Bruce Lee - Videos and Picture Gallery

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Bruce Lee


Bruce Lee - Biography, Videos, Quotes, and Pictures

Bruce Lee was an American-born martial artist, philosopher, instructor, martial arts actor and the founder of the Jeet Kune Do martial arts system, widely regarded as the most influential martial artist of the 20th century and a cultural icon.

Bruce Lee was born in the hour of the dragon, between 6-8 a.m., in the Year of the Dragon according to the Chinese zodiac calendar, November 27, 1940 at the Chinese Hospital in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the United States.

Bruce Lee birthplace was San Francisco, California although he was raised in Hong Kong.  Lee's Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films 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 Lee's films changed and influenced martial arts and martial arts films in Hong Kong and the rest of the world as well.  Lee became an iconic figure particularly to the 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 and the highest possible level of physical fitness, as well as developing a mastery of martial arts and hand to hand combat skills.

Bruce Lee's Education

At age 12, Lee entered La Salle College and later he attended St. Francis Xavier's College. In 1959, at the age of 18, Lee got into a fight and badly beat his opponent, getting into trouble with the police. 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. Lee left with $100 in his pocket and the titles of 1958 Boxing Champion and the 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 drama major and took some philosophy classes.

Bruce Lee's Martial Arts Training and Development

Bruce Lee's first introduction to martial arts was through his father, Lee Hoi Cheun. He learned the fundamentals of Wu style Tai Chi Chuan from his father. Lee's sifu, Wing Chun master Yip Man, was also a colleague and friend of Hong Kong's Wu style Tai Chi Chuan teacher Wu Ta-ch'i.

Lee trained in Wing Chun Gung Fu from age 13-18 under Hong Kong Wing Chun Sifu Yip Man. Lee was introduced to Yip Man in early 1954 by William Cheung, then a live-in student of Yip Man. Like most Chinese 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 was Wong Shun-Leung. Wong is thought to have had the largest influence on Bruce's training. Yip Man trained Lee privately after some students refused to train with Lee due to his ancestry.

Bruce was also trained in Western boxing and won the 1958 Boxing Championship match against 3-time champion Gary Elms by knockout in the 3rd round. Before arriving to the finals against Elms, Lee had knocked out 3 straight boxers in the first round. In addition, Bruce learned western fencing techniques from his brother Peter Lee, who was a champion fencer at the time. This multi-faceted exposure to different fighting arts would later play an influence in the creation of the eclectic martial art Jeet Kune Do.

Jun Fan Gung Fu

Bruce Lee began teaching martial arts after his arrival in the United States in 1959. Originally trained in Wing Chun Gung Fu, Lee called what he taught Jun Fan Gung Fu. Jun Fan Gung Fu (literally Bruce's Gung Fu), is basically a slightly modified approach to Wing Chun Gung Fu. 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.

Bruce Lee also improvised his own kicking method, involving the directness of Wing Chun and the power of Northern Shaolin kung fu. Lee's kicks were delivered very quickly to the target, without "chambering" the leg.

Jeet Kune Do


Rare footage of Bruce Lee in Long Beach

Jeet Kune Do originated in 1965. A match with Wong Jack Man 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 using Wing Chun techniques. 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.

Lee emphasized what he called "the style of no style". This consisted of getting rid of a formalized approach which Lee claimed was indicative of traditional styles. Because Lee felt the system he now called Jun Fan Gung Fu was too restrictive, it was developed into a philosophy and martial art he would come to call (after the name was suggested by Dan Inosanto) Jeet Kune Do or the Way of the Intercepting Fist. It is a term he would later regret because Jeet Kune Do implied specific parameters that styles connote whereas the idea of his martial art was to exist outside of parameters and limitations.

Jujitsu

At 22 Bruce also met Professor Wally Jay. From Jay, Bruce would receive informal instruction in Jujitsu. The two would have long conversations about theories surrounding the martial arts and grew to be longtime friends.

1964 Long Beach International Karate Championships

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 said to be placed behind the partner to prevent injury, though the force of gravity caused his partner to soon after fall onto the floor.

His volunteer was Bob Baker of Stockton, California. "I told Bruce not to do this type of demonstration again", he recalled. "When he punched me that last time, I had to stay home from work because the pain in my chest was unbearable.

Bruce Lee

The Unstoppable Punch

Bruce Lee also appeared at the 1967 Long Beach International Karate Championships and performed various demonstrations, including the famous "unstoppable punch" with USKA world karate champion Vic Moore. Bruce would announce to Vic Moore that he was going to throw a straight punch to his face, and all he had to do was block it. He would take several steps back and ask if Moore was ready, when Moore nodded in affirmation, Lee would glide towards him until he was within striking range. He would then throw a straight punch directly at Moore's face and stop before impact. In eight attempts, Moore blocked zero punches.

Bruce Lee Video Gallery

Bruce Lee Demonstration in Long Beach
Demonstration in Long Beach
Bruce Lee Close Quarter Combat
Close Quarter Combat
Bruce Lee - The Art of Dying
The Art of Dying
Bruce Lee - Two Finger Pushup
Two Finger Pushup
Bruce Lee - Power in the Punch
Power in the Punch

 


The Entire Bruce Lee Video Archives

 

Bruce Lee Flash Animations

 

Bruce Lee's Physical feats

Lee's phenomenal fitness meant he was capable of performing many exceptional physical feats.  The following list are the physical feats that are documented and supported by reliable sources.

  • Lee's striking speed from three feet with his hands down by his side reached five hundredths of a second.

  • Lee could spring a 235 lb (107 kg) opponent 15 feet (4.6 meters) away with a 1 inch punch.

  • Lee's combat movements were at times too fast to be captured on film at 24fps, so many scenes were shot in 32fps to put Lee in slow motion. Normally martial arts films are sped up.

  • Lee could perform push ups using only his thumbs

  • Lee would hold an elevated v-sit position for 30 minutes or longer.

  • In a speed demonstration, Lee could snatch a dime off a person's open palm before they could close it, and leave a penny behind.

  • Lee performed one-hand push-ups using only the thumb and index finger

  • Lee performed 50 reps of one-arm chin-ups.

  • From a standing position, Lee could hold a 125 lb (57 kg) barbell straight out.

  • Lee could break wooden boards 6 inches (15 cm) thick.

  • Lee performed a side kick while training with James Coburn and broke a 150-lb (68 kg) punching bag

  • Lee could cause a 300-lb (136 kg) bag to fly towards and thump the ceiling with a side kick.

  • In a move that has been dubbed "Dragon Flag", Lee could perform leg lifts with only his shoulder blades resting on the edge of a bench and suspend his legs and torso perfectly horizontal midair. 

  • Lee could thrust his fingers through unopened steel cans of Coca-Cola, at a time before cans were made of the softer aluminum metal.

  • Lee could use one finger to leave dramatic indentations on pine wood.

Bruce Lee Kick

Bruce Lee's Philosophy

Even though Bruce Lee is best known as a martial artist and actor, Lee majored in philosophy at the University of Washington. Lee himself was well-read and had an extensive library. His own books on martial arts and fighting philosophy are known for their philosophical assertions both inside and outside of martial arts circles. His eclectic 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, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Buddhism.

The following quotes and quotations reflect his fighting philosophy:

  • "To tell the truth....I could beat anyone in the world."

  • "If I tell you I'm good, you would probably think I'm boasting. If I tell you I'm no good, you know I'm lying."

  • "Fighting is not something sought after, yet it is something that seeks you."

  • "Be formless... shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle; it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot; it becomes the teapot. Water can flow, and it can crash. Be like water, my friend..."

  • "Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it."

  • "The more relaxed the muscles are, the more energy can flow through the body. Using muscular tensions to try to 'do' the punch or attempting to use brute force to knock someone over will only work to opposite effect."

  • "Mere technical knowledge is only the beginning of Gung Fu. To master it, one must enter into the spirit of it."

  • "There are lots of guys around the world that are lazy. They have big fat guts. They talk about chi power and things they can do, but don't believe it."

  • "I'm not a master. I'm a student-master, meaning that I have the knowledge of a master and the expertise of a master, but I'm still learning. So I'm a student-master. I don't believe in the word 'master.' I consider the master as such when they close the casket."

  • "Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there."

  • "Jeet Kune Do: it's just a name; don't fuss over it. There's no such thing as a style if you understand the roots of combat."

  • "Unfortunately, now in boxing people are only allowed to punch. In Judo, people are only allowed to throw. I do not despise these kinds of martial arts. What I mean is, we now find rigid forms which create differences among clans, and the world of martial art is shattered as a result."

  • "I think the high state of martial art, in application, must have no absolute form. And, to tackle pattern A with pattern B may not be absolutely correct."

  • "True observation begins when one is devoid of set patterns."

  • "The other weakness is, when clans are formed, the people of a clan will hold their kind of martial art as the only truth and do not dare to reform or improve it. Thus they are confined in their own tiny little world. Their students become machines which imitate martial art forms."

  • "Some people are tall; some are short. Some are stout; some are slim. There are various different kinds of people. If all of them learn the same martial art form, then who does it fit?"

  • "Ultimately, martial art means honestly expressing yourself. It is easy for me to put on a show and be cocky so I can show you some really fancy movement. But to express oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, and to express myself honestly enough; that, my friend, is very hard to do."

Bruce Lee Death

Bruce Lee's head stone in Lake View Cemetery, Seattle U.S.  A foreshadowing of events of Bruce Lee's death to come occurred on May 10, 1973 when Lee collapsed in Golden Harvest studios while doing dubbing work for Enter the Dragon. Suffering from full-body seizures and cerebral edema, he was immediately rushed to Hong Kong Baptist Hospital where doctors were able to reduce the swelling through the administration of Mannitol and revive him. These same symptoms that occurred in his first collapse were later repeated on the day of his death.

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 colleague Betty Ting Pei, a Taiwanese actress. The three went over the script at Pei's home, and then Chow left to attend a dinner meeting.

A short time later, Bruce Lee complained of a headache, and Ting Pei gave him an analgesic (painkiller), Equagesic, which contained both aspirin and a muscle relaxant. Around 7:30 p.m., he went to lie down for a nap. After Bruce did not turn up for dinner, Chow came to the apartment but could not wake him 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 (a 13% increase). Bruce Lee was 32 years old when he died. The only two substances found during the autopsy were Equagesic and trace amounts of cannabis. On October 15, 2005, Chow stated in an interview that Lee died from a hypersensitivity to the muscle relaxant in Equagesic, which he described as a common ingredient in painkillers. When the doctors announced Bruce Lee's death officially, it was ruled a "death by misadventure."



 

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