Set your DVRs, somewhere on the History Channel several times a week is a stunning documentary chronicling the impact Lee’s movies and lifestyle had on post-life culture not only in films but sports, music and health & Philosophy.
Right off the back LL Cool J hit it on the button why Bruce Lee is so beloved and was generations ahead of his peers in the 1970’s martial arts films. Bruce did not have to speak with words for you to understand him, he had his hands, not just for punching, but his body language. Even more so were his eyes, no actor has ever said so much with a look and a smile, his facial acting makes even a veteran like Morgan Freeman look like a soap star.
My only grudge with the documentary is the focus on Enter the Dragon’s impact on society. I recognize the films importance for the genre and bringing it to the forefront of media recognition of the art. Without Enter the Dragon Bruce is still a legend, frankly his prior 3 films were so much more amazing. Most believe his best work was that of his Hong Kong films before he filmed in America.
Bruce Lee was so much more then punching and kicking on films, his life was that of a teacher for the world, his interview with Pierre Berton, forgotten by a nation, but a philosophy to individuals in search of their Tao. I can only speak for myself, but a book I read many years ago called “Words of the Dragon” a collection of interviews and teachings from Bruce Lee had the transcript of his “Water” teaching and it instantly made an impact on how I would live the rest of my life. It came at a transitional time in my life, in 1997 I had graduating High School recently, getting ready to go off to college and learning about loss. The way the American people responded to the popular boo “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” is how I felt about Bruce’s “Water.” About 1 minute of his life, changed a life time of many.
“Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
The ultimate philosophy into stress management. I don’t know how many people read it, but there is a section of my blog called, “Wisdom of the Dragon,” with teachings and quotes from the immortal.
The documentary also attributes the impact on Bruce Lee’s freestyle fighting Jeet Kune Do as the precursor to MMA as we know it today. Know by Bruce as the “art of fighting without fighting,” it gives a rather non-violent ring to a fighting form, but don’t let it fool you. JKD was a martial art and you do strike, but it goes through the bureaucracy of fighting and simplifies it to conflicts core needs. Bruce’s lone heir, Shannon after a trip to Las Vegas to see a UFC event confesses that her father would have enjoyed the UFC if he were around today.
Shannon Lee has worked on 2 documentaries about her father in the last few years. Aside from Changed the World, Lee was involved in a 50 episode Mainland China series about the life of Bruce and his wife Linda. Hopefully it will make it to DVD in the US one day.
Bruce Lee is the reason we have Jackie Chan, Jet Li and John Woo films today, Few people have influenced so many styles in the world of pop culture over so many generations.
Bruce Lee is the reason I practiced martial arts as a child, teen and adult. And Bruce Lee will probably be the same reason my son could one day follow in the footsteps of so many.