Bruce Lee was perhaps the greatest Martial-Artist ever. He was born in San Francisco, California on November 27th, 1940. A few months after his birth, Bruce and his family move back to Hong Kong. Bruce starred in a number of films as a child. His first starring role was actually when he was six years old! It was a role in a film titled “Little Orphan Sam”.
At the age of 12, Bruce begins taking Martial-Arts instruction from the legendary Sifu Yap-Man, a master of the art of “Wing-Chun” gung-fu. During the next few years, when he was not practicing his art, he could be found in the movie studios with his father. At the age of 18, due to the numerous streetfights he was involved in, Bruce alone was forced to move back to his place of birth, San Francisco.
Bruce arrives with around $100 dollars, given to him by his parents. While attending the University of Washington, he majors in Philosophy. It is here he meets his future wife, Linda. He lives with an old friend of his father’s, while working at the Ruby Chow Restaurant, in exchange for room and board. Unable to finance his education, he begins giving Martial-Arts lessons to various students at the University. Bruce attends a Martial-Arts tournament in Oklahoma, where he is “discovered”. He is invited for a screen test for an untitled pilot, which is scrapped shortly before production. Fourtunately, he is chosen for for the role of “kato” in the television series, “The Green Hornet”. The show only lasts for one season, but does lead to roles in other shows, “Longstreet” and “Here Come the Brides” being two of them. He also gets a small role in the film “Marlowe”. Sometime after the film “Marlowe” is made, Bruce marries Linda. Months later, he opens his first “Jun-Fan Institute”, where he continues to share his knowledge of Martial-Arts.
Word spreads that Bruce Lee is teaching the “sacred” Martial-Arts to foreigners. Bruce is “warned” by various other instructors of his “violation of the sacred law”. According to the instructors, it was considered forbidden to teach the “sacred” Martial-Arts to anyone who wasn’t of Asian decent. Bruce argued this, saying that he wanted to show the beauty of their culture to the world. The instructors laid down an ultimatium. Bruce was to either teach only Asians, or stop teaching altogether. Bruce refused their instructions, vowing to teach whoever wanted to learn. Needless to say, the instructors were not pleased, and challenged Bruce to fight Wong Jack Man, another Martial Arts master in the area. The rules were set, if Bruce lost, he was to stop teaching. If he won, he would be able to teach who he pleased. There has been alot of speculation concerning the true outcome of this battle, even some 25 years later. Publicly, all that is known, is that Bruce won, barely. After this fight, Bruce decides to re-evaluate his fighting technique, because the fight “should have been over in seconds”. This leads to his creation of the style we all know as, “Jeet Kune Do”.
Bruce sustains an injury to his back while training. During the next six months, while recovering, Linda helps Bruce write what would later be titled “Tao of Jeet Kune Do”(Note:Tao is pronounced “Dow”). Two years after his full recovery, Bruce’s father passes away. He attends the funeral in Hong Kong. While there, as fate would have it, he runs into director Raymond Chow. It takes a while, but Raymond convinces Bruce to play a role in the film “The Big Boss”,(also known as “Fists of Fury”). Bruce was known around Hong Kong because of his former role as “Kato” in “The Green Hornet”. The role Raymond had for Bruce was originally a small one, in which Bruce was actually supposed to die! Bruce amazed Raymond Chow with his onscreen presence, and Bruce was given the lead role. His performance was extraordinary and he was hailed in Hong Kong as a hero! The Big Boss was a box-office smash, breaking all records as the first international film to gross more than $1 million.
Raymond asked Bruce to star in another film, “Fist of Fury”( also known as “The Chinese Connection”. This film broke the records set by The Big Boss! Bruce’s next film was “Return of the Dragon”, (also known as “Way of The Dragon”). This film also breaks previous records. Bruce begins working on his next film “Game of Death”. Before completion, he is approached with a script for “Enter the Dragon”, (formerly known as “Blood and Steel”). He accepts and promptly stops working on Game of Death. He actually has “cold feet” for the first couple of days! After overcoming this small fear, he shows up and begins filming. During the course of those long 12+ hour days, he is repeatedly challenged to fights, winning them all, but at a price.
He collapses and loses consciousness twice during the filming of this movie. Upon his visit to a doctor, he is told that he has an allergic reaction to hasish and must be careful, because the next collapse could be fatal. “Enter the Dragon” is later completed. Until the release of the 25th Anniversary Edition of “Enter the Dragon” this year, few fans knew that Bruce actually watched a completed version of the film.
On July 20th, 1973, Bruce Lee is pronounced dead at friend Betty Ting Pei’s apartment. The cause of death was officially ruled as “severe swelling of the brain”, but is and forever will be shrouded in mystery. Ironically, Bruce Lee says in one of his films, “How can a healthy man die? That would be the very question all of his fans would ask themselves for years after his unfortunate death.
/ Pages : 978 / 24