Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Bruce Lee (Chinese: 李小龍; born Lee Jun-fan李振藩) was a Hong Kong American martial artist, famous for his significant acting career. He was born on 27th November 1940, and died 20th July 1973 at the age of just 32.
Although he died at the early age of 32, what Bruce Lee achieved in those years is simply staggering.
Lee started training in Wing Chun when he was 13 years old, but by 1967 he had developed his own style of Kung Fu, known as Jeet Kune Do. Lee determined that his current knowledge of Kung Fu was not enough, and that what he had learnt was too formalised and rigid to be effective in the chaotic nature of street fights. Because of this he developed his own style, Jeet Kune Do, which is still taught today.
Lee's fight history is very colourful and impressive (as you would expect!), with a mixture of street fights, challenges and competitions. The most notable reports of fights are as follows:
- Defeated three-time champion British boxer Gary Elms, by way of knock-out, in the third round in 1958
- A man broke into Lee's home to challenge him. Lee was reported to be so mad that he gave the intruder "the hardest kick he had ever given anyone in his life"
- Lee was challenged by a film-extra whilst filming Enter The Dragon. Lee accepted the challenge and defeated the extra
Bruce Lee has starred in some of the greatest martial arts films of all times. For a full list, we recommend you have a read through here: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000045/ Some of the greatest films Lee starred in (as well as directed and produced in some cases) are:
- Fist of Fury
- Enter the Dragon
- Way of the Dragon
Lee also made numerous TV appearances, including in the TV series of Batman and The Green Hornet.
Bruce Lee brought Kung Fu to Hollywood more than any other actor, crossing that great divide between the 2. He made the genre cool and mainstream, and the industry today owes a lot of its success to the work done by Bruce Lee during his career.
And what better legacy is their for a martial artist than the students you have trained. The biggest names on that list are Brandon Lee, Steve McQueen and Chuck Norris. In particular Chuck Norris is worth mentioning. He is now the subject of an infinite number of internet jokes, sayings and mocked-up pictures, all illustrating the fact that Chuck Norris is the hardest man alive. Chuck Norris owes that reputation in part to the martial arts he learned from the great Bruce Lee.
You can follow Bruce Lee officially on Twitter (the account is run by his daughter Shannon Lee).