After looking at someone else’s blog about Bruce Lee, it occurred to me that I need to write something about Bruce Lee as well.
Why do I like Bruce Lee?
My own experience with Bruce Lee is a lot like the army of fans around the world. I was a young boy when his films came out. I used to watch Kung-fu theatre on Sunday mornings on public TV and I was hooked. While many of the films were Shaw Brothers flicks, when a Bruce Lee movie came on you noticed a huge difference in what was being shown to you. His moves were real. All the other movies that you saw where tons of wire-work was used, had you knowing that it was fake but Bruce had you knowing that he could really fight. Big difference! So if you wanted to fight like Bruce Lee back in the early 80’s, what did you do?………………… You started taking TaeKwonDo/Karate classes! And the martial artist in me was born.
Bruce Lee in Hong Kong Now
Bruce Lee holds a unique presence here in Hong Kong so many years later after his death and famed glory years. While there is a museum now that is holding an exhibit about the Master of Masters, it is really a far cry to what really could be done in my opinion. The exhibit itself does have a great 45 minute long documentary about him. But as far as other attractions, it may be lacking a bit. I only say this because as a diehard fan such as myself, it’s not enough. I want to be entertained a bit more in my fantasy of the great Bruce Lee. I want to come away having been wooed and wowed. When I go to the space museum, I leave having thought that I was an astronaut. I guess I want to leave thinking that for a brief moment, I was transformed into Bruce Lee. Is that too much to ask?
Hong Konger’s Perception
Having lived in Hong Kong now for almost 13 years, I’ve broached the topic of Bruce Lee with many Hong Kong people over the years. From fellow martial artists to the casual fan to the non-fan and uninterested in kung-fu at all local. There is a popular sentiment that a lot of these people have in common with each other. The way that he died. I think that the way that he died and the ‘mystery’ behind it left a sour taste in many Hong Kong people’s hearts. He was the golden boy, the one man show that put Kung-fu films in theatres all around the world. He was a pillar of health and of fitness that people respected. Many people that I’ve talked to, have the common feeling that Bruce was using some drugs and that he died from it. The fact that he was at a woman’s house who wasn’t his wife makes the issue even more sticky. Whether he was romantically involved with her or not, the fact of the matter is that he was found dead in her bed.
If you want to visit the house in which he lived and the yard that he trained in when moving back to Hong Kong, you can. It will cost you about HKD$500 and that will get you about 2 hours of time to be in his house. His house sits in a very plush neighbourhood. The homes themselves would be somewhat of mansions in terms of size and grounds that you would get. The location is as central as you can get considering the size of the house and the size of the land. In this neighbourhood, you can find many houses similar or larger with some of Hong Kong’s most affluent citizens living there. There are also, kindergartens and a few international schools and there are Buddhist temples and love hotels all in this same neighbourhood. Bruce Lee’s house has been converted into the latter of those types of neighbourhood gems. That’s right. Bruce Lee’s house is a Love Hotel! I think this is a sign to show how his legacy was not protected by anyone. I also consider it to be somewhat a disrespect to who he was and what he supposedly stood for.
Jackie or Bruce
A lot of people try to compare Jackie Chan to Bruce Lee. I personally don’t think that there is any comparison. Jackie, in my opinion, is an entertainer first and a martial artist second. I give a lot of respect to Jackie Chan. Having met him professionally while working on a commercial in 2007, he is an amazing person and his athletic prowlness is equally amazing. He has done all of his own stunts always and has also written, directed and starred in many films. As of today he has 123 acting credits to his name.
Bruce was first and foremost a martial artist. He devoted a lot of time into developing his skill as a martial artist. That it is the reason that when watching his films that everyone can see the difference in technique and style in everything he did. The unfortunate thing is that Bruce only did 4 real kung-fu flicks for the world to see although imdb.com has him listed with 32 acting credits, many of them were when he was a boy.
While Jackie Chan is a great artist in his own right, Bruce Lee was of a different breed of artistry. There is no comparison.
Jeet Kune Do
Jeet Kune Do is a fighting style that Bruce Lee developed. He wrote a book called ‘Tao of Jeet Kune Do’ and it is a style that incorporates elements of various styles into one complete fighting style. He wanted to take all of the best components from different fighting arts and use them more effectively together as one. It does have a following, but I think because of his untimely death that he didn’t have enough time to promote it the world and convince everyone of it’s effectiveness. There aren’t many places in which you can learn JKD in Hong Kong. The June Fan Jeet Kune Do HK is a good starting point to find a place that might get you going. There are some links to other schools on it’s website such as the Jeet Kune Do Federation and the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute.
Bruce Lee will be continued to be talked about and more importantly emulated for many many more years to come. In his short time on this earth he influenced so many. He was truly an artist to the truest sense of the word. He enjoyed reading and writing as much as he enjoyed training and growing his knowledge of martial arts. I think we all want to be a little bit like him in the way that we all want to be great at something in our lives.
‘Be water my friend’ Bruce Lee