Bruce Lee’s Determination

Bruce Lee’s father was a Chinese actor, and Bruce himself acted in movies as a spunky kid, so he was familiar with movie making. When Bruce was young, he had to fight street gangs in Hong Kong, he even fought people with chains and knives.

Although raised in Hong Kong, Bruce was born as an American in San Francisco. Bruce thought that traditional martial arts could be improved, which angered established martial arts organizations which had practiced thousands of years of tradition.

He studied many different martial arts to come up with the most effective and efficient style of martial art for real life situations, not for just ‘show’. Traditional martial art was a practiced, choreographed set of movements to a certain rhythm, and Bruce realized that real life fighting was chaotic and unpredictable.

His martial arts philosophy, which he called Jeet Kune Do, was an American eclectic mix of styles, combining Chinese kung fu with boxing, judo and other styles. One fighter he admired was Muhammad Ali. Jeet Kune Do means ‘Way of the Intercepting Fist’, which described his style of meeting an opponent’s attack with your own attack.

Bruce had initial success getting the role of Kato in The Green Hornet TV series, but was unable to get TV executives interested in casting him in the Kung Fu TV series of the 1970s. Bruce married Linda Emery, whose mom was against the interracial marriage, they had two children. In pursuing his dream, he went through several periods not being able to get a job, and was at times living near poverty level. He knew he had what it took to be successful, an effective fighting technique, a strong martial arts philosophy, handsome looks and charismatic onscreen presence, but he still faced great obstacles in his career. But despite his struggles and economic circumstances, he didn’t give up.

When he was rejected by Hollywood, he decided to go to Hong Kong to make movies, his intent was to become a success in China and then come back to America to make movies. After making three successful movies in Hong Kong, Warner Brothers Studio offered him to make Enter the Dragon, which was the perfect showcase for his talents.

Can you imagine Bruce Lee, not able to achieve his dream and having to support a family , saying, “Ok, I’m not making it, I’m just going to get a job as a _________” (fill in the blank). He was talented and had everything to be successful, but in the end, what put him over the top was his persistence and determination not to give up. If he had given up, the world would have never known him as one of the greatest martial arts fighters of all time.

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Bruce Lee Faced Many Challenges

Bruce Lee is widely regarded as a great legendary martial arts fighter. He was born in 1940 in San Francisco, but grew up in Hong Kong. He became interested in martial arts after he got beat up by Hong Kong gangs. His family sent him to live with relatives in Seattle, Washington. Not satisfied with being a waiter in the family’s restaurant, Bruce started a school to teach Chinese martial arts.

Bruce moves with his wife Linda to Oakland, California and opens another school and teaches students of all races and nationalities. His study leads him to openly criticize traditional Chinese Kung Fu, calling it “a classical mess, it looks good, but it doesn’t work”. The Chinese martial arts community is furious and sends a challenger, Wong Jack Man to disgrace him. Wong tells Bruce that he is not allowed to teach non-Chinese, and if Wong wins, then he must close his school, but if Bruce wins, he can continue to teach non-Chinese. Bruce wins, but realizes that his physical condition and technique needs to improve.

Bruce starts to develop his own martial arts style. He combined different fighting styles based on real life combat situations, challenging traditional martial arts. He criticizes current day karate tournaments, which were rehearsed and in which the opponents didn’t even make contact, calling them ‘glorified games of tag’.

Bruce wants to take his philosophy to the media, and was cast as Kato in the Green Hornet TV series, which lasted only one season. He wanted to pursue a movie career, but found racial prejudice in Hollywood, which was not interested in a Chinese leading man. He pitched an idea for what eventually became the series Kung Fu, but the studio decided not to cast him, instead casting caucasian David Carradine in the leading role.

Frustrated and living in near poverty with a family to support, Bruce decided to take his talents to Hong Kong, where he made three movies and became a big star. He was working on his fourth movie when Warner Brothers offered him to make the movie Enter the Dragon.

After completing Enter the Dragon, Bruce returned to Hong Kong to finish his last movie, Game of Death. One night after filming, he complained of a headache, and his female co-star gave him a prescription medicine. After taking the pill, he never woke up and died at the age of 32 of cerebral edema, or brain swelling. Bruce passed away three weeks before the debut of Enter the Dragon in 1973.