Bruce Lee's influence on America

Topics: Bruce Lee, Martial arts, Chinese martial arts Pages: 5 (1082 words) Published: September 17, 2014
Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee, born in San Francisco, California November 1940, was raised in Hong Kong, China. Lee died at the early age of 33 in 1973 from a cerebral edema, but not before he changed not only American culture, but society throughout the world. Bruce Lee’s success that shaped society can be contributed to several phenomenons Malcolm Gladwell speaks about in his book Outliers. At the age of 13 Bruce Lee began training with Master Yip Man, learning the arts of Gung Fu, a martial arts kept very sacred to the Chinese people and not shared with “outsiders.” Lee trained diligently everyday for over 5 hours after school. Lee became so proficient at martial arts that he began to create his own variations and is widely thought to be the best martial artist who has ever lived. Lee left Hong Kong at the age of 18 and returned to San Francisco where he taught the cha-cha as a dance instructor. After he gathered enough money, he abandoned his job as a dance instructor and enrolled in the University of Washington where he majored in Philosophy, the whole time practicing his martial arts. (Bruce Lee Foundation) By the time Lee opened his own martial arts studio and began teaching Gung Fu he had far exceeded the 10,000 hours needed to perfect a craft. Bruce Lee’s dedication to the practice of Gung Fu made him a master in his craft and allowed him to make a name for himself on the streets of Seattle. His hours of practice that sculpted his mastery in Gung Fu allowed him to make a career out of teaching his martial arts in his own large studios. Another man who had been trained in Gung Fu did not approve of him teaching non-Chinese people the martial arts; they both agreed to spar in Gung Fu on the terms of if Lee lost he had to stop teaching. Lee beat the man after three minutes but was very upset with his performance because it took him so long. Lee began training even more intensely. (Oshana) Lee’s dedication seems absurd but can be explained by his exposure to meaningful work, another phenomenon expressed in Gladwell’s book. Back in Hong Kong, Bruce Lee was a smaller child compared to others his age, he was picked on and not exactly respected by his friends. When he started his martial arts training he could see first hand the change the practice made to his body. (Bruce Lee Foundation) The practices he was taught straightened his muscles making him look stronger than many of his peers. This simple intimidation through appearance made him want to further his studies. Then when he became skilled enough to begin winning fights it inspired him to work even harder to be the best he could be. This addiction to hard work that he formed by seeing first hand the positive results of his practice made him an extremely hard worker in all aspects of his life. In 1964 Bruce’s close friend Ed Parker invited him to Long Beach, California, to perform a Gung Fu demonstration. The demonstration consisted of Bruce sparring a man blind folded and showing off the power of his now famous “one inch punch” all the while speaking charismatically and interjecting humor into the performance to keep the audience intrigued. This impressive performance caught the attention of movie producer William Dozier who eventually casted Bruce in the famous movie “The Green Hornet” as the part of Kato. Bruce turned out to be an impressive actor and his performance made him into an Icon representing the Chinese martial arts as a whole to the American people. (Cabrera) Bruce Lee’s involvement in the movie industry is what made him into the icon he is today. This proponent in Lee’s career is what brings up another one of Malcolm Gladwell’s phenomenon that makes the best the best. Lee’s advantageous era of birth is what allowed him to become so famous and concurrently shape martial arts and action movies altogether in America. Lee was born at the perfect time, if Lee had been born 10 years later; by the time he reached his potential acting age, action movies would have...

Bibliography: of Bruce Lee." . Bruce Lee Foundation, 1 Jan. 2006. Web. . .
Cabrera, Manuel V., Jr. "Lee, Bruce (1940-1973)." St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 3. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 117-119. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 26 May 2014.
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Oshana, Maryann. "Lee, Bruce." International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. 4th ed. Vol. 3: Actors and Actresses. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 711-712. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 26 May 2014.
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