Born: Bruce Jun Fan Lee
D.O.B.: November 27, 1940
Died: July 20, 1973 Cause of Death: Cerebral edema Wife: Linda Emery Must See Movies: Enter the Dragon, Fist of Fury Cool Quote: “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.”
The influence of mixed martial arts is so vast that many forget its roots. From childhood classes to U.F.C., mixed martial arts have become the standard method of self-defense and exercise. However, this was not always the case. Martial artist Bruce Lee helped socialize mixed martial arts into popular culture and put himself in the international spotlight. Bruce Lee became a cultural icon due to his unparalleled martial arts skills, acting and filmmaking. He helped redefine Asian masculinity in global popular culture, change the face of martial arts and influence his fans to try their hand at self-defense.
Lee was born in San Francisco on November 27, 1940 to Chinese parents from Hong Kong. His father was a renowned Cantonese opera singer who introduced Lee to the entertainment industry as a child. Lee began to teach martial arts while studying art the University of Washington and quickly rose to prominence among the country’s best fighters. Soon, he began acting in films and television, and helped to popularize Chinese martial arts throughout the globe.
Lee also helped to promote modern conceptions of fitness and nutrition and was a large advocate of rigorous diet and exercise. He believed that training was one of the most neglected aspects of athletics. According to Lee, “Too much time is given to the development of skill and too little to the development of the individual for participation. ... [Jeet Kune Do], ultimately is not a matter of petty techniques but of highly developed spirituality and physique.”
Bruce Lee died on July 20, 1973 at the young age of 32. The official cause of death was deemed cerebral edema, with symptoms including seizures and headaches. Lee’s legacy has had an enormous impact on Western conceptions of self-defense, Asian roles in Western culture, masculinity, health, and honor. Lee’s fighting techniques have inspired many instructors around the world and his film and television roles have inspired audiences everywhere to get involved in martial arts. Lee’s contribution to the art of combat cannot be understated, and his impact will surely never be forgotten.