The Big Boss (1971), The Way of the Dragon (1972), Oriental Fury (1972) Game of Death (1972) and Enter the Dragon (1973), are the films that consecrated the legend of martial arts, Lee Jun-Fan , known worldwide as Bruce Lee, who would turn 80 today.
Actor, filmmaker, philosopher, writer, and martial arts innovator. Bruce Lee revolutionized film and television and was the creator of Lee Jun Fan Kung-fu, a discipline based on Wing Chun gunga to which Lee incorporated a modification of various techniques from Northern Praying Mantis, Southern Praying Mantis, Choy Li Fut, Eagle Claw, Western Boxing, Wrestling, Fencing, Judo, JiuJitsu and some of the most refined kicks of the North and South China styles.
Lee Jun-fan was born in San Francisco on November 27, 1940, where his father, Lee Hoi-chuen, was on tour, but was raised in Hong Kong, along with his mother, Grace Ho, of Sino-German descent. .
At the age of six he had an approach to the Hong Kong film industry, thanks to some family friends. The film in which he participated was called “The Birth of Humanity” and it was a melodramatic story, which was fashionable then in Hong Kong.
Later, he shot another 13 of the same cut, with his stage name, Li ShiuLoong, which means the Little Dragon. “The Kid” was the only film in which he worked with his father, although the two do not intervene together in any scene. There Wing Chun was decided for a Kung Fu style. He then created his own method of combat, the JeetKune Do (JKD) or “the way of the interceptor fist.”
At the age of 18 he left Hong Kong to move to the United States, because his father was forced to make this decision because he feared that his son would eventually join the Chinese mafia, and he began to practice Kung Fu, but it was in the United States. United where he decided to hone his skills. He settled in Seattle and in 1961 began studying philosophy at the university.
Three years later he dropped out to open his first gym and dedicate himself exclusively to his personal training and Kung Fu classes. His fame as a martial arts expert opened the doors to Hollywood for him. He landed the role of “Kato” in the series “Green Hornet”, a character dressed in a green suit and mask who was an expert fighter. But his work did not go beyond occasional appearances in series and in a movie, such as “Marlowe”. The biggest disappointment occurred when he was rejected for the lead role in the series “Kung Fu”, for being “too Chinese”.
However, his facet as a coach and martial arts teacher was a success. He had among his students characters such as Steve McQueen, James Coburn or Kareem Abdul Jabbar, with whom he became close friends.
Bruce Lee was a visionary of what modern fitness techniques are today. He followed strict daily exercise routines, drank high-protein homemade shakes containing raw meat, milk, and seven eggs, and shocked his body with electric shocks, something now used in muscle rehabilitation therapy. His movement techniques influenced parkour. In addition, his philosophy of being a complete fighter, as well as his style of defense and attack, are the foundations of MMA (mixed martial arts).
In 1971, he signed a contract with a Hong Kong producer, Raymond Chow and shot two films in a few months: “Karate to the Death in Bangkok” and “Oriental Fury”, both breaking box office records. Lee achieved independence thanks to these successes and in his next film, “The Fury of the Dragon”, he was also in charge of the direction and the script. That is why it is considered his most personal film.
Hollywood could not remain indifferent to the unexpected Asian vein and proposed a project that would mean its worldwide launch, “Enter the Dragon”, which began filming in early 1973. But he would not live to see the premiere due to his unexpected death at 32 years, on July 20, 1973. More than 25 thousand people attended his funeral in Hong Kong, although his body rests in the Seattle cemetery.
In 1973 Lee also worked on “Game of Death”, a film that would remain unfinished. They are only shot for 40 minutes with his friends and disciples Dan Inosanto and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Bruce Lee was able to strengthen ties between the United States and China in the middle of the Cold War. As the tape ran through the projector, ideological and political barriers crumbled in movie theaters, as Bruce Lee had come to trade western for the adrenaline rush of kung-fu.