The founder of mixed martial arts philosophy, Bruce Lee, was born on November 27, 1940, in the Chinese Hospital of San Francisco under the name Lee Jun-fan. The legendary martial artist, actor, and director was the fourth child of a famous Chinese opera singer Lee Hoi-Chuen and his wife, Grace Ho. Although becoming famous worldwide was not his life’s objective, Bruce Lee gained international recognition and admiration because he was exceptionally good at his craft due to continuous learning and training in various fields. During his adolescence, he was taught Kung Fu by one of the prominent Chinese martial artists Wing Chun. Moreover, Bruce learned drama and philosophy in college. He was winning boxing tournaments and dancing competitions. Bruce Lee built a robust physique through enormous work and discipline, yet Bruce resisted becoming rigid and focused on one particular methodology in martial arts. Instead, he was eager to practice different martial arts techniques for countless hours. Bruce Lee’s life demonstrates that success and greatness in martial arts and cinematography are achieved through hard work and discipline of body, mind, and soul.
The Path to Success and Greatness in Martial Arts
Bruce Lee is rightfully considered the founder of the philosophy of mixed martial arts and one of the greatest known martial artists. His success in this area started during adolescence when Bruce Lee was accepted to Kung Fu school, where he was taught by Wing Chun, one of the best martial artists in Hong Kong. Learning martial arts in this school became pivotal for Bruce’s future career because of two main reasons. First, Lee was one of the best students in this Kung Fu school. Second, he had complicated relationships with his peers, causing him to be constantly involved in street fights with those who were dissatisfied with Bruce’s partial German ancestry. The latter caused Lee’s parents to send him to the United States, where Bruce moved in 1959. When Bruce Lee came to Seattle, he continued his high-school education and mastered Kung Fu. The fact that the best martial artist taught him in Hong Kong gave him the confidence to open his first martial arts school in 1959 in Seattle, where he accepted anyone who wanted to learn Kung Fu.
After graduating from high school, Bruce Lee was accepted to Washington University to study drama and philosophy. However, he decided to quit college in 1964 and move to Oakland, where he opened his second martial arts school in collaboration with a renowned Chinese martial artist James Lee. James Lee introduced Bruce to a famous American martial artist Ed Parker who invited him to the karate championship. Bruce Lee demonstrated two-finger pushups and one-inch punch at the tournament, leaving the audience in excitement. Bruce continued to earn his place among American martial artists through incredible dedication to the work and unique philosophy. His unique philosophy was that focusing on one particular methodology in martial arts is not a winning strategy. Instead, he believed that martial arts should acquire new methods and eliminate the old ones. Lee was famous for repeating that following one specific style makes a martial artist rigid. Learning about different techniques helps combine that knowledge and convert it into a fluid art of fighting stronger than anyone in other martial arts forms.
In addition to his philosophy to practice different styles, Bruce Lee was known for his intense physical training. He was one of the few martial artists who dedicated a significant amount of his time to studying sports physiology and nutrition to build enough muscle mass to become stronger. Simultaneously practicing Kung Fu techniques, Bruce was religiously following nutrition and training plans that Lee developed himself preparing his mind and body for fighting. Although Bruce Lee was not known to be a religious person, he believed that one’s soul is expressed in actions. Therefore, he tried to combine different styles into his unique mixed martial arts philosophy to show the importance of maintaining fitness and flexibility of body, mind, and soul. Bruce Lee’s unique philosophy made him the most successful and the most extraordinary person in martial arts.
Bruce Lee in Cinematography
Thanks to his father, Bruce Lee was exposed to the cinematic realm since early childhood, which probably, determined his future interest in cinematography. He acted in several movies as a child, but his first recognition came to Lee when he starred in Hollywood-produced films about martial arts. Bruce Lee’s appearance in an American movie as a martial arts teacher completely changed the perception of Asian actors in Hollywood. However, the global recognition of Bruce Lee as a phenomenon in martial arts films started when he returned to Hong Kong. His movies The Big Boss, Fist of Fury, and Way of the Dragon had an incredible box office success and elicited an increased interest in martial arts worldwide. Way of the Dragon, written and directed by Bruce Lee, is still considered one of the most financially successful martial arts movies and one of the best action comedies. Unfortunately, the world could not see the famous martial artist in the sequel of his last movie, Way of the Dragon 2, because he passed away seven months after his previous film was released in Hong Kong.
On July 20, 1973, Bruce Lee died from an anaphylactic reaction to an analgesic drug that became distressing to his family and the whole martial arts world. During his short life, Bruce Lee made an enormous contribution to popularizing martial arts in the United States, teaching Kung Fu in his school and through his films worldwide, initiating inter-generational enthusiasm about martial arts. Moreover, his acting career, which started in early childhood, was an example of how achieving excellence in a field could change Chinese people’s role in American films. Bruce Lee’s work ethic was an example of how discipline and continuous learning could create an immortal legend about a courageous man who strived for perfection in his art.
During his relatively short life, Bruce Lee became an accomplished actor, director, martial artist, and philosopher. He developed a specific methodology to build and maintain his physical fitness. Lee also believed that practicing one particular style in martial arts is not sustainable. Therefore, he was trying to learn various martial arts techniques and extract valuable knowledge to perfect his skills. He shared his knowledge and skills with anyone who expressed a desire to learn Kung Fu in his school, popularizing it in the United States. Bruce Lee was also an excellent actor and director who left an incredible legacy in cinematography. His movies about martial artists elicited a significant interest in Kung Fu worldwide. Overall, Bruce Lee’s life became an example of the importance of mastering one’s body, mind, and soul to achieve excellence in martial arts and any other craft.