Today I watched a documentary segment on AMC entitled Bruce Lee: A Warrior’s Journey. I think the show was great and highly informative. I didn’t know that the piece was made in 1994 until I visited the AMC website (http://www.amctv.com/show/detail?CID=50039-1-EST). It seems that I am not the only one who enjoyed it. The segment gains a high rating from its viewers. As I watched it, I again remember the movie I saw during middle school, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, which dramatized some aspects of his life. Though Dragon built my interest, it wasn’t until Journey that I understood Bruce’s life and philosophy further.
It wasn’t the martial arts that interested me. Though the action in all of his movies is superb, I don’t quite connect with the intricacies of fighting choreography in general. However, I didn’t realize that he was attempting to communicate his martial arts philosophy and philosophy of life through those movies until Linda Lee (his widow) explained it in Journey. She said that he entered the acting world solely because he wanted to reach wider audiences on a different level. After all, he could just teach them in his school.
In the interview, Linda also remembered how Bruce had rejected offers from Hollywood despite his financial difficulties because they wanted him to play stereotypical Asian, which he considered derogatory. He had a difficult time back then because he was racially marginalized. This situation was also portrayed in Dragon. Ultimately, he rose above the challenges and regarded people of other races as his equal. He took in and taught non-Chinese students in his school, something that people didn’t practice at the time. From my observations and personal experiences, minority status (based on almost anything) can bring the worst of hate or the best of tolerance in people. For Bruce’s case, it was the latter.
I think Bruce gained an understanding of life from his martial arts. His iconoclastic view and his philosophy of adaptability and individuality are surprisingly poignant. I know he could be “kick-ass,” but he was also an extremely bright individual. After seeing this documentary, I gained a greater understanding and respect for this guy.
[For those who want to learn more about Bruce’s story, I found an entry in Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Lee]