Bruce Lee was a famous martial artist, actor, martial arts instructor and philosopher who is considered the most influential martial artist of all time who helped break down stereotypes in the Western world about Asians and martial arts in general.
Born in 1940 in San Francisco as Lee Jun-Fan, but commonly known as Bruce Lee, to a Han Chinese father and Eurasian mother, he was introduced to the world of film and started appearing in films from a small age owing to his father’s profession as a famous Cantonese opera star. He started training martial arts after being involved in several street fights.
His trainer Yip Man wanted Bruce and other students to stop fighting in the streets and rather channel their desire to fight into organised competitions. Bruce won his school’s boxing tournament and even the Hong Kong cha-cha championship (his family had moved to Hong Kong when Bruce was only three months old).
As his ‘affinity’ for street fights continued, his parents believed it would be better to send him back to the United States to stay with his older sister Agnes. In 1959, he began teaching his own version of the Wing Chun kung-fu style that he had been taught by Yip Man and opened his first martial arts school in Seattle. He enrolled in the University of Washington in Seattle with his major in drama but dropped out in 1964 to open another martial arts school in Oakland with the renowned martial artist James Yimm Lee.
At the time, he was also dreaming of a film career which he abandoned in favour of martial arts which changed in the mid-1960s when he was cast as Kato in a short-lived one-season long series The Green Hornet which turned out to be the first popular show on American TV on Asian martial arts and the springboard that subsequently helped skyrocket Lee’s career as an actor.
His breakthrough in Hollywood came in the early 1970s with his first leading role The Big Boss (1971). He is credited with popularising martial arts in the US and changing the perceptions of Americans on Asian-Americans and Asians in general. Even though he is best known for his TV and film roles and martial arts training, he was also an avid poet and passionate about philosophy, having been influenced by the likes of Buddhism and Krishnamurti. He considered martial arts his path of self-expression of his eclectic beliefs, as reflected in his life and work.
- That he was born in San Francisco but raised in Hong Kong;
- That he only became a famous Hollywood actor in the late 1960s and early 1970s before his untimely death in 1973;
- That his last film Enter the Dragon became one of the highest-grossing films of all time (350 million dollars worldwide);
- That he was also well-read in philosophy and was influenced by the likes of Krishnamurti, Taoism and Buddhism but he rejected Confucianism;
- That he also wrote poems?
Most Inspiring Bruce Lee Quotes
If you spend too much time thinking
about a thing, you’ll never get it done.
I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations
and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.
Do not pray for an easy life,
pray for the strength to endure a difficult one.
A wise man can learn more from a foolish questio
than a fool can learn from a wise answer.
Absorb what is useful,
discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.
To hell with circumstances;
I create opportunities.
I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once,
but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.
Real living is living for others.
The more we value things,
the less we value ourselves.
If you love life, don’t waste time,
for time is what life is made up of.
Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.
Life’s battles don’t always
go to the stronger or faster man.
But sooner or later the man who wins,
is the man who thinks he can.
The successful warrior is the average man,
with laser-like focus.
Knowing is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.
In the middle of chaos lies opportunity.
For it is easy to criticize and break down the spirit of others,
but to know yourself takes a lifetime.
Be happy, but never satisfied.
Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself,
do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.
The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.
You must be shapeless, formless, like water.
When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup.
When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle.
When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot.
Water can drip and it can crash.
Become like water my friend.