Bruce Lee - ten million and inner harmony

 

The 45th anniversary of Bruce Lee's death.

 

He was a signpost for those who believe they can change their fate; a symbol of the victory of the weak and excluded over the nobles of this world. He was a box office actor and a celebrity; walking (or rather jumping?) ambition; the Chinese incarnation of the American dream of success. He was Bruce Lee.

In 1974, the whole world hummed the text of the hit by Carl Douglas - Everybody was kung fu fighting. The song was number one on the charts in 15 countries and indeed everyone was possessed of kung fu fighting. In the same year, Hanna-Barbera released the Hong Kong Phooey cartoon, so that even the youngest could participate in the madness that prevailed in America after the premiere of The Eneter of the Dragon and the mysterious death of Bruce Lee. Hollywood spat one after another "karate movies", as we called them in the yard. However, in order for the fashion to break through the iron curtain, it took some time, so Piotr Fronczewski as Franek Kimono only in 1983 melodeclamed: "Your tears fly to my shirt with the words king Bruce Lee karate champion". The entrance of the dragon in Polish cinemas appeared a year earlier.

 

Over four decades after Bruce Lee's death, he's still a legend. Multidimensional. For some, it is the greatest warrior of all time, and the Internet is full of serious analyzes based on the preserved VHS recordings, in which the experts wonder if the "Dragon" would beat today's MMA champions, boxing and other disciplines. Seeing his inhuman speed, they come to the conclusion that today he would be a million-strong MMA fighter in the ring.

For others it is a brilliant actor and icon of pop culture. For others, he is a philosopher whose mind was as agile and flexible as his body.

 

After Lee's death, one of the master's students, Canadian John Little, had access to his library. He found there over 1700 books - on various topics, from Taoism through Western philosophy, martial arts to textbooks of physics and mechanics. Most with notes on the margins. From these notes, seven published volumes of "notes" by Bruce Lee were created.

His favorite thinker was Alan Watts - popularizer of Eastern philosophy in the West. Watts tried to work out a combination of modern Christian mysticism and Asian philosophy. He was a Buddhist, but also a doctor honoris causa theology at the University of Vermont. He experimented with LSD, and with his third wife lived in Druid Heights, a new-hippie commune on the outskirts of San Francisco. The Hindu theosophist Jiddu Krishnamurti also had a great influence on Lee. According to him, the path to freedom and happiness led through the total rejection of any idealism.

 

The echoes of this teaching are evident in the style of struggle that Bruce Lee developed, rejecting the traditional approach to kung fu, dogmas and celebrity - bows, salta performed exclusively for the effect.

Simplicity was postulated not only in martial arts: "Reject anything unnecessary" or "With simplification is like a sculptor who, with a chisel, rejects all unnecessary layers until a work of art is created".

In one of the initial scenes of the "Enter of the Dragon", the protagonist played by Lee talks to the sage who praises his progress, and then asks: "What kind of technique would you like to achieve?" To which Bruce Lee replies: "Do not have any technique."

 

The most famous science and motto of the "Dragon" was:

 

"Be like water: empty your mind, be formless, shapeless. When you pour water into the cup, it will become a cup; when you put it in the bottle, it will become a bottle. Water can flow freely or destroy. Be like water, my friend, "he said.

 

Water bypasses the obstacles that it meets on the road. In the "Enter of the Dragon" there is a scene: the swimmers sail to the island, where the secret martial arts tournament will take place. One of the passengers is looking for a raid with everyone, attacking seamen. In the end, Lee approaches him (not surprisingly, it's a character played by Bruce Lee), who looks dispassionately at the surface of the sea. "What is your style?" - almost yells at him a rowdy. Bruce, or Lee, looks at him and answers: "Fight without a fight". Of course, the troublemaker who is bothering everyone wants to face him immediately. Lee looks around the deck and says, pointing to the lifeboat: "We will need more space. There on the island. We can take this boat. " He lets his rival out, and when he is already in the boat, Lee loosens the rope he is attached to, and with the cheers of the crew, she drops her on the water.

 

Fighting crane with a fox

Bruce Lee was born in 1940 in San Francisco, according to the Chinese horoscope both in the year and in the hour of the Dragon. He came to the world as Lĭ Zhènfān, but his parents also had to write an American name, so the nurse suggested Bruce. His father, Lee Hoi-chuen, a Cantonese opera actor, was touring the USA. The family, however, returned to Hong Kong when the child was four months old. Thanks to his father's contacts, he became a child star. He made his debut as a three-month-old baby on the screen, and before the age of 18 he played in over 20 films.

 

Martial arts began to learn at the age of 13, after he was beaten several times at school and on the street. His first teacher - and as it turned out the only one - was Ip Man, a Chinese who fled to Hong Kong in 1950 after the victory of the communists. He was a master of the wing chun style and it was this variation of wu shu (the collective name of more than a hundred styles of struggle), as a result of distortion in Western culture instead of wu shu assumed to be kung-fu, which is a Chinese term for excellence in any field) learned young Bruce.

 

Wing chun means "eternal spring." The name, however, came from the first name. According to legend, this style was created in the second half of the seventeenth or the beginning of the eighteenth century. A group of monks from the Shaolin monastery worked on techniques to check in close encounters. Before they finished, the monastery was invaded and burnt by the Manchurians. According to the legend, only five people were saved, among them nun Mui. The new style was polished up and inspired by the fox crane struggle. She transmitted his principles to her secular student, the beautiful Yi Wing Chun. She was a saleswoman of tofu, and her beauty attracted many men she had to defend against.

What is certain, however, is that in Hong Kong in the 1950s the boundary separating street gangs from martial arts schools was very thin. And just because teen Bruce crossed her or was too close to her, he was sent to the United States by his parents.

 

Ip Man and the masters of other schools, who were abundant in post-war Hong Kong, told students not to trust the theory, just went out into the street and found out for themselves what they managed to learn. In other words, to look out for a fight. So the groups of young people were wandering around the streets and looking for dissension. Terrified residents every now and then called the police, who chased off the fighting, and arrested the most bloody ones in custody. The kids who were thirsty for confrontation started to move to the rooftops, and so in Hong Kong a unique roof-fighting culture was created.

 

Bruce was a model student. First, he went to the prestigious LaSalle School, but he was thrown out of it (for fights) and went to St. Francis Xavier's College. There, most of the lessons were conducted in English. He danced a great time, won the boxing tournament, knocked out the three-time champion in the final. The students remembered that he was arrogant, showed off and looked for eternity forever, but at the same time he had a great charm. Even then he was incredibly strong, fast and absorbed knowledge. The sister mentioned that if he failed, he trained even more intensively. He became a local fame, a roof master.

Kids cultivating the style of choy li fut necessarily wanted to lead to a duel with 18-year-old Bruce, the best representative of wing chun. A two-round fight was agreed. Bruce during the first installment got a few strong blows in the face. He knew that he could not hide the traces of a fight before his father, whom he had solemnly vowed many times before that he would not participate in the fighting. He asked his colleagues so that he could not go out to the second round. But they persuaded him that his honor and master were on his shoulders. In the second round he knocked out the opponent.

At this point, the stories again appear different versions and legends. According to one of them, the beaten opponent was the son of a well-known local gangster and Bruce began to threaten danger in Hong Kong. According to another, the parents of the defeated rival notified the police. As young Lee was already well known to the law enforcement officers and was on the list of juvenile gangsters, they decided to arrest him. Only thanks to the bribe given by his father did he land behind the bars.

Anyway, in the fall of 1959, 18-year-old Bruce was aboard a steamer sailing to San Francisco. However, he did not settle in the city where he was born, but he moved 1300 km north to Seattle, where a friend of his parents ran a Chinese restaurant. He lived in the back room, he started studying at the University of Washington - according to legend, he studied philosophy, but according to university documents, he chose acting - and in the afternoons he worked on helping in a bar. Even before leaving Hong Kong, he confided in a friend that he would try to earn money by teaching wing chun.

 

Monk in the Wild West

 

The martial arts community on the west coast of the United States in the early 1960s was completely different from the one Bruce left in his homeland. There was no talk about street fights, let alone about fights on the roofs. The bowing and the baroque celebrations reigned. You had to obey the master's instructions, perform the appropriate exercises in the right order preceded by appropriate rituals. Kung-fu in the States was a dead form, not a living organism.

The flourishing and popularization of martial arts is the beginning of the 20th century, when the Republic of China was established in China, and everything that was "Chinese" and "traditional" helped to connect a new young state threatened by the Japanese invasion. Authorities encouraged wu shu masters to teach people for free, run door schools, issue free textbooks, and organize shows. Forty years later, after the victory of the communists, most of the traditional martial arts teachers had to flee from China. They found shelter mainly in Hong Kong and Taiwan, but also on the west coast of the USA. In 1950, there were over 117 thousand of them in the United States. Only in a decade this number has doubled, and today there are almost 5 million Chinese in the US. Most in San Francisco - represent 21% of the population of this city.

 

After arriving in the United States, Bruce could not find himself in a fossilized martial arts environment. Chinese emigres in the US, according to the tradition of the boxers' insurrection who turned against missionaries and foreigners and forbid to teach them wu shu, most of them did not accept white schools. Bruce immediately began to question and reject this world. There were no racial barriers in his school, he trained everybody. He did not accept only those who were not able to fully devote the wing chun. His first student in Seattle was the black Jesse Glover. Bruce himself had a small admixture of European blood - his mother was half English (although for years there was a version about her German origin). According to legend, young Bruce had problems because of this - not all instructors wanted to teach him at Ip Mana's school.

After many years in one of the television interviews he was asked if he feels more like a Chinese or an American. He replied that in the first place he thinks of himself as a human. Today, there is a tendency to portray Bruce Lee as a warrior for freedom and tolerance. And although, as usual on the occasion of the legend, this exaggeration is creeping into the narrative, one must admit that Bruce was sensitive to racism and he became his victim many times.

 

It was in the beginning of his work in Hollywood, when he appeared in the studio Warner Bros. with a ready screenplay for a martial TV series - "The Warrior". The lonely monk of the Shaolin monastery was to traverse the American Wild West in it. The project appealed to him, but Bruce Lee did not get the lead role. The producers decided that the Chinese can not be the most important figure, because the audience does not identify with him. The series was finally made - it was called Kung Fu - but the role was given to David Carradine.

The story that Bruce Lee invented a monster series in the Wild West, and Warner Bros. they stole the idea, one could easily include one of the many legends surrounding the "Dragon" if it were not for hard facts. There is a recording of a TV interview in which Bruce says he is working on such a scenario, but that both record labels he applies to (Warner and Paramount) have reservations about his skin color, and that's why the show will not be made.

 

A wild, ferocious fight

 

Weeping crane, sleepy tiger, dragon and even snail on top of Fiji, or forgotten techniques of kung fu masters according to the trio

Before Bruce Lee got to Hollywood, however, he had to fight his most famous and overgrown myths.

While in Seattle, one of his students was Linda Emery - the future wife and mother of two children: daughter of Shannon and son of Brandon. Linda, for a few good years, did not dare tell her parents that she was dating a Chinese.

During trips to tournaments and shows, Bruce met James Yimma Lee. They shared 20 years, James was born and raised in the United States, served in the American army during the Second World War. However, they shared a similar view of martial arts, and acquaintance turned into friendship. Bruce and Linda settled in Oakland in the home of James and his wife and opened a martial arts school in the garage.

Bruce Lee and James Lee thought that what they learn and teach others in combat conditions makes no sense. Kung-fu in the traditional edition has become art for art. The system of bows, acrobatics, and salt that they did, yes, was spectacular, but ineffective. Bruce called it "dry swimming" or "classic mess." Together they went to tournaments and shows, where Bruce publicly laughed at new styles and demonstrated why in a street fight a representative of a given school would have no chance.

During one such lecture in 1964, he was asked to leave the room. A few weeks later in San Francisco's Chinatown in the Sun Sing theater, Bruce called the district's masters "old, toothless tigers" and the story repeated itself. During another show he was supposed to defeat every contender from the city and the surrounding area.

 

Whoever sows the storm collects the wind. Sooner or later someone had to challenge Bruce for a duel. He was aware of that. That's what happened a few years earlier, still in Seattle. Provocations and mockery from tradition did not please the then Japanese-living Yoichi Nakachi, who lived in Japan for many years. Bruce smashed his head and finished the fight in 11 seconds.

This time, in late autumn 1964, Lee challenged the duel recently from China to San Francisco Wong Jack Man. He quickly gained the fame of a talented street warrior in Chinatown. He was said to be elegant in movement and infernally strong. The first in the area fought the style of the northern Shaolin. It contained everything that did not have wing chun, and especially wing chun in the interpretation of Bruce Lee - he was full of ornaments, focused on fighting in distance. Wong Jack Man worshiped the celebration as much as Bruce despised her. At least that's what the legend says.

However, the legend clearly does not answer the question why Wong Jack Man called "Dragon" for a duel. He was new to the city, he had never met Bruce personally before, he was not a witness to his bragging and mockery of traditional styles. The first theory says that Wong Jack Man wanted to open his own martial arts school and he needed publicity. Another, he was framed in this fight. Precisely because he was new, he did not know who he was going to face. After many years, he admitted that he regretted the fight. No wonder, it continues to haunt him today.

 

Together with Wong Jack Man, the brown pontiac of Oakland arrived five people: David Chin and Chan "Bald Head" Keung, students of the tai-chi school from Chinatown in San Francisco, and notably connected with the martial arts scene local hooligans: Ronald "Ya Ya" Wu, Martin Wong and Raymond Fong. They simply counted on the game.

In Brune Lee Bruce Lee and his newly married wife, Linda, who was eight months pregnant and whose battle report is the most famous and the most untrue, awaited them. Linda in her book writes that Wong Jack was sent to Bruce to stop teaching white kung fu. This is obviously nonsense. Al Novak, one of Bruce's close associates, said that in the early 1960s he trained martial arts in Chinatown in San Francisco and never had any problems with that. The list of attendance was closed by James Lee - with a loaded gun, in case things were going to get out of hand. In total, nine people, three of whom still live today: Wong Jack Man, Linda Lee and David Chin.

It was a rough, wild fight, far from carefully directed film scenes. Bruce first hit the opponent on the temple, but he could not finish the case quickly, as he had done a few years earlier in Seattle, and soon found himself under a hail of strokes. He brought out a counter, and Wong stumbled over the step. Bruce put his fists on the back of his head and shouted in Chinese to give up. According to David China, everything lasted no more than 7 minutes.

Like every good brawl on the pitch after school, also this one quickly began to grow, and soon it took on enormous size. In one version of Bruce, Wong's head pierced the walls. In another Wong, Jack Man already had Bruce Lee in the corner and would have finished him off when the police came into the garage. Years later, when Bruce Lee became Bruce Lee, Wong Jack Man finally took the floor. He insisted that the fight was very even and long: it lasted well over 20 minutes. This version, however, does not stick to the pile, because street brawls are fast actions, not multifund duels. His version is not confirmed by any of the eyewitnesses.

Bruce Lee won, but he was very disappointed with the battle. He felt that the style in which he defeated Wong Jack Man, did not justify his earlier criticism of the traditional kung-fu. The disorderly and event-related victory was no match for Seattle's earlier triumph. It was a cold shower.

 

Scientific street fight

 

Lee therefore decided that he must develop a completely new style of combat, maximally effective in street brawls. A group had already gathered around him and James, including Ed Parker, Wally Jay, Ralph Castro and the aforementioned Al Novak. They trained their ranks in the evening and discussed them.

It was only after the fight with Wong that Bruce Lee began to formulate the principles of Jeet Kune Do. "Jeet" is interception, "Kune" - fist, and "To" - way. Jeet Kune Do can be translated as "Road of captured fist". It's a combination of wing chu with boxing, Filipino martial arts and kick-boxing, and leg work and tactics are drawn from fencing. As in the fencing the most effective blow is given when the rival attacks. For then, the most reveals itself. Hence the "captured fist". Today, Bruce Lee is considered the father of MMA, because the first combined different styles of combat. To develop JKD, he began to study the kinetics and mechanics of the human body. He called his style "a scientific street fight".

Bruce Lee worked on JKD for the rest of his life, even when he became a movie star. In 1971, in an interview for the legendary Black Belt Magazine, he said: "I did not create a new style of martial arts. On the contrary, I would like to free my students from style, obeying rules, repeating patterns, and form. Jeet Kune Do is not an organized, formalized institution to which you can join, become its member - said Lee, and then added: - My movements are simple, direct and non-classical. There is no such thing as the secret of my style. The most important is its simplicity. There is nothing artificial in Jeet Kune Do. I have always believed that a straight road is the right way. "

Soon, Jeet Kune Do was to be delighted with Hollywood. Roman Polański brought Bruce to France to teach him the basics. Among the adepts of JKD was the star of the cult westerns of the Seven Magnificent or Handful of dynamite - James Coburn. Lee also became a great basketball player for the Los Angeles Lakers - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whom Bruce Lee also cast in one of his films. However, Bruce gave Steve McQueen the most publicity. At the turn of the 1960s and 1970s he was the first-size star, he was called anti-hero or hero of cool. He did not use doubloons, he took part in stunt scenes, he flew by plane, he raced in cars. Pursuit from Bullitt, in which he travels by olive green Mustang, has entered the history of cinema forever. Steve McQueen carried the coffin at Bruce's funeral.

 

Kato vs. Robin

 

But for all this to happen, Bruce Lee must have first come to Hollywood. This was possible thanks to one of the members of his group of Oakland reformers - Ed Parker, a grandmaster and creator of karate - kenpō variety. Parker was a good businessman, he could take care of publicity, and Elvis Presley became one of his students. In 1964, he organized a karate tournament in Long Beach, where Bruce Lee performed with the show. The tournament attracted a Hollywood world. It was there for the first time Lee showed an inch punch, or a blow from a distance of one inch (2.5 cm), which wreaked havoc like a normal blow with a powerful swing. Many decades later, it was found in the popular mainstream TV program that it was indeed possible. And Quentin Tarantino in Kill Billu let the bride get out of the coffin in which she was buried alive, thanks to the blow of the box lid with such a blow.

One of the spectators, on whom the enormous impression made by Bruce's show, was Jay Sebring, a personal hairdresser of the stars, a few years later murdered by the gang of Charles Manson in the villa Sharon Tate. By telling William Dozier, the TV producer, he told him about Lee, who invited him to rehearse for the camera.

 

Soon Bruce got a part in the TV series, which was the screening of The Green Hornet comic - September 9, 1966, the first episode was broadcast. Bruce played Kato - the helper of the main character, the master of the eastern martial arts, who were then on the screen for the first time. In one episode Green Hornet fights the hero of another TV series of the same label - Batman. The fight ends in a draw, just like the clash of their helpers, Kato and Robin.

Bruce Lee played guest appearances in subsequent series, but he failed to make his debut in the cinema. But he was already part of Hollywood, he taught actors and people from the environment. He appeared on the silver screen for the first time in Marlowe. The title character, created by writer Raymond Chandler, is an alcoholic detective who drinks "black and bitter coffee as remorse." Bruce Lee plays the role of a villain who rushes into Marlowe's office and turns him into a blanket with his bare hands.

Mostly, however, he played in supporting roles and episodes. He used to be employed as a choreographer of battle scenes on films, but he was still waiting for his great opportunity - for the dragon's entrance.

 

In 1969, 29-year-old Bruce Lee wrote a letter to himself:

 

"I, Bruce Lee, will be the first high-paid Asian star in the United States. In return, I will give you the most exciting performances and achieve the heights of acting. In 1970, I will gain world fame and earn $ 10 million by 1980. I will live as I want and achieve inner harmony and happiness. "

 

The idea to write this letter did not come to him from nowhere. He read about it in the book Think and Grow Rich to one of his favorite authors, Napoleon Hill, creator of the "personal success literature" trend. Hill proposed a simple recipe: you must give the exact amount of money you want to get (do not just say "a lot"), describe exactly what you intend to give in return, set the exact dates, create a plan and start implementing it immediately. Describe this in a note and read it aloud twice a day: before going to sleep and immediately after waking up.

Four years after writing this letter, Bruce Lee was already dead. However, he managed to achieve all the things listed in the list. With interest.

 

Game of Death

 

In the same year 1969 he went to Hong Kong. On the spot, it turned out that he could not take a step without journalists following his every move or fans begging for the autograph. Supported Hollywood actor in the homeland was the first-size star thanks to the character Kato from the series The Green Hornet, which dubbed in Chinese on a long-term flight on television called The Kato Show. He was so popular that he also showed films on TV every day, in which he played as a child.

Contracts have also sprinkled. He was not only supposed to play the main roles, but also to be a choreographer of battle scenes as well as a director and screenwriter. He played the first major role in the Big Boss, which was screened in Hong Kong in 1971. It was a picture that laid the foundations for a new genre of cinema - kung fu movies. He has become a gigantic hit and the most profitable film in the history of Hong Kong cinema.

This record was beaten, however, the following year (1972), when Bruce's second film Fist of Fury entered the screens. A few months later, Bruce Lee made his debut as a director and screenwriter with the film Way of the Dragon. In the last scene in the Roman Coliseum, he defeats the Colta carassa sent by the Italian mafia. In this role, Lee cast his student and neighbor from Los Angeles, the US champion in Chuck Norris' karate, for whom this role proved to be a pass to fame.

The doors to Hollywood were already open, and Bruce Lee got the lead role in the first American kung fu movie - "The Enter of the Dragon". To this day, it is his most famous film. It is after seeing him, kids all over the world, even today, running around in the courtyards, dealing karate blows into the air, and making out strange sounds: "aaadzia !!!". In 2004, the "Enter of the Dragon" was included in the list of films making up the cultural heritage of the United States and stored in the Library of Congress.

 

Of course, we will never know if the film would be such a hit and Hollywood would be martial arts if six days before the Hong Kong premiere (July 20, 1973) Bruce Lee was not found dead in the apartment of the actress - Betty Ting .

In 1985, Ting retired from public life and became a Buddhist nun. Earlier on Bruce's death she always talked according to the official version. She was to watch the scenario of their next movie with him - the Game of Death, when he felt sick and went to take a nap. Ting gave him Equagesic, a combination of aspirin and sedative. Bruce, along with his partner and business partner, producer Raymond Chow, was in the evening arranged for dinner and a conversation about the role in the Game of Death with the worst ever James Bond, Australian bodybuilder George Lazens. When he did not show up at the meeting, Raymond came to Betty's apartment. They could not wake up the actor. Bruce was taken to hospital, where he was found dead. He was 32 years old.

 

The immediate cause of death was brain edema. Formally, it was an allergic reaction to the drug, but of course hardly anyone accepted such a translation. A man who consisted of only muscles, a fanatic of a healthy diet (one of the first in Hollywood at the turn of the 1960s and 1970s), could not die for such a trivial reason.

It was said he was poisoned. It did not help that at first the fact that he was found dead in Betty Ting's flat was tried, because journalists obviously soon discovered the truth. Immediately there were sensational articles in which Betty was accused of poisoning the "Dragon.".

 

In his writings, Bruce also dealt with the theory of love. He wrote:

 

"The happiness born of the excitement is like a violent fire - it will soon be extinguished." Perhaps that is why Linda Lee does not believe in the "Dragon" mistress, as if she had not read another quote from her husband: "Mistakes are forgivable if only someone has the courage to admit them."

 

Another theory about the mysterious death of the master said that Bruce Lee had finished the Chinese mafia for betraying the secrets of white kung fu. Another - that he died from dim mak, a secret blow of a vibrating fist, or the "touch of death". There is no scientific evidence for its existence, but every young adept knows perfectly well that the greatest masters know this secret. And that it is enough to touch the rival in the right order in several places (sometimes even one) to cause brain edema, cardiac arrest or its explosion - often very long after the secret hit. In 1985 in "Black Belt Magazine" appeared quite a serious article about dim mak, in which there was a suggestion that it could be the cause of death of the "Dragon".

 

There was also a curse about the family of Bruce Lee. He was to be cursed from the moment he was born, when his mother - in order to deceive evil spirits - ordered him to enter a female name in the hospital. They say ghosts - the bad ones - were not as interested in young girls as boys. The theory of the curse came back with redoubled force in 1993. Bruce's son, Brandon, a good fighter and actor, was due to an unfortunate coincidence fatally shot during the shooting of the movie "Crow" - the first in which he played the main role. He was 28 years old, and "Crow" - just like "Enter of the Dragon" - became a cult movie from the place.

 

This year it will be 45 years since the death of Bruce Lee. He is still a legend, four generations were brought up in films with his participation. Shortly after his mysterious death in Hollywood and Hong Kong, new productions began to appear in line. Actors in them were not only deceptively similar to Bruce, but also often adopted nicknames like: Bruce Li (Taiwanese Ho Chung Tao), Bruce Le (Wong Kin Lung from Burma) or Dragon Lee (Korean from North Moon Kyoung-seok ). This phenomenon has gone down in history as Bruceploitation, from the English word exploitation, or exploitation.

 

On the wave of fashion on kung-fu, there were also songs, comics and, in time, video and computer games. The best warrior in the iconic Street Fighter series is Fei Long - a deceptively similar to Bruce Lee. In turn, the scenario of another cult game, Mortal Kombat, is a repetition from the "Enter of the Dragon".

Bruce Lee especially loved African-Americans. His films were constructed almost always according to the same scheme: a kung fu warrior stands for a fight against a white rich man, a drug boss or wanting to conquer the world of a madman. And he wins. James Schamus, screenwriter and producer of the Crouching Tiger, the hidden dragon, even said that Bruce Lee was the greatest African-American movie star of the 1970s. The influence of kung-fu and Lee on black culture is ubiquitous. Breakdance pioneer Crazy Legs from the legendary Rock Steady Crew admits that when developing new movements he was inspired by kung fu movies and acrobatics that warriors did. Dialogues from Bruce Lee's films ("Be like water" or "It's like the finger pointing to the moon, do not focus on the finger, because you do not notice the celestial glory") were in between the songs on the members of the legendary hip-hop group Wu-Tang Clan, whose whole image strongly refers to the kung fu culture.

 

Bruce Lee's teachings are much more painful New Age than classical philosophy. The closest to the latter is the "Dragon", unless it is mentioned by Slavoj Žižek in an afterword to Jacques Rancière's book Aesthetics as a politician. Žižek writes that Bruce's popularity in the 1970s was an example of "the true ideology of the working class." He argues that Lee and the kung-fu films showed the young poor that even without anything more than the body and self-discipline, something can be achieved.

However, according to Žižek, with the passage of time, the ideological status of martial arts became more complicated. Thus, Žižek places kung fu next to yoga, feng shui, tai-chi, qigong or acupuncture on the list of Eastern practices that have been distorted by Western consumerism and individualism.

 

And yet the worship that not only the black people felt for him, but all the weaker, despised, exploited, goes beyond the analysis of the Slovenian Marxist. In Saturday Night Fever, Tony Manero, the main character played by the young John Travolta, stands in front of the mirror and prepares to go to the disco. Every day, he leads a boring life of a dismal seller in a chemical store. With a bare torso, to Bee Gees's beats, she prepares to leave. A poster by Bruce Lee hangs next to the mirror. Manero looks at the idol, copies his pose in front of the mirror, then puts on a pink tight suit and goes to the disco. Only there, once a week, on a Saturday night, he becomes something better, he becomes a superhero, he becomes Bruce Lee.

 

Source: Przekrój

Translation from polish

 

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