I Am Bruce Lee (2011) Movie Script

If someone says, "I can't watch
a Bruce Lee film," I can't talk to 'em.
Bruce Lee is a worldwide fighting icon.
He was a 130-something-pound
lethal weapon.
Bruce and his fighting style
changed the game.
In the beginning I had no intention
that what I was practising,
and what I am still practising now,
would lead to this.
Bruce Lee, Bob Dylan, Ali,
Jay-Z, Tiger, Kobe, Jordan,
they all have the same spirit.
No stunt coordinator coordinated
his shit. He did it himself.
The guy you see in Bruce's films
is the way Bruce was in person.
He could lose his temper.
Bruce Lee is my idol. Wha-aa!
He was directing, writing, acting.
I don't even look at him
as being Asian. He's my idol.
When you think of Bruce Lee, you don't
think about the Asian karate guy.
You think about a legacy.
The moves that he could do,
you were wondering
if they were speeding up the camera.
Bruce Lee was like the superhero
of the Asian community.
You had Muhammad Ali.
You had Malcolm X.
Bruce Lee represented
that same kind of radicalism.
Technically brilliant choreography.
You get mysticism, hyper-masculinity.
This guy is like, bang!
He's put balls on Chinese men.
There's some cool stuff.
You're like, "Wow.
That supercool guy is my dad. "
- There'll never be another Bruce Lee.
- Baby, here I am, man.
How does a small Chinese guy become
the greatest martial artist of all time?
Production 263-05-224-10.
Test X1, take 1.
just look right into the camera
and tell us your name,
your age and where you were born.
My last name is Lee, Bruce Lee.
I was born in San Francisco
in 1940. I'm 24 right now.
There was controversy about me
taking him back to the United States.
But he loved his time that he lived
in Seattle before all of this.
It was important for my children
to know where their father was.
I just intimately just started crying.
I think I literally cried after
the funeral all the way from Seattle,
all the way to the California border,
all the way up to Sacramento.
That was a very difficult time
to leave Hong Kong
and... take their favourite son away.
Bruce's childhood
is interesting to look at
from the standpoint
of where he ended up.
First of all, Hong Kong
in the early '40s
was occupied by Japan
during World War ll,
and this had an influence on Bruce.
It was very important to him as a child
from the get-go to be self-sufficient,
and in doing that, you have to shoulder
a lot of personal responsibility.
There's bad blood historically
between China and Hong Kong and Japan.
His mother used to tell me how Bruce
would hang over the side of the balcony
and shake his fist at the Japanese
planes coming to land in Hong Kong.
If anyone said a word against
the Chinese, he would rebel.
And you work
in motion pictures in Hong Kong?
Yes, since I was around six years old.
Bruce became a child actor
under his father's influence,
his father being an actor
in the Chinese opera
and then in Cantonese films as well.
Tell the crew what time
they shoot the pictures in Hong Kong.
Well, it's mostly in the morning
because it's kind of noisy in Hong Kong,
you know,
around three million people there,
so every time when you have a picture,
it's mostly, say, around
A lot of people
don't touch on this,
but he was the biggest childhood star
in Hong Kong.
He made 20, 20-something movies
as a child star.
He was like
the Macaulay Culkin of that era.
And then you have the fact that
Hong Kong was governed by the British.
They targeted the British.
You are crazy.
But there's a lot of competition
between the British people living there
and the Chinese living there.
He's also part Caucasian.
I think he saw
a lot of adversity racially,
not only around him but within himself.
And he had run-ins with English
schoolboys and that kind of thing,
so there was always
that feeling of resentment
of others dictating his future.
Then, of course, when he was 13,
he went to study with Yip Man.
As human beings, fighting's in our DNA.
We get it and we like it.
Yip Man trained Bruce in wing chun,
and Yip Man
was a fabulous kung fu master.
Bruce had many run-ins
with the law
and other teenagers in Hong Kong,
and he had fights.
He loved the street fights. He loved
other people who can street-fight.
Bruce's style
is made for street survival.
He grew up fighting fights
in Hong Kong on the rooftop.
Bruce had some of the films, 8mm,
that he used to show us,
where they get
into the old traditional stance
and one guy would come in
and throw a couple of punches
and the other guy would back up
and fall down over the plant pot.
There were two clans usually,
the choy li fut clan
and the wing chun clan
by Yip Man and his students,
and they would have battles.
Although this stuff about the choy
li fut and wing chun rooftop fights
is the stuff of legend, it is true.
I was in Hong Kong.
The sentiment, the animosity between
wing chun and choy li fut still exists.
So Yip Man
was a great influence on Bruce
and leaned him in the direction
of philosophy.
Yip Man would not be a legend
without Bruce Lee.
Wing chun was
a very, very minor martial art style,
and now it's global,
and that's all because of Bruce Lee.
Ultimately, martial art means
honestly expressing yourself.
Now, it is very difficult to do.
A lot of that warrior spirit,
to me, it's really honourable.
It's really pure.
It breaks through to every culture,
every language, every colour.
It's all about getting respect back,
you know.
If you're gonna hurt me, you're gonna
have to earn it, motherfucker.
I was the youngest
of three boys.
I got obsessed
with Bruce Lee and martial arts.
I wanted to kick my brothers' asses
and prove my worthiness.
When a good fight breaks out,
you can't help but be excited.
You can't help but show emotion.
It took a while, but as many times
as each of my brothers beat me up,
each one of them got one ass-kicking
from me and that was it.
I didn't do so well talking shit back,
so I don't see the point in talking
about it. Let's just go there.
But then you feel bad and embarrassed
afterwards, "That was childish. "
"I could have handled that better. "
But you also feel good.
If you couldn't get laid,
you got in a fight.
Let me punch this ugly motherfucker.
In Youngstown.
It was a nice place to live.
Fighting has taken over
my mind and my being.
It's not what I do. It's who I am.
My father told me fighters are born,
not made. Bruce Lee was a born fighter.
When you do punch,
now I'm leaning forward a little bit,
hoping not to hurt any camera angle.
I mean, you gotta put the whole hip
into it and snap it
and get all your energy in there,
and make this into a weapon.
When Bruce Lee was a young boy,
maybe 13 or 14, training in wing chun,
they found out that Bruce Lee
had Caucasian blood.
- I believe it's one fourth German.
- Well?
The other students said he shouldn't
be allowed to learn wing chun
because he wasn't purely Chinese.
When you're by yourself
and no one wants to be there
because they didn't wanna get beat up,
it's the loneliest feeling in the world.
One thing I have
definitely learned in my life
is that I do have a bad temper.
A violent temper, in fact.
His whole life is sort of
this play between East and West.
He hated the oppression
of little people
which he saw everywhere,
in the Japanese occupation,
the Boxer Rebellion,
the foreign powers going into China.
He just thought all of that was wrong.
To live the life he wanted
to live, he had to fight for it.
He really had to put it out there
and really walk the walk.
I mean, it is easy for me
to put on a show
and be cocky
and be flooded with a cocky feeling
and then feel like pretty cool
and all that.
Or I can make all kinds
of phoney things, you see what I mean?
Blinded by it. Or I can show you
some really fancy movement.
But to express oneself honestly,
not lying to oneself,
and to express myself honestly,
that, my friend, is...
In some ways
it's the total opposite of anger.
It's beauty, it's passion, it's art.
It's... It's painting a picture
without tools.
It was a surprise,
but an understandable one,
when I found out that Bruce Lee
was a cha-cha champion,
because you could see that reflected
in his fighting style.
He was the 1957
Hong Kong cha-cha champion.
People don't know that. His footwork
was impeccable. Incredible samba dancer.
He didn't move like anybody else.
He moved like himself.
In a fight you have footwork
and you have form
and you have stance and power
that you interject,
and that's the way that dancing
and martial arts go hand in hand.
For him to be steeped into that rhythm
reinforced why black people
have always identified with Bruce
and his fighting style.
So what I got from Bruce
as a performer is...
You know, most performers
perform like this, right? Straight up.
Me, perform from the side,
sort of like how Bruce
used to always, you know,
be ready for combat like this.
Honestly expressing yourself,
like me being a dancer,
that's what it's all about.
That's another big, big philosophy from
him that I take with me to this day.
So I'll be performing like,
"Bah, bah! Bah, bah, bah, bah!"
I keep trying to dig deeper
and deeper within myself
and find that fluidity
that no one can replicate.
That's the vibe
that Bruce Lee taught me.
It's to always bring it.
That's what I get from Bruce.
- And when did you leave Hong Kong?
- 1959, when I was 18.
It had gotten a little
difficult with the police on one side
and with gangs on the other side.
He beat this kid up,
but he didn't know that the kid
was the son of a high-ranking
police officer in Hong Kong.
He got into so many street fights
that by 18, his father gave him $100
and sent him off to America.
If he wanted
his immigration status to be US citizen,
then he had to return
by the time he was 18.
To go when you're still a star
is very strange,
because he could have kept doing films,
but they wanted him to go,
to make the right decision
of where he's going next.
In Seattle, my father
started teaching martial arts.
He didn't ever look at people because of
their race or their stature in life.
If you had a sincere interest
in martial arts, he would teach you.
Taky Kimura was really his best friend.
Taky became his first assistant
instructor in his first school,
the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute,
in Seattle, Washington.
Bruce used to come
to my high school
and he used to teach
in the Chinese philosophy class.
He was five years older than we were
and I do remember my heart going,
"Pah, pah, pah", you know,
"He is sure cute. "
It wasn't long after that that I started
taking gung fu lessons from him,
and my relationship with him
changed more from just a student
to actually feeling that maybe, maybe
there could be a connection between us.
We both attended
the University of Washington.
We would get together on campus
and attend our classes,
occasionally, when we weren't doing
gung fu or something else.
And then when we were both done
with our classes,
we would rush back to his studio,
which was just right there
in the university district,
and we'd turn on the TV
and watch General Hospital every day.
And it was like, "We have to get there.
It's almost three o'clock!"
In the '60s,
marriages were happening in California.
In the rest of the country there were no
interracial marriages. It was difficult.
My mother was not thrilled
when we decided to get married
and didn't want her daughter to have to
suffer any negativity from others.
The ban on interracial marriage
was lifted in 1968.
That didn't mean
the ban lifted in people's hearts.
Bruce was very strong in saying,
"I want to marry Linda.
I know that we are a good match. "
And so we did get married.
It was really hard on my mother.
But it wasn't long
before she came to love Bruce very much.
It's so important to know that it was
his wife Linda that grounded him.
She was his rock.
As a couple, we really did not
suffer any prejudice from outsiders,
and I think this had a great deal to do
with Bruce's overwhelming personality.
I absolutely recognise
that my uncle was a gorgeous man.
He's got swagger. We love his style.
He had style the way
Muhammad Ali had style in the ring.
He was like the Elvis of martial arts.
He looked like a movie star.
He was always
such a snappy dresser and so handsome.
I've heard the term
that he's put balls on Chinese men.
He's shown that the Chinese man can be,
you know, sexy and hot and enticing.
I'm trying to copy his hair.
That's why my hair is long.
After Bruce Lee, my God, Chinese men,
they're a force to be reckoned with.
They're invincible.
So that's an amazing transformation.
He's one of a kind
and extremely attractive.
That would be for both straight women
and a lot of gay men that I know too.
Let's just put it this way.
I think the one thing that's missing
in my life right now is Bruce Lee.
A man like Bruce Lee.
The first internationals
were in Long Beach.
I was instructed to take out Bruce Lee.
He was the guest.
So I was sort of like
the tour guide for him.
He demonstrated his art
before he even demonstrated
in front of the black-belt audience.
In the hotel room he says, "You can
use everything, you can side-kick,
you can round-kick,
and I'll just use my jab. "
When he knocked me out,
it was more like a hook.
It sort of came off the side like that.
The ease in which he did it,
and explaining
while he was doing it to me,
that was mind-boggling for me.
It was like a bad dream,
like the dreams where you can't run.
When Bruce Lee came up
and did his performance of his gung fu,
it was something
I had never seen before.
He said, "The individual is more
important in any style or system. "
I said,
"I need to train with a man like this. "
He was just so ahead of the times.
He'd go to Ed Parker's events in Long
Beach and they treated him like a god.
When he did his one-thumb push-ups,
you could hear a pin drop.
He showed his speed,
showed his power,
showed his one-inch punch.
People say, "Bruce Lee
is the fastest person on earth. "
He did these things
so realistically
that people didn't know if it was
show business or the real McCoy.
When Bruce
did the demonstration in 1964,
before he had even come back to Oakland
where we lived at the time,
I had received a phone call
from William Dozier's office.
Jay Sebring, the famous
hair stylist, happened to see my father
at the Long Beach internationals,
and he cut the hair of William Dozier.
He said, "You have to see this guy.
He's amazing. "
When Bruce came home, I said to him,
"You need to call this guy back,
William Dozier. "
"He's a producer in Hollywood
and he wants to see you. "
That was the first inkling that,
"Wow, I might be able to do something
in Hollywood. "
Look directly into the camera.
Very dapper. He's got the suit
and the tie, you know, white shirt.
He's so elegant.
But he feels like a coiled cobra.
- You've just had a baby boy?
- Yeah.
And you've lost a little sleep over it,
have you?
Three nights.
He was 24,
and he went in there, it's almost like,
"You're lucky that I'm here
auditioning for you. "
There is the finger jab
There is the punch.
Just the poise he had said it all.
There is the back fist and elbow.
Even in conversation,
you could feel his explosive nature.
Of course, then they use legs,
straight to the groin or come up.
That's a special kind of star power.
Or, if I can back up a little bit,
we stop at the...
and then come back.
- Alright.
- This kind of works.
He never had any intention
of going into show business.
His passion was his martial arts,
so he had a school in Seattle
and a second school in Oakland.
His plan was to open many, many schools
all over the county.
Obviously he started with the classical
Chinese arts, which is wing chun.
And then everyone knows about the fight
in 1964 in Oakland.
There's the famous story
about how he was challenged
by the Chinese community in Oakland,
and he had to defend the right
to teach his art to non-Chinese people.
You and this entire society are useless
in this country. You are archaic.
And you're a fool to think
that you can break away from us
merely because you choose to.
To prove Bruce Lee was wrong,
he was a fake and a fraud,
the Chinese traditionalists
sent somebody over to fight him.
The Chinese sent someone
to shut down the school.
Shut down or thrown down,
and Bruce chose throw down.
The fight was to be held
at Bruce's school.
If Bruce lost the fight, he would have
to stop teaching non-Chinese people.
Anything that forces you
to review your dogmas,
most people don't respond
too well to it.
I was there,
eight months pregnant with Brandon,
and these elders arrived
from San Francisco,
led by Wong Jack Man, who was going
to be the opponent in this challenge.
They came and they had this big match.
I didn't have a shred of a doubt
about how this would come out.
Wong Jack Man started to run around
the room trying to get away from Bruce,
and it took three minutes for Bruce
to get him down on the ground
and say, "Do you give UP?"
So Wong Jack Man
and those people all left.
And I remember so clearly
in my mind's eye
Bruce sitting on the steps
in the back of the studio
with his head in his hands.
And she said, "What's the matter?"
That was the fight that he realised the
classical arts were not working for him.
He should have
put that guy down sooner.
Bruce Lee doesn't beat him fast enough,
so he goes off to rethink it all,
and these tales all had the structure
of myth and fantasy.
Little parables about the master.
He said, "My training
in wing chun, my classical art,
didn't prepare me
for this kind of a battle. "
That was the beginning of the evolution
of his own way of martial arts.
If you read the notes that he left
behind, 1965 he starts to write,
"My style is Western fencing,
Western boxing and wing chun. "
He said he owe our knowledge
to the wing chun,
but we're gonna go beyond the wing chun.
Bruce Lee took a lot from boxing.
He felt boxing was more realistic
in that you were trading blows.
He likes the boxing footwork.
It's alive, it's moving and it changes.
He was totally invested
in watching boxing films,
going way back to Jack Johnson,
Gene Tunney, Dempsey.
What he took from Dempsey
was the kinetic chain,
how to generate power,
the importance of a good jab.
There's a lot about the alignment
of the body.
Bruce had a huge collection
of boxing films
and he thought the world
of Muhammad Ali.
What he would do was very unique.
I once came in, lights were all out.
And he's watching this 8mm film
and he's watching it backwards.
Ali had a left-foot forward
stance and Bruce a right foot forward.
So he would run the films backward
in the film editor
and study them meticulously.
He would stretch and read
and review on 8mm film of a boxer
at the same time.
According to John Saxon,
his co-star on Enter the Dragon,
John asked him, "Why do you have
all these boxing films on Ali?"
And Bruce said,
"Because one day I'm gonna fight him. "
If I was to fight Bruce Lee,
Bruce Lee was so quick, so smooth,
but the one thing that negates speed
on a fighter is pressure,
and I was a pressure fighter.
With Bruce Lee,
you gotta go inside, smother him
and outmuscle him. But you can't fight
a dude like that outside.
I see Bruce leading off
with some long-ass kicks
and Boom Boom gets pissed off
and tries to give him some body punches.
And when you get close,
then Bruce, I'm sure,
would be trying to bring knees
and high head kicks,
and I'd throw an upper cut,
bring the elbow across.
And he's gonna be trying to counter me,
so I have to bob and weave inside.
Bruce gets it to the ground
and arm-bars him or guillotines him.
It would have been a good time.
People are watching this going,
"He took more shots than we thought. "
"He absolutely has lost his mind
thinking he can do that
against Bruce Lee. "
Ray was good to the body. Then
he'd eventually get that hook on you.
Bruce wouldn't know how to stop it.
Why? Because he never did it.
Was Bruce Lee a real fighter?
Bruce was a brilliant fighter. I saw him
beat up a guy on Enter the Dragon.
It was a gang banger, a tong member,
who started giving him a bad time.
Pound for pound, I think
he's probably one of the best fighters.
He had tons of street fights
and with that speed and footwork,
he'd be a hell of a 135-pounder.
He was a 130-something-pound
lethal weapon.
He has all the attributes
that make a good fighter:
The agility, the balance,
the coordination, the dexterity.
People say was he
the toughest man that ever lived?
He was 130, 135 pounds.
You'd grab him
and, you know, out the window.
And that isn't to put him down.
He was an entertainer, and the best.
If he wanted to become
an MMA fighter today,
he would easily have been
that fighter that everyone fears.
His technique was beautiful,
perfect technique.
I don't care how good you are,
you fight Brock Lesnar,
you're gonna lose.
The bigger guy equally trained
is always gonna beat the littler guy.
But the fact is, it wasn't about mass.
He would just put it down
no matter how big you were.
But, then again,
everybody's chin is different, you know?
Whether Bruce Lee was a great fighter
or wasn't a great fighter
doesn't make any difference to
his cultural and historical importance,
because his films changed the world.
You got the job on The Green Hornet,
where you played Kato, the chauffeur,
mainly because
you're the only Chinese-looking guy
who could pronounce the name
of the leading character, Britt Reid.
I made that as a joke, of course.
And it's a heck of a name, man.
Every time I said it at that time,
I was superconscious.
Mr Reid's residence.
As a kid,
we watched Green Hornet for him.
We could care less about Green Hornet.
He had a fly car,
I'll give him props for the car,
but Kato was incredible.
Everybody in the neighbourhood
was fighting to be Bruce Lee,
not the Green Hornet.
A lot of stunt guys
didn't know how to react.
You do the old John Wayne,
you throw a punch and the guy goes down.
With him, it's boom, boom, boom, boom,
lightning fast.
There's a shot of Bruce
and he's doing a kick,
and his thigh, his inner thigh,
is flat against his chest.
And we would just look at that kick
like, "Are you kidding me?"
"Look how incredible this guy can kick. "
I think about what my dad said
about his first foray into Hollywood.
There were all these seasoned actors
doing their thing,
and he felt like
the only robot in the room.
That's something I can really relate to
in my life, back when I was acting,
and I was trying so hard
to impress the right people.
When I did The Green Hornet,
I was not being myself
and I'm trying to accumulate
external security,
external technique,
but never to ask
what Bruce Lee would have done.
The beauty was that he immediately said,
"I'm not gonna do that any more. "
Sort of an awakening moment for him.
By the way, I did a really terrible job
in that, I have to say.
Really? You didn't like yourself?
I didn't see it.
He was always trying to be
a holistic person,
the fight, the philosophy,
the better human being.
Martial art has a very, very deep
meaning as far as my life is concerned.
And he was a very literate guy.
He really did read
and really did study
and really did think.
All type of knowledge
ultimately means self-knowledge.
He had a huge library of books in
his den from the ceiling to the floor.
Any book I'd pick up, there were
notations about what was good,
what was functional, what was no good.
As an actor, as a martial artist,
as a human being,
all these I have learned
from martial art.
Most of the writings in the Tao
of Jeet Kune Do are Western influenced
and they come directly
from fencing and boxing books.
And you can take
most of the passages in that book
and trace them to their roots, verbatim.
He might have changed "fighter" from
"fencer", but pretty much it's intact.
People will say,
"Hey, that's not Bruce's philosophy. "
"That was this author or that author. "
That doesn't matter.
These people are missing the point.
Bruce Lee's writings are very fun
to read, but they were notes.
You get these quotes
where he may change one word
and substitute jeet kune do for tao.
So therefore it's not pure naturalness
or unnaturalness.
The ideal is unnatural naturalness
or natural unnaturalness.
- Yin yang.
- You're right, man, that's it.
Because of Bruce Lee,
now I read up on Alan Watts.
JD Krishnamurti, of course Lao Tsu,
Tao Te Ching.
Bruce Lee dissected those philosophies,
making them straight and direct
and to the point.
That's what real philosophy's about,
something that you can apply
to day-to-day living.
That's what Bruce Lee did.
This is where he was a genius.
It might sound too philosophical,
but it's unacting acting
or acting unacting if you...
- You've lost me.
- I have, huh?
So Bruce Lee as a philosopher
introduces nothing new
but introduces a radicalism
into martial art.
He's speaking the ideology
of the counterculture.
He speaks the zeitgeist.
So you get an interest in Buddhism,
in yoga, in all things Eastern.
Bruce Lee shows you
meditation in movement.
You set up a school in Hollywood
for people like James Garner,
Steve McQueen and the others.
Why would they want to learn Chinese
martial art? Because of a movie role?
Not really.
Most of them, you see, they are coming
in to ask me to teach them
not so much how to defend themselves,
they want to learn to express themselves
through some movement, be it anger,
be it determination or whatsoever.
He is paying me to show him
in combative form
the art of expressing the human body.
Our back yard was always
a back yard school,
so for Jim Coburn to come over
or Steve McQueen to come over
was like not that big a deal.
Of all your students, famous,
James Garner, Steve McQueen,
James Coburn, Roman Polanski,
which was the best?
Depending, OK? Now, as a fighter,
Steve McQueen, that son of a gun,
got the toughness in him.
Now, James Coburn is a peace-loving man.
- I've met him.
- You've met him.
He's really, really nice.
Super mellow and all that,
you know what I mean?
Now, he appreciates
the philosophical part of it,
therefore his understanding of it
is deeper than Steve's.
He often told me,
"I would like to see Steve McQueen
be a little bit more like Coburn
and Coburn to be
a little bit more like Steve McQueen. "
Actually, you see,
it's a combination of both.
I mean, here is the natural instinct
and here is control.
You are to combine the two in harmony.
Not if you have one to the extreme,
you will be very unscientific.
If you have another to the extreme,
you become all of a sudden
a mechanical man.
All the big, big names
in tournament fighting came to Bruce
because they wanted
to refine their skills.
Joe Lewis, Bob Wall, Chuck Norris.
Chuck Norris was probably
the greatest kicker I've ever seen.
- Chuck Norris is unbelievable.
- Bruce didn't want to teach beginners.
He did have some in his own schools.
But he took the top martial artists
and he felt he could make them better.
"One more time. You don't get it,
we move to something else. "
"You gonna get it?"
That's how he would teach.
He knew a lot. He taught me gung fu.
Joe Lewis
was highly influenced by Bruce Lee.
Joe Lewis was a world champion
when he met Bruce,
but it was a lot more of Bruce
being the instructor to Joe.
I don't think he had boxing hands
until he met Bruce Lee,
but his side kick was phenomenal.
Joe would throw 1,000 side kicks a day.
Listen, Joe Lewis, in today's world,
he would have learned all that shit
and been just as bad as he was
back in the day.
Bruce didn't think point karate,
point martial arts competition,
was valuable at all,
and I totally disagreed with him.
Bruce watched it
but didn't believe in it.
He always advocated
full-contact sparring.
Bruce Lee looked at all of that
and said, "This is not martial arts. "
"This is nonsense.
Let's get rid of these rules. "
I respect that he didn't feel like
he wanted to compete
because it wasn't real combat.
He says you're not fighting
for yourself or expressing yourself.
You're fighting for the judges,
the referee, the rules.
What's the reality of combat? There's
someone who wants to beat you down.
He said to learn to swim,
you cannot swim on land.
You gotta get in the water.
To learn to fight, you gotta fight.
Can you break five or six pieces of wood
with your hand or your foot?
Boards don't hit back.
I'll probably break my hand and foot.
He had high regard
for those martial artists of the day
that were winning tournaments.
He just had a different philosophy
about martial arts and actual fighting.
I do not believe in styles any more.
I mean, I do not believe
that there is such thing
as like a Chinese way of fighting
or the Japanese way of fighting
or whatever way of fighting.
Because if you don't have styles,
if you just say, "Well, here I am,
you know, as a human being,
how can I express myself
totally and completely?"
Now, that way, you won't create a style,
because style is a crystallisation.
I mean, that way it's a process
of continuing growth.
He called his institute
Jun Fan Gung Fu.
We were riding in a car and he mentioned
what he enjoyed in fencing
was the stop hit.
Bruce didn't have any passive blocks.
His blocks were a strike.
Bruce took the stances from the stances
that you see in Western fencing.
Instead of just block and then hit,
it's done simultaneously.
He says we wanna intercept
his physical motion and his thought.
It's almost like fencing. You see
this capture? That's the capture.
And that's why he said, "I'm gonna call
my new method the intercepting way
or the intercepting fist. "
Come on, touch me. Any way you can.
To reach me, you must move to me.
Your attack offers me an opportunity
to intercept you.
And they said, "What do you call that?"
He says, "We call thatjeet kune do. "
In Cantonese, jeet kune do.
Then it was Dan who says,
"Acronym would be JKD."
And Bruce Lee said, "I like that. "
- The way of the intercepting fist.
- Intercepting fist?
It sounds Chinese, but it's very much
an American martial art.
Jeet kune do
was how can I most efficiently
directly end a moment of combat?
The philosophy
Bruce Lee had was:
The simpler the better,
the most effective, the direct line.
- The other stuff was Hollywood.
- It can be taught.
- Do you understand?
- But it cannot really be standardised.
And that's not to say
that it can't be passed on.
But it was very personal to him.
All the wannabes, all the imposters
who put up jeet kune do signs
on their school building,
and they have no idea
whatjeet kune do is.
They think it's a style.
I don't know if he'd be dojo-busting
in his days, but that would upset Bruce.
Bruce Lee has the big middle finger
raised toward any form of authority.
All kinds of dogmas,
all kinds of traditions.
He's saying a big "screw you"
to all of them.
This guy was preaching back in the '60s
you shouldn't stay to one style.
No one style is the best.
Have a piece of everything.
In 1968 he says,
"JKD in '69 will be different. "
I said, "This is really good stuff
we're doing now. "
He says, "JKD in '69 will be different.
JKD in 1970 will be different. "
Martial arts has evolved more
in the last ten years
than it has in the last 10,000 years,
because all the stuff
that Bruce Lee talked about
and his philosophies and things
that he believed were finally proven
and now this new martial art
was able to start to grow and evolve.
Our main event,
for the light heavyweight title,
here we go!
You talk about Chinese boxing. How does
it differ from, say, our kind of boxing?
Well, first we use the feet.
Second to none.
And then we use the elbow.
Oh! Beautiful elbow!
- Do you use the thumb too?
- You name it, man, we use it.
- You use it all.
- You have to.
Because that is the expression
of the human body.
I mean, the... everything,
I mean, not just the hand.
The crazy thing about martial arts is
people debate and fight over this stuff.
There's no debate.
Bruce Lee is definitely the father
of mixed martial arts.
I do think there's a correlation there,
but it's not that jeet kune do
is the same thing as MMA.
If Dana White says Bruce Lee
is the father of mixed martial arts,
I would say
he's one of the earliest ones,
but Gene LeBell
is the father of mixed martial arts.
In 1963 you'll see Gene defeating
Milo Savage, a professional boxer.
Well, Bruce wasn't into
mixed martial arts in 1963.
As I was choking him,
he grabbed my hand and started to bite,
and I said, "Milo, you bite my hand,
I'm gonna take your eye out. "
He opened his mouth,
I pulled my hand out and I choked him.
And he was out, like, for 22 minutes.
Gene LeBell taught Bruce Lee
grappling moves.
I'd throw him and flip him
and he'd land on his feet.
Then he'd spin,
do a crescent kick on me
or do a judo throw.
And he was a magnificent athlete.
If you're gonna say father
of mixed martial... it's gotta be Bruce.
He's before anyone else.
He's the first one who decided
to put it all together.
He had the little shorts on, too.
That's as close as he could get to what
the UFC and the MMA was 25 years later.
In 1947,
kajukenbo was the first
to put all these different martial arts
in one title:
Karate, judo, kenpo, boxing.
Like Bruce Lee, they put
all these practical things together
but kajukenbo had it first.
I agree with Dana White.
He is one of the pioneers
of mixed martial art.
The reality is, everybody has been
a part of this evolution,
from Benny "the Jet" Urquidez
to Joe Lewis to all these guys,
to Joe Lewis the boxer, too,
and the list goes on and on and on.
When the UFC came in,
they weren't talking about Bruce Lee.
- They were talking about Royce Gracie.
- Royce Gracie!
The Gracies were a piece of that too, a
piece of the history of not only the UFC
but of the martial arts evolving.
For a while
they owned those competitions.
There's the tag.
What the Gracies did was they took
the ground game, the submission game,
and really refined it
to a whole other level.
Bruce would have loved
Brazilian jiujitsu.
I think if he saw the Gracies,
he would have studied.
He really embraced wrestling
and he really embraced judo.
The difference
between the Gracies and Bruce Lee
is Bruce Lee was never
stuck and married to one thing.
I think once everybody
started to learn jiujitsu
and then people started to do
more stand-up in there...
My goodness!
Then I think they started talking
about Bruce Lee.
Oh, man.
That is the Karate Kid.
And when you're talking about combat...
Well, I mean, if it is a sport,
now you're talking about something else.
You have regulations. You have rules.
But when you're talking about fighting
as it is...
- No rules?
- With no rules.
Real fighting.
Well, then, baby, you'd better train
every part of your body.
Mixed martial art in the cage
is for a contest. It's a sport.
I don't know that I would call him
exactly the father of mixed martial arts
because, again, it is still sport,
there are still rules.
Bruce Lee was strictly for the street,
taking guys out, not for competition.
When they had these Vale Tudo fights
in Brazil, there were barely any rules.
You could head-butt, you could kick
in the groin, all kinds of things.
Bruce's favourite weapon
in the street fight was the fingerjab.
This hand would block the vision,
so when he came up, like that.
If you do that, it could be very serious
damage to his vision for life.
Mixed martial art
is the purest form of combat
that you can possibly have
in civilisation.
Oh! With a kick.
I just always felt like it was
such a real raw sport
and that it was gonna
overtake boxing one day.
It seems like that day's here.
Let's fight!
It's the most hardcore real form of
competition and honesty I could find,
and that's the kind of thing I crave.
Carano, a big-time puncher.
There is fear.
Sometimes you don't wanna go in there.
It just teaches you to face the music,
that fear's something
that needs to be devoured.
My biggest fear
is not that I'm gonna get hurt.
Carano getting pounded!
My biggest fear is that I'm not going
to be able to make it authentic
and honestly express myself.
You're not trying to express yourself in
real fighting. You're trying to survive.
And you ask yourself
how can you honestly express yourself
at that moment?
If I want to punch, I'm gonna do it,
man, and I'm gonna do it.
Not you want to punch because
you're trying to avoid getting hit
but to really be in with it
and express yourself.
So that is the type of thing
you have to train yourself into it,
to become one with the...
This might sound different.
I feel as if I'm helping people
as I'm punching them in the face.
- Shogun's badly hurt.
- Jon Jones!
I'm beating weakness out of them,
making them a better person.
In my opinion
it's the highest art of expression
and that's what
honestly expressing yourself is.
To the body.
And it is all over!
Jon Jones, look, guys like this,
it's important for them
to have this kind of confidence.
I don't look at it
as if I'm hurting my opponent, my enemy.
It's like we're brothers
painting this picture together.
It helps them,
until, of course, it doesn't,
which, as we know historically,
always happens,
where they run into that guy
where, "Oh, this isn't fun. "
"This is reality.
You can get hurt in there. "
What happens
is after several years of that,
it takes its effect, you know?
Like when I had to go take
my neurological
and my hands were going,
and I couldn't remember
where I parked my car in the morning.
It should be regulated. There should be
judges and medical staff there.
You don't wanna see people get injured.
I think my father,
from a pure martial arts interest
and combat interest standpoint,
would have loved to watch the UFC.
I believe that Bruce Lee
was a huge fight fan.
He'd have been jumping out of his seat,
getting as excited as any of us.
I think he'd have been proud to be
called the father of mixed martial arts.
OK, there's people out there,
they got it.
They say that Bruce Lee
was the father of mixed martial arts.
That bothers me.
If he's the father
of mixed martial arts,
I'm the grandfather
of mixed martial arts,
And if you don't believe me,
I'll choke you,
cos you got a nice neck for choking.
When you get into
this whole martial arts thing
and you start talking about Bruce Lee,
a lot of people get offended.
People get pissed off and bombed out
and everything else.
But Bruce Lee is 100 percent
the father of mixed martial arts.
He was so directed and so concrete
about his thoughts and his beliefs
that he actually went out
and had his friend George
make a little miniature tombstone.
It's really heavy and it says,
"In memory of a once fluid man
crammed and distorted
by the classical mess. "
The classical mess meant that all these
traditions were a classical mess.
"Right punch comes.
I'll move out to a 30-degree angle. "
"Then I'll bend my... "
It's too complicated.
It's not gonna work in real life.
So here was
this tombstone he created
to essentially remind himself
to go back to fluidity.
Bruce had a vast library
of motivational books
and wrote motivational thoughts
every day
and had a little diary
that he kept every day.
Always they would say you've got to
have the plan and work the plan
and write down your goals,
which he did.
You know, his famous paper he wrote,
My Definite Chief Aim.
A lot of things
were going through his life.
As I recall, money was short.
Bruce was very traditionalist and very
ashamed that I had to go to work.
This was not in his way of thinking.
He contemplated maybe going back
to Hong Kong at that time period.
And then in the summer of '69
these horrific murders happened.
We have a weird homicide.
When the Manson murders happened,
it was horrible, it was horrifying.
The scene described
by one investigator
as reminiscent
of a weird religious rite.
Bruce was a very good friend
of Jay Sebring and of Sharon Tate.
Five persons, including
actress Sharon Tate, were found dead
at the home of Miss Tate and her
husband, screen director Roman Polanski.
My father worked with Sharon Tate
the summer before the murders
on the film The Wrecking Crew.
Miss Tate
was eight months pregnant.
Among the other victims were
Hollywood hair stylist Jay Sebring...
Jay Sebring introduced my father
to William Dozier,
who was the producer of Batman
and also produced The Green Hornet.
The murders were then followed up
the very next night by more murders.
It was just a nightmare
and very scary for Bruce, too,
because Bruce's whole mentality
was protection, to take care of us.
One officer summed up the murders:
"In all my years I have never seen
anything like this before. "
Those were tough times,
going out of the '60s and into the '70s.
And every day, I practise martial arts.
We were really struggling financially
to make it,
and we had bought our first house which
we ended up not being able to afford.
And right in the middle of that
he hurt his back.
He was doing a good morning stretch
exercise which can be very dangerous.
Chiropractors like that exercise.
- You see?
- Watch out.
For whatever reason, he did not warm up
and just... that was it.
He was in excruciating pain.
I said, "Where's Bruce?" They never
wanted to say he hurt his back,
because I knew he was working
on the screen scripts.
They told him that he was never
going to walk properly,
and forget doing any gung fu.
On the back of his business card
he wrote the words "Walk on".
He used to put the card on his bathroom
mirror and his doors and walls,
so everywhere he went in his room,
he'd see "Walk on".
So he'd get down
and start doing his stretching.
Bruce brought himself back
through rigorous rehabilitation.
I had a similar expression
when I would drive down to Torrance
to do my jiujitsu class every week.
His expression was "Walk on"
and mine was "Walk in the front door".
I had every excuse on the way down
to go back.
My stomach hurts. My arm hurts.
My knee's aching.
And I used to say, "Walk in
the front door. Walk in the front door. "
The end result of walking in that front
door 16 years was I got my black belt,
which I consider
the greatest achievement of my life,
apart from my children.
The back problem
was a constant problem in his filming
from day one after the injury.
Something he had to be careful about
and nurse each day
when he finished working.
And you push it out, but all the time
you are keeping the continuity going.
Bending, stretching.
He worked extremely hard.
Most of us, I think, don't know
what it is to work that hard.
My father went to India
with James Coburn
and the writer Stirling Silliphant.
They were scouting locations for a film,
The Silent Flute,
that my father had written
the treatment for
that he was really hoping
would come together,
because he was struggling at that point
in time to get a project going.
The Silent Flute could have
blasted Bruce into Hollywood big time.
This was going to be
the big breakthrough project.
This was going to put money in the bank
to pay the mortgage and all that.
But they couldn't find
the locations that they wanted.
Stirling and Jim
came back to Warner Bros
and said, "This is just not
what we're looking for in location. "
And then it all came crashing down.
That was such a disappointment to Bruce
because we were
banking on it, literally.
Bruce took a trip
back to Hong Kong to help his mom
with immigration into the United States.
He took Brandon took with him.
Brandon was five years old.
He wasn't working,
had no money. He dropped everything.
Closed his schools.
"I'm going to Hong Kong. "
The Green Hornet was at that time
showing on TV in Hong Kong,
only the people were calling it
The Kato Show.
They didn't care about Van Williams.
He was the biggest thing there.
He was greeted there
as a returning star.
That was the first time he thought,
"Wow. People recognise me here. "
"They remember me. "
He did a couple of interviews
on television shows.
Oh, yeah, that kid.
Now he's a big star in Hollywood.
So that was the first inkling
that maybe there would be
a future there in Hong Kong.
But he wasn't quite ready
to follow up on that.
Bruce Lee had a bit part,
or a supporting role,
in the Longstreet series.
And this had an enormous effect
on the audience. What was it?
I think the successful ingredient in it
was because I was being Bruce Lee.
- Yourself?
- Myself, right.
And did that part,
just expressed myself, like I say,
honestly expressed myself at that time.
He was very proud of Longstreet,
and it was very much from him
and his art and his thoughts.
Can you remember the lines
by Stirling Silliphant to...
- He's one of my students.
- Was he, too?
- Yes.
- You've had everybody as your student.
But some lines there
expressed your philosophy.
- I don't know if you remember them.
- I remember.
I said... This is what it is, OK?
If you try to remember, you will lose.
I said empty your mind.
Be formless, shapeless.
Like water.
Now, you put water into a cup,
it becomes the cup.
Put water into a bottle,
it becomes the bottle.
You put it in a teapot,
it becomes the teapot.
Now, water can flow or creep
or drip or crash.
Be water, my friend.
- Like that. You see?
- I see. I get the idea.
- A-ha.
- I get the power behind it.
The thing that I
got off him the most is the trust,
being able to trust your abilities
in each situation.
A lot of times
the game becomes too scripted.
When it's too scripted
and you start planning
for certain things to take place,
that's when I believe you're weak.
What he's saying
is that you have to adapt
to your surroundings, your environment.
James Coburn said,
"Look, man, the best thing you can do,
go back to Hong Kong, do what you do
best, come back, rock the world. "
James Coburn did tell Bruce
that he shouldn't keep doing TV,
that it would eat up his genius.
He had much more to offer the world and
he should hold out for starring roles.
Jimi Hendrix had to break away
and go to England to be recognised
as the rock star that he was.
Clint Eastwood,
he had a career out of Rawhide,
but it was the Italian Westerns
that really made his career.
Bruce ultimately had to go back
to Hong Kong
to be recognised
as the movie star he was.
Here's a plane ticket. Just go back
to Hong Kong for a few years.
You wouldn't want any trouble, huh?
That's one of the things
I admire most about him.
He said, "OK, the institution's
not gonna work for me. "
"I'll figure something else out. "
He just went to through back door.
Bruce made the first two pictures with
independent producer Raymond Chow
for $15,000 each.
That was... It was made in Thailand
in a small village in Thailand.
Bruce Lee plays a working-class hero.
He's from the land.
He's one of the folk.
But at the same time as that,
he's never one of the guys.
And this is why it was so successful,
as well as the brilliant choreography.
Bruce Lee completely changed the way
action scenes look today in cinema.
It's about making violence
look beautiful,
which may sound like a paradox,
it probably is,
but a director like John Woo,
he shoots a gunfight like martial arts.
It's a ballet. In terms of the craft
of filmmaking, that's a huge change.
But the Western movies really piss me
off. They chop 'em up so much.
Most of the scenes overzoom,
so you can't see what's going on.
Those guys have to go back
and watch Bruce Lee movies.
You can see these awesome moves
he's doing in their entirety.
You can have a shot that doesn't
have to last only a half-second long.
I never even thought about it
until I did this movie Haywire.
Now every time I see a movie, I'm like,
"Stop cutting away. "
"Oh, that's a stunt double. "
They were wonderful to watch.
No wires, no gimmicks, no quick cuts.
You get an actor to portray that,
you're gonna have to do quick cuts.
Bruce Lee set a new baseline.
Every piece of film fight choreography
has been influenced by Bruce Lee,
whether the people involved
know it or not.
- A motion picture is motion.
- Yeah.
I mean, you gotta keep
the dialogue down.
We came over to Hong Kong
and that was when they showed
the premiere of The Big Boss.
The theatre was packed.
Bruce and I sat there towards the back.
When Bruce Lee's first movie
showed in Hollywood,
I was so elated, I was so emotional,
seeing my friend, my teacher,
on the screen.
When the movie finishes,
it is so quiet...
you could hear a pin drop.
And Bruce is like,
"Oh, no. They hate it. " You know.
And all of a sudden...
a huge roar goes up.
And they're cheering and laughing
and clapping. It was wonderful.
Every time he came on and did
his fight scene, everybody applauded.
That's when we knew
he was a movie star now.
And then they started to spot Bruce
in the audience.
They carried him out on their shoulders.
Oh, it was thrilling.
It was thrilling to him.
"Finally I have been appreciated
in my work. "
It was wonderful,
a very high moment in his life.
It's The Pierre Berton Show,
the programme that comes to you
from the major capitals of the world.
This edition comes to you
from Hong Kong.
And Pierre's guest,
the newest Mandarin superstar.
His name is Bruce Lee
and he doesn't even speak Mandarin.
Here's Pierre.
There's a pretty good chance
that you'll get a TV series
in the States called The Warrior
in which you use, what,
the martial arts in a Western setting?
That was the original idea.
Bruce Lee had an idea for a TV show
called The Warrior,
which later became the series Kung Fu,
which we all know and love.
David Carradine did a good job,
but Kung Fu, the TV series,
was Bruce Lee's role.
The better guy doesn't always
get the job in the movie business.
There's a lot of politics involved.
Have people come up in the industry
and said,
"We don't know how the audience
are going to take a non-American?"
Well, such question has been raised.
In fact, it is being discussed,
and that is why The Warrior
probably is not gonna be on.
- I see.
- You see?
Because unfortunately
such thing does exist in this world.
Bruce Lee was a bigger star,
both in Asia and America.
He was a world-class martial artist.
He had already done The Green Hornet.
And then he did not get the role
for being too Asian.
He had such disdain for Hollywood
and all those old movies
having Caucasian people
play the parts of Chinese characters.
I have already made up my mind
that in the United States
I think something about the Oriental,
I mean, the true Oriental,
should be shown.
- Hollywood sure as heck hasn't.
- You better believe it, man.
It's always the pigtail
and bouncing around, chop-chop,
with the eyes slanted and all of that.
There's nothing worse
in a movie than when all of a sudden
some horrific stereotype shows up.
You're like, "Why? Just leave us out.
Just leave us out. "
"We'd rather not exist in your world
than exist in your world
in some buffoonery coonery. "
He had a lot of celebrity students
and he was teaching them
philosophy and martial arts,
so he sold them.
But when it came down to it for Bruce
and Hollywood, they didn't get it.
They didn't take the time
to know who Bruce was.
This was his struggle.
You want to get ahead?
Here you have a bright future,
if you apply yourself.
I will, sir.
Hollywood was
a terrible disappointment to him,
especially because then you throw in
the racial factor as well,
that studios did not want to back
a major Chinese star.
Asian stereotypes for women
are pretty bad. For men it's much worse.
And I think he was railing against that
his whole life.
When that little thing of disrespect
crept into my life again,
which was the movie business,
I got really angry.
It is kind of shocking, isn't it,
that that much time, 40 years,
has passed and there hasn't been
one Asian-American romantic lead,
or even just a movie star on that scale,
an Asian-American movie star?
Not one.
I don't think
I could name
an Asian romantic lead male.
There hasn't really been anyone since my
uncle here, particularly in Hollywood.
Obviously out of China you have Jet Li,
you have Donnie Yen.
There have been no great Asian male
leads in Hollywood who are sexy.
Er, a lead male, Asian-American?
I don't even look at him as being Asian.
He's like Bruce Lee. He's like my idol.
And that's something I guess I don't
think of so much, but I guess, yeah.
A Chinese nationalist
watching Bruce Lee films
will see Chinese nationalism.
A white Westerner
may not even notice the ethnicity.
Maybe Dean Cain, right?
Isn't he part Asian?
At certain times
there were prejudices against my skin,
but I never let it bother me, because
in the back of my mind I used to think,
"I'll take care out in the parking lot
and I'll beat your head in. "
Bruce Lee became a complete
star making films in his own country.
So if you wanna see
another star like that,
it has to happen
in films made outside of the system.
My first memory of Bruce Lee
is in the movie Chinese Connection.
The last scene in the movie
there's a firing squad.
When he came out and ran up
and jumped and they froze it.
I was like, "Mom, what happened?"
And she said,
"He wanted to go that way. "
And that just...
that just stuck with me.
If you look at Chinese Connection,
it's a movie about cultural nationalism,
as expressed through action sequences,
but that's no different than Swan Lake.
There's no difference between a ballet
and a kung fu movie,
expressing the ideas and the emotion
through movement.
When the Japanese bring
the sick man of Asia framed picture,
this is speaking to a long period
of Chinese suppression and subordination
that was within living memory of those
If you play the film
with the dubbed English
and then in the original Cantonese,
you see that they're essentially
different films.
So, for example, one of the characters
goes up to Mr Wu, the translator,
and in the English dubbed version
he says:
Look, here,
now what's the point of this?
The translator goes:
In the Cantonese version he says:
So in the English version
he's not Chinese,
but in the subtitled Cantonese version,
he says, "Yes, I'm Chinese,
but I've chosen to go with the Japanese,
the powerful. "
So there's a world of difference.
We're consuming different films
depending on the nature of the decisions
they make in translating.
Westerners have thought
that they're slapstick,
but the Chinese audience are watching
highly politically charged films
with quite recent history, animosities
and resentments coursing through them.
Now, you listen to me,
and I'll only say it once.
We are not sick men.
What he gave was so real and so raw
because he lived it
every day of his life.
Bruce did not get along well with the
director of the first two films, Lo Wei.
Lo Wei thought that
he could put his thumb on Bruce
as one of his simple actors.
Well, he was old school and wouldn't
listen to any ideas Bruce had.
The bottom line is Bruce still
didn't feel the freedom that he wanted.
He said to Raymond Chow,
"I want to make this film,
The Way of the Dragon. "
I want to write it, I want
to produce it, I want to direct it
and I can do this and act in it.
It's really a simple plot
of a country boy
going to a place
where he cannot speak the language
but somehow he came out on top.
He goes to Italy
and the mafia can't beat him,
so they call America
and America sends over Colt.
We must call America for Colt.
- Is this Colt good?
- Is Colt good?
And Colt is Chuck Norris.
Bruce Lee is fighting a real American,
you know.
He's strawberry blond.
He's got hair all over his body.
In fact, he uses that hair against him.
So when he fought Chuck Norris...
He represented all people of colour
fighting the Western oppressor.
If you're a non-white viewer,
this is a big deal.
The little guy is beating
the best that America can provide.
I can tell you,
at the Fox Theatre in St Louis,
which was 100 percent all black,
we cheered for him.
Some of us were
more politically aware than others,
but everyone got the joke.
He was very appealing to anybody
who's ever been oppressed
because of ethnic reasons
or other reason.
That time when Bruce was on the rise, we
were looking for countercultural heroes
to fight the establishment.
It's 40 years. Wouldn't have
people forgotten him by now?
No, I think a lot of cultures have
picked him up as sort of their hero.
You had Muhammad Ali. You had
Malcolm X. You had the Black Panthers.
You had a lot of radicalism going on.
Bruce Lee represented
that same kind of radicalism.
Bruce Lee emerges when America
is having a very bad time in Vietnam
and cannot beat the Viet Cong,
these little yellow guys in pyjamas,
so Bruce Lee speaks to that.
Anywhere you go, everybody is
about Bruce Lee and rallies behind him.
He's the underdog.
You don't have to
start shouting political declarations
to be culturally
and politically significant.
That Colosseum fight was very accurate.
Taking nothing away from Chuck Norris,
but I think Bruce Lee
would be victorious.
That fight scene gave Chuck Norris
pretty much a career.
If they said Bruce
could have beat Chuck Norris,
I'd say, "How much do you wanna bet?"
I got a fistful of green backs
in my pocket.
Chuck got chucked out
right there in that movie.
That's one of my favourites. Boom.
Guillotine choke in the '70s. Hello.
That's being ahead of your time.
When Bruce started doing the film
Way of the Dragon
and he was this huge star on the rise,
things were changing.
I think he started having a hard time
trusting people around him.
You bastard!
Fame is a killer, literally.
Put money on top of that.
Suddenly you distrust people's motives,
for very good reason.
He had told me that he doesn't know
who his friends were.
He says he doesn't know who to trust.
It was eye-opening
to know what the price of fame was.
You can't go to school for it.
You deal with it on a day-to-day basis.
Fame took over my mind.
It almost destroyed my career,
my family.
I was caught up in my own hype.
I thought the only way
to save myself from myself
was to do something
where I could get hit and hit back.
And I thought I'd made a healthy choice
because it was better than a whisky
bottle or, you know, whatever the fuck.
It got to the point
where he could hardly go out of
the house without people following him.
He craved on sort of a soul level
to be a little bit more peaceful.
Well, you can't have a normal life
or make normal mistakes
because everybody's constantly,
you know, looking in.
And it was just like a smorgasbord.
He could have had ten at a time
if he even remotely wanted to.
The word superstar really turned me off
and I'll tell you why.
Because the word star, man,
it's an illusion.
It's something
what the public calls you.
I really loved... I might get
a lot of crap for this,
but Game of Death,
and to have like no way is the way.
He's fighting each opponent that brings
a different problem to the table
and he's gotta adapt.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar came to Hong Kong
to visit and Bruce had this great idea.
"Let's do a scene together. It'll be
great, a great fighting sequence. "
I'd speak to Kareem about his sessions
with Bruce and he said,
"I sparred with him
and like he was just so quick. "
"I'd turn this way
and then he's not there. "
"He's kicking you
in the back of the head. "
"Then I turn this way
and he's over here. "
He said he couldn't catch him. There was
just no way he could lock in on him.
He was just like a rabbit.
I really love the idea of the levels
and getting to the next level,
and fighting different styles.
As a dancer who battled other dancers,
that was like the whole mentality.
And on the third level, it's supposed to
be a person who is trained in weaponry,
and so he chose me to do the part.
Dan Inosanto, being one of the freshest
Filipinos on the planet,
was actually the person that brought
the nunchucks to Bruce Lee.
to Bruce Lee.
And at the time he thought
this was a worthless piece of junk.
When he moved into the LA area,
I taught him how to use it.
He said, "I'm gonna use this
on The Green Hornet. "
Nunchucks was always
some mother's broom getting sacrificed,
which would then turn into
someone's groin being sacrificed.
In three months he was swinging it like
he had been doing it for a lifetime.
I was living in Miami
when they came out.
Every gangster in town had nunchucks,
and couldn't use 'em worth a shit.
I would spend hours whipping 'em around
and trying to learn the moves,
trying to copy how he'd have it
under his shoulder right here
and have the hand out.
In a short time I think
almost every child is using this.
It became like a household product.
It's outlawed now in California.
After I watched this movie,
I used to use that.
But I always hit my elbow.
Right out of the gate I swung real hard
and I even made the Bruce Lee noise.
I went, "Whoo!" and I hit my head
and there was this big nut
that came out maybe an inch.
And after that
I stopped making the noise
and I stopped playing
with the nunchucks.
I tried to make my parents buy me
some real ones. Thank God they didn't.
I'm nunchucking,
I'm busting myself all in the head.
I had the rubber ones, so I'm good.
I got into it because I stopped carrying
a gun. I carried a gun for years.
I'm not ashamed to admit it.
I think I went into therapy and I
thought, "Let me carry something else. "
This one particularly
is sentimental for me.
These are the same nunchucks
that we used in The Game of Death.
He gave me these to keep in the house.
It brings out
really fond memories for me.
Fred Weintraub,
who was an executive at Warner Bros,
comes to visit him in Hong Kong
on the set of Game of Death,
says, "Hey, man,
we've seen what you can do. "
"We wanna do a film with you and we
wanna do it with Warner Bros. " Boom.
It was a time
when Bruce had so much opportunity
and he was so thrilled
to co-produce Enter the Dragon.
He said, "This is my opening
back into Hollywood. "
They were all there in Hong Kong,
the producers,
Fred Weintraub, Paul Heller.
They're ready to film, have all this
crew, Western crew, Chinese crew,
which was
a very difficult situation in itself,
and sets are built,
and Bruce won't come to work.
He wants to put a little more Chinese
philosophy that fits in with the story.
Bruce knew
what he wanted Dragon to be,
but had problems with folks
who didn't share his vision.
And he was adamant
he was not going to the set.
It was kind of hard around our house
because was Bruce was so frustrated.
He could lose his temper.
If he didn't like anything you did,
he would tell you.
Linda was that fabulous wife.
She knew how to talk to him
and counsel him.
I was talking behind the scenes
to Fred and Paul and the other people,
saying, "You need to listen to what
he has to say because he is right. "
He was fighting for his career.
It was a coming together, and, yes,
Bruce did get things in that film.
Let me think.
Don't think. Feel.
And they're all better off,
the world is better off,
for the stand that he took that time.
Enter the Dragon
was Hollywood's first dipping its toe
into the water of the martial art genre.
Bruce Lee is explosive in a way
that no one had seen before.
The opening scene, Bruce Lee basically
put the mixed martial arts in his film.
Fighting in the kenpo gloves.
The mixed martial arts gloves
with the open fingers.
And he used arm bars.
There's not a lot of charisma
in a straight arm bar.
He was the man.
When he stomps out Bob Wall
and kills him...
you see a lot of complex emotions
all going on at once.
I haven't seen any actor
in an action film
match all those levels and nuances
in the middle of a fight scene.
The mirror scene was just, you know,
when he's walking around
and he's cut up and all of a sudden
he hears his master in his head
saying if you destroy the image...
Destroy the image
and you will break the enemy.
You defeat the enemy,
he was just... It had a tension
that to me resonates because
it's cutting through all illusions.
This is the moment
that he was waiting for.
This was Bruce Lee's film in Hollywood.
Bruce was in a studio
doing dubbing for Enter the Dragon
and he went to the restroom
and he collapsed.
I was called and came to the hospital.
And he was unconscious
and I was talking to him,
and he told me later
that he was like in the bottom of a well
and he could hear me calling him,
"Come back, come back. "
And he did recover from that.
It was a cerebral oedema,
a pressing of fluid on the brain,
but they never found the cause of it.
Ted Wong used to always tell me,
"Bruce Lee was never afraid of anything,
except one thing,
and that's getting older. "
He came to the United States
and had a complete physical
and they pronounced him
in perfect health
with the body of an 18-year-old.
The doctors were very reassuring.
He had just had a collapse.
He didn't have frequent headaches.
Of course, they didn't have MRls then
to see what his brain tissue
was looking like.
I had seen him in June.
He told me that he'd had an OK from UCLA
that his body was fit.
He was not worried about himself
and he was taking good care of himself.
Bruce Lee faces a real dilemma.
He's on the verge of stardom
in the United States,
but he's just achieved superstardom
as a film actor here in Hong Kong.
So what does he chose,
the East or the West?
It's the kind of problem most
budding movie actors would welcome.
I was called and told by Raymond Chow,
"You should get to the hospital. "
"They're taking Bruce to the hospital. "
And I was there
way before Bruce got there.
So eventually the ambulance arrived.
It took a long time.
Everything took too long a time.
He got to the hospital
and I saw him laying there
and I saw them do a big injection
of something right into his heart.
And I remember turning to a medical
person standing there and saying...
I couldn't say, "Is he dead?"
I said, "Is he alive?
And they shook their heads
and said, "No. "
And that was just unbelievable.
It must be a mistake,
you know, it's not real.
What can I say? It was.
You can see how
when he passed away, you know, how...
how difficult that was and, you know,
how difficult that was for my dad.
It's the first time
I saw my dad ever cry.
Yeah, that's true.
It was really rough.
Well, yeah.
I said, "Dan, is it true?
Ls Bruce Lee dead?"
"I got a lot of calls. "
And he says, "Yeah, Rich. "
Linda called him from Hong Kong,
and he was in a trance on his own
and talking about Bruce Lee.
He was so in grief,
so in mourning about Bruce's death.
He was just really uniquely different
from everybody else.
My memories,
they're more like glimpses.
But I remember primarily
the funeral in Hong Kong,
because it was so massive,
and sort of being dragged through that,
because it was chaotic.
And I remember my dad's mom
taking us to get candy
and feeling really happy about that.
I was in class, actually,
when Bruce Lee died.
There were guys in there
crying, sobbing, just...
I mean, Bruce Lee, you know...
He was just... he was it.
Will you tell me what Teacher died of?
Forensic scientists from around
the world came up with the conclusion
that he had had
a hypersensitive reaction
to this medication
that he had been given for a headache
and that that had caused
the fluid on his brain
and that he had succumbed to that.
It's still something
that people cannot believe.
He was well. There was nothing wrong.
How could a healthy man die?
And then there's all this stuff about,
you know, how he died,
the sinister way in which he died.
He had an aneurysm
or the death hands got him
or, you know...
He was murdered.
They gave him the dim mak,
they gave him a death touch.
There's absolutely positively
something a little shady
about the way that it all went down.
How he could pass away at that age,
you know, but it does happen,
so I've learned to cope with it
and deal with it.
But it always puzzled me.
The fact that my family is cursed
and the very sad and tragic circumstance
that my brother died,
those are sort of the themes
that pop up.
They wrote so many stupid stories, the
tong killing him and all that bullshit,
and he died of drugs,
that sold magazines.
He died in Betty Ting Pei's apartment,
so there's no denying that.
The decision was made by the producers
to say that he had died at home.
When that news got out
that he had not died at home,
the tabloid press went crazy.
But my mom knew he had been
at a meeting and doing his films.
She was dealing with his death
and taking care of her kids,
and all of that gossip
was just the tabloid press
trying to make it bigger and crazier
than it needed to be.
It is my wish that the newspapers
and the people of Hong Kong
will stop speculating
on the circumstances
surrounding my husband's death.
Please remember him
for his genius, his art
and the magic he brought
to every one of us.
Of course I was going to go
and see his film and applaud him
and be with people who admired him.
That was always my thought in my head,
is, "I need to do this for Bruce. "
She really is this incredible woman
with just great dignity
and grace under fire.
It was great to see Bruce again,
but only a month later my memories
were very fresh anyway, you know.
It was more pain than joy at the time.
Everybody said all these years,
you know,
he had an allergic reaction
to marijuana, he had a brain aneurysm.
The most important thing
is how he lived.
Every time you see him,
it's still emotional.
We miss the friend.
I'm now 74, but there really
has not ever been a day
that I haven't thought about him
at least once, maybe twice
or three times or four times
or five times through the day.
There's nobody who's gonna replace
Bruce Lee, not while you or I are alive.
It just ain't gonna happen.
This genius passes away
way before his time.
We have to be thankful
we had him for 32 years.
Bruce Lee was just a symbol
of everything
that every little boy wanted to be.
You have offended my family
and you have...
Disgraced the Shaolin temple.
The most important thing
he's ever done and accomplished
is bringing people together.
Bruce brought...
he brought cultures together.
People remember him
for being powerful beyond measure,
you know, for being limitless,
for standing for things
when people crucified him.
It didn't matter what colour you are,
what country you came from,
you were a Bruce Lee fan.
He's the man. He's the truth.
And it was amazing
how he connected so many people.
Not just martial arts,
but people from all walks of life.
If Bruce was here today,
he'd be on Dancing with the Stars
and he'd win it, hands down.
Doggone it,
such is the basic need of a human being,
I might as well enjoy it
before I kick the bucket,
like that type of an attitude.
We remember Bruce Lee today
because he was so much fun to watch.
He was like a mythological hero.
My strength flowed
through Bruce to me, so...
He left me with that gift.
The idea is running water
never grows stale,
so you gotta just keep on flowing.
He didn't compromise.
People really felt that presence about
him and felt that influence from him
and they just wanna somehow
connect with him.
When people try to relate to him,
they do say,
"That's my Bruce Lee.
That's what I connect with. "
When I watch Bruce Lee, I am Bruce Lee.
- Dragon whips his tail.
- Dragon whips his tail.
I watch Bruce Lee, you watch Bruce Lee
and we're both being Bruce Lee.
Bruce would want us to recognise
that he honestly expressed himself,
that he did not bow down
to any sacred cows.
To express oneself honestly,
not lying to oneself,
and to express myself honestly,
that, my friend, is very hard to do.
He would urge others
to examine your life, you know,
see how things fit you personally,
find your strength, take a stab at life,
don't just sit back
and take it easy, you know?
That's not what life is about.
It's even more fun to see him now
when I look back, you know.
Oh! What an amazing young man he was.
Do you think of yourself
as Chinese or North American?
You know what I want to think of myself?
As a human being.
Because, I mean, I don't wanna
sound like "as Confucius say",
but under the sky, under the heaven,
man, there is but one family.
It just so happened, man,
that people are different.
Empty your mind.
Be formless, shapeless.
Like water.
Now, you put water into a cup,
it becomes the cup.
Put water into a bottle,
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.