam(???); Mandarin Pinyin:
Li Xuànjin) given by his mother, as at the time Lee's father
was away on a Chinese opera tour. After several months, when Lee's father
returned, the name was abandoned because of a conflict with the name
of Lee's grandfather. Lee was then renamed Jun Fan. Finally, Lee was
also given a feminine name, Sai Fung (??, literally "small phoenix"),
used throughout his early childhood in keeping with a Chinese custom
traditionally thought to hide the child from evil spirits.
screen name was Lee Siu Lung in Cantonese and Li Xiao Long in Mandarin
(???; Cantonese pengyam: Ley5 Siw2 Long4; Mandarin Pinyin: Li Xiaolóng)
which literally means "Lee Little Dragon." These were first
used by director ??? of the 1950 Cantonese movie ??? in which Lee performed.
It is possible that that the name "little dragon" was chosen
based on his childhood name "small phoenix". In Chinese tradition,
the Chinese dragon and phoenix come in pairs to represent the male and
female genders, respectively. However, it is more likely that he was
called Little Dragon because he was born in the Year of the Dragon in
the Hour of the Dragon, according to the Chinese zodiac.
At age 14, Bruce Lee entered La Salle College, a high school, under
the wing of Brother Henry. Then, he attended St Francis Xavier's College.
Bruce got into a fight with a feared Triad gang member's son. His father
became concerned about young Bruce's safety, and as a result, he and
his wife decided to send Bruce to the United States to live with an
old friend of his father's. All he had was $100 in his pocket and the
title of 1958 Crown Colony Cha Cha Champion of Hong Kong. After living
in San Francisco, he moved to Seattle to work for Ruby Chow, another
friend of his father's. In 1959, Lee completed his high school education
in Seattle and received his diploma from Edison Technical School. He
enrolled at the University of Washington as a philosophy major. It was
at the University of Washington that he met his future wife Linda Emery,
whom he would marry in 1964. He had two children with Linda, Brandon
Lee (born 1965) and Shannon Lee (born 1969). Brandon, who would also
become an actor like his father, died in an accident during the filming
of The Crow in 1993.
arts training and development
Young Bruce learned the fundamentals of Wu style Tai Chi Chuan from
his father, Lee Hoi Cheun. Lee's Wing Chun Sifu, Yip Man, was also a
colleague and friend of Hong Kong Wu family teacher Wu Ta-chi. He always
held that the principles of Tai Chi Chuan influenced his view of martial
arts all through his life as an actor and a martial artist. While it
is obvious that the style studied by his father was the Wu style, Lee
was seen on at least one occasion demonstrating the 108 Basic Movements
of the Yang form.
training in Wing Chun at the age of 14 under Hong Kong Wing Chun master
Yip Man. Lee was introduced to Yip Man in early 1954 by William Cheung,
then a live-in student of Yip Man. Like most martial arts schools at
that time, Sifu Yip Man's classes were often taught by the highest ranking
students. One of the highest ranking students under Yip Man at the time
of Lee's training was Wong Shun-leung, who is understood to have had
the largest influence. Yip Man trained Lee privately after some students
refused to train with Lee due to his ancestry. Lee would leave before
learning the entire Wing Chun curriculum, but Wing Chun formed a base
for his later explorations of martial arts.
the learning of Tai Chi and Wing Chun, Lee also learned bits and pieces
of the Hung Gar style from a friend of his father. There are photographs
of Bruce demonstrating animal stances and forms found within its teachings.
Main article: Jun Fan Gung Fu
Lee began the process of creating his own martial arts system after
his arrival in the United States in 1959. Lee called his martial arts
Jun Fan Gung Fu (literally Bruce's Gung Fu), which consisted mostly
of Wing Chun, with elements of Western Boxing and fencing. Lee taught
friends he met in Seattle, starting with Judo practitioner Jesse Glover
as his first student and who later became his first assistant instructor.
Before moving to California Lee opened his first martial arts school,
named the Lee Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute, in Seattle.
Lee was challenged by Wong Jack Man, a practitioner of Northern Shaolin.
Lee claimed that, after arriving in San Francisco, his theories about
martial arts and his teaching of "secret" Chinese martial
arts to non-Asian students gave him enemies in the martial arts community.
In contrast, Wong stated that he requested a bout with Lee as a result
of Lee's open challenge during a demonstration at a Chinatown theater;
Lee had claimed to be able to defeat any martial artist in San Francisco,
according to Wong. The two fought in December, 1964, at a kung fu
school in Oakland, California. Lee and Wong provided significantly different
accounts of the private bout, which was not filmed. Afterwards,
Lee stated in an interview, without naming Wong as the loser, that he
had defeated an unnamed challenger. In response, Wong wrote his description
of the fight as well as an invitation to Lee for a public match, which
was printed on the front page of Chinese Pacific Weekly, a Chinese-language
newspaper in San Francisco. Lee did not fight Wong again.
The Jeet Kune Do Emblem. The Chinese characters around the Taijitu symbol
indicate: "Using no way as way" & "Having no limitation
as limitation" The arrows represent the endless movement and change
of the universe.Main article: Jeet Kune Do
The match with Wong influenced Lee's philosophy on fighting.
Lee believed that the fight had lasted too long and that he had failed
to live up to his potential. He took the view that traditional martial
arts techniques were too rigid and formalistic to be practical in scenarios
of chaotic street fighting. Lee decided to develop a system with an
emphasis on "practicality, flexibility, speed, and efficiency".
He started to use different methods of training such as weight training
for strength, running for endurance, stretching for flexibility, and
many others which he constantly adapted.
emphasized what he called "the style of no style". This consisted
of utilizing a non-formalized approach which Lee claimed was not indicative
of traditional styles. Because Lee felt the system he called Jun Fan
Gung Fu was too restrictive, it was transformed to what he would come
to describe as Jeet Kune Do or the Way of the Intercepting Fist, a term
he would later regret because Jeet Kune Do implied specific parameters
that styles connotate whereas the whole point
of the system was to exist outside of parameters and limitations.
Some confuse the Jeet Kune Do system with the personal version that
Bruce Lee practiced. Jeet Kune Do can be seen as both a process and
a product, the latter deriving from the former.
certified three instructors: Taky Kimura, James Yimm Lee (no relation
to Bruce Lee) and Dan Inosanto. James Yimm Lee, a close friend of Bruce
Lee, died without certifying additional students. Taky Kimura, to date,
has certified one person in Jun Fan Gung Fu: his son and heir Andy Kimura.
Dan Inosanto continues to teach and certify select students. Prior to
his death, Lee told his then only two living instructors Inosanto and
Kimura (James Yimm Lee had died in 1972.) to dismantle his schools.
Both Taky Kimura and Dan Inosanto were allowed to teach small classes
thereafter without using the name Jeet Kune Do.
As a result
of a lawsuit between the estate of Bruce Lee (also known as Concord
Moon) and the Inosanto Academy, the name "Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do"
was legally trademarked, and the rights were given solely to the Lee
estate. "The name is made up of two parts: 'Jun Fan' (Bruce's given
Chinese name) and 'Jeet Kune Do' (the Way of the Intercepting Fist).
The development of Bruce Lee's art from 1961 until the end of his life
was one smooth and indivisible path. In the beginning, he referred to
his teachings simply as Jun Fan Gung Fu.
arts instructors, in an effort to promote themselves or their martial
arts schools, make dubious claims about learning from or teaching Bruce
Lee. Yet, only three were certified by Lee.
Beach International Karate Championships
's "One inch punch"At the invitation of Ed Parker, Lee appeared
in the 1964 Long Beach International Karate Championships  and performed
repetitions of two-finger pushups (using the thumb and the index finger)
with feet at approximately a shoulder-width apart. In the same Long
Beach event he also performed the "One inch punch". The description
of which is as follows: Lee stood upright, his right foot forward with
knees bent slightly, in front of a standing, stationary partner. Lee's
right arm was partly extended and his right fist approximately an inch
away from the partner's chest. Without retracting his right arm, Lee
then forcibly delivered the punch to his partner while largely maintaining
his posture, sending the partner backwards and falling into a chair
placed behind the partner to prevent injury, though the force of the
impact caused his partner to soon after fall onto the floor.
fitness and nutrition
flexing (1972), frontBruce Lee felt that many martial artists of his
day did not spend enough time on physical conditioning. Bruce Lee did
not resort to traditional bodybuilding techniques to build mass; he
was more interested in speed and power. In his book the 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."
"JKD, ultimately is not a matter of petty techniques but of highly
developed spirituality and physique". 
training program that Lee used during a stay in Hong Kong in 1965 indicated
biceps curls of eighty pounds (36 kgs) and eight repetitions for
endurance. This translates to an estimated one repetition maximum of
110 pounds,  placing Lee in approximately the 100th percentile for
the 121 to 140 pound weight class.
that the abdominal muscles 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 the ribs and vital organs. Bruce Lee's washboard
abs did not come from mere abdominal training; he was also a proponent
of cardiovascular conditioning and would regularly run, jump rope, and
ride a stationary bicycle. A typical exercise for Lee would be to run
a distance of two to six miles in fifteen to forty-five minutes.
Another element in Lee's quest for abdominal definition was nutrition.
According to Linda Lee, soon after he moved to the United States, Bruce
Lee started to take nutrition seriously and developed an interest in
health foods and high-protein drinks. "Several times a day, he
took a high-protein drink made up of powdered milk, ice water, eggs,
eggshells, bananas, vegetable oil, peanut flour and chocolate ice cream,"
and she claims Bruce's waist fluctuated between 26 and 28 inches. "He
also drank his own juice concoctions made from vegetables and fruits
apples, celery, carrots and so on, prepared in an electric blender."
ate lean meat sparingly and consumed large amounts of fruits and vegetables.
In later years, he became very knowledgeable about vitamin supplements,
and each day apportioned himself exactly the right quota of vitamins
A, B, C, D, and E.
's two finger one-handed push upsBruce Lee's striking speed from 3 feet
away was five hundredths of a second. (Glover)
Bruce did one-hand push ups using only 2 fingers.
Bruce was able to break a 150lb bag with a sidekick. (Coburn)
Bruce would ride the equivalent of 10 miles in 45 minutes on a stationary
bike, sweating profusely afterwards. (Uhera )
Bruce's last movie Enter the Dragon was made for US$850,000 in 1973
($3.74 million in 2005 currency. BLS). To date, Enter the Dragon
has grossed over $90,000,000. (IMDB.com)
Bruce was able to hold a 125-pound barbell at arms length in front of
him (with elbows locked) for several seconds. (Little
In 2004, UFC president Dana White credited Bruce Lee as the "father
of mixed martial arts".
In September 2004, a BBC story stated that the Herzegovinian city of
Mostar was to honor Lee with a statue on the Spanish Square, as a symbol
of solidarity. After many years of war and religious splits, Lee's figure
is to commend his work: to successfully bridge culture gaps in the world.
The statue, placed in the city park, was unveiled on November 26, 2005
(One day before the unveiling of the statue in Hong Kong, below).
In 2005, Lee was remembered in Hong Kong with a bronze statue to mark
his sixty-fifth birthday. The bronze statue, unveiled on November 27,
2005, honored Lee as Chinese film's bright star of the century.
Lineage in Wing Chun / Jeet Kune Do
Sifu in Wing Chun Yip Man (??)
Other instructors Sihing Wong Shun-leung (???)
Notable Sparring partner Toe Dai Hawkins Cheung Note: He was Bruce Lee's
friend at the time.
Creator of Jeet Kune Do
Known students in Jun Fan
Gung Fu/Jeet Kune Do Jesse Glover
James Yimm Lee
Jun Fan/Jeet Kune Do Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
"misadventure"'s death was officially attributed to cerebral
On July 20,
1973, Lee was in Hong Kong, due to have dinner with former James Bond
star George Lazenby, with whom he intended to make a film. According
to Lee's wife Linda, Lee met producer Raymond Chow at 2 P.M. at home
to discuss the making of the movie Game of Death. They worked until
4 P.M. and then drove together to the home of Lee's mistress Betty Ting
Pei, a Taiwanese actress who was to have a leading role in the film.
The three went over the script at her home, and then Chow left to attend
a dinner meeting.
A short time
later, Lee complained of a headache, and Ting Pei gave him an analgesic.
At around 7:30 P.M., he laid down for a nap. After Lee did not turn
up for the dinner, Chow came to the apartment but could not wake Lee
up. A doctor was summoned, who spent ten minutes attempting to revive
him before sending him by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. However,
Lee was dead by the time he reached the hospital. There was no visible
external injury; however, his brain had swollen considerably, from 1,400
to 1,575 grams (13%). Lee was thirty-two years old. On October 15, 2005,
Chow stated in an interview that Lee was allergic to Equagesic. When
the doctors announced Bruce Lee's death officially, it was coined as
"Death by Misadventure."
the exact details of Lee's death are controversial. Bruce Lee's iconic
status and unusual death at a young age led many people to develop many
theories about Lee's death. Such theories about his death included murder
involving the triads, a curse on Lee and his family, etc. The theory
of the curse carried over to Lee's son Brandon Lee, also an actor, who
died nearly 20 years after his father in a bizarre accident while filming
The grave site of Bruce Lee and his son, BrandonUpon his death his wife,
Linda, returned to her home town of Seattle and had Bruce buried at
lot 276 of Lakeview Cemetery. His son Brandon is buried beside him.
Pallbearers at his funeral on July 31, 1973 included Steve McQueen,
James Coburn, Danny Inosanto, Taky Kimura, Peter Chin, and his brother,
Robert Lee. To this day, over 30 years after his death, fresh flowers
are found on his gravestone every day.
Fighting Method 1-5
Chinese Gung-Fu: The Philosophical Art of Self Defense
The Tao of Jeet Kune Do
Lee's father was a famous opera star. Through his father he was introduced
into films at a very young age and appeared in several black-and-white
films as a child.
In the 1960s
Lee attempted to start his acting career in America. Lee became famous
for playing Kato in the TV series The Green Hornet which lasted for
only one season.
In 1967 he
played a martial arts instructor in an episode of the television series
Ironside. In 1969 he appeared in the film Marlowe where he played a
thug who smashed up James Garner's office with karate chops and kicks.
In 1971 he appeared in four episodes of the TV series Longstreet playing
a martial arts instructor to James Franciscus.
with the roles that he was being offered in America, Lee then returned
to Hong Kong and was offered a film contract by Raymond Chow for his
production company Golden Harvest. He starred in three films which shot
him to stardom all over Asia, The Big Boss (1971), Fist of Fury (1972)
and Way of the Dragon (1972) which he also wrote and directed. and Chuck
Norris in Way of the DragonIn 1964 at a demonstration in Long Beach,
California, Lee met Karate champion Chuck Norris. In Way of the Dragon
Lee introduced Chuck Norris as his opponent in the famous final fight
scene at the colloseum in Rome.
completed film Enter the Dragon (1973) was the first to be produced
jointly by a Chinese and American studio and released two weeks after
his untimely death cementing his status as a martial arts legend.
a student of Bruce Lee, co-starred in Game of Death, Lee's incomplete
film which he also directed. In the film, Lee, wearing the now famous
yellow track suit, took on the 7 foot 2 giant basketball player in a
climatic fight scene. Unfortunately, Lee died before the film was finished.
Lee had shot over 40 minutes of footage for Game of Death prior to starting
shooting for Enter the Dragon. After his death, Robert Clouse who directed
Enter the Dragon finished the film using a Bruce Lee look-alike and
footage of Lee from his other films and released it in 1978.
Lee starred in a leading role in five feature films, two of which (Enter
the Dragon and Game of Death) premiered after his death.
Chinese and English title of original release U.S. title Note
1941 Golden Gate Girl Plays an infant
1946 The Birth of Mankind
1948 Fu gui fu yun, aka Wealth is Like a Dream
1949 Meng li xi shi, aka Sai See in the Dream Plays "Yam Lee"
1950 Xi lu xiang, aka The Kid My Son, Ah Chung Plays "Lee Siu Lung"
1951 Ren zhi cue aka Infancy Plays "Ngau".
1953 Qian wan ren jia
1953 Fu zhi guo aka Blame it on Father Father's Fault
1953 Ku hai ming deng aka The Guiding Light
1953 Ci mu lei aka A Mother's Tears
1953 Wei lou chun xiao aka In the Face of Demolition
1955 Gu xing xue lei
1955 Gu er xing
1955 Ai aka Love
1955 Ai xia ji aka Love Part 2
1955 Er nu zhai aka We Owe It to Our Children
1956 Zhia dian na fu
1957 Lei yu aka The Thunderstorm
1960 Ren hai gu hong aka The Orphan Plays "Ah San".
1969 Marlowe same Plays "Winslow Wong".
1971 The Big Boss Fists of Fury Plays "Cheng Chao-an". Fights
against a drug lord in Thailand.
1972 Fist of Fury The Chinese Connection Plays "Chen Zhen"
??. Fights against Japanese tyrants to avenge his master in Shanghai.
1972 Way of the Dragon Return of the Dragon Plays "Tang Long".
Fights crime in Rome, Italy. Released after 'Enter the Dragon' in the
U.S.; hence the title.
1973 Enter the Dragon same Plays Shaolin martial arts master "Mr.
Lee". Sent as a spy into a tournament, hosted by a rogue-monk-turned-drug-lord.
1978 Game of Death same Plays "Billy Lo". Lee acts only in
the last third of the movie, due to it being pieced together after his
title The Chinese Connection (a play on the then-recently-released The
French Connection) was originally intended for The Big Boss due to the
drugs theme of the story.
ChanYuen Lo, known later as Jackie Chan, was a member of the Seven Little
Fortunes. He also was a stunt double for the villain Mr. Suzuki in Lee's
Fist of Fury. In the film Enter the Dragon, Chan was one of the henchmen
disposed of in the underground lair.
also a member of the Seven Little Fortunes, and later to become a well
known actor in his own right (notably starring in 2005's Kung Fu Hustle),
was Lee's stunt double in Lee's last few films.
The Green Hornet (1966-1967) .... Kato
Batman (1966) .... Kato
Ironside (1967) .... Leon Soo
Here Come the Brides (1969) .... Lin
Longstreet (1971) .... Li Tsung Philosophy
Bruce Lee and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in Game of Death.Although
Bruce Lee is best known as a martial artist and actor, Lee majored in
philosophy at the University of Washington. Lee's books on martial arts
and fighting philosophy are well-known both for their philosophical
assertions both inside and outside of martial arts circles. His philosophy
often mirrored his fighting beliefs, though he was quick to claim that
his martial arts were solely a metaphor for such teachings. His influences
include Taoism and Buddhism.
note to serious martial arts that Bruce Lee was a contemporary of the
Hindu Philosopher teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti. His entire philosophical
approach is based on Krishnamurti's teachings. You will note in the
book The Tao Of Jeet Kune Do that Lee recommends reading Krishnamurti.
SHORT DESCRIPTION Martial artist
DATE OF BIRTH November 27, 1940
PLACE OF BIRTH San Francisco, United States
DATE OF DEATH July 20, 1973
PLACE OF DEATH Hong Kong
to the Chinese calendar, 1940 was the Year of the Dragon. A Cantonese
film actor named Lee Hoi Chun was performing in San Francisco accompanied
by his pregnant wife Grace. By November, Grace had gone into labour
and was taken to hospital, but her husband continued on to New York
to perform there. On the 27th of November, 1940, at the Jackson Street
hospital, Grace gave birth to a baby boy. He was named Lee Jun Fan,
which meant "To Return Again". The child would return to his
place of birth someday. The doctor attending the arrival gave the child
the English name Bruce... And the legend was born !!
At the age
of 6, Bruce started to appear in numerous Chinese films. His first film
was called "A beginning of a boy." As he made more films it
was decided that he should star in a film with his father. The film
was called "My Son Ah Cheun". Bruce had a bigger role than
his father. In each film he played a problem child, always stealing
and fighting. He made at least 20 of these Cantonese films including
"Black Boy Jungle" and "Boys on the Street".
was 14, he got beaten up in a street fight. So, after discussing the
matter with his mother he decided to learn martial arts and develop
his physique and self defense abilities.
Most people think that Bruce was born muscular. It was actually totally
the opposite; he was always rather frail as a child and never ate well
even when he returned to the U.S in 1958. Only through constant training
and proper eating did he build himself up into the super-human physical
specimen that he was to become. Bruce was never to lose a single fight
his father had him wielding a sword at 6, his first REAL teacher was
the Wing Chun master, Sifu Yip Man. Bruce became obsessed with the whole
concept of Wing Chun and soon became very good. One of the Wing Chun
training methods was the wooden dummy - A training device which builds
both speed and focus. Another one of his teachers was Siu Hon Sung,
a kung fu expert. Bruce had been learning Cha Cha dancing and offered
to trade his knowledge of it for some of his kung fu lessons. It would
normally take 3 weeks to learn 30 kung fu moves, but Bruce mastered
them in only 3 nights. Siu Hon Sung never did learn any Cha Cha!
In 1958 Bruce became the Hong Kong Cha Cha champion. He then made 2
more Cantonese films, "The Orphan" and "Thunderstorm".
Thunderstorm is the only film where he didn't have a single fight, although
there are certain confrontations.
Bruce, fighting Dan Inosanto in "Game of Death".
As time passed, Bruce would fight in the streets trying to see just
how good he was. Eventually the police warned his mother Grace, that
if it didn`t stop, Bruce would be Arrested. So in April 1958, his father
gave him $100 US and sent him to San Francisco (his place of birth)
with the hope that Bruce would change and become more responsible.
He boarded a boat and left. He made a little more money on the way there
giving Cha Cha lessons to his fellow passengers.
In San Francisco
Bruce lived with his fathers friend, Ruby Chow, who owned a restaurant.
Bruce worked in the restaurant while living in the attic.
After he finished High School, he was still constantly training and
developing his skill in the martial arts. For Bruce it wasn't enough
to be just a good martial artist, he had to be the BEST.
tired of the restaurant 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. Another
student was Roy Hollingsworth. Eventually they suggested that he open
a school to make money.
In Hong Kong,
kung fu was a secret Chinese weapon and was never taught to any non-Chinese
person, but Bruce welcomed ANYONE who was interested in learning what
he had to teach. In his opinion the Chinese people were not the only
worthy persons to learn this great art, and so he broke the racial barriers
that had been forged over time!!
In 1961 while
teaching some fellow university students Bruce met a young girl called
Linda Emery. They soon fell in love and got married... Later, their
son Brandon was born, followed a couple of years later by Shannon.
Bruce wrote a book called "Chinese Kung Fu". It was incredibly
detailed with precise drawings.
at a Karate tournament hosted by Ed Parker, Bruce demonstrated his abilities
to a large audience... At Long Beach, with Taki Kimura as his assistant,
he showed off his 2 finger press ups and his legendary one inch punch.
A noted television producer who was really impressed by Bruce's intensity
and focus approached him and a screen test was arranged. This lead to
his playing the role of Kato in the Green Hornet series which was filmed
While filming this series, Bruce left Taki Kimura in charge of his kung
fu school. Although the Green Hornet never really took off, it lasted
for 30 half hour episodes. Bruce, surprisingly, as Kato became more
popular than the main star, especially in Hong Kong.
In the documentary "Bruce Lee: The Martial Arts Master" Van
Williams who was the main star of the Green Hornet recalls how Bruce
used to run around the set practicing his kicks. "He would jump
up and tap you on the ear with his foot, but this stopped when one of
the extras turned around and got his jaw dislocated". During filming
Bruce liked to work in close to improve the fight scenes, but he also
injured quite a few stuntmen by doing this. The producers found it pretty
hard to find stuntmen in the end. Bruce had to slow his movements down
because on film, he was practically a blur and you couldn't see what
he was doing properly!!
Green Hornet, Bruce opened up another kung fu school called "Lee
Jun Fan, Gung fu institute". This is where he learned to use the
nunchaku`s from fellow student Danny Inosanto. Here he taught actors
like James Coburn, Steve McQueen and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He had now
become so popular that he could charge up to $300 US an hour for instruction.
also the place where he created his own technique of Jeet Kune Do, which
means (The Way of the Intercepting Fist). He thought it would be better
to intercept and attack, rather than blocking and then attacking.
Bruce believed intercepting an attack would be a lot faster than blocking
and then attacking as the latter was comprised of two separate movements.
Bruce starred in "A Man Called Ironside", as a martial arts
instructor, Bruce always did his own stunts as well. He then filmed
12 episodes of "Longstreet", a short series where he teaches
a guy his new Jeet Kune Do technique. This was a great idea that would
let Bruce show the world his new technique.
He became more and more interested in making a Hollywood movie and wanted
to make more money than Steve McQueen per film... This Bruce eventually
Bruce realized after the advice of one of his students (James Coburn),
that his immediate film career was to be in Hong Kong.
When appearing on a TV show, he broke 4 out of 5 one inch thick boards,
and one dangling piece as well (Breaking a dangling one inch piece of
wood is an amazing feat).
This was seen by TV producer Raymond Chow who had just opened up Golden
Harvest studios. He offered Bruce a two picture deal and they flew off
to Thailand to film "The Big Boss". During filming, one of
the Thais thought that the fight co-ordinator was faster than Bruce,
5 minutes later... he changed his mind!!!
Another thing that surprised the cast was Bruce opening a bottle of
drink with one thumb (The kind that normally needs a can opener). The
movie became a smash hit, breaking all known box office records. He
then flew to Shanghai and filmed "Fist of Fury". Raymond Chow
told Bruce that he would play a bigger part in producing it than in
his last film. This once again broke all the box office records, including
the ones from "The Big Boss".
By now Bruce
had become a national hero and started up his own company called "Concord
Productions" and decided that he would write, direct and star in
his next film. He went to Europe location hunting, finally deciding
on Rome. He brought in 3 top martial artists, Bob Wall, Whong In Sik
and Chuck Norris, who he would fight at the end of the film. The result
was another sellout; police had to arrive to halt the traffic jams and
All 3 of
these films had Bruce arriving in a strange town, not knowing his potential
enemies. In "The Big Boss", he was in Thailand working at
an ice factory with his cousins. In "Fist of Fury", he had
come to Shanghai to attend his teacher's funeral, finding his school
abused and insulted by the local Japanese school. In "Way of the
Dragon" he comes to Rome to help out at a friend's restaurant,
which is being hassled by a protection racket. Also the enemies were
never Chinese, always foreigners like the Thais, Japanese, Europeans
and Americans. Even when there was the odd bad Chinese guy, it's clearly
pointed out that they're just misguided pawns of a foreign boss.
often be challenged by the extras, but he was never actually defeated,
apart from the time when he was 14. Bruce didn't drink, so the characters
he played didn't drink either. He always showed himself like he was
in real life. "The Way of the Dragon" is the best example
of Bruce in real life. In the only bedroom scene he ever filmed in "The
Big Boss", a prostitute gets him drunk and takes him back to her
place, only to watch him then fall asleep. He would also show off his
ability to play all kinds of different characters. In "Fist of
Fury" he dresses up as an old newspaper guy as well as a telephone
Coburn and Stirling Silliphant had been trying to put together a project
to be called "Silent Flute". 20th Century Fox agreed to do
it, but on a tiny budget and providing that it could be shot in India.
They spent weeks location hunting there and finally decided it was a
waste of time. In Nepal Bruce saw a Bigota (Tall Tower). This gave him
the idea for "Game of Death". Bruce only filmed 1/3 of this
film before being interrupted to film the eventual Hollywood smash hit
"Enter the Dragon".
"Game of Death" was completed in 1978 after Bruce`s death.
The story line is changed and Bruce only appears for 10 minutes at the
end. This is footage from the Tower version, which he had intended.
The first 95% of the film is NOT the missing scenes!!
the Dragon" was the 1st time a U.S and Hong Kong film company had
come together to make a film. This was the film that brought Bruce world
wide fame and made him the world`s first Asian superstar. The big fight
scene at the end took 7 days to film, it was during this that an extra
challenged Bruce in real life. He wanted to experience Bruce`s Jeet
Kune Do. Bruce drew a circle on the floor and told him that he had 3
punches to knock him out of it. The extra couldn`t do it, so Bruce told
him, "OK my turn". He pointed to his shoulder blade and said
"I`m going to hit you right here, are you ready?" The guy
said "What do you mean, am I ready?" Before he could say anything,
his teeth started falling out of his mouth. Bruce was just SO fast.
Another extra challenged him. They sparred for a bit, then the guy got
kicked in the head...and that was enough.
scene took hours to set up, getting the mirrors in the perfect place,
so they didn't reflect any cameras. People would argue over whose job
it was to do stuff; this is where Bruce came in... The Chinese would
die for him. Eventually the film was completed.
time of filming "Game of Death", Bruce had been working with
some new character ideas. They would have wielded weapons, like swords
and long knives. On the documentary "The Legend" you can see
photos of at least 4 of these characters. One of them is a blind swordsman,
his version of a character called Zatawichi. (A popular Japanese film
at that time). Unforunately we`ll never see Bruce in these roles, but
it is interesting to think about the kind of sword films Bruce could
On the 10th
May 1973, the trouble for Bruce Lee had begun. While dubbing the sound
effects for "Enter the Dragon", he passed out for a whole
half an hour. He went to the hospital, and was prescribed the drug Manatol.
It was used to reduce an apparent brain swelling.
On July 20th
1973, Bruce had arranged to meet Raymond Chow along with actress Betty
Ting Pei who would star in "Game of Death". He stopped off
at Betty`s house and told her that he had a headache. She gave him an
Aquagesic (a painkiller that she regularly used ). Bruce laid down in
her bed and went to sleep. During his sleep, the brain swelling returned
and triggered an allergy to the painkiller called a cerebral edema.
Later Betty tried to wake him but couldn't. Panicking, she called Raymond
Chow, who came over and called the doctor. Bruce was rushed to the Queen
Elizabeth hospital, barely alive. The ambulance crew was fighting to
resuscitate him, but Bruce was pronounced "dead on arrival".
As the news
spread across the world, people talked about nothing else, refusing
to believe it. Bruce had two funerals, one in Hong Kong and one in the
U.S. Over 27,000 people attended his funeral, few could hide their grief.
People were just breaking down and crying when they saw him in the open
coffin. A banner was placed amongst the many tributes reading "A
star sinks in a Sea of Art".
When the press found out that Bruce had died at Betty`s house, they
were quick to speculate that Bruce had died while they were having sex.
To this day vicious rumours are still spread across the world. At the
airport, Linda broke her silence and told Hong Kong to drop it and that
she blamed nobody, and that Bruce had died of natural causes.
His funeral in Seattle was attended by all his friends, family and former
students. James Coburn and Steve McQueen acted as pallbearers. Should
you wish to watch the funeral, you can find it on the documentary (Bruce
Lee: The Man and the Legend). Finally on July 31st, 1973, Bruce was
laid to rest in Seattle at the Lake View Cemetary.
His and Brandon's graves are regularly visited by people from all over
the world. There are ALWAYS fresh flowers on their graves each day.
Some day, I too will place mine there and pay my respect to my favourite
person in the whole world.
the funeral, as the wild rumours continued, the autopsy results were
that Bruce had died of a cerebral adema in reaction to the painkiller
that he had taken... The result was death by misadventure.
Betty Ting Pei had kept quiet, ignoring the insults thrown at her until
in 1983 when she first broke her silence on a TV show and told the world
that she would never have done anything to hurt Bruce as he was a very
good friend. But the rumours are STILL going on. Some I've heard are
that a Chinese mafia gang arranged his death, who supposedly had control
over all of the Chinese actors. Another says that he'd been killed by
Shaolin monks for teaching the secrets to the outsiders.
Another rumour is the curse. Bruce supposedly was haunted by personal
demons. He had premonitions that he would die at half his father's age
of 64 (which he did at 32). Also a protector of evil blew off his roof
to warn away evil spirits. The same thing happened to the previous occupants
of his house and disaster had befallen them. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's basketball
number was 33, Bruce would have been 33 that year in November... The
rumours just go on. Personaly I believe in the cerebral edema; the swelling
was brought on by great stress over work, Bruce practically wore himself
out to a disappointingly early grave.
In 1978, the producers of "Enter the Dragon" decided to finish
"Game of Death" as a tribute to him. In my opinion, they'd
have been better off to show us the entire 30 minutes of the REAL version.
The first 95% is not the MISSING scenes but a crappy changed storyline.
To this day
many Bruce Lee Imitators have tried to be just like him, but have all
just faded. Maybe a star like Jackie Chan can rise to the limits, but
even Jackie Chan doesn`t claim to be the new Bruce Lee. There will never
be a NEW Bruce Lee.
This is Bruce
Lee...... The Legend !!!