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Until recently, I didn’t know that Bruce Lee was at the height of his career in Hong Kong while I was a little girl living a few hours away in Bangkok, Thailand.
My father let me know that he remembers going to a few movies in Thailand and saw the Bruce Lee martial arts movie trailers coming across the screen.
I wouldn’t have put these facts together if I hadn’t taken a few late nights recently to watch the Ip Man series and The Legend of Bruce Lee. I’m glad I did.
As an amateur martial arts fan, it was fascinating and inspiring to see Bruce and Linda Lee, Ip Man, and others so committed to offering up their best work. I’m amazed that Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee’s daughter, continues to forward his legacy.
In this episode, I’ve shared a few lessons that I learned along the journey about Bruce and those that were tied to his life purpose.
Listen to this and subscribe through your favorite podcast service at https://zurl.co/Y6EM .
Episode 72 Show Notes
- The Legend of Bruce Lee movie
- Bruce Lee Foundation
- Jeet Kune Do
- Taky Kimura
- Jesse Glover
- Dan Inosanto
- Tied to Your Yes – Episode 31
Episode 72 Transcript
This is Rebecca Clark Episode 72 Bruce Lee. The Ripple of the Intercepting Fist This podcast is for anyone that knows they haven’t yet found and offered up their best work but are compelled to seek it out and do it. Are you ready to move your desk? You must be shapeless, formless like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash become like water. My friend Bruce Lee. Somehow, about a month ago, we discovered on Netflix a little Siri’s called Ip Man, and I didn’t know who it man waas. But my husband mentioned that he was Bruce Lee’s master. And so I thought, Oh, this will be interesting to watch And I love martial arts, though I don’t know much about them, and I can’t pinpoints the moment that it happened. But I do remember seeing a movie many years ago where the cinematography was amazing to me. There was beautiful scenery, and all of a sudden thes martial artists started swinging on this bamboo and they were strong and they were elegant. They had grace. And yet there was this power there. And this confidence, I thought, What an interesting sport that combines this grace and confidence and power all into some very simple moves, Or so it appeared. Now I’ve since realized that it takes a lot of effort to make things look simple and beautiful like that. My sister, Rihanna, said recently that she looks at martial arts, kind of like a ballet which resonated with me because I’m not a fan of ballet. But I’m a fan of martial arts and understand that part of what I like about it is that gracefulness that’s so quick and powerful and yet so smooth. So anyway, we start watching it man on. I know it’s spelled I P and other places. It’s spelled y I P, but either way, I’ll just call it up. Man on. I loved it. Uh huh. He represented so many values and principles that helped him make difficult decisions, even when he could have used the money or the prestige or whatever hey needed at that time. And, of course, there are many great fighting scenes and the person that portrayed him. It was just so good at the role, I thought, as an amateur watcher of martial arts, right? And yet, even when you’re watching some of this acting like, No, I bet that guy actually knows how to do this in real life. Like, I don’t think that he’s having someone else do these stunts. He’s practiced, He knows something, and it was just very inspiring. Of course, when that was done, it’s served up the option to see the legend of Bruce Lee. I thought, Well, we’ll watch an episode or to see what this is like And of course, we got hooked and I didn’t know the life of Bruce Lee, and I’m sure there’s been creative license taken in the Siri’s. But it was so interesting how night after night, I kind of broke my little personal rule of going to bed around a certain time. And I’m like, Well, I got to stay up and watch just one more episode and one more and one more So there’s a few nights where I watched three or four episodes, and I think when we’re around 20 episodes right, we should check and see when this ends, because it just keeps going. And that’s when we realized we had signed up for a 50 episodes. Siri’s now some of you don’t know me and don’t realize that I don’t sign upto watch any Siris on TV. I’m not a big TV or movie watcher, and so for me to be committed like this means it’s something pretty good. Or maybe it’s just something that I needed to watch right now in my life. But there’s so many layers of lessons to be learned from the life of Bruce Lee. And yet I didn’t want to be repetitive and share all of these lessons that air readily out there in the books that he wrote in the memoirs and the books that others have written about him. Because it’s all out there and you can access that, I’d still like to mention a few thoughts and focus in on one in particular. That was important to me because I had actually talked about this in some other episodes over the last few months and that deals with being tied to your yes. But before I go into that, I’d like to say it was fascinating to see how Bruce Lee dealt with racism in his own Hong Kong, with those that were in different gangs or schools of thought than he was in, as well as the British students and people that were occupying Hong Kong in those times and then how he dealt with it in America. I think there are some great lessons to be learned and how he dealt with that. He was fierce in his love of saying that he was Chinese and that he wanted to bring kung fu to the world, and he didn’t use it as something to excuse himself from pursuing his passion and his vision for life. But he turned it around to use it as something that helped him fight harder. And not only did he fight harder, he included people in his life that others may or may not have thought were appropriate to include in his life of the time. He married an American white woman and some of his first students were not Chinese, and that was a no no in some of the martial arts schools in the areas that he taught on the West Coast, and yet he had an African American named Jesse Glover and a Japanese man that was kind of a father figure and his most senior student and supported him in many ways, monetarily and spiritually and as a friend, Taki Camera and then a Filipino friends, student mentor Dan in No Santo, to name just a few. Because they were brought up so much in the Siri’s that we watched. They were all from different cultures and races, and they all had different skill sets, and Bruce Lee taught them, and they ended up teaching Bruce Lee in some way. Which leads me to the next point. He’s a great learner. He was out there issuing challenges to everyone. E come fight me If you think you’re better than me, let’s fight, Let’s see. And it was interesting to see how these fights would go because you would expect that they could become enemies as a result of these interactions. And some people coming to him for these challenges would have thought of themselves as an enemy or an opponent. But Bruce Lee had a way of wanting to learn from them, especially if they brought forward skills that made for a really difficult fight. And so some of these people that started his opponents or enemies became friends in the process because he wanted to share everything he knew. He hoped they would share everything they knew and that they would all be the better for it. It would kind of uplift the game for the entire community of martial artists. And some of you are familiar with his Jeet Kune do, which is the way of the intercepting fist. And that was his form of kung fu that he took in all of these different things that he had learned from boxing or Chata or karate or taekwondo and bring them all together, an experiment with them, and came out the other end with something where he felt was simplified and refined to the point where he could have this effective form of combat. But it wasn’t just physical moves. It was a philosophy, a way of living and being and thinking of the world. And he turned it into something new, which was very hard for many people in the martial arts community, including his own master. But he still explained why and hoped the other people would continue to improve upon it or create their own approach and not just copy what everyone else said. From a fighting standpoint, it was very interesting to hear of his approach of defending and attacking at the same time. And to see it in action and go, Oh, I see how important that is to be able to defend yourself an attack at the same time and how, In order to do that, you have to practice over and over certain moves until certain moves become part of your subconscious response, right, because you’ve got to be able to do thes things at the same time, and especially if you’re in a life or death situation. And yet in order to do that, like I said, the practice and the focus and the commitment has to span over a period of time. And he had all that. He had that tenacity and that commitment in that focus. To do that, I feel like for this podcast. One of the important points about Bruce Lee is that he created a ripple effect, and that’s why I called this episode the ripple of the intercepting fist because it honors his thought to be like water to adapt and change and be able to move while also being powerful, like water, but also the way of the intercepting fist, which was the philosophy of martial arts that he ultimately created. The ripple effect is massive with this person, and here I am talking about him today, all of these years later because he died in 1973 in episode 31. I talked about being tied to your yes and is a concept my friend Angela Rowe mentioned to me casually when we were meeting together to talk and just have a snack one day. It’s the concept that as you step into what your purpose is and what you care most about, you will find that there are people that are drawn to you and are able to take next steps in their life because they see you taking these steps. And so they’re tied to your Yes, they’re tied to your saying Yes. I’m going to commit to my passion or purpose. Yes, I’m gonna focus. Yes, I’m going to step out even though it’s hard. Yes, I’m going to practice. Yes, I’m going to work on self actualizing and not just defaulting toe what everyone else is doing or whatever everyone else thinks is acceptable or thinks that’s the way life should be. So here we have Bruce Lee. This guy is focused, tenacious, getting people mad. And at the same time there’s this energy and magnetism that draw thes people to him. You see in the movie how Jesse Glover’s represented and apparently in real life he would hang out in front of this restaurant that Bruce Lee was temporarily a waiter at, and he would kick some poll like the telephone pole or something to show how strong he was. He wanted to attract Bruce Lee’s attention. He wanted to work with Bruce Lee. He wanted to learn what Bruce Lee new and he was involved in. Bruce leaves life as he’s going through these experiences of getting used to America and deciding to set up a martial arts school. Then you have Taki camera. Who is this person that had been in thes Japanese American camps that sprung up as a result of the Japanese invasion at Pearl Harbor? And you see that this Japanese man notices something and Bruce Lee and he’s 18 years older than Bruce Lee, but he invests in Bruce Lee and wants to support him and give him guidance. And is there is a friend but also as a senior student who’s willing to learn. And Bruce Lee learns from him as well. The martial arts, the Taki camera was expertise in. And of course, I’ve mentioned down in, Oh Santo before, who taught him what he knew and the nunchucks and those kinds of things and discussed the philosophy with him and was another example of someone who just realized there is something and Bruce Lee that he wanted to follow. He wanted to be part of whatever this journey Waas the Bruce Lee was taking. And perhaps some of these people wanted to be like him in their own lives, to have the guts and the courage and the focus to go up against all the opposition and be their best self. And at that time, it was enough to follow Bruce Lee, right to be kind of in his shadow or in the glow around him, whatever it waas so that they could be part of this journey because they knew there would be something memorable about it, and each of these people became successful in their own right. And you look at his wife, Linda Lee, and how she decided to marry this person, knowing that her whole life would be about helping him fulfill his dream with kung fu and whatever direction he wanted to go with it and how supportive she was, even if she did not agree with some of his approach is she was right there. She made sure that she enabled in whatever way she could him to move forward on this difficult journey that he created for himself, that he wanted to take, that he felt was necessary for society to introduce the world to Chinese kung fu and, of course, later on his form of it. What’s so amazing to me as I’ve looked on the Internet to find some names and to see what’s true, what’s not true and all those things I realized how amazing it Waas that Linda Lee and his daughter, Shannon, have dedicated their lives to furthering his legacy, and they didn’t have to do that. They could have moved on and done other things because he already had done the movies. They’re already schools and people that were forwarding his legacy forward. And yet they chose to continue it from there and as well. And this tells you how strong spirited Bruce Lee Waas and how committed he was for people to want to carry that on long after he’s passed on and just a za amazing to see all the opportunities that have been created as a result of this young man’s life. I look at this Danny Chan, Quach, Juan and think, Wow! I wonder what story he has about the first time someone looked at him and said, Whoa, you look like Bruce Lee, Danny Chan. Quach Juan played Bruce Lee in The Legend of Bruce Lee, and Michelle Lang played Linda Lee. And there are a whole cast of amazing characters that got to represent people on Bruce Lee’s life. They’re tied to Bruce Lee’s Yes, they’re having these opportunities in their lives because someone that came before many of them were born decided to pursue something against all odds. And I read the Danny Chan Quad Kwan studies martial arts and was in a band, and he’s played all these roles, and now he’s getting pulled into Bruce Lee roles for good reason, because when you see him act, you could tell he studied him his many of his mannerisms and moves to go. Wow, he just happened to look like him and he idolized him when he saw him in the movies, I guess, and then to work hard to develop his talents so he could play that character. It’s so fascinating to think about that someone that came before pave the way for him to have these opportunities, and it’s like this for all of us. There are people that are so passionate and so purposeful about some things that were like I don’t care what they’re doing. I know it’ll be good. I know it’ll be interesting. I know that it will turn into something. I want to be associated with them no matter what they’re doing, And we also sometimes of the person that people want to follow. I guess I would encourage you to think about that this week. Are you purposefully looking at your life and following inspiration and the inner inklings to seek and do your best in your relationships in your work and other areas of your life? And sometimes you will do your best, and it won’t be enough in that particular time. And other times you’ll just keep plugging along doing your best, and others will follow along. They want to be part of it with you. They want to help you on your journey and, as you’re going through this process to look out for people that you want to learn from and grow from and be connected, thio and make concerted efforts to be helpful to them and to be part of their circle. My experiences with Bruce Lee and Ip Man this past month have been a great reminder to me to keep the focus on seeking to offer up our best self and trusting that in that process, the right opportunities will come along the way the right people will be helpful. The right people that need to be helped all will come into your precise human orbit. And if you haven’t already, I encourage you to take a look at something related to martial arts, whether it’s the legend of Bruce Lee or the IP Man, Siri’s or just a YouTube video, or look up some of Bruce Lee’s philosophies and just explore it a little bit. I really see how some people have had an addiction to it since they were young. I wasn’t really exposed to it that much. And so my interest came later in life. And, of course, take a moment to go into your living room or your bedroom or the garage and strike a pose, do a few kicks, act like a graceful martial artist and see what happens. I find that there’s something in the minds that clicks, and there’s this empowering feeling like I’m in control of myself. I can do this. I am strong and I am capable. And I have a purpose and will offer up my best work to the world. Thank you, Bruce Lee. For your example. I am now tied to your Yes, thanks for listening to the show today. If you enjoyed it, I’d love if you’d write a review and share the show with your friends, Sign up for a weekly nudge at. Move your desk dot com. See you next Monday. Mhm