Evolution of Bruce Lee as an Artist and Filmmaker

Topics: Bruce Lee, Chinese martial arts, Martial arts Pages: 5 (1763 words) Published: June 24, 2012
Martial Art films- Trace the evolution of Bruce as a martial artist and film maker Bruce Lee was an influential figurehead in both realms of martial arts and the film industry. The main philosophy of his beliefs as both a martial artist and a filmmaker was created via the integration and shaping of different concepts of martial arts, his belief of Taoism and ancient Chinese paradigms and the integration of this concept into his films. Through these, he has revolutionized the martial arts industry into the American film industry. Jeet Kune Do (The Way of the Intercepting Fist), Bruce Lee’s self-compiled and self-discovered martial art style integrated and shaped the way people perceived martial art, both in the martial art community and in the film business. He started fighting as a young child and was involved in several street brawls (R. Lee, 2010) before his father taught him traditional martial art. Overtime, Bruce learnt off a teacher called Mr Hu Han San before beginning his formal training under YIp Man. To be taught by YIp man was a rare opportunity as the master had only up to six disciples at a time. Bruce would lie to his disciples that YIp man was not teaching that week, just to have private tuition. This determination to absorb as much knowledge of Wing Chun was unparalleled by any of YIp Man’s disciples and this open-minded and studious approach to learning, set a benchmark to Bruce’s success in his later years. His newly adopted fighting method however got him into a lot of trouble. To understand Bruce’s evolution as a martial artist and film-maker, one has to look into Bruce’s life as a rebel and also understand why he had to move to America. According to Shih Wu in his documentary of Bruce’s life, Bruce was forced by his father to move to America due to his constant street fights and feared that Bruce would end up in prison. However according to his younger brother’s biography (R. Lee, 2010), it was inevitable that Bruce had to leave Hong Kong due to drug trafficking involvement. Robert Lee’s biography highlights Bruce’s heroic nature in trying to save a friend at a drug trafficking den. Being sought by drug overlords, Bruce was sent to America. This story was seen as fictional by critics as there was no real source whether such a story existed (Mudge, J). Some on the other hand believe that Bruce’s brother was just trying to portray Bruce as a hero and for others to see Bruce in good light, so as not to damage his existing reputation (Chinese Daily, 2010). Regardless of the truth, Bruce’s story will remain undisclosed, just like the rumour’s surrounding his death. Bruce’s evolution in his martial art style began when he moved to America. Having left his family and entered into the States with less than $100, he wasted no time in establishing himself as a martial artist within the Seattle community. His studies in Philosophy at the University of Washington helped him to develop his martial art style in not just the physical sense but also the spiritual. His lecturer in philosophy, Mrs Margaret Walters said his martial art films at college expressed an “art with a style” (Shih.W, 1973). It was within this time while at university that his style developed rapidly through his study of Taoism and ancient Chinese philosophies, and in no time, he was able to develop an efficient martial style named Jeet Kun Do. Bruce’s belief in Taoism and Chinese philosophies evolved his early martial art methods into what is known as Jeet Kune Do. He used the symbol of Yin and Yang to represent his martial art style and this symbol became well recognised within the martial art community for not just Jeet Kune Do’s practical sense but its philosophy. This philosophy was actively preached in Enter the Dragon, Bruce’s last film, when he was at the pinnacle of his popularly in martial art films worldwide. It was directed by a Hollywood director Robert Close, and during this period of the 1970s, it was a big deal for an...

References: Shih, Wu 1973, Bruce Lee: The Man & the Legend, DVD, Golden Harvest Company, Hong Kong
Wong, Manfred, 2010, Bruce Lee, My Brother, DVD, J.A Media, Hong Kong
Mudge, James, 2011, Bruce Lee, My Brother Movie Review #2, Beyond Hollywood, Seattle, http://www.beyondhollywood.com/bruce-lee-my-brother-2010-movie-review-2/
Chinese Daily, 2012, Bruce Lee biopic tracks action hero’s early life, China.org, Beijing, http://www.china.org.cn/arts/2010-11/26/content_21427438.htm
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