Bruce Lee

Wax statue of Bruce Lee
Wax Statue of Bruce Lee in
Madame Tussauds Hong Kong
Bruce Lee (Nov. 27th, 1940 - Jul. 20th, 1973), named Lee Jun-fan in Chinese, is a world famous Kung Fu master, a martial arts film actor and the founder of Jeet Kune Do. He made great contributions by introducing Chinese martial arts to the world. Because of his superb skills, he is called King of Kung Fu by Americans, Sage of Martial Arts by Japanese and Master of Fighting by Thais. Many great Chinese Kung Fu film shows of him were produced and up to today, Bruce Lee still has a great following.
 

Brief Introduction

Bruce Lee was born in China Town, San Francisco, but grew up in Kowloon, Hong Kong. In 1959, he went to the US and was admitted to University of Washington in 1961, where he majored philosophy and learned psychology, drama and other courses. During that period, he founded a martial arts club to better practice his skills and teach others, whilst playing some roles in the American series. It was at that time he met his wife - Linda Lee Cadwell. He aimed to become the most successful oriental star in the US, getting world reputation since 1970 and wealth swelling to US$15 million by 1980. After gaining that, he would like to lead a happy life with his family. However, all that came to an end with his sudden death in 1973. Nowadays, Copper statue of Lee at Avenue of Stars in Hong Kong and Bruce Lee Ancestor's House in Foshan, Guangdong Province have been built in his memory.
 

Bruce Lee and Chinese Kung Fu

Due to his poor health during his childhood, Lee was sent to a master at the age of 7 to practise Tai Chi, which was good for fitness. By age 13, he also learned Wing Chun from Ye Wen, a brilliant Wing Chun master. Later he learned Praying Mantis, Hung Kuen, Shaolin Boxing, Tam Tuei, Springing Leg, Jie Boxing and White Crane Boxing. He also explored Qigong and Yinggong, all of which laid solid foundation for his eventual creation of Jeet Kune Do. Besides Chinese boxing skills, he studied western fists skills and learned the boxing methods, steps and motions of some masters. Bruce was good at playing Long Staff, Short Staff, Nunchakus and many other weapons. He even organized a Chinese martial arts team in his university to practice and perform in extracurricular time.

He took a break during his sophomore year at the university to establish the Jun-fan Martial Arts Club. The club became well-known eversince news spread about him saving a girl in Chinatown, Florida, by defeating four gangsters with bare hands. Very soon, braches of his club were established in Seattle, Auckland, Los Angeles, amongst others. He became well-known in America. An increasing number of learners or boxing stars, including Karate star Chuck Norris and King of Boxing Muhammad Ali, came to him. It was through this way that he spread Chinese Kung Fu by teaching and exchanging experiences.

 Jeet Kune Do
Created by Bruce Lee based on Wing Chun, it is a free boxing art that combines various martial arts essentials. It is actually a method of defending the opponent’s attack. Its superiority is to defend and attack in a close distance and short duration. Besides, if it is flexibly used, the shortcomings or weaknesses of other boxing skills can be easily detected and compromised.

 Nunchakus
Nunchakus is actually two pieces of round wood linked by a short iron chain or a leather belt. Lee was good at using it as a weapon. The weapon can attack violently by brandishing the wood. Once the iron chain or the leather belt wraps one’s neck, it’s difficult to get rid of it. His prowess in its use can be seen in the Green Hornet and the Way of the Dragon.

 Inch Boxing (Cun Quan)
Inch Boxing gets the name because the distance between the attacker and the enemy is very close. It features a particular attack style which explodes in great strength to attack the close enemy in split seconds.

Bruce Lee and Kung Fu Movies

His film career started when he was only three months old, with a role in the Golden Gate Girl. In 1948, he guest starred in the Riches. More roles came in the following year. His breakthrough came about in 1950 in a film called Little Cheung. He portrayed an orphan who turned evil at first, but eventually became righteous. In 1953 and 1955, he had roles in seven films, including Blame It on Father and A Myriad Homes. In 1957, he has a part in Thunderstorm, his first and only literary role. As he learned cha-cha, he applied dances to the films of Funny Face and Too Late for Divorce, both of which are highly spoken of by a lot of audience.

In 1971, he accepted the invitation of the Hong Kong Golden Harvest Studio to sign up for two films, the Big Boss and Fist of Fury. The former broke the movie box office records of Hong Kong at that time and the latter broke the box office of Asian movies. His skills in Three Kicks of Lee (Lisanjiao), Tumbling Boxing and Nunchakus in the films won high praise as well. Later, he wrote, directed and performed in the Way of the Dragon and Game of Death. In addition, he cooperated with American Hollywood Warner Bros Pictures to shoot Enter the Dragon. As his film career is becoming more and more successful, he died suddenly at age 32 whilst shooting of the Game of Death in 1973.

Bruce Lee had played an influential role in the spread of Chinese Kung Fu as well as the development of the Kungfu movies. As a result, Jackie Chan, Jet Lee, Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung and other famous stars all had him as their mentor. Under his influence, western people have a better knowledge of Chinese people and Chinese Kung Fu and many of them take interests to learn the skills.

- Last modified on Jun. 27, 2017 -
Questions & Answers on Bruce Lee
Asked by LF from USA | Oct. 19, 2014 22:58Reply
Did Bruce Lee learn White Crane Boxing? And if so from whom?
I'm a student of this art, and am keen to know if Bruce Lee studied White Crane, and if so, from whom did he learn and study with? Thanks.
Answers (2)
Answered by Luke from FRANCE | Oct. 20, 2014 01:58
122Reply


LF, Bruce Lee did learn White Crane Boxing. However, I didn't find out any materials that mentioned where he learnt. Public documents said that he learnt from Ye Wen who was a master of Yongchun Boxing.
Answered by LF from USA | Oct. 20, 2014 18:48
31Reply


That's very interesting. I was not aware that Ye Wen (Yip Man) studied White Crane. I've looked for that specific info but have come up dry. I understand Wing Chung is similar to White Crane, but have seen little indication of Yip Man having studied it directly. Though I can imagine that there were many in the school and surrounding area that may have studied White Crane and shared knowledge together with Wing Chung students.Thoughts? Thanks - LF
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