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.