BRUCE LEE DRAGON WARRIOR
Bruce Lee was born, Lee Jun-fan. in San Francisco, California on November 27, 1940. Bruce Lee was born into a fairly well family. Bruce Lee’s father was Chinese, his mother half Chinese and half Caucasian with strong ties to Hong Kong. Bruce’s father was an established actor in Hong Kong and China. Bruce Lee has two brothers and sisters.
WHY IS BRUCE LEE KNOWN AS THE DRAGON WARRIOR?
Why is Bruce Lee known as the Dragon Warrior? According to the Chinese calendar, Bruce was born in the year of the Dragon, and the hour of the Dragon. In Chinese mythology, the Dragon is blessed. The Dragon is said to be able to climb the highest mountains and dive the bottom of the sea. The dragon is an expression of power and good luck, and demands respect. It is interesting that “Chinese Boxing” and Kung Fu use many animal forms, such as the dragon, the snake, the crane, and the leopard.
BRUCE LEE’S FILMS
Bruce Lee is known for many things, but primarily as a martial artist and as a cultural pop icon. Bruce Lee stared in six martial arts movies, of which “Enter the Dragon”, “Way of the Dragon”; “Fists of Fury”, and “Game of Death” are best known. In fact, Bruce Lee was in over 32 films and TV productions. Bruce Lee was an actor, fight choreographer, producer, executive producer, movie consultant, writer, and director. Bruce Lee’s first movie was in 1941 when he was 3 months old, Golden Gate Girl, filmed in San Francisco, California. Bruce’s first noted acting role was in 1950, when he was 10 years old, in My Son, Ah Chung, also known as, “The Kid”. This film shows Bruce Lee’s charisma as an early age.
BRUCE LEE’S EARLY YEARS:
Just when Bruce Lee turned three months old, his family moved back to Hong Kong in early 1941. This was six months before the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor that started World War II. Several months after arriving in Hong Kong, the Japanese invaded with an occupation that lasted nearly four years. After the Japanese departed Hong Kong there was a mass migration of Chinese fleeing the communist mainland seeking freedom from oppression. Needless to say, Hong Kong got very crowded with all of these people. Even though Bruce Lee grew up in an affluent neighborhood, even this could not shelter him from a hostile environment of gang rivalry and influence. It was a tough place to live. Bruce was 5’7” tall and skinny. You had to be tough and smart. You had to fight. And Bruce Lee fought. He was not that good of a fighter but had the spunk to stand up for himself. Bruce’s father decided he needed some fighting instruction, so he taught Bruce the basics of Tai Chi. This led Bruce Lee, at the age of 13, to training in Wing Chun Kung Fu, under Ip man, also known as “Yip man”. Ip man was a very well known and respected Wing Chun Kung Fu Master. Bruce Lee was one of the rare students to have been taught Kung Fu from Ip man. Ip man wanted to keep the kids from fighting in the street and engage in fighting in a more orderly and organized way. The problem was that Bruce Lee liked to fight in the street and often got into trouble with his fighting. Finally, Bruce’s family decided to send him to the United States in order to keep him from either going to jail or being killed by a hostile gang.
In 1959, an 18 year old Bruce Lee moved to San Francisco, California to live with his sister. A few months later Bruce Lee moved to Seattle to finish high school, and worked in a Chinese restaurant. After finishing high school Lee enrolled at the University of Washington in drama, while also studying philosophy, psychology, and other subjects. He met Linda, a fellow student at U. of W. and married in 1964.
During this period of 1959 to 1964 Bruce Lee also taught martial arts to various people. Bruce was essentially teaching his version of Kung Fu. You should be starting to understand who Bruce Lee was. Obviously, Bruce was a rebel, and did not conform to traditions. Bruce Lee made his own way in the world and shaped the martial arts to his vision. We are all enriched by this. Bruce Lee later created a martial arts style called, “Jeet Kun Do”, which he called a style without a style.
Let’s look at the state of martial arts in the United States in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Robert Trias brought his form of Okinawan karate to the U.S.A. in 1947, which he called Okinawan Shuri Ryu Karate. Robert Trias formed the first karate association, the United States Karate Association (USKA) in 1947. The American Karate Association (AKA) was formed in 1964. These styles were based more on the Okinawan/Japanese forms, but evolved into more of an Americanized style. Basically, you had servicemen who served in the World War II in the Pacific and brought what they learned in Okinawan and Japan, mixed it with boxing and judo, and gave it a new name. A good example is Ed Parker who grew up in Hawaii and learned boxing and judo. He later trained in Kenpo karate, and then created a style called “American Kenpo”. The traditional Kenpo form used very linear movements. Ed Parker added some more circular moves in his “American Kenpo” which is more in line with Chinese Kung Fu and some of the Okinawan forms. It was in the 1960’s when Tae Kwon Do was exported around the world and arrived in the U.S.A. This made for some interesting times, with so many different styles and an ongoing evolution of these styles. It is not surprising that one ongoing movie theme is to pit one martial style against another. Each school has to justify why its style is better than another.
It was in this creative and evolving stew of martial arts, that Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior arrived on the scene. Chinese Kung Fu forms were fairly unknown, and were greatly overshadowed by the various karate forms. Rather than conform to a rigid style system or forms, Bruce Lee focused on what technique worked. What is effective? What is efficient? How do you adapt to different fighters and fighting styles? It was this form, without form, that is the basis for Bruce Lee’s style – Jeet Kune Do.