Today would mark the 79th Birthday of Bruce Lee, the “Father of Mixed Martial Arts” and the man who made the martial arts famous through Television and Movies in the 1960’s and 70’s.
Lee Jun Fan (Bruce Lee) or Lee Siu Loong (Little Dragon) as he was also known was born in 1940 in San Francisco, CA while his parents were on tour with the Chinese Opera. Raised in Hong Kong, Bruce Lee was a child actor appearing in more than 20 films. At the age of 13, Bruce took up the study of Wing Chun Gung Fu under renowned Master Yip Man.
Bruce left Hong Kong at the age of 18 to come back to the United States and made his way to Seattle, Washington where he worked in the restaurant of a family friend. He soon enrolled in the University of Washington where he pursued a degree in Philosophy. Bruce began to teach Gung Fu in Seattle and soon opened his first school, the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute. Two more schools followed in Oakland and Los Angeles. Concurrently Bruce married his wife, Linda and had his two children, Brandon and Shannon. In the mid sixties, Bruce was discovered while doing an exhibition at the Long Beach Internationals and his as Kato in the TV series The Green Hornet soon followed. It was at the Long Beach Internationals that our instructor Guro Dan Inosanto first met Bruce Lee.
Below is a video of Bruce Lee’s demonstration, including his famous two finger push ups and “one inch punch” at the Long Beach Internationals:
During his time in America, Bruce was also developing his own martial art, which he ultimately named Jeet Kune Do (translated: The Way of the Intercepting Fist).