An article on the 40th anniversary of Bruce Lee's death

 

 

40 years ago Bruce Lee died - an icon of martial arts, and - according to Time magazine - one of the hundred most influential people of the last century. Known mainly for his skill in mastering martial arts and their use in movies, he was also an extremely well-read author of poetry and philosophical aphorisms. Having these features in mind, the whiskey producing company Johnny Walker decided to resurrect the legendary actor in the latest ad using computer techniques. If he were alive today, he would be 72 years old.

 

James Dean, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison - perhaps they would not be remembered today if not for their enormous talent and ... death at a young age. Bruce Lee seemed to have the greatest potential for success, but an excess of ambition contributed to his tragedy. Unfortunately, he did not live to the moment of his greatest triumph - the premiere of "The Enter of the Dragon" - a film that conquered the world and introduced martial arts to the mainstream cinema.

 

Bruce Lee

"Man's goal is to act, not think, no matter how noble he is."

 

Bruce Lee - called in his homeland Little Dragon - acted from an early age. His father was an actor of the Chinese opera, and Bruce hit his first film set as a few months old child. Working in the film was part of his childhood and he usually played resolute, recalcitrant kids. By the age of 18 he appeared in twenty films. Trouble with the youth gang has left him relatives in America. At the University of Utah, he began to study philosophy, where he could compare his Chinese experience with the mentality of Westerners. The meaning of his life became the approximation of the Western civilization of the legacy of Chinese thought, especially martial arts.

 

Bruce Lee

"In science, we finally returned to the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, who said: everything is a stream, a stream, a process. There are no "things". UNISLESSABILITY in the language of the East is "lack of things."

 

In the West, we think about being without object as a vacuum, emptiness and lack of existence. In Eastern philosophy and modern physics, "objectivity" and "lack of things" are a process of constant movement. "

Lee started to earn a living giving lessons of kung fu, which was then new in California at the time. After winning the war in America, interest in karate and judo increased, but no one was interested in Chinese martial arts because they were guarded by Chinese-minded foreigners. Bruce Lee as iconoclast ignored the racist constraints of traditional schools. For the lessons he accepted people of all races and nationalities, which at the same time won him sympathy and attracted more students, including those very well known as Steve McQueen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and James Coburn. It was loud about him after the karate show, where he presented his skills: a famous hit from a distance of one inch, which rejected the opponent for a few meters, or doing push-ups on only two fingers.

 

Bruce Lee

"Power equals strength times, which means that if a warrior learns to deal faster blows, he will increase his power, even if his strength remains unchanged. In this way, a smaller person who moves faster can hit as much as a heavier person who moves slowly. "

 

He began his warrior path in Hong Kong from learning Wing Chun with Yip Man himself. Trying later many other styles and methods of struggle he gained more and more body awareness. His philosophical search for the purest form of the fight led him to create his own style, which he called Jeet Kune Do - the Way of the Intercepting Fist. Its logo contained the Yin Yang sign joining the unity of opposites, surrounded by arrows pointing constantly. The motto, which was "the lack of a way as a way, no limitation as a limitation" symbolized the desire to free itself from the rigid rules of tradition. According to Bruce Lee, a warrior must forget what he has learned to be able to express himself spontaneously.

 

Bruce Lee

"Man reacts to a blow towards the face, squinting his eyes. Such an instinctive squint must be controlled, otherwise an opponent who knows about it can provoke this reaction to strike or kick. "

 

JKD was created for years, including by studying the kinetics, dynamics and anatomy of the human body. In addition to the Eastern styles of fighting, Lee also used knowledge of Western combat sports - fencing and boxing. And so inspired by boxing, he was the first to use protective gloves during sparrings, which was to allow real hits. Breaking the rhythm of beats prevented predictability. His intention was to create a scientific method of practical martial art, which can be used not in shows, but in real situations on the street. Its advantages are simplicity and economy of movement. No one is able to predict the development of a fight, so the warrior remains only to adapt to the existing situation, or - quoting Lee himself - "be like water". The intermingling of Taoist analogies was not accidental, since JKD, in addition to combat techniques, also includes the philosophical aspect, which was reflected in his book "Tao of Jeet Kune Do".

 

Bruce Lee

"Self-awareness is the biggest obstacle to the proper execution of all physical actions."

 

As a physically active person, he became interested in a healthy lifestyle very early. He paid a lot of attention to food, and his appetite for physical training was unlimited. One of the most difficult moments in his life was a six-month stay in hospital. Too intensive warm-up before training damaged the nerve in the spine. Towards the bed, the doctors did not give any hope that he would ever be able to dig, but he stubbornly refused to accept their diagnosis. Not wanting to waste time unreasonably, he began to make up for the overdue reading from his huge library. He read books by such authorities as Alan Watts, Jiddu Krishnamurti, D.T. Suzuki, Carl Rogers or Lao Tsy. In addition to books about Western martial arts, he was also interested in the psychology of motivation. Unable to physically train, he did it in the imagination through visualization. Paradoxically, when he returned to regular training, he became even better than before the unlucky accident and his kicks were unmatched. It was also during the hospital stay that his open approach to life became established. In his free time he expressed them in the form of aphorisms, which after many years appeared in the book "Fighting with thoughts. Bruce Lee's aphorisms in everyday life.

 

Bruce Lee

"Pain is the best teacher, only no one wants to be his student. "

 

Despite the enormous physical possibilities and experience with the film set, his Hollywood career was not littered with roses. He only played episodes in television series - as a Chinese man he could forget about the main role, because there were no proper scenarios. Even close contacts with celebrities who took lessons with him proved to be insufficient. His only success was the role of Kato in the single-season series "Green hornet". Wanting to change the situation, he became involved in the creation of a script in which the entertainment form would include an introduction to Chinese thought and martial arts. In writing, James Coburn and Stirling Silliphant helped him, who even went with him to India in search of open air. An ambitious project was to show the potential of martial arts to Americans as a means to improve their condition and spiritual development. As he wrote in the introduction to the story: "The story illustrates the difference in the way of thinking between the Orient and the West. An ordinary Westerner is intrigued by someone's ability to catch flies with his chopsticks, and he will probably find that it has nothing to do with how good someone is in the fight. But a person from the East realizes that this man has achieved an extraordinary mastery in this art reveals the presence of his mind in every action. The real mastery crosses every play. "

In the film "Dumb flute", there were such topics as adaptation to circumstances or self-knowledge as a key to victory. The paradoxical title attracted attention, but the script did not find any interest among the label's bosses. Only years later, thanks to Silliphant's efforts, a film was made in Israel, in which the role written for Bruce Lee was played by David Carradine. It was also Carradine who was previously given the lead role in the "Kung Fu" series, which Lee also sought. This series, through a monk from the Shaolin monastery who traveled through America, was to reveal the mystical character of the Orient. Bruce Lee in his most famous surviving interview for Pierre Berton mentioned a similar project, hence the suggestion that the idea came from him. To date, many suggest that the label just stole the idea, which was reflected in the biographical film "Dragon: The Bruce Lee story." The author of the series claimed that he had been developing his idea for years, but he did not want to plead for defamation because of the death of Bruce's son, Brandon Lee, at that time.

 

Bruce Lee

"If you lose money, you lose nothing. If you lose health, you lose something. If you lose peace, you lose everything. "

 

Unable to fulfill his ambitions, Bruce Lee returned to Hong Kong, where he became a sensation. The enormous success of the three films "The Big Boss," "Furious Fists" and "The Way of the Dragon" - the last written and directed by Lee - made him a star. As a screenwriter and director, but also an operator and decorator, he began work on the "Death Game". This film about a duel with five masters of different styles in a certain pagoda was filmed with rather guerrilla methods. He invited adepts of other fighting styles to participate in the project, and in the role of the mysterious inhabitant of the top floor, he managed over a two-meter high Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - he was supposed to wield a mysterious style. The photos were discontinued when the proposition of the main role in his first American production appeared. The international success of the three films so far has led to a screenplay in Hollywood, whose main character was the Chinese master of kung fu. "The enter of the dragon" was the crowning achievement of previous efforts and proof that the greatest art is "win a fight without a fight". Unfortunately, the rising movie star died tragically before the end of work on production and his death is still shrouded in mystery. Twenty years later, his son Brandon Lee died. During the shooting for the movie "Crow" he was accidentally shot with a real bullet. This tragic event was supposed to confirm the uniqueness of the Promethean gift, because some suggest a family curse for betraying the secrets of Chinese martial art.

 

Bruce Lee

"The meaning of life is that it is to be lived, not sold,

conceptualized or pressed into a schematic system."

 

Bruce Lee's cult covers the whole world and his devotees include not only people who practice martial arts. On the occasion of the anniversary of the death of the museum in Hong Kong decided to launch a permanent exhibition "Bruce Lee: Kung Fu-Art-Life", where the film "The Brillant Life of Bruce Lee" produced by the Hong Kong Federation of Filmmakers will also be screened. A big part of this is Shannon Lee, his daughter and brand ambassador, who cares about his father's good name. As the president of the Bruce Lee Foundation, in addition to the Facebook page, she also runs an online store with gadgets and souvenirs, and produces documentary films about her father and supporting initiatives such as monuments and museums.

 

Shannon also cares for the protection of family interests by "lending the image" of the father to advertisements, which often arouses controversy among the fans. In the last advertisement of whiskey, Johnny Walkera was the main consultant in the digitalization of archival recordings, from which then the virtual form of the actor was created. It is worth mentioning that a few years ago, Nokia advertised its phone stylized for the archive footage of Bruce Lee. In this film, the actor fought a phenomenal duel of ping-pong with a nuncat. However, it was not the real Bruce Lee, nor the computer but extremely athletic athlete.

 

Bruce Lee

"Do not limit yourself to one form, adapt it and build something on it, let it grow and be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless - like water. You pour water into the cup now, it becomes a cup; you pour it into a bottle, it's a bottle; you put it in a teapot, it becomes a teapot. Water can flow freely or destroy. Be like water, my friend. "

 

Bruce Lee, when popularizing martial arts, helped change the perception of Asians in the world, and his biggest wins are the fight against racism - on two fronts. Before his arrival in Hollywood, Chinese tradition did not allow kung fu to teach non-Chinese people. A special delegation, which included the greatest masters, would discourage him from teaching foreigners. As part of the negotiations, there were findings that if Bruce Lee beat their representative he would be able to teach people of any descent. However, if he loses, he will have to close all his schools. The fight ended with Lee's victory and the legendary duel made it possible for kung fu schools to spread around the world and, over time, to popularize MMA fights. The second battle against racism, on the other hand, concerned Hollywood's policy. Lee could not get a good role in the film for a long time - the Chinese were stereotyped as a servant. His enormous cinematic success in his homeland led to the creation of "The enter of the dragon." Many stars from Middle Kingdom such as Jackie Chan, Michelle Yeoh, Gong Li, Jet Li, and Chow Yun-Fat owes their careers to the insubordination of Bruce Lee, and international interest in Hong Kong cinema is still growing. Like the interest of future generations, a man who expressed himself through art as best as he could.

 

Source: Interia.pl

Translation from polish

 

 

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02 April 2019

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