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Nonfiction > Bruce Lee

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message 1: by Robert (new)

Robert Lampros | 37 comments Born on November 27, 1940, in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Lee Jun-Fan was the son of Lee Hoi-chuen, a Cantonese opera star, and Grace Ho, the daughter of a Hong Kong businessman and philanthropist. When he was three months-old the infant Bruce—the American name given at the hospital—traveled with his parents back to Hong Kong after his father’s opera tour had ended. Lee grew up in an increasingly dangerous neighborhood resulting from a large population of refugees arriving from communist China, and after a number of street fights involving gangs in his area of the city, he began training in martial arts.

He started studying Wing Chun when he was sixteen, under the guidance of Yip Man, an instructor who urged his students to compete in organized contests instead of joining gangs and fighting on the street. In spite of his teacher’s direction Bruce clashed repeatedly with other teenagers until a fight with the son of a prominent triad family threatened Lee’s life, and his parents sent him to live with his sister, Agnes, in the United States. After finishing high school and waiting tables in Seattle, he enrolled at the University of Washington to study drama, philosophy, and psychology, where he met his wife, Linda Emery.

Having taught martial arts since the beginning of his life in America, he founded his own school in Seattle, the Lee Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute, later moving to Oakland, California, to open a second studio. In 1964, at the Long Beach International Karate Championships, Bruce astounded crowds with unprecedented demonstrations of strength and skill, most notably the “One inch punch,” a stationary strike that forced his opponent backwards with inexplicable power and momentum. Also in 1964 Lee fought in a private match against Shaolin master, Wong Jack Man, to settle a dispute with the leaders in Chinatown who had ordered him to stop teaching non-Chinese students. If Bruce lost, according to their agreement, he’d have to close down his school, but if he won he could freely teach whites and whoever else wanted to learn. The outcome of the match remains unclear—some witnesses claimed it lasted twenty-five minutes and ended indecisively, while others recounted a three-minute fight that ended with Lee forcing Wong to forfeit. Whatever did happen during the match, Bruce continued to teach Caucasians.

His performance at the exhibition in Long Beach led to his role as Kato in the TV series, The Green Hornet, from 1966-1967, which led to a small role in the film, Marlowe, starring James Garner. Lee also choreographed fight scenes for films starring Dean Martin, Sharon Tate, Ingrid Bergman, and Anthony Quinn. In 1971 he pitched an idea for a Martial Arts/Western TV series that may have served as the basis for the long-running show, Kung Fu. The greatest contributions he made to entertainment are his roles in the films, The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, Way of the Dragon, Enter the Dragon, and The Game of Death. These movies launched him into international stardom and significantly improved the way Asian and specifically Chinese people were portrayed in film and on television.

Bruce Lee died in 1973 at the young age of thirty-two, as a result of complications from medicine he took to deal with seizures and headaches. He’d been diagnosed with cerebral edema after collapsing at a recording session for Enter the Dragon in Hong Kong earlier that year. When I think about Bruce his example ignites a drive in me to be a better person. He’s one of the best icons we have of someone who lived in the Spirit of power, love, and self-discipline. One of my favorite quotes of his is, “Do not pray for an easy life, pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.”


message 2: by Ian (new)

Ian Stewart (goodreadercomIanStewart) | 41 comments Robert wrote: "Born on November 27, 1940, in San Francisco’s Chinatown, Lee Jun-Fan was the son of Lee Hoi-chuen, a Cantonese opera star, and Grace Ho, the daughter of a Hong Kong businessman and philanthropist. ..."

Early on the morning of July 20 1973 the telephone rang in my Hong Kong apartment. It was Raymond Chow. He said the interview he had arranged for me to have that day with Bruce Lee for my newspaper The New York Times was no longer possible. Lee had died. I had no interview but of course I had a story.


message 3: by Lyra (new)

Lyra Shanti (lyrashanti) | 35 comments I love Bruce. I visited his grave in Seattle in 2004. I cried. He was/is an inspiration! <3


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