Sunday, June 24, 2007

Bruce Lee: The Legend of Fist

Bruce LeeBruce Lee (Lee Hsiao Lung), the son of a famous Chinese opera singer, born in San Fransisco in November 1940. He moved to Hong Kong when he became a child star in the growing Eastern film industry. The first film he made was The birth of Mankind and his last film which is uncompleted during the time of his death in 1973 was called Game of Death. He was a loner and always getting himself into fights, with this he looked towards Kung Fu as a way of disciplining himself. The famous Yip Men taught Bruce his basic skills, but it was not long before he was mastering the master. Yip Men was acknowledged to be one of the greatest authorities on the subject of Wing Chun a branch of the Chinese Martial Arts. Bruce mastered this before advancing to his own style of Jeet Kune Do. At the age of 19 Bruce left Hong Kong to study degree in philosophy at the University of Washington in America. It was that time that he took a waiter's job and began to teach some of his skills to students who would pay. Some of the Japanese schools in the Seattle area tried to force Bruce out, and there was many confrontations and duels fought for Bruce to remain. He met his wife Linda at the University he was studying. His Martial Arts school prosper and he soon graduated.

He gained some small roles in Hollywood films - Marlowe- etc, and some major stars were begging to be students of the Little Dragon. James Coburn, Steve McQueen and Lee Marvin to name but a few. He regularly gave displays at exhibitions, and it was during one of these exhibitions that he was spotted by a producer and signed up to do The Green Hornet series. The series was quite successful in the States - but was a huge hit in Hong Kong. He visited Hong Kong in 1968 and he was overwhelmed by the attention he received from the people he had left.

He once said on a radio program if the price was right he would do a movie for the Chinese audiences. He returned to the States and completed some episodes of Longstreet. He began writing his book on Jeet Kune Do at roughly the same time. Back in Hong Kong producers were desperate to sign Bruce for a Martial Arts film, and it was Raymond Chow the head of Golden Harvest who produced The Big Boss. The rest as they say is history. Lee is best remembered for his presentation of Chinese martial arts to the non-Chinese world. His films, especially the Hollywood-produced Enter the Dragon, elevated the traditional Hong Kong martial arts film to a new level of popularity and acclaim, and sparked the first major surge of interest in 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. Many see 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.


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