Date of birth: November 27, 1940
Date of birth: July 20, 1973 (aged 33)
Height: 5′ 7.5″ (171 cm)
Weight: 140 pounds (64 kg)
Lee did demonstrations, but he never competed in competitions. I know a lot of people say karate was a point system, and not full contact, so it was not legitimate.
In the spring of 1959, Lee got into a street fight, and the police were called. Until his late teens, Lee’s street fights became more frequent and included beating the son of a feared triad family.
Eventually, Lee’s father decided his son should leave Hong Kong to pursue a safer and healthier life in the United States. His parents confirmed the police’s fear that this time Lee’s opponent had an organized crime background and that there was the possibility that a contract was out for his life.
In April 1959, Lee’s parents decided to send him to the United States to stay with his older sister, Agnes Lee, who was already living with family friends in San Francisco.
At the age of 18, Lee returned to the United States. After living in San Francisco for several months, he moved to Seattle in 1959 to continue his high school education, where he also worked for Ruby Chow as a live-in waiter at her restaurant.
Lee began teaching martial arts in the United States in 1959. He called what he taught Jun Fan Gung Fu (literally Bruce Lee’s Kung Fu). It was basically his approach to Wing Chun. Lee taught friends he met in Seattle, starting with Judo practitioner Jesse Glover, who continued to teach some of Lee’s early techniques.
Jesse Raymond Glover (October 15, 1935 – June 27, 2012) was Bruce Lee‘s first student and first assistant instructor in the United States. He met Lee in 1959, as they both attended Edison Technical College and practiced judo with Lee. Glover was a psychology major and a champion judoka. The character Jerome Sprout in the 1993 film Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story was based on Glover.
Jesse started a Gung Fu class of his own and Leroy Garcia and James DeMile came along and assisted him, which was the first ever independent Jun Fan arts related class. Jesse Glover was the first authorized martial arts instructor to be trained by Bruce Lee. He has developed his own method which he calls Non-Classical GungFu.
Bruce Lee had his punching and closing speed measured with an electric timer at Glover’s house. In the book “Bruce Lee – Between Wing Chun and JKD“, Glover states, Lee could land a punch in around five hundredths of a second (0.05 second) from 3 feet away, and could close from 5 feet away in around eight hundredths of a second (0.08 second).
- 1 Lee
- 184.108.40.206 Interestingly, Skip Ellsworth was Bruce Lee’s third Kung Fu student in America and maintained a lifelong connection with Lee. Ellsworth’s interest in fighting grew out of necessity.
- 220.127.116.11 As a white kid on an Indian reservation in the mid-1900s, Ellsworth faced the resentment of the native people who blamed whites for destroying their culture. He had a paper route, delivering the Duluth Herald, and which took him into unfriendly neighborhoods on a daily basis.
- 18.104.22.168 He got into fights almost every day, becoming intimately familiar with the mental and physical aspects of fighting. He learned to stay calm, no matter how bad the situation was, and how to become friends with pain.
- 1.1 He trained for the street; not the ring.
- 1.2 Bruce Lee body measurements:
- 2 Bruce Lee
Taky Kimura became Lee’s first Assistant Instructor and continued to teach his art and philosophy after Lee’s death. Lee opened his first martial arts school, named the Lee Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute, in Seattle.
In his mid-thirties, during the year 1959, Kimura met a young, rising 18-year-old martial arts genius named Bruce Lee. Kimura joined Bruce’s early kung-fu club where Lee taught Jun Fan Gung Fu, literally translating to Bruce Lee’s Kung Fu and his version of Wing Chun, Kimura became Bruce Lee‘s student, assistant and at that time, his “best friend.”
Together, they practiced, sparred, trained, and then founded Bruce Lee’s first kung fu club (the Lee Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute) renting a small basement room with a half door entry from 8th Street in Seattle’s Chinatown, where he became Lee’s first Assistant Instructor. Because of Kimura’s strong friendship with Bruce Lee and due to his dedicated study of Jun Fan Gung Fu, and the philosophy behind martial arts in general, Kimura was able to turn his life around.
Kimura was also the best man to Bruce Lee at Bruce’s wedding to Linda Emery. Kimura is one of only three individuals to be personally certified by Bruce Lee to teach his martial arts, which include Jun Fan Gung Fu and Jeet Kune Do. The other two are Dan Inosanto and James Yimm Lee (no relation to Bruce Lee).
After Bruce Lee’s death on July 20, 1973, Kimura was also one of eight pallbearers at his funeral, the other seven being: Dan Inosanto, Steve McQueen, Chuck Norris, James Coburn, George Lazenby, Ray Chin and Robert Lee, Bruce‘s brother.
Lee never graduated with a degree in philosophy, but Theatre. John Little states that Lee was an atheist. When asked about his religious affiliation, he replied, “none whatsoever”, and when asked if he believed in God, he said, “To be perfectly frank, I really do not.
Together, they founded the second Jun Fan martial arts studio in Oakland. James Lee was also responsible for introducing Bruce Lee to Ed Parker, an American martial artist and organizer of the Long Beach International Karate Championships where Bruce Lee was later “discovered” by Hollywood.
At the invitation of Ed Parker, Lee appeared in the 1964 Long Beach International Karate Championships and performed repetitions of two-finger push-ups (using the thumb and the index finger of one hand) with feet at approximately shoulder-width apart. In the same Long Beach event he also performed the “One inch punch.
Lee stood upright, his right foot forward with knees bent slightly, in front of a standing, stationary partner. Lee’s right arm was partly extended and his right fist approximately one inch (2.5 cm) away from the partner’s chest.
Without retracting his right arm, Lee then forcibly delivered the punch to volunteer Bob Baker while largely maintaining his posture, sending Baker backwards and falling into a chair said to be placed behind Baker to prevent injury, though Baker’s momentum soon caused him to fall to the floor.
Baker recalled, “I told Bruce not to do this type of demonstration again. When he punched me that last time, I had to stay home from work because the pain in my chest was unbearable”
He soon met his future wife Linda Emery, a fellow student studying to become a teacher, whom he married in August 1964. Lee had two children with Linda: Brandon (1965–1993) and Shannon Lee (born 1969).
To promote his school, the Jun Fan Gung Institute, in Oakland, Lee frequently gave demonstrations of his skills. Though he had not fully sculpted the action figure physique he would become known for, Lee had a series of theatrical displays that usually left audiences impressed.
While appearing at the Sun Sing Theatre in San Francisco that October, Lee invited a spectator to come and hold a pad. It was expected the man would be knocked backward, just as Lee had done dozens of times before.
Lee threw his punch, but the man was unmoved. Frustrated, Lee committed to a second, which sent the volunteer flying and complaining he wasn’t prepared for another strike.
It played like a comedy routine, and the audience began laughing. Lee, who had a tendency to lose his temper in record time, began seething. Some spectators flicked cigarette butts at his feet.
Annoyed, Lee invited anyone who thought they could do better to the stage. He was the best man there, he said, and the best fighter in San Francisco, and would welcome any challenges to be proven wrong.
While Lee was likely trying to recover from a rare embarrassment, not everyone in the audience took his comments lightly. The martial arts establishment thought his attitude was cocky. The man on stage, after all, wasn’t yet celebrated for his onscreen presence; he was a newcomer to the area who was running his mouth, and it wasn’t appreciated.
Some are saying that Lee’s fought with Wong was because he did not want Lee teaching Wing Chung to foreigners (white man). Others say it was a challenge to a friendly competition turned sour.
As Lee had his friend, Jimmy Lee, lock the front door, Wong and his associates came to a realization: there was a discrepancy in how each man was approaching the bout.
Wong saw it as a sparring match with the volume turned up, a demonstration of skills; Lee was going to treat it like one of his street fights, where nothing was off-limits.
Lee would later tell Black Belt magazine his encounter with Wong would change his way of thinking forever, evolving from a strict Wing Chun style to his own Jeet Kune Do, which incorporated a variety of techniques. But while he later dismissed his fight “with a kung fu cat” as nothing more than a rabbit chase where his hands swelled from pummeling his foe, other accounts have presented a very different take.
David Chin, a Wing Chun enthusiast who wasn’t present for Lee’s speech but had heard of it, suggested his friend Wong Jack Man could offer a needed dose of humility.
The most debated duel of all, Bruce Lee’s fight with Wong Jack Man. According to popular lore, Lee was challenged for teaching kung fu to non-Chinese.
Chin’s role in this fight was significant. “It ended up that I became the messenger boy and took the (challenge) note to Bruce Lee,” chuckles Chin wistfully.
Of course, given the magnitude of Lee’s place in pop culture, only Wong’s students believe their master wasn’t defeated outright. Few beyond the martial arts community remember Wong, who only recently retired from teaching in the San Francisco area.
So what really happened? “To me, you can say it went both ways,” recalls Chin. “Wong Jack Man was trapped by a window showcase. He fell and Bruce Lee got on top of him and that ended the fight.
Wong Jack Man said he didn’t give up. He said he got trapped in that showcase. It was just an accident.”
Furthermore, Bruce Lee wasn’t the first to teach non-Chinese. Non-Chinese students dot the lineages of plenty of other styles from the same period. “I don’t think it had anything to do with ‘don’t teach the gwailo (white ghost, a slang for Caucasians鬼佬).’
Stuff like that – it’s not true. Of course, Bruce Lee tried to make himself look good, but that wasn’t the case. It was strictly a match to see whose kung fu was better at that time.” So, the Lee vs. Wong fight wasn’t about keeping secrets. It was quite the opposite – a publicity stunt.
According to writer Rick Wing, who tracked down as many of the surviving 11 spectators as he could—along with Wong himself—the fight was not as one-sided as Lee described it. Lee began by lashing out immediately after a handshake, cutting Wong’s forehead, and then proceeded to launch a series of groin kicks and high-volume punches, most of which Wong absorbed in the chest.
Wong moved laterally, and was not as aggressive as the temperamental Lee; he had told his friends he wouldn’t be using kicks, which he considered his most dangerous weapon, because he didn’t want to permanently injure Lee.
He did, however, sport a pair of leather bracelets he wore over his wrists, and one of his strikes caught Lee near his neck, staggering him. Wong followed up with a headlock, but chose not to strike while Lee was doubled over.
After 20 minutes of Lee pressing the action and Wong picking his spots, Wong lost his footing and fell to the ground, where Lee tried to pounce on him. Observers told Wing they feared Lee was getting too heated and stepped in to break up the bout.
Lee later told his wife, Linda, he felt the fight had gone on too long, and that he should’ve been able to dispatch Wong easily.
His widow Linda said he fought a master in the U.S. (Wong), who didn’t want him to teach to people of non-Asian descent. He won with his Wing Chun skills but didn’t think he won fast enough and invented his own martial art.
The frustration led to an increased devotion to training. In a few months’ time, his son, Brandon, would be born, and his screen test for a television series would lead to a co-starring stint on The Green Hornet.
When he returned to San Francisco for martial arts exhibitions, he referred to Wong as “the runner.”
Though the men had agreed not to discuss the fight, news circulated in Chinese newspapers.
Now in his 70s, Wong still resides in the San Francisco area. He rarely speaks of the Lee bout. When the actor died in 1973, he sent flowers.
Though no one can say for certain, it appears Lee and Wong met just once more after the fight, when Lee came to the café where Wong was a waiter. A relaxed Lee mentioned they were both Chinese, had come from the same martial arts lineage, and had no reason to quarrel.
“Hey, man,” Lee said, “I was just trying to advertise my school.”
Though he didn’t fight much, he did beat the boxing champion of his high school without actually being a boxer. People occasionally said he was just an actor and not a martial artist, and tried to prove it. This happened on Enter the Dragon.
He also destroyed a black belt in Karate on a YMCA handball court In 11 seconds. The mat was red. Former student Skip Ellsworth says he “could end any physical confrontation within three or four seconds.”
Interestingly, Skip Ellsworth was Bruce Lee’s third Kung Fu student in America and maintained a lifelong connection with Lee. Ellsworth’s interest in fighting grew out of necessity.
As a white kid on an Indian reservation in the mid-1900s, Ellsworth faced the resentment of the native people who blamed whites for destroying their culture. He had a paper route, delivering the Duluth Herald, and which took him into unfriendly neighborhoods on a daily basis.
He got into fights almost every day, becoming intimately familiar with the mental and physical aspects of fighting. He learned to stay calm, no matter how bad the situation was, and how to become friends with pain.
He trained for the street; not the ring.
Lee’s training and interests were almost purely utilitarian, devoid of considerations to a ring, or mat. Bruce trained for a street fight.
But that did not make him superhuman.
But Lee was not going to beat up twenty guys, without even getting hit once. He would only get hit by the boss or kingpen at the end of the movie. This was true of every film Bruce Lee movie from Fist’s of Fury to Game of Death.
Lee might have hit like a heavyweight, but he could not take the punishment given by a heavyweight. He “believable” created a super human persona. But any third rate heavy-weight would have pulverized Bruce Lee.
There are fighters of equal weight who have died in the ring during a boxing match. This is why we have we have weight divisions in the first place.
And that’s why Bruce Lee is a myth.
There was no one like Lee, before or after, but a personal, he could never live up to in real life. And that’s why he didnt’ do any professional fighting, like a professional boxer which was most certanily full contact, and became an actor instead.
Bruce Lee body measurements:
Chest: 39″ (99 cm)
Waist: 29″ (74 cm)
Biceps: 16″ (41 cm)
Shoe size: 9 (US)/ 42 (EU)
Hair color: Black
Eye color: Dark Brown
Bruce Lee tried to join the Army but was rejected because his eyesight was so bad.
One leg was almost an inch shorter than the other.
He had an undecended testical. Which make it appear as if he only had one.
He ate a lot of Hash, and experimented with drugs.
He drank raw hamburger meat mixed with blood.
He had a device to electrocute himself for 30 seconds which he said was equal to doing 2000 pushups.
Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940, in the Chinese Hospital, in Chinatown, San Francisco. According to the Chinese zodiac, Lee was born in both the hour and the year of the Dragon, which according to tradition is a strong and fortuitous omen. Lee and his parents returned to Hong Kong when he was three months old.
Linda Lee, in her 1989 biography The Bruce Lee Story, suggests that Grace (his mother), had a German father and was a Catholic. So Bruce Lee was not 100% full blooded Chinese but a quarter German.
As such, the young Bruce Lee grew up in an affluent and privileged environment. Despite the advantage of his family’s status, the neighborhood in which Lee grew up became overcrowded, dangerous, and full of gang rivalries due to an influx of refugees fleeing communist China for Hong Kong, at that time a British Crown Colony.
After Lee was involved in several street fights, his parents decided that he needed to be trained in the martial arts. Lee’s first introduction to martial arts was through his father, from whom he learned the fundamentals of Wing-Chung.
The largest influence on Lee’s martial arts development was his study of Wing Chun. Lee began training in Wing Chun when he was 16 years old under the Wing Chun teacher Yip Man in between late 1956 and 1957, after losing to rival gang members. Yip’s regular classes generally consisted of the forms practice, chi sao (sticking hands) drills, wooden dummy techniques, and free-sparring. There was no set pattern to the classes.
After a year into his Wing Chun training, most of Yip Man’s other students refused to train with Lee when they learned of his mixed ancestry, as the Chinese were generally against teaching their martial arts techniques to non-Asians.
Lee’s sparring partner, Hawkins Cheung, states, “Probably fewer than six people in the whole Wing Chun clan were personally taught, or even partly taught, by Yip Man”.[4
However, Lee showed a keen interest in Wing Chun and continued to train privately with Yip Man and Wong Shun Leung.
Wan Kam Leung, a student of Wong’s, witnessed a sparring bout between Wong and Lee and noted the speed and precision with which Lee was able to deliver his kicks. Lee continued to train with Wong Shun Leung after returning to Hong Kong from America.
While in the United States from 1959 to 1964, Lee abandoned thoughts of a film career in favour of pursuing martial arts. However, a martial arts exhibition on Long Beach in 1964 eventually led to the invitation by William Dozier for an audition for a role in the pilot for “Number One Son”. The show never aired, but Lee was invited for the role of the sidekick Kato alongside the title character played by Van Williams in the TV series titled The Green Hornet.
The show lasted only one season of 26 episodes, from September 1966 to March 1967. Lee and Williams also appeared as their respective characters in three crossover episodes of Batman, another William Dozier-produced television series. This was followed by guest appearances in three television series: Ironside (1967), Here Come the Brides (1969), and Blondie (1969).
At the time, two of Lee’s martial arts students were Hollywood script writer Stirling Silliphant and actor James Coburn. In 1969 the three worked on a script for a film called The Silent Flute, and went together on a location hunt to India. The project was not realised at the time, but the 1978 film Circle of Iron, starring David Carradine, was based on the same plot. In 2010, producer Paul Maslansky was reported to have planned and received funding for a film based on the original script for The Silent Flute.
In 1969, Lee made a brief appearance in the Silliphant-penned film Marlowe, where he played a henchman hired to intimidate private detective Philip Marlowe, (played by James Garner), by smashing up his office with leaping kicks and flashing punches, only to later accidentally jump off a tall building while trying to kick Marlowe off. The same year he also choreographed fight scenes for The Wrecking Crew starring Dean Martin, Sharon Tate, and featuring Chuck Norris in his first role. In 1970, he was responsible for fight choreography for A Walk in the Spring Rain starring Ingrid Bergman and Anthony Quinn, again written by Silliphant. In 1971, Lee appeared in four episodes of the television series Longstreet, written by Silliphant. Lee played the martial arts instructor of the title character Mike Longstreet (played by James Franciscus), and important aspects of his martial arts philosophy were written into the script.
According to statements made by Lee, and also by Linda Lee Cadwell after Lee’s death, in 1971 Lee pitched a television series of his own tentatively titled The Warrior, discussions of which were also confirmed by Warner Bros. During a December 9, 1971 television interview on The Pierre Berton Show, Lee stated that both Paramount and Warner Brothers wanted him “to be in a modernized type of a thing, and that they think the Western idea is out, whereas I want to do the Western”. According to Cadwell, however, Lee’s concept was retooled and renamed Kung Fu, but Warner Bros. gave Lee no credit.
Warner Brothers states that they had for some time been developing an identical concept, created by two writers and producers, Ed Spielman and Howard Friedlander. According to these sources, the reason Lee was not cast was in part because of his ethnicity, but more so because he had a thick accent.
The role of the Shaolin monk in the Wild West was eventually awarded to then-non-martial-artist David Carradine. In The Pierre Berton Show interview, Lee stated he understood Warner Brothers’ attitudes towards casting in the series: “They think that business-wise it is a risk. I don’t blame them. If the situation were reversed, and an American star were to come to Hong Kong, and I was the man with the money, I would have my own concerns as to whether the acceptance would be there.
Producer Fred Weintraub had advised Lee to return to Hong Kong and make a feature film which he could showcase to executives in Hollywood. Not happy with his supporting roles in the US, Lee returned to Hong Kong. Unaware that The Green Hornet had been played to success in Hong Kong and was unofficially referred to as “The Kato Show”, he was surprised to be recognized on the street as the star of the show. After negotiating with both Shaw Brothers Studio and Golden Harvest, Lee signed a film contract to star in two films produced by Golden Harvest.
Lee played his first leading role in The Big Boss (1971), which proved to be an enormous box office success across Asia and catapulted him to stardom. He soon followed up with Fist of Fury (1972), which broke the box office records set previously by The Big Boss. Having finished his initial two-year contract, Lee negotiated a new deal with Golden Harvest. Lee later formed his own company, Concord Production Inc. (協和電影公司), with Chow.
For his third film, Way of the Dragon (1972), he was given complete control of the film’s production as the writer, director, star, and choreographer of the fight scenes. In 1964, at a demonstration in Long Beach, California, Lee had met karate champion Chuck Norris. In Way of the Dragon Lee introduced Norris to moviegoers as his opponent in the final death fight at the Colosseum in Rome, today considered one of Lee’s most legendary fight scenes and one of the most memorable fight scenes in martial arts film history. The role had originally been offered to American karate champion Joe Lewis.
Not the black boxer and American Heavy Weight Champion of the world. Joe Lewis (March 7, 1944 – August 31, 2012) was an American kickboxer, point karate fighter and actor. As a fighter, Lewis gained fame for his matches in the 1960s and 1970s.
I also would like to say that Chuck Norris never gave Bruce Lee credit for the fact that he made him a movie star. No one knew who Chuck Norris was, or cared, only that he was the first person who almost beat Bruce Less’s ass. So they put him in movies after Bruce’s death.
On May 10, 1973, Lee collapsed during an automated dialogue replacement session for Enter the Dragon at Golden Harvest in Hong Kong. Suffering from seizures and headaches, he was immediately rushed to Hong Kong Baptist Hospital, where doctors diagnosed cerebral edema. They were able to reduce the swelling through the administration of mannitol. The headache and cerebral edema that occurred in his first collapse were later repeated on the day of his death.
On July 20, 1973, Lee was in Hong Kong to have dinner with actor George Lazenby, with whom he intended to make a film. According to Lee’s wife Linda, Lee met producer Raymond Chow at 2 p.m. at home to discuss the making of the film Game of Death. They worked until 4 p.m. and then drove together to the home of Lee’s colleague Betty Ting Pei, a Taiwanese actress. The three went over the script at Ting’s home, and then Chow left to attend a dinner meeting.
Later, Lee complained of a headache, and Ting gave him the painkiller Equagesic, which contained both aspirin and the tranquilizer meprobamate. Around 7:30 p.m., he went to lie down for a nap. When Lee did not come for dinner, Chow came to the apartment, but he was unable to wake Lee up. A doctor was summoned, and spent ten minutes attempting to revive Lee before sending him by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Lee was declared dead on arrival, at the age of 32. Lee never saw the success of Enter the Dragon, the most successful martial arts film in history.