Remembering Bruce Lee
“Knowing is not enough, we must apply,
Willing is not enough, we must do”
By Anurag Barman
Bruce Lee has always been one of the greatest martial artist and action stars of all times. Although people remembers him as a skilful fighting figure, he had many other faces because of which his image is still relevant in today’s times, even after 43 years since his passing.
Born on 27 November, 1940 in San Francisco, America as Bruce Jun Fan Lee, he is often considered special as he was born in the hour of the dragon. His parents Li Hoi Chuen and Grace Lee headed back along with Lee to their tive land Hong Kong in 1941, where he stayed till 1958. Since his father was a famous actor in Hong Kong, he also followed his footsteps and went on becoming a big star as a child actor in his homeland. He has done over 20 films in Hong Kong where he got his nickme as ‘Lee the little dragon’, a me that stayed with him throughout his life. During his stay, he also trained in Wing Chun Kung-Fu under the legendary Grandmaster Yip Man. Upon his arrival in America in 1959, he enrolled at Edison Technical College, where his favourite subjects were history and philosophy. As a student, he had deep interest in Chinese philosophy. In 1961, he entered the University of Washington, majoring in Philosophy. It was here where he met his wife Linda Lee. He also opened his first full-fledged Kung-Fu school near the university campus. In the next few years, he widened his range of Kung Fu schools, popularising Chinese martial arts among the westerners. In 1964, he was invited to expose his Kung Fu at the Long Beach Intertiol karate championships where he gave various demonstrations of the Chinese art and had the audience gasping at his demonstrations of his famous one-inch punch. People remained stunned when he stood his fist an inch from an opponent’s chest and punch with such devastating power that it would knock the person back five to six feet.
Bruce Lee s career took a sudden turn when he signed a television series med The Green Hornet in 1966, where he played the role of a fighting manservant med ‘Kato’. After The Green Hornet came off air, Lee was back to his martial art again. He carried out his research in the art of fighting and filly developed a new form of martial art called ‘Jeet Kune Do’. Today, there are many proponents of Jeet Kune Do across the globe, teaching some of Bruce Lee’s origil concepts and ideas. After working for several television series and films, his ultimate turning point was when he signed for his popular movie The Big Boss in 1971.Produced by Raymond Chow, this film broke all previous box-office records in Hong Kong. The audience went wild for Bruce Lee. They really felt the rising of a new star. After The Big Boss, came Fist of Fury in 1972. It often tops the polls as Lee’s best film because of its fine story, artistic sets and realistic fight scenes. The fight scene between Bruce and the Japanese foes is considered to be one of the best fights of Lee. Another popular film of Lee is the Way of the Dragon, released in the same year. This film saw Bruce Lee in different shades. The bout between Lee and popular star Chuck Norris will always remain a classic one. Bruce Lee’s most popular film is the Enter the Dragon, which was released in 1973. A martial arts epic of magnificent proportions, Enter the Dragon is the film that created new dimension in the world of motion pictures. It was released worldwide by Warner Bros, which is probably one of the biggest production companies across the globe. It not only made Bruce Lee the most phenomel action star in the planet but also revered him as the king of a new class of movies called martial arts movies.
Bruce Lee had a dymic presence that has yet to be matched in martial arts films. His style was unique. He wouldn’t need to say a word for the audience to know exactly what he was feeling at any particular moment in a film. His facial expression along with the amazing way of screaming during a fight is just incomparable. Moreover, his fight choreography was way ahead of anything anybody has ever seen before - quick, powerful kicks and punches with barely an edit. In fact, his choreography is much ahead of many of today’s top exponents. Apart from his onscreen presence, he was a fine human being in real life also. He respected each and every person and was against racism. In his four big films, he used people from all around the world like Thai in The Big Boss, Japanese and Russians for Fist of Fury, Italians, Americans, and Koreans in the Way of the Dragon and in Afro- Caribbean’s in Enter the Dragon.
But unfortutely, he died very young at an age of just 32, in 1973; six days before the release of his biggest blockbuster Enter the Dragon. There have been many rumours about his cause of death such as suicide, murder, poisoned but actually, he died suffering a cerebral oedema caused by sensitivity to a painkiller.
Even after four decades since his death, his legendary impact still influences a wide variety of people from all spheres of life. In his famous documentary “How Bruce Lee changed the world” by History Channel gives a glimpse of his global impact on various walks of life. He appeals to martial artists because of his amazing skills and incomparable work ethic. During his lifetime, Bruce Lee accomplished many physical feats, including his ‘two-finger push ups’, breaking unopened coca-cola cans with his index fingers, at a time where cans were made of steel and his ability to break six inch wooden boards with a single strike. Taky Kimura, one of former Bruce Lee’s students consider him to be the fastest man he has ever seen. Bruce Lee was so fast that they actually had to slow a film down so that we could see his movements. He is a role model for body-builders who admire his ripped physique. He is an idol for many action stars like Jackie Chan, Tony Jaa and Jet Li. He is admired by thinkers and philosophers for his writings. He is respected by people regardless of creed or ethnic background. Above all, the most inimitable quality that makes him different from the others is that he had attained everything just by the age of 32 only.