These are my first memories of Bruce Lee:
I was six years old at the cinema, watching a six-packed Chinese man float through the air and beat up all the bad guys. When they were all bloodied, lying on the floor, he would say something, wipe the blood from his lips, and walk away.
I remember the euphoria of the crowd around me, cheering, and screaming. I recall how, after the movie, my older brothers and their friends—who all worshipped Bruce Lee—would try to emulate his quick and brilliant moves.
Bruce Lee demonstrated what a hero was supposed to be and how good could defeat evil.
Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco to a famous Cantonese opera star. He later relocated to Hong Kong, where the legendary Wing Chun Kung fu teacher, Ip Man, became his teacher and mentor. He went on to develop many other passions, which included dancing (Hong Kong Cha-Cha Champion 1958) and martial arts (Hong Kong Boxing Champion 1958).
Lee returned to the United States with the intention of becoming a Hollywood star and founded his own style of martial arts, Jeet Kune Do. His physical mastery and philosophical wisdom, coupled with his mysterious early death at 32 years old, made him a cultural legend.
He was a man ahead of his time.
Even 44 years after his death, he remains popular with the young, old, East, and West.
His students included Steve McQueen, Chuck Norris, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, LL Cool J, and Brett Ratner.
Bruce Lee was a fighter, both on-screen and off-screen as well. He battled racial biases in Hollywood, where they made it obvious that no Asian could ever take the lead. He persisted, however, and finally landed a leading role.
In his epic final film, Enter the Dragon, Lee was asked to cut out the philosophical parts and just flaunt his Kung fu skills. He refused and stopped coming to the set. The producers finally relented and allowed him more control over the film.
Bruce Lee’s newly-released diaries delve deeper into his musings and meditations on life.
They show how he came up with his many wonderful quotes.
Bruce Lee’s insights have had a profound effect on my life.
12 of Bruce Lee’s best quotes and lessons:
- “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
- “Be happy, but never satisfied.”
- “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
- “If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them.”
- “Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love becomes as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”
- “Don’t fear failure. Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.”
- “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who had practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
- “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
- “The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.”
- “Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own.”
- “Flow in the living moment. We are always in a process of becoming and nothing is fixed. Have no rigid system in you, and you’ll be flexible to change with the ever changing. Open yourself and flow, my friend. Flow in the total openness of the living moment.”
- “Be self-aware, rather than a repetitious robot.”
Author: Mo Issa
Image: YouTube still
Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock