Bruce Lee – King of Kung-Fu Kraze
Bruce Lee – King of Kung-Fu Kraze
Say ‘martial arts’ and who do you think of? Chances are ‘Bruce Lee’ comes to mind. He’s a legend of the martial arts film genre, and did more than anyone else to introduce the Hong Kong ‘Kung-Fu Kraze’ to the world. You can find out all about the great man on the Kwesé Know documentary series - ‘I Am’, (Ch 400, Saturday, 15 April at 21:00 CAT) which takes “an inside look at the lives of extraordinary individuals as told by their inner circle.” You can also catch the biopic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story on Kwesé Movies 2 (Sunday, 9 April at 18:00 CAT).
And to warm you up, here are 20 neat facts about the great man.
- He was born in the year, and the hour, of the dragon – considered a good omen in Chinese culture.
- His father was a leading Chinese opera star on stage and film.
- His mother, who was from one of Hong Kong’s wealthiest families, was half- Caucasian and half-Chinese.
- His parents sent him to martial arts classes as a child so he could defend himself on Hong Kong’s mean streets
- Fearing for their son’s life, his parents shipped him to the US after he’d gotten into a fight with the son of a Triad boss.
- He was a child-actor who by the time he left for America at 18 had appeared in 20 films in Hong Kong.
- He was something of a philosopher-poet, believing that knowledge acquisition of any kind leads to mastery of self. He coined the line: “Be formless, shapeless – like water…You put water in a cup, it becomes the cup…”
- Despite extolling the virtues of water, he feared water and couldn’t swim.
- He was a voracious reader, and to maximise his time would sometimes lift weights while reading.
- His unexpected death was deemed by a coroner as “death by misadventure”; he died from excess fluid in the brain caused by a reaction between muscle-relaxant medication and an antibiotic.
- He hoped one day to fight Muhammad Ali, whom he respected greatly for his speed and agility. Catch the ‘I Am’ documentary about Muhammad Ali on Kwesé Know (Ch 400, 8 April at 21:00 CAT).
- In Enter the Dragon he grabs a villain by the hair snapping his neck. The villain is played by Jackie Chan, who sustained a real injury after Lee accidentally hit him in the face with a stick. Catch Jackie Chan in Chinese Zodiac on Kwesé Movies 2 (23 April at 07:00 CAT).
- In 1963 he was rejected for the draft to fight in Vietnam because of his poor eyesight. He wore glasses as thick as coke bottles.
- Bruce Lee got Chuck Norris his start in movies. Lee was the stunt coordinator on Wrecking Crew, where Norris features in a very small part in a fight. Norris said that Bruce Lee was the one person he could not beat in a fight.
- He once said: “If I should die tomorrow, I will have no regrets. I did what I wanted to do. You can’t expect more from life.”
- In 1966 he shot to fame playing Kato, the sidekick of a superhero in The Green Hornet. But Bruce Lee stole the show, so much so that in Hong Kong, where he was a cult figure, it was renamed The Kato Show.
- His son Brandon Lee, also a Hollywood star, died on-set in a gun accident while filming The Crow.
- He was an expert Cha-Cha dancer, winning the Hong Kong Cha Cha championships in 1958.
- He helped start the craze for protein shakes.
- He trained 70’s movie stars like Steve McQueen, who was one of the pall-bearers at his funeral. Catch Kwesé Know’s ‘I Am’ documentary on Steve McQueen (Ch 400, 29 April at 21:00 CAT)
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