A pioneer in martial arts, Bruce Lee also had tremendous physical ability and work ethic, an openness towards learning, intense charisma, and a formidable intellect.
Breaking the restraints of martial arts tradition, and teaching whites classical Chinese martial arts resulted in an endangering backlash from local Gung Fu masters, who sought to conserve their arts from Lee’s liberal views and openness.
Lee was challenged to a fight, with the agreement that he close his schools if he lost. It’s incredible to imagine that Lee put everything on the line in order to both stay in business and prove the efficacy of his style. Winning the fight, although it settled the dispute with the other schools, did not give Lee any relief or personal vindication. He was unimpressed with his performance because it took longer than he desired to finish his opponents during the fight.
It was at this time that Lee started over again, examined himself and his martial arts, and began to formulate what became Jeet Kune Do, the “Way of the Intercepting Fist”.
Jeet Kune Do was based on breaking free from the bonds of tradition and developing personal authenticity through martial arts, using what is useful for the individual, instead of following a doctrine, a hard set of inflexible and useless forms.
Bruce Lee overcame a great deal of setbacks in his lifetime, including a debilitating back injury, but continued to push on and chase his dreams. However, his early death stole from him the opportunity to realize most of them.
Bruce Lee made a promise to become the biggest Chinese star in the world. That promise was made with resentment, because he was blocked from having the success he deserved by a backward thinking Hollywood, which was not willing to invest in a Chinese lead.
His most successful project, “Enter the Dragon”, was not released until after his death. It was made for $850,000, and grossed over $90,000,000.
Was touching to see how connected to Bruce Lee Dan Inosanto still is today. He wept several times while speaking about his death. He said:
“I’m now 74, but there really has not ever been a day that I haven’t thought about him. At least once, maybe twice, or three times, or for times, or five time in the day.”