T Nation

Great Story (Bruce Lee Foundation)

Bruce Lee - The Dragon’s Legacy Lives On. By Thomas Gerbasi

Growing up in the 70?s in New York, local kids may have been aware of the exploits of boxing greats Muhammad Ali or George Foreman, but when it came down to it, everybody wanted to be Bruce Lee.

Just ask current UFC welterweight champion and Long Island, New York native Matt Serra about his first martial arts influence.

?I used to watch those movies with my father,? Serra told me before his UFC debut against Shonie Carter in 2001. ?Game of Death and Enter the Dragon are classics. I just enjoyed the fighting. It just stayed with me.?

Looking back, some thirty years later, that decision was a no-brainer, and fellow UFC fighters Luke Cummo, Stephan Bonnar, Tito Ortiz, Frank Mir and Crafton Wallace ? all of whom listed Lee as one of their heroes on their UFC bios ? would undoubtedly agree.

For while Ali and Foreman were fighting one on one in a ring with gloves, Lee - through the magic of Hollywood - was beating down five guys at a time, taking Chuck Norris to school, and surviving a size 16 foot to the chest from Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to come back and beat the basketball legend in the movie Game of Death.

But that was just one aspect of Bruce Lee, born Lee Jun-Fan in San Francisco in 1940. At his core, Lee was a serious martial artist who made the study of various arts and the development of his own, Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee?s Way of The Intercepting Fist) his life?s work.

It was this work, done far away from the bright lights of Hollywood, which still makes Lee relevant today, 67 years after his birth, and almost 34 years after his tragic death at the age of 32 in 1973.

In fact, a resurgence of interest in the life and work of Lee has been taken place, due to the work of the Bruce Lee Foundation, last Sunday?s Bruce Lee day on Spike TV, and the mainstream success of mixed martial arts, a sport which UFC President Dana White has called Lee ?the father? of.

And this isn?t just a snappy soundbite from White. Just google the phrase ?Bruce Lee? and UFC and you?ll come up with 283,000 entries. And it?s not just fans speculating on how Lee would have done in the Octagon; it?s because a key element of Jeet Kune Do is the idea of keeping it as a never ending process, just like the continually evolving sport of mixed martial arts.

To Lee, styles separate and limit people, and as MMA history has shown, fighters who specialize in one style exclusively are quickly shown the door when facing hybrid athletes who have learned at least the basics in all phases of mixed martial arts (boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, jiu-jitsu).

As Lee said in a Hong Kong television interview, ?Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can either flow, or it can crash. Be like water, my friend.?

It would be interesting to see what Lee would have thought of mixed martial arts had he lived to see its birth in 1993. Most likely, he would have loved it, seeing how athletes studied various styles of fighting and then developed their own unique fighting style, just as he took his base of Wing Chun and analyzed hosts of different styles before coming up with JKD. And if MMA was around while he was alive, you can bet he would have taken a shot at it.

?He was always a guy who was up on the latest things,? said Serra. ?He already was well rounded back then. So I?m sure that if he was alive, once the Jiu-Jitsu boom came into play, he would have been a black belt by now I?m sure. Because that?s a guy who was a
fanatic. I?m sure he would have been fantastic. He was a great athlete.?

And a true legend.

About The Bruce Lee Foundation
The Bruce Lee Foundation seeks to preserve, perpetuate, and disseminate Bruce Lee?s life example, philosophies, and art of Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do through inspirational events, educational programs, martial arts instruction, and the Bruce Lee Museum. The UFC has teamed up with the foundation to produce a special edition Bruce Lee T-Shirt to honor the man, and the shirt is now available at the UFC store. To order, click here

[quote]tgatl wrote:
And it?s not just fans speculating on how Lee would have done in the Octagon…[/quote]

Because we don’t need to speculate- he would have thoroughly romped all comers then pwned someone like Tyson or Ali.

[quote]conner wrote:
tgatl wrote:
And it?s not just fans speculating on how Lee would have done in the Octagon…

Because we don’t need to speculate- he would have thoroughly romped all comers then pwned someone like Tyson or Ali.[/quote]

I enjoyed how Mythotical he was and his philosophy on life and living was amazing as well. He is a true icon!
I belive the Bruce Lee Foundation is a great thing.
He was dedicated to his art and MMA… I’m not sure how he would do with todays fighters but I’m sure he could kick my ass…

Gene Lebell thought the world of the guy both as a person and as a martial artist. That is enough for me.

[quote]conner wrote:
tgatl wrote:
And it?s not just fans speculating on how Lee would have done in the Octagon…

Because we don’t need to speculate- he would have thoroughly romped all comers then pwned someone like Tyson or Ali.[/quote]

I don’t think so Tim. He was cool and all, I’ll give you that, but owning Tyson? Never.

[quote]altimus wrote:
conner wrote:
tgatl wrote:
And it?s not just fans speculating on how Lee would have done in the Octagon…

Because we don’t need to speculate- he would have thoroughly romped all comers then pwned someone like Tyson or Ali.

I don’t think so Tim. He was cool and all, I’ll give you that, but owning Tyson? Never.[/quote]

I’d have to agree (though I have a sinking suspicion that that comment contained a pinch of sarcasm ;).

However, I do believe that he would have been a monster in his weight class. His speed, strength, conditioning, and technical expertise (especially in terms of movement/footwork), would have probably led to him holding the belt in the lightweight division at least at some point.

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
altimus wrote:
conner wrote:
tgatl wrote:
And it?s not just fans speculating on how Lee would have done in the Octagon…

Because we don’t need to speculate- he would have thoroughly romped all comers then pwned someone like Tyson or Ali.

I don’t think so Tim. He was cool and all, I’ll give you that, but owning Tyson? Never.

I’d have to agree (though I have a sinking suspicion that that comment contained a pinch of sarcasm ;).

However, I do believe that he would have been a monster in his weight class. His speed, strength, conditioning, and technical expertise (especially in terms of movement/footwork), would have probably led to him holding the belt in the lightweight division at least at some point.[/quote]

The man had no credible competition record. Are you basing this opinion on his “footwork” in his movies? lol.

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
I’d have to agree (though I have a sinking suspicion that that comment contained a pinch of sarcasm ;).[/quote]

Guilty as charged. The only “combat” sport I follow is boxing (and even that is loosely). I know nothing about UFC, or MMA, or whatever, so I can’t say with any authority whether or not Bruce would be a force. I would like to think he would be (I had a Bruce Lee phase as a kid - who didn’t - and the book “Bruce Lee: The Art of Expressing the Human Body” was one of the first “weight lifting” books I read, plus Enter the Dragon is pretty cool), but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was just wishful thinking on my part.

I was just trying to beat some of the people here to the punch (so to speak).

whooooaaaaa!

achoooooooooooow!

there was a kid in high school who idolized bruce and whenever he was picked on, he literally screamed what bruce yelled and our PE teacher would barge into the fight and smack him with a rolled up newspaper for being so loud. was funny as hell.

regardless, it is a good idea to have a foundation 'fer da man. i have bruce lee collector magazines that will be worth millions in about a hundred years.

f

[quote]Steve4192 wrote:
Gene Lebell thought the world of the guy both as a person and as a martial artist. That is enough for me.[/quote]

Yup.

Check out Lebell’s website for a funny story of his first meeting with Bruce.

http://www.genelebell.com/

[quote]Sentoguy wrote:
altimus wrote:
conner wrote:
tgatl wrote:
And it?s not just fans speculating on how Lee would have done in the Octagon…

Because we don’t need to speculate- he would have thoroughly romped all comers then pwned someone like Tyson or Ali.

I don’t think so Tim. He was cool and all, I’ll give you that, but owning Tyson? Never.

I’d have to agree (though I have a sinking suspicion that that comment contained a pinch of sarcasm ;).

However, I do believe that he would have been a monster in his weight class. His speed, strength, conditioning, and technical expertise (especially in terms of movement/footwork), would have probably led to him holding the belt in the lightweight division at least at some point.[/quote]

Sentoguy…well said!

Considering Tyson outwieghed him by almost 100 lbs. and was fairly close in terms of speed, I doubt Bruce could have taken him in a boxing match.

At least Bruce had a brain however!

Bruce had the reputation as never backing down from a confrontation. Especially when he was young, he had to fight many gangs that picked on him.

I think as he got older and more involved in his profession, he learned to stay out of trouble.

He was definitely someone who come from a street fighting background.

[quote]Steve4192 wrote:
Gene Lebell thought the world of the guy both as a person and as a martial artist. That is enough for me.[/quote]

That name rings a bell, but I can’t see the face or remember exactly who that is! Help me, tks!

Oh hey, it’s approaching July. Or the Bruce Lee appreciation month, as we say here on T-Nation.

[quote]BADASS MENTALITY wrote:
Steve4192 wrote:
Gene Lebell thought the world of the guy both as a person and as a martial artist. That is enough for me.

That name rings a bell, but I can’t see the face or remember exactly who that is! Help me, tks!

[/quote]

He’s a highly respected American Judoka, he was also a stunt cordinator.

Here is a funny story about him and Stevan Seagal.
http://www.judoinfo.com/discuss/index.php?showtopic=951

[quote]Dirty Tiger wrote:
BADASS MENTALITY wrote:
Steve4192 wrote:
Gene Lebell thought the world of the guy both as a person and as a martial artist. That is enough for me.

That name rings a bell, but I can’t see the face or remember exactly who that is! Help me, tks!

He’s a highly respected American Judoka, he was also a stunt cordinator.

Here is a funny story about him and Stevan Seagal.
http://www.judoinfo.com/discuss/index.php?showtopic=951
[/quote]

Cool, thanks alot!

Here’s a good one on Bruce, an interview witht the great Bob Wall.

http://www.cityonfire.com/features/bobwall/

The Bruce Lee Foundation isn’t something I will endorse. I have to say that due to the fact that they do not recognize the people that perpetuated Jun Fan to the masses. They actually sued Dan Inosanto to stop him from using the Jun Fan Jeet Kune do moniker. I am not sure of the exact details of the lawsuit. The BLF is basically a second attempt at what the JKD nucleus tried to do in the 90’s wich is by the same people.

Linda lee caldwell is just trying to stop the evolution of JKD and monitizing it. They don’t recognize any progression since Bruces passing. Locking JKD into a box is exactly what Bruce didn’t want. It was a philosiphy not a style set.

What is BLF for? Dan Inosanto, Burton Richardson,Larry Hartsell to name a few arent even given honarable mention. The new generation of JKD is even more dynamic with the new training technologies and techniques I think JKD has already outgrown what the BLF is. They are a irrelevent organization as the martial art itself.

The protection of the likeness of Bruce and such could be a diffrent story but they won’t get my donation. I won’t even purchase Black Belt magazine after a inflated article about how great this all is and the BFL is closed minded as any other traditional martial arts organization in my opinion.

Anybody wanna start placing bets as to how long this thread ends up?

[quote]Steve4192 wrote:
Gene Lebell thought the world of the guy both as a person and as a martial artist. That is enough for me.[/quote]

He also could have put Lee down without a problem. Judo beats Kung Fu, no question.

[quote]thomas.galvin wrote:

He also could have put Lee down without a problem. Judo beats Kung Fu, no question.[/quote]

Gene had a 100 pounds on him and was a lifelong grappler. Of course he could take him down.

However, the point remains that Judo Gene claims Bruce loved learning the grappling arts but didn’t feel they would translate well to film because they aren’t as flashy as striking. If Bruce had been born 30 years later, there is no doubt in my mind he would have worked diligently to master the grappling arts.