Legends of Action: Bruce Lee

Born: November 27 1940-Died July 20, 1973

How on Earth have I not written a Legends blog about the most iconic martial arts star of all time? Well, better late than never.

Bruce Lee only starred in a handful of movies but his legacy will live on forever. His skill was undeniable and he had charisma by the bucket load.

He’s arguably the most influential martial arts star of all time, with only Jackie Chan coming anywhere near him in terms of name recognition. He changed the way martial arts movies and Asians in general were perceived by International audiences and took the movies into the mainstream.

Lee would have parts in several movies and TV shows from a young age but it wasn’t until he played Kato in the Green Hornet that he would become well known. He would end up stealing the show from Van Williams who was meant to be the lead but Lee’s skill shone through.

His movies made him a massive star in Hong Kong with roles in The Big Boss, Fist of Fury and Game of Death, establishing him as one of the all-time great martial arts movie legends.

Game of Death would end up being completed after his untimely death and yet it still feels like an incomplete movie. The highlight is Lee’s fight with Kareem Abdul Jabbar in the finale.

Enter the Dragon is my personal favourite movie of his as it feels like a James Bond movie, mixed with martial arts and it all just works so well. You’ve also got Bolo Yeung as a bad guy, Jim Kelly as Williams and John Saxon as Roper.

Robert Wall appeared in several of Lee’s movies and in this he plays Oharra, a mean sumbitch with a scar on his face.

Kien Shih is fantastic as the mysterious Han who has the now iconic fight scene in the hall of mirrors at the end of the movie. It’s sad that so many of the cast have now passed away including Jim Kelly and Kien Shih.

Bruce Lee would is also credited with founding Jeet Kune Do which was a style and philosophy of life with direct, non-classical, and straightforward movements. Due to the way his style worked, Jeet Kune Do practitioners believe in minimal movement with maximum effect and extreme speed. Lee even wrote a book about it called Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

According to Amazon: Compiled from Bruce Lee’s notes and essays and originally published in 1975, “Tao of Jeet Kune Do” is the best-selling martial arts book in the world. This iconic work explains the science and philosophy behind jeet kune do – the art Lee invented – and includes hundreds of Lee’s illustrations. Topics include Zen and enlightenment, kicking, striking, grappling, and footwork. With introductions by Linda Lee and editor Gilbert Johnson, “Tao of Jeet Kune Do” is essential reading for any practitioner and offers a brief glimpse into the mind of one of the world’s greatest martial artists.

Bruce Lee tragically passed away on July 20, 1973 and although his death has shrouded in mystery, his life is what should be remembered the most.