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For generations, we'll always remember how our inspiration began with the beauty that is martial arts: Bruce Lee. Although we mostly knew him on the silver screen....
The Thing Is, He Was So Much More Than a Movie Star
And this video proves it hands down, as well as this in-depth interview with Chuck Norris probably never before heard of in the history of Bruce Lee. His "acting" was real. He was all about the strikes. The motions. The power. And he never held back.
Think of character actors and their effect both on the movie-making process and the viewers either at home or in a theater. They believe in what they're doing. They almost embody the exact character they're supposed to be.
What better way to embody that than the most virile, human, physical, and most real way of being human? Being a fight. That almost defines us as a species. Heck, even in the Bible, Jacob "wrestled" with an angel of God, and many see it as an interpretation of what truly makes us human.
We never know ourselves completely until we fight for ourselves.
Martial Arts Is THE Pinnacle of Human Existence
It would then make sense that above all else, martial artists—especially movie martial artists—communicate that essence of humanity and speak to us deeply. It then filters out to everything else resonating with us on steep levels:
All the frail things making us human.
When an actor, an artist, a writer, a performer exhibits the characteristics of humanity for display, for us to experience for ourselves, we identify whole-heartedly and truthfully.
In that sense, Bruce Lee was an artist. He was a writer, too. He was an actor. He truly was a painter, with his broad, colorful, swift, and wicked strokes. We're willing to bet if you tried to colorize his motions, they would be masterpieces of truth.
He Inspired a Generation of Martial Artists Seeking to Reach Audiences, Too
Not just Chuck Norris, of course. But Jet Lee. Dragon Lee. Bruce Li. Jackie Chan. You name it, they'll all tell you: their inspirations were none other than Bruce Lee himself.
It was he who paved the way for those to practice their art and communicate it to the masses all over the world in the unprecedented way: film. To this day, arguably, film harnesses the unparalleled distribution only somewhat mimicked by such marvels as literature, through books.
Think about it: in literally one week, literally millions will have seen a film debut. That's remarkable. To see someone's art form so quickly makes for a great miracle.
The Amazing Thing Is That While Bruce Lee Seemed to Be a True Weapon of Destruction....
The truth is you can expect that any fight he was in—even the ones "staged" on screen—were tests, formidable tests, that even he had to work hard in proving himself. It wasn't like he was impervious. Unbreakable and formidable.
No, he was not. For every punch he threw, you have to believe that he felt as if he was on the brink of receiving a punch back. That was humbling. True. And viscerally challenging. Always on the attack, but focused on the defense. For Bruce Lee, fighting wasn't just about winning, but surviving and believing that the final outcome was there for the taking.
His belief was part of what made him so incredible. He was a human being in every sense of the word.
It's sad that it may have been his own undoing, his art form. But the great thing is, even though he's gone—as well as his own superstar son Brandon Lee—his legacy continues on and will honestly never end.