It has been over 40 years since Bruce Lee died yet we still feel his presence tangibly in today’s day and age. He has said it best, “The key to immortality is first living a life worth remembering.” Achieve this he did.
It was just actually quite recent that I developed a real admiration for this real life superhero. I caught a documentary entitled “I Am Bruce Lee” and it has turned me into… a fan is too trivial of a word, I would say a follower instead. I am amazed to find out that he actually died even before I was born, yet his movies and his legacy is so much a part of my life. Watching his movies when I was a kid just kept me entertained, like any other entertaining movie. His lightning fast high kicks and seemingly all-encompassing blocks would amaze anybody with a logical brain. The way he used those nunchakus too, you’d think he was born with it. However, I never knew the philosophical side of him then. Seeing this side of him is what sealed the deal and turned me into a true blue admirer.
The stories you would hear about him would be the stuff of myths and make-believe. In his case though, they are all true. He has a 1 inch punch that causes excruciating pain. He can do one hand push ups with just his thumb and index finger touching the ground. He practiced 5000 punches every day. He was too fast the camera couldn’t capture his movements on film. He can break open a can with a punch. There are just too many stories that are unique to Bruce and proves to you he has honed his skill above and beyond the normal standard of what is considered excellent.
However, for me, it is not the stunts and demonstrations that make him exceptional. It is his lifelong commitment to continuously improving himself that sets him apart. These stunts and skills are only a byproduct of that commitment. With his extensive daily training, his continuous self-motivation as evidenced by his journals, and his thorough study into the different styles of fighting show that he is not half hearted in his commitment. He is dead set on it. He had the boldness to shed fighting styles and adopted all fighting styles to make him into the ultimate human fighter.
He absorbed all the good things in each of the fighting styles he studied and shed off the useless movements, rules, and forms. Because of the different mutations and adjustments, his fighting style evolved to be his own. He had laser like focus to be the best version of himself, be it as a fighter, as an actor, as a father, husband, friend, or just a human being. Everything started internally and manifested physically and externally. He had the right mind, self-motivation, intention, and thoughts to get him to the greatness he sought out from the very beginning.
He was real and kept true to himself. He was a genuine full human being. He kept to his passion regardless of circumstances. At a time when kung-fu was not popular and not widely accepted, he willingly and enthusiastically showed it to the world. At a time when kung-fu was not supposed to be taught to non-Chinese, he broke the mold and taught it to his American students. He had no fear as long as he kept himself true to his ideals. Even his love story proved to be unconventional at that time. He knew no limits, no molds, and no confines. As he philosophized, he was like water. He flowed freely, openly, and continuously.
I love the fact that his whole life was actually about one thing: a commitment to perfecting his craft and himself. Plain and simple. Seems selfish but when you look at it, because he stayed true to himself and his goals, he gave so much to his craft. His commitment and discipline did not actually only ripple to his craft, but also enriched people from all walks of life and even people beyond his time. It is a manner of living, a manner of attitude, a manner of commitment that we can all emulate. In the end it is all each of us can do, to be the best we can be in our very own fields. It is what assures the moving forward of the human race.