Happy Birthday to Bruce Lee

Written on the 27 October 2021

Happy Birthday to Bruce Lee

Happy Birthday to Bruce Lee, the "Father of Martial Arts" and the man who made the martial arts famous through TV in the 1960's and 70's.

Born on the 27th November 1940, there are many words one can write about this man, here is a short bio:

Bruce Jun Fan Lee (Lee Siu Loong) was born in 1940 in San Francisco, CA while his parents were on tour with the Chinese Opera. Ultimately raised in Hong Kong, Bruce Lee was a child actor appearing in more than 20 films. At the age of 13, Bruce took up the study of wing chun gung fu under renowned wing chun master, Yip Man who had the greatest martial arts influence on Bruce.

Bruce left Hong Kong at the age of 18, came to the United States and made his way to Seattle, Washington where he worked in the restaurant of a family friend. He soon enrolled in the University of Washington where he pursued a degree in philosophy. Bruce began to teach gung fu in Seattle and soon opened his first school, the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute. Two more schools followed in Oakland and Los Angeles. Concurrently Bruce married his wife, Linda and had his two children, Brandon and Shannon. In the mid sixties, Bruce was discovered while doing an exhibition at the Long Beach Internationals and a role as Kato in the tv series The Green Hornet soon followed. It was at the Long Beach Internationals that Bruce got the attention of Kenpo Karate Master Ed Parker and Taekwondo Master Jhoon Rhee (who taught Bruce the Side Kick).

Below is a video of Bruce Lee doing sparring demonstrations including his famous two finger push ups and "one inch punch" at the Long Beach Internationals with famous Kickboxer Joe Lewis:

In the late 60's Bruce starred with Chuck Norris and the two had a long lasting friendship. During this time, Bruce was also developing his own martial art, which he ultimately named Jeet Kune Do (translated: the way of the intercepting fist).

In the 1970's Bruce Lee met Hapkido Master Ji Han Jae and they trained and starred together in "The Game of Death 1978". Ji Han Jae taught Bruce Lee the "Spinning Kick" and various Hapkido Joint lock throwing techniques, Ji Han Jae recalls his memories about Bruce Lee in the video below:

Below is a short clip of Bruce Lee in a fight scene with Hapkido pioneer Master Ji Han Jae in Bruce's last feature film, "The Game of Death 1978":

Bruce's art was steeped in a philosophical foundation and did not follow long held martial traditions. Instead it had at its core the ideas of simplicity, directness and personal freedom. After The Green Hornet series was cancelled, Bruce encountered resistance while working in Hollywood and so headed to Hong Kong to pursue a film career. In Hong Kong he made 3 films, which consecutively broke all box office records and showcased martial arts in an entirely new way. Hollywood took notice and soon Bruce was making the first Hollywood / Hong Kong coproduction with a film called Enter the Dragon. Unfortunately, Bruce Lee died in 1973 before this film was released. This film catapulted him to international fame. Today Bruce Lee's legacy of self expression, equality, and pioneering innovation continues to inspire people all around the world.

Notable Students:

Chuck Norris

Dan Inosanto

Brandon Lee

Taky Kimura

Joe Lewis


Popular Films and TV Shows:

1966-67 The Green Hornet (26 episodes)

1966-67 Batman (3 episodes)

1971 The Big Boss

1972 Fist of Fury

1972 Way of the Dragon

1972 Game of Death (completed after 1978)

1973 Enter the Dragon

1979 The Real Bruce Lee

1981 Game of Death II (a.k.a The Tower of Death, Lee died before production of the film and scenes were taken from other films)


He is considered one of the most influential martial artists of all time. Read his long bio on his family website www.brucelee.com

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