Master Bruce Lee
Master Sifu Bruce Lee "Jun Fan" Lee was born in the hour of the dragon on the year of the dragon, November 27, 1940 in San Francisco, California. "Jun Fan" translates to "return again", his parents named him this with the hope he would return to America. At three months of age Bruce was taken to Hong Kong, but one day they would get their wish.
Bruce's father, Lee Hoi Chuen was a popular and famous artist of the Cantonese Opera. By the age of six Bruce had some small acting roles and he developed a great interest in making films. In his early teens he began studying the martial art of Wing Chun , the only Martial Art he qualified in, with grandmaster Sifu Ip Man, whom he continued to learn from until Ip Man's death in 1972, where Bruce Lee also closely passed away. Himself and other students of Ip Man won matches against other martial artists, developing a reputation for Wing Chun in Hong Kong. In 1958 he won the Crown Colony Cha-Cha Championship, then left for America the next year.
Besides Wing Chuns teachings of Confusium, Tao,budaism etc, Bruce Lee also majored in philosophy at the University of Washington. Meanwhile he continued his martial arts training and taught Wing Chun, but because of student harrassment, he changed the Wing Chun name, because he had not totally completed the Wing Chun system and his students insulted his Sifu status. To stop disrespect for not being fully finished, Bruce made a style he renamed "Jeet Kune Do" -- The way of intercepting the fist -Another name for Wing Chun, but he then trained/taught people only to aid his return to Hong Kong Sparring. This new name made Bruce Lee a Sifu also in his own style. Only Bruce Lees one, right hand man, Jim Lee was Certified in pure Wing Chun forms and details by Bruce Lee and Bruce Lee helped him finacially with a Wing Chun Book for his devoted dedication. Sadly James passed away from welding gases, giving Bruce Lee great sadness. Bruce Lee only printed one wing chun book himself, in yellow; about Gung Fu. Other books, the Tao of JKD (-Bruce Lee did not write) generally composed of notes and side notes brought together, was not the ordered Jkd system that Bruce gave to Sifu Dan.
Dan Insonito was Bruce Lees Chauffer when doing examples in California competitions. They built a close relationship where Bruce Lee passed the Art of JKD, only through Dan Insanato and his students, who major in Philipine style sparring.
As JKD was a mixing martial art styles for Wing Chun defensive training, Bruce Lee only claimed, and showed devotion to one Teacher and style, throughout his life, being Sifu Ip Man and Wing Chun.
Bruce Lee never taught Sensei Ed Parker the Wooden Man, nor did he qualify him in any way. Bruce Lee did not learn the Wing Chun Wooden Man forms although he practised aspects of it. Bruce Lee and family had suffered at the hands of the Japanese in the world war 2 where many unarmed Chinese were slaughtered for fun. Many times groups of two hundred thousand, women and children in their homes were shot and bombed. Bruce Lees experiences of injustice was shown in his films.
Hollywood producer, William Dozier, noticed Bruce Lee at the 1964 Long Beach International Karate Tournament where he was giving a demonstration. The next day Bruce was hired as the new "Chinese James Bond" for a new TV series. This fell through, but led to a role in the television show The Green Hornet. This developed into more work in Hollywood where he appeared in Marlowe, the TV series Longstreet, Blondie and The Wrecking Crew. He was very conscious of not playing stereotypical roles of "hopping pigtailed chinamen" and made a major impact on how Chinese were portrayed on western television. Bruce Lee inspired and was to play Cain in TV Show Kung Fu but was disrespectfully dumped for a more European looking person.
Bruce Lee returned to Hong Kong with his wife and two children to work with film maker Raymond Chow. He signed a two movie contract for "The Big Boss" (known as "Fists of Fury" in North America) and "Fist of Fury" (known as "The Chinese Connection" in North America) each broke all previously known box office records in Hong Kong and gained a wide western following. He then made his directorial debut in "The Way of the Dragon" which blew all previous records out of the water. Tragically it was to be the last film he completed, as the finishing touches were being made on "Enter the Dragon". He died in 1973 leaving behind a legacy that continues to inspire people throughout the world to pursue martial arts skill over brute force.
The style of fighting Bruce Lee used in his movies was one he developed especially for film. He didn't believe that violence should be the theme of movies, but also recognized that violence could not be ignored. "I don't call the fighting in my films 'violent', I call it 'action'. An action film borders between fantasy and reality. If I were to be completely realistic in my films, you would call me a violent, bloody man. I would simply destroy my opponent by tearing his guts out. I wouldn't do it so artistically." Recognized and idolized mainly for his fighting skills, it was these very skills and his dedication to breaking through conceptions to find the truth that made him the legend that he was and still continues to be. Through martial arts he knew himself and stayed humane and true to himself despite the fame that came with his movies. He remains a symbol of the knowledge of self that a person can achieve when they apply themselves and are willing to leave behind their ideas of who they are or what they think they know.-Siu Lim Tao
"Martial art is ultimately an athletic expression of the dynamic human body while standing up for the good."
| | Bruce Lee with Great Master Ip Man.