Today is the 35th anniversary of the death of Bruce Lee. I felt it necessary to say a few words.
Bruce had a huge influence on my thinking during my late twenties. And even though I carry none of what I took with me at that time, I am forever grateful to him. (I won't go into what happened to me, or why he was such an influence at the time, but I may do in the future.)
Usually once a year, but not necessarily on this anniversary, Akiko and I will haul out a handful of Bruce DVDs and have a good time. But our appreciation of him runs far deeper than just his work in film.
For those of you that do not know, Bruce was the founder of the philosophy and martial art known as Jeet Kune Do, or, The Way of the Intercepting Fist. If you are partial to reading various philosophies, you'll most likely enjoy digging into that material. (For a brief overview of the philosophy itself, check out JKD as a Philosophy.)
I'll leave you with one of my favorite stories about Bruce from Wikipedia:
Bob Wall, USPK karate champion and co-star in Enter the Dragon, recalled a particularly serious encounter that transpired after a film extra kept taunting Lee. The extra yelled that Lee was "a movie star, not a martial artist," that he "wasn't much of a fighter." Lee answered his taunts by asking him to jump down from the wall he was sitting on. Bob Wall described Lee's opponent as "a gang-banger type of guy from Hong Kong," a "damned good martial artist," and observed that he was fast, strong, and bigger than Bruce.
Wall recalled the confrontation in detail:
"This kid was good. He was strong and fast, and he was really trying to punch Bruce's brains in. But Bruce just methodically took him apart.
"Bruce kept moving so well, this kid couldn't touch him...Then all of a sudden, Bruce got him and rammed his ass into the wall and swept him, he proceeded to drop his knee into his opponent's chest, locked his arm out straight, and nailed him in the face repeatedly."
After his victory, Lee gave his opponent lessons on how to improve his fighting skills. His opponent, now impressed, would later say to Lee, "You really are a master of the martial arts."
If you have a further interest, here is a link to the only English Language video interview of Bruce Lee.
Thank you, Bruce.