Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Bruce Lee: King of Martial Arts

Photo by Lexinatrix

For those born in the 60s or even later, Bruce Lee was the "King of Martial Arts" as far as I'm concerned.  Most of us were in awe of his awesome feats and spectacular martial arts!  He made us believe that taking on 100 people in fight in "Enter the Dragon" wasn't impossible!

Like all the kids in the 70s and at the age of 10, I went out and bought books about Bruce Lee at the Japanese store Hakubundo at the Kaahumanu Shopping Center.  I even bought his instructional book "Jeet Kun Do" to add to my extensive collection.  In addition, I went nuts buying some weapons like a nunchaku and ninja stars just so that I could imitate my hero.   My walls in my room were lined with Bruce Lee posters.  I went bonkers when my Uncle bought me the famous poster with Bruce in his white tank top posing with his nunchaku in "Return of the Dragon."

I tried to imitate Bruce Lee on his handling of the nunchaku but somehow that deadly Okinawan instrument found my crotch more than it did anything else. Back then every kid, who tried to do the moves of Bruce Lee usually did the "cat-like" sounds.  

Like all his fans, I watched every Bruce Lee movie that came to Maui (at Iao theater or King theater), thanks to my Uncle. I even watched "Goodbye Bruce Lee: His Last Game of Death" back in '75 starring Bruce Li, in a film that had footage of Lee from his unfinished film "Game of Death."  In the film, Li's performance was forgettable but Lee's last known footage in the Tower of Death that featured Kareem Abdul Jabbar and Danny Inosanto was the main feature and it left me in awe.

He died in 1974 but his memory lives on even after all these years.  Filmmakers pay homage to him like in "Shaolin Soccer" (2001) that featured the goalie wearing Lee's famous yellow suit with the black stripe and in Quentin Tarantino's "Kill Bill" (2003) when Uma Thurman wore the same thing.  Documentaries about the man continue to be made to this day and often feature many sports figures, fighters, and celebrities, who were inspired by him.

As a young child, my Asian experience began to take shape by watching numerous Samurai movies and martial arts films but none captured my imagination more than a movie starring Bruce Lee.  


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