Jeet Kun Do
QUOTES BY BRUCE LEE
EXIT THE DRAGON
A Reverse Biography of Bruce
Wall Street Journal
BRUCE LEE SETS US FREE
Not Just A Movie Star
THE BRUCE LEE STORY
On the morning of November 27, 1940 (in the Chinese year
of the Dragon), Lee Jun Fan was born in San Francisco. The
mother, Grace had not planned on an American name, and the
father, at the time, was performing a popular Chinese opera
in New York. So it was one of the Hospital employee who thought
of the name Bruce. The mother concurred and from then on
it was Bruce Lee. A legend was born. Shortly afterward, the
family returned to Hong Kong.
Bruce's Hong Kong film career began when he was only six
years old. The director of his father's latest film saw him
on the set and was so impressed that he offered him a part
in his father's film. This was the beginning, leading to
over twenty motion picture roles and steadily increasing
popularity among Hong Kong audiences.
Bruce started training in the martial arts mainly to overcome
his fear of being humiliated in a street fight. As a teenager
he began to get into more and more fights for no reason at
all. And if he didn't win he was furious. As a result, under
the great master Yip Man's Wing Chun (meaning "beautiful
springtime") teachings, Bruce became a proficient martial
artist, not to mention a feared street fighter. However,
Bruce actually had more than one teacher. As time went by,
Bruce grew. His enthusiasm towards martial arts was more
apparent. He was young, energetic and competitive. He soon
became acquainted with Wing-chun's basic Kung Fu. Since he
was very clever, Mr Yip loved him very much and taught him
many secret techniques in Win Chun Kung Fu. He became an
expert in Wing Chun Kung Fu.
When Bruce was about fourteen, he discovered that "dancing" could
be a great deal of fun. He had a real knack for it and rapidly
became quite polished, never lacking eager partners. Much
of the balance and footwork became evident in his later fighting
style. His favorite was the Cha Cha, and he spent many hours
practicing extremely complex dance routines. He eventually
became the Hong Kong Cha Cha Champion.
At the age of 19, Bruce was becoming more and more involved
in street fighting. So in 1959 his parents decide to sent
him to live with friends in the United States, Where he would
finish high school. While he was staying in Seattle, Bruce
was allowed to live in the restaurant's attic in exchange
for his services as a busboy and waiter. Bruce finished high
school and went on to college. By day he attended the University
of Washington and nights he was working in the restaurant.
After a few months of this, he decided that this lifestyle
was not for him. He quit his job at the restaurant and began
teaching Kung-fu. At the age of twenty-two, Bruce authored
an extremely unique text which he titled "CHINESE GUNG-FU:
The Philosophical Art of SELF-DEFENSE." This book reflected
his preocupation with
spiritual as well as physical development
Before Bruce finished his Bachelor Degree in Philosophy,
he meet Linda Emery, a pretty blonde coed, enrolled in his
class and in 1964 they were married. Shortly afterward, they
moved to California. In 1965, Bruce's son, Brandon, was born.
A couple of years later his daughter Shannon was born.
CHRONOLOGICAL BIOGRAPHY OF BRUCE LEE
November 27 - San Francisco- In the The Year of the Dragon between
6:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m. (the hour of the dragon), Lee Jun Fan,
Bruce Lee is born at the Jackson Street Hospital in San Francisco
Chinatown while his father and mother traveled to the U.S. Lee
Hoi Chuen, Bruce's father, was performing with the Cantonese Opera
Company in America. At three months old, Bruce debuts in "Golden
Gate Girl" in San Francisco, CA. He plays role of a female
baby, carried by his father.
1941 (Age 1): Hong Kong - Bruce and his parents return
to Kowloon, their family home. They move to into an apartment at
218 Nathan Road, Kowloon district. The apartment is located on
the second story of a building which contained a store on the ground
6): Hong Kong - Bruce makes his first major childhood movie in
The Beginning of a Boy. Later this year, he performs in The Birth
of Mankind, and My Son, Ah Cheun. (During the later years of his
childhood, Bruce appears in 20 more films in Asia. In these films,
Bruce's vivid facial expressions begin to develop, and they foresha
w his future expressions in his famous Kung-Fu movies. Bruce becomes
nearsighted and starts wearing glasses. (He will later start wearing
contacts, suggested to him by a friend who is an optometrist.)
1952 (Age 12): Hong Kong - Bruce begins attending La Salle
1953 (Age 13): Hong Kong - After being beaten up by a street
gang, Bruce begins to take Kung-Fu lessons, despite local Hong
Kong laws, outlawing street fights. This is the first, and the
last time Bruce looses a fight. He begins to train under Sifu Yip
Man, a master of the wing chun system of Kung-Fu.
1954 (Age 14): Hong Kong - Bruce takes up cha-cha dancing.
18): Hong Kong - Bruce wins the Crown Colony Cha-Cha Championship.
Bruce has a leading role in the film The Orphan. This is the last
movie Bruce makes as a child actor. This is the only movie where
Bruce does not fight.
1958 (Age 18): ??? - Bruce enters the 1958 Boxing Championships
and defeats the reigning three year champion, Gary Elms.
1959 (Age 19): Hong Kong - Because of numerous street fighting,
causing police involvement, Bruce's father and mother decide that
Bruce should take a three week voyage to the United States. The
trip is a possible means to get him back on the right track. He
return to his birth-place -- San Francisco Chinatown. Time was
also running out for him to claim his American Citizenship.
1959 (Age 19): San Francisco - Seattle - With $15 from his
father, and $100 from his mother, Bruce arrives in the United States,
living with an old friend of his father. He works odd jobs around
the various Chinese communities. Later, he moves to Seattle to work
for Ruby Chow, another friend of his father. He lives in a room above
her restaurant while working as a waiter downstairs. He eventually
enrolls in Edison Technical School and earns his high school diploma.
Bruce begins to teach his Martial Art skills in backyards and city
1961 - March (Age 21): Seattle- Bruce enrolls at the University
of Washington, studying Philosophy. He teaches Kung-Fu to students
1963 - Summer (Age 23): Hong Kong - Bruce proposes to Amy
Sanbo but is turned down. Bruce returns to Hong Kong with friend
Doug Palmer for the first time since his arrival in the U.S. to
visit family. He then returns to Seattle at the end of summer to
continue his education.
1963 - October 25 (Age 23): Seattle - Bruce takes out Linda
Emery (his future wife) for their first date. They have dinner at
the Space Needle. Bruce gives notice to Ruby Chow and leaves her
restaurant. He starts the first Jun Fan Kung-Fu Institute.
1963 - Fall (Age 23): Seattle - Bruce moves his Jun Fan
Kung-Fu Institute into a building (4750 University Way) near the
university campus. He teaches any person of any race. (most Asian
Martial Arts schools would only teach people of their own race)
At Garfield High School, Bruce demonstrates the "One-Inch
Punch". This is the punch he would later make famous at the
64' Long Beach Internationals and which was developed by him and
James DeMile in Seattle. Bruce would hold his arm straight out,
and with a shrug of his shoulder, knock a man straight across the
1964 (Age 24): ??? Bruce meets Jhoon Rhee at the International
Karate Championships. The two would remain good. (Jhoon Rhee will
invite Bruce to Washington, D.C. to appear at tournaments.)
1964 - June (Age 24): ??? - Bruce discusses with James Yimm
Lee plans to open a second Jun Fan Kung-Fu Institute in Oakland,
1964 - Summer - Oakland (Age 24): Plans are finalized,
and Bruce leaves Seattle to start a second Jun Fan Kung-Fu school
in Oakland. His good friend, Taky Kimura, takes over as head instructor.
1964 - August 17 (Age 24): Seattle - Bruce returns to Seattle
to marry Linda. They soon move to Oakland.
1964 - August 2 (Age 24): Long Beach, CA - Ed Parker, known
as the Father of American Karate (Kenpo), invites Bruce to give
a demonstration. Bruce shows off his "one-inch punch," and
his two-finger push-ups, where he literally does "two" finger
push-ups. At his first International Karate Championships, Jay
Sebring, the hair stylist for Batman, William dozier, a producer,
who is looking to cast a part in a TV series he was developing.
Sebring then gives a film of Bruce's demo to Dozier who is impressed
at Bruce's super-human abilities. Bruce later flies down to Los
Angeles for a screen test.
1964 - August 4 (Age 24): Oakland - Bruce leaves for Seattle.
He will propose to Linda.
1965 (Age 24): Oakland - Several months after he begins
teaching, he is challenged by, Wong Jack Man, a leading Kung-Fu
practitioner in the Chinatown Community. They agree: If Bruce looses,
he will, either close his school, or stop teaching Caucasians;
and if Jack looses, he will stop teaching. Jack Man Wong does not
belie Bruce would actually fight, and tries to delay the match.
Bruce becomes angered and insists that they not wait. Wong then
tries to put limitations on techniques. Bruce refuses "rules"and
the two go no holds barred. Bruce begins to pound his opponent
in only a couple of seconds. As Bruce is winning, Wong attempts
to flee, but is caught by Bruce. Bruce begins to beat him on the
ground. Students of the other teacher attempted to step in and
help their teacher, James Lee, Bruce's good friend prevent this.
Later he is bothered on why the fight took so long and begins to
re-evaluate his style. He is determined that he is not in his top
physical condition. Thus, the early concepts of Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do® (JKD), "The
art of the intercepting fist" is created. JKD is an art including
techniques of all types of fighting. (i.e. American Boxing, Thai
Kick Boxing, Japanese Karate, etc.) His style is no style. Bruce
is signed to a one-year option for The Green Hornet. He is paid
an $1800 retainer.
1965 - February 1 (Age 25): Oakland, CA - Brandon Bruce Lee
1965 - February 8 (Age 25): Hong Kong - Bruce's father
passes away in Hong Kong. Bruce returns to Hong Kong for his fathers
funeral. As tradition dictates, in order to obtain forgiveness
for not being present when his father died, Bruce crawls on his
knees across the floor of the funeral home towards the casket wailing
loudly and crying.
1965 - May (Age 25): ??? Bruce uses the retainer money
from the Green Hornet and flies himself, Linda, and Brandon back
to Hong Kong in order to settle his father's estate affairs. While
in Hong Kong, Bruce takes Brandon to see Yip Man to persuade Yip
to perform on tape. Bruce wants to take the footage back to Seattle
and show his students what the man looks like in action. Yip modestly
1965 - September (Age 25): Seattle - Bruce, Linda, Brandon
return to Seattle.
1966 (Age 26): Los Angeles - Bruce and family move to Los
Angeles to an apartment on Wilshire and Gayley in Westwood. This
is where he begins working on a new TV series called The Green
Hornet as Kato. The Green Hornet series starts filming and Bruce
is Paid $400 per episode. Bruce buys a 1966 blue Chevy Nova. Bruce
is later known to have gotten the part of Kato because he was the
only person who could accurately pronounce the star's name, Britt
Reid. He later opens
third branch of the Jun Fan Kung-Fu Institute in Los Angeles' Chinatown.
1966 - September 9 (Age 26): Los Angeles - The Green Hornet
1967-1971 (Age 27-31): Hollywood - During this time, Bruce
lands bit parts in various films and T.V. series. He also gives
private lessons for up to $250 an hour to personalities Steve McQueen,
James Coburn, James Garner, Lee Marvin, Roman Polanski, and Kareem
Abdul Jabbar. Bruce meets Chuck Norris in New York at the All American
Karate Championships in Washington D.C. Chuck fights Joe Lewis
1967 (Age 27): Washington, D.C. - Bruce meets Joe Lewis at
The Mayflower Hotel while both were guests at the 67' National Karate
Championships. Joe is competing in the tournament and Bruce is making
special appearances as Kato.
1967 - February (Age 27): Los Angeles - Bruce opens a 3rd
school at 628 College Street, Los Angeles, CA. Dan Inosanto serves
as assistant instructor.
1967 - July 14 (Age 27): Los Angeles - The last episode
of The Green Hornet Series shows. The movie is later said to have
failed because Bruce, a minor role became more popular than the
1969 - April 19 (Age 29): Santa Monica, CA Shannon Lee
1969 (Age 29): ??? - A scriptwriter is hired and paid $12K
by Stirling Silliphant and James Coburn to write a script for the
Silent Flute. The script produced is unacceptable, and no other
scriptwriter could seen to do the job. They then decide to write
1970 (Age 30): Los Angeles - Bruce injures his sacral nerve
and experiences severe muscle spasms in his back while training.
Doctors told him that he would never kick again. During the months
of recovery he starts to document his training methods and his
philosophy of Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do®. Later after his death, The Tao of Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do® is published by his wife in memory of Bruce Lee.
1970 (Age 30): Hong Kong - Bruce and Brandon fly to Hong Kong
and are welcomed by fans of The Green Hornet Show. Bruce sends Unicorn
to talk to Run Run Shaw on his behalf and inform Shaw that he would
be willing to do a movie for him for $10K. Shaw makes counter-offer
of a seven year contract and $2K per film which Bruce declines.
1971 - February (Age 31): India - Bruce, James Coburn,
Stirling Silliphant fly to India to scout locations for The Silent
Flute. They spend one month searching but are forced to call off
the search as Coburn backs out of the project. This trip gives
Bruce the idea for Game of Death, where a fighter, mastering in
several techniques, will go from one level to the next in a temple:
the first level (the level of weaponry), the second level (the
level of the nine degree black belt), and the third level ( "The
level of the unknown.")
1971 (Age 31): Hong Kong. - Bruce takes a short trip back
to Hong Kong to arrange for his mother to live in the U.S. Unknowingly
to him, he had become a superstar for The Green Hornet was one of
the most popular TV shows in Hong Kong. Later, he is approached by
Raymond Chow, owner of a new production company, and
offered the lead role in a new film called The Big Boss. Bruce accepts. Bruce
is supplied with small furnished apartment at 2 Man Wan Road - Kowloon, HK. Wu
Ngan, moves in with Bruce and Linda. Later Wu Ngan marries and his new wife moves
in as well. Brandon attends La Salle College. The same school Bruce attended
only 15 years before. Bruce is interviewed by Canadian talk show host, Pierre
Berton, for a TV program being filmed in Hong Kong. This is the only on film
said to be in existence.
1971- July (Age 31): Thailand - Filming begins for The Big Boss (released
in the U.S. as Fists of Fury). The Big Boss opens in Hong Kong to great reviews
and mobs of fans. Proceeds to gross more than $3.5 million in little than three
1971 - December 7 (Age 31): Hong Kong - Bruce receives telegram, notifying
him that he had not been chosen for the part in the upcoming series, The Warrior.
This series was later released as Kung-Fu, staring David Carradine, who doesn't
know anything about martial arts. (The show aired as ABC-TVs Movie of the Week
on February 21, 1972.)
1972 (Age 32): Hong Kong - Fist of Fury (released in the U.S. as The
Chinese Connection) is released. It grosses more than The Big Boss and further
establishes Bruce as a Hong Kong superstar. Bruce gets a larger budget, a larger
salary, and more power of directing in this film. Bruce begins work on Game
of Death and films several fight scenes including Danny Inosanto and Kareem
Abdul-Jabbar. Bruce appears on Hong Kong's TVB channel for a hurricane disaster
relief benefit. In a demo Bruce performs, he breaks 4 out of 5 boards, one
of which is hanging in the air with a line of string. Brandon even performs
and breaks a board with a sidekick! Bruce helps Unicorn, a fellow actor, by
assisting him for one day and supervises fight action sequences in Unicorn's
film, The Unicorn Palm - Footage of Bruce on the set is used in the movie and
Bruce's name appears in the credits to his surprise causing Bruce to become
angry and make a public announcement denying his endorsement of the film. Unicorn
was advised to get Bruce's name in the credits, so his movie would have a better
chance at being a success.
1972 (Age 32): Rome, Italy - Location shots are made for Bruce's third
film The Way of the Dragon (released in the U.S. as The Return of the Dragon).
This time Bruce gets almost complete control the the movie, which he writes,
directs, and stars in. Chuck Norris is Bruce's adversary in the final fight scene.
Again, this film surpasses all records set by his previous two films.
1972 - December 28 (Age 32): Oakland Bruce's brother, James, dies of "Black
1973 - February (Age 33): Hong Kong - Bruce gets his chance at American
stardom as filming of Enter the Dragon begins while Game of Death is put on
hold. It is the first-ever production between the U.S. and Hong Kong film industries.
On February 20, Bruce is guest of honor at St. Francis Xavier's school for
Sports Day ceremonies.
1973 (Age 33): Los Angeles - Grace Lee, Bruce's sister, sees Bruce
in Los Angeles, CA. Bruce tells her that he does not expect to live much longer
and that she is not to worry about finances as he will make sure she is provided
for. She rebukes him for talking that way.
1973 - April (Age 33): Hong Kong - Filming of Enter the Dragon is completed.
Bruce is at Golden Harvest Studios in Hong Kong dubbing his voice for "Enter
The Dragon". The air conditioners had been turned off, so the microphones
won't pick them up. The temperature soared. Bruce takes a break looping lines
to go to the bathroom and splash water on his face. In he bathroom, he passes
out on the bathroom floor. He revives twenty minutes later just as assistant
sent to find out what was keeping him walks in and discovers him on the ground.
He tries to conceal his collapse by acting as though he has dropped his glasses
on the floor and is searching for them and is helped up by the assistant. As
they are walking back to the dubbing room, Bruce collapses again and is rushed
to a nearby hospital.
1973 - July 10 (Age 33): Hong Kong - Bruce Lee is walking through the
Golden Harvest Studios and overhears Lo Wei in a nearby room bad mouthing him.
He confronts Lo Wei who retreats and summons the local police. When the police
arrive Lo Wei falsely accuses Bruce of threatened him with a knife concealed
in his belt buckle. He further insists that Bruce sign a statement that he
will not harm him. Bruce signs the statement to get Lo Wei off his back although
Lo Wei lied to the police and Bruce never had a knife nor threatened to kill
him. That same day, Bruce appears on the Hong Kong TV show, Enjoy Yourself
Tonight with host Ho Sho Shin. Bruce alludes to his problems with director
Lo Wei, but does not mention him by name. Bruce is asked to display his physical
prowess and demonstrates his abilities. Bruce demonstrates a technique and
Shin is hurled across the stage. The show of power causes the press to indite
Bruce in the paper and accuse him of bullying the talk show host though this
was not the case.
1973 - July 16 (Age 33): Hong Kong - Heavy rains fall caused by a typhoon
off the coast of Hong Kong. Bruce makes a $200 phone call to speak to Unicorn
in his hotel room, who is filming a movie in Manila. Bruce tells Unicorn that
he is worried about the many headaches he is experiencing.
1973 - July 18 (Age 33): Hong Kong - A bad Feng Shui deflector, placed
on the roof of Bruce's Cumberland Road home in Hong Kong is blown off the roof
by heavy rain and winds. The deflector had been placed on the house to protect
Bruce and family from bad Feng Shui; previous owners had all been plagued by
financial disaster and it was believed that this was because of the incorrect
positioning of the house. The deflector was to ward off evil spirits.
THE DEATH OF BRUCE LEE
1973 - July 20 (Age 33): Hong Kong - Early in the morning Bruce types
a letter to his attorney, Adrian Marshall, detailing business ventures he wants
to discuss on his upcoming trip to Los Angeles. Bruce had tickets already set
to return to the US for a publicity tour and was scheduled to appear on the
Johnny Carson show. Raymond Chow goes by Bruce's house and the two discuss
plans for their upcoming movie Game of Death. Linda kisses Bruce good-bye and
says she is going out to run some errands and will see him later that night.
Raymond and Bruce visit Betty Ting Pei at her apartment to discuss her role
in Game of Death. That evening plans had been made for them all to meet George
Lazenby over dinner and enlist him for a part. Bruce explains that he has a
headache, takes a prescription pain killer offered by Betty, and lies down
on her bed to rest prior to dinner. Raymond Chow departs and says that he will
meet them later. Raymond Chow and George Lazenby meet at a restaurant and await
Bruce and Betty's arrival, but the two never show up. At 9:00 p.m. Chow receives
a call from Betty; she said that she has tried to wake Bruce up but he won't
come to. Betty summons her personal physician who fails to revive Bruce and
who has Bruce taken to the hospital. Bruce does not revive and is pronounced
dead. The doctor's are surprised that he had lasted as long as he did that
night but unfortunately Betty did not get him help as soon as she could have.
Bruce Lee dies in Hong Kong of an apparent cerebral edema (swelling of the
brain). After much confusion and debate, doctors declared the death of Bruce
Lee as "death by misadventure." Enter the Dragon was delayed from
its initial premieres by four day because of the actors death.
1973 - July 25 (Age 33): Hong Kong - A funeral ceremony is held for
friends and fans in Hong Kong consisting of over 25,000 people. Bruce is dressed
in the Chinese outfit he wore in Enter the Dragon.
1973 - July 30 (Age 33): Seattle - After a smaller second ceremony
in Seattle, Washington at Butterworth Funeral Home on East Pine Street, Bruce
Lee is buried at Lake View Cemetery. His pallbearers included Steve McQueen,
James Coburn, Danny Inosanto, Taky Kimura, Peter Chin, and his brother, Robert
1973 - August 24 Hollywood - Enter The Dragon premiers at Graumann's
Chinese Theater. The movie is a success, and Bruce Lee achieves world-wide