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In a lifetime comprising a mere 32 years, Bruce Lee revolutionized the world of martial arts through his profound teachings and philosophy, and created a legacy through his work in motion pictures, that has evolved into a Legend. Thought by many to be the ‘Greatest martial artist of the 20th Century’, Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco on November 27th 1940, between 6:00am and 8:00am, at the Jackson Street Hospital, under the birth name of ‘Lee Jun Fan’. Courtesy of his thespian father, young Bruce made his stage debut at the tender age of three months, playing the role of a female baby. His father Lee Hoi Chuen, a prestigious member of ‘The Cantonese Opera Company’, would carry his young son on stage each night, during his performance of "Golden Gate Girl".
In 1941, when Bruce was only 1 year old, he returned with his parents to the family home in Kowloon, Hong Kong. The modest second-storey apartment, at 218 Nathan Road, would be Bruce’s home for most of his formative years.
By age six, Bruce had already begun to develop the charisma and confidence that would later make him a star, and he appeared in his first major childhood movie, "The Beginning of a Boy" in 1946. Later in the same year, Bruce performed in "The Birth of Mankind" and "My Son, Ah Cheun" and went on to make over 20 movies, before commencing his studies at "La Salle College" in 1952.
1953 was a pivotal year in the life of Bruce Lee. After losing a street fight with a local gang, Bruce began to train in the art of Wing Chun under famed Sifu, Yip Man. His natural speed and timing, and acute mental focus, guaranteed that Bruce would excel in this complex and exacting art. In fact his precocious talent developed so quickly, that despite numerous other encounters with street gangs, Bruce would never again lose a fight. As well as indulging his passion for the martial arts, Bruce also began taking Cha Cha lessions in 1954, at age fourteen. The dance was popular amongst local teenagers at the time, and Bruce not only went on to win the ‘Crown Colony Cha-Cha Championship’ in 1958, but also broke the hearts of many local girls. As well as his achievements on the dance-floor, ‘58 is also notable as the year when Bruce defeated reigning three year champion, Gary Elms, in the Hong Kong Boxing Championships, putting to practical use the combat theory he had devised with Sifu Yip Man. Like many Hong Kong teenagers of the time, Bruce became caught up in the ‘turf wars’ which surrounded the illicit activities of the local street-gangs. Participating in numerous street-fighting incidents, Bruce soon came to the attention of the police. Terrified that their son would forever become embroiled in a life of crime, Bruce’s mother and father, decided that he should visit San Francisco, the place of his birth, to claim his American Citizenship and finish his education.
With only fifteen dollars from his father and one hundred dollars from his mother, Bruce arrives in the United States in 1959, and stays, by prior arrangement, with an old friend of his father. By carrying out odd jobs around the Chinese Communities in the San Francisco Bay area, Bruce earns just enough money to secure his independence within a few months, and relocates to Seattle (Washington) to begin work as a waiter in Ruby Chow’s famous Chinatown restaurant. Mindful of the promise he made to his parents, Bruce enrols at the ‘Edison Technical School’ and through diligent study and application earns his high school diploma, while supplementing his income from the restaurant by teaching martial arts to local residents in backyards and city parks.
By the time Bruce had reached the age of 21 in 1961, his skill in the martial arts was astounding, both in terms of physical application and his understanding of the philosophical evolution, which shaped their development as both a combat medium and art-form. In March of the same year, Bruce matriculates at the University of Washington, to study philosophy. Very soon, knowledge of his incredible skill spreads to the other students, and Bruce once again fulfills the role of both teacher and mentor to many of his classmates. After a romance lasting several months with local girl Amy Sanbo, Bruce, aged 23, decides to propose in the summer of ‘63, but is unfortunately turned down. Dejected he returns to Hong Kong with friend Doug Palmer to visit his family and to benefit from a few months of rest and relaxation before re-commencing his studies. The remainder of ’63 was to prove to be a significant time in the life of Bruce Lee. Not only did he open his first ‘Jun Fan Gung-Fu’ institute, where he would fly in the face of tradition by teaching his direct, effective and street-realistic principles of self-defence to any person of any race, but he also embarked on a relationship with a certain Linda Emery. Bruce’s first date with Linda was on October 25th at the ‘Space Needle’ restaurant in Seattle, and the two quickly fell in love and would eventually marry. Encouraged by Linda, Bruce moved his Jun Fan Gung Fu institute to 4750 University Way near the university campus, and benefited greatly from a major influx of students who became interested in his teachings, and principles of self-defense.
In 1964, aged 24, Bruce meets Jhoon Rhee, the man considered by many to be the ‘Father of Tae-kwondo-do in America’. The two men would go on to develop a life-long friendship, based on their respect for each other’s abilities, and Rhee subsequently invites Bruce to appear at tournaments in Washington and other locations throughout the United States to demonstrate his breath-taking skills. Due to his success with the school in Washington and his growing profile within the United States as a renowned master of the martial arts, Bruce opens a second Jun Fan Gung-Fu school in Oakland, and his good friend and student Taky Kimura takes over the responsibility as head instructor. On August 2nd 1964, Bruce performs at the International Karate championships in Long Beach, California, at the invitation of Kenpo legend, Ed Parker. Bruce mesmerizes the audience with his feats of super-human ability, including the performance of a series of "two-finger" push-ups, and the incredible "One Inch Punch". -"The One-Inch Punch" is a technique which Bruce developed with student James Demille, which effectively allowed him to position his fist one inch away from the torso of an opponent, and with a short, focused strike, propel him backwards several feet through the air, seemingly without effort. Present at the groundbreaking demonstration was Jay Sebring, hair-stylist for the popular "Batman" TV series starring Adam West and Burt Ward. Sebring was so impressed with Bruce’s physical prowess and magnetic charisma, that he immediately put him in touch with "Batman" producer William Dozier, who invites Bruce to L.A. to take part in a screen-test for his forthcoming TV series "The Green Hornet". After a passionate, whirlwind romance lasting less than a year, Bruce proposes to Linda and the couple marry on August 17th 1964 and move to Oakland, California.
Encouraged by his new wife, Bruce continues to teach ‘all-comers’ at his new school in Oakland, and angers the elders of the local Chinatown community, who deeply resent his insistence in teaching the secrets of Chinese martial arts to Caucasian students. Consequently, the elders nominate Wong Jack Man, a local Gung Fu expert, to challenge Bruce to a contest. –For both fighters the stakes are high. If Bruce looses he will be duty-bound to either close his school or stop teaching Kung Fu to Westerners, if Wong looses he will be similarly bound to stop teaching indefinitely. When the time for the fight comes around, Wong, intimated by Bruce’s fearsome reputation, tries to delay the match and then to impose restrictions on the techniques which can be used. Bruce is furious and insists that the fight be a ‘no-holds-barred’ contest. When the match finally takes place Bruce defeats his opponent quickly and easily using his refined Wing Chun technique. Despite his ease of victory, Bruce is still concerned that he took too long to defeat his opponent, and begins to re-evaluate his style. Through this re-development process the early concepts of "Jeet Kune Do", also known as "The Way of the Intercepting Fist" begin to form. -JKD will eventually develop into the most efficient unarmed combat system ever devised by one man, and will utilize the most efficient fighting techniques from such diverse arts as Wing Chun, Thai Boxing, Judo, Japanese Karate, and Western Boxing. Bruce’s key principle for his new system is a ‘style without style’, a ideology and physical training regime which conditions the mind and body to respond instinctively to any given attack, without reliance on set patterns or movements.
During early ’65, William Dozier successfully raises finance for the "Hornet" project and Bruce is signed to a one-year option as Kato in the resultant TV series. He is paid a US$1800.00 retainer, a small fortune at the time, and fulfills his lifetime ambition to appear on TV at the tender age of 24. On February 1st, 1965, Linda gives birth to their first child, Brandon Bruce Lee. Bruce is delighted at the prospect of fatherhood, and develops a close bond with his young son, which lasts throughout his lifetime. Tragically only seven days later, Bruce receives news from Hong Kong that his father has passed away.
Grief-stricken, Bruce flies alone to Hong Kong to attend his father’s funeral, before using his advance from producer Dozier to fly himself, Linda and Brandon back to Hong Kong, to settle the affairs of his father’s estate. After spending time with his grieving mother, Bruce returns to the United States in September of ’65, and resides in Seattle, before relocating with his family to an exclusive apartment on Wiltshire and Gayley in Westwood, Los Angeles.
During early 1966 Bruce finally begins work as Kato in the "Green Hornet" TV series, earning US$400 per show over 26 episodes, with a 2-part guest slot added into the Batman show. While living in Los Angeles Bruce, with the help of Dan Inosanto, opened his third Jun Fan Gung Fu school at 628 College St, Los Angeles, where the final formulation of Bruce Lee's philosophy of the martial art "Jeet Kune Do" blossomed.
The last episode of "The Green Hornet" airs on July 14th 1967, before being cancelled by the network. The ratings had dropped considerably since the first episode, and all accounts, Bruce was more popular with viewers in his supporting role, than leading man Van Williams. Disappointed by this temporary setback, Bruce continues to build a portfolio of televsion work with appearances in "Ironside", alongside Raymond Burr, "Here Come The Brides", "Blondie", "The Milton Berle Show" and "Longstreet", opposite James Franciscus where he appears as Li Tsung in four episodes. -In one episode of Longstreet, entitled "The Way of the Intercepting Fist", Bruce is given the opportunity, by screenwriter, friend and student Stirling Siliphant, to explain on film for the first time, the fundamental philosophical principles behind his amazing fighting art.
Bruce Lee's first Hollywood movie role was as ‘Winslow Wong’ opposite James Garner in the 1968 film "Marlowe". Despite extensive location scouting in India, a planned co-project with Hollywood students Steve McQueen, James Coburn and Stirling Sillipant entitled "The Silent Flute" is abandoned due to the lack of a coherent script. Bruce also suffers further disappointment when he is rejected by producer Fred Weintraub, for the lead role in Kung Fu Western – "The Warrior", a concept later developed into the "Kung Fu" TV series starring David Carradine.
Understandably, Bruce was at an all time low at this time, but on April 19th 1969, his second child Shannon Lee was born in Santa Monica. Linda Lee would say that Bruce felt that "an angel had come to stay at our house".
Bitterly disappointed with Hollywood, Bruce visits Hong Kong with his son Brandon in 1970, and is enthusiastically greeted by the local media community as the star of the "Green Hornet". After a stunning appearance on a local TV show, where Bruce performs a demo of his art, breaking four consecutively placed boards and one hanging in the air, he is courted by local film and TV producers. After rejecting an offer from Run Run Shaw at the legendary Shaw Brothers Studios to sign a 7 year contract on a salary of US$2,000 per film, Bruce accepts a part from fledgling producer Raymond Chow to star in his new project "The Big Boss", due to start production in Thailand. This first Hong Kong produced Bruce Lee film was a massive hit and out-grossed the "Sound Of Music", taking more than US$3.5 million in it’s first three weeks of release. Bruce becomes a star literally overnight, captivating audiences with his magnetic charisma, brutal physicality and a level of martial artistry, which was light-years ahead of any other screen-star working in the business at the time.
After the amazing success of ‘Boss’, Bruce is given a larger salary, a bigger budget and more directorial control for his next project "Fist of Fury", which went into production in 1971. In what many enthusiasts consider to be ‘the ultimate martial arts movie’, Bruce plays the fictional character of Chen Jun, a student of legendary real-life martial artist Fok Yun Gap. In an emotive, roller-coaster story-line of friendship, betrayal, revenge and deadly confrontation, Lee is a true force of nature as he battles against Japanese Imperialist forces determined to subjugate his people and close down his school. In each of the incredible fight scenes, Lee’s execution of technique is exemplary, whether fighting unarmed or with the weapon that would become synonymous with his image: the deadly Nunchaku. As a painful side-note, Bruce’s techniques were so powerful that student Bob Baker received a serious chest injury during the filming of his climatic encounter with Bruce, despite wearing a protective shield under his shirt. "Fist" literally took Asia by storm and Bruce became a mega-star in Hong Kong, unable to walk the streets of Kowloon, for fear of being mobbed by hoards of adoring fans. For his next production "Way of the Dragon", which also heralded his directorial debut, Bruce forms his own Production Company CONCORD with co-partner Raymond Chow.
Predictably "Way Of The Dragon" smashes the box-office record previously set by "Fist of Fury", and public demand for the movie is so high that the police have to re-route traffic away from theatres during screenings. To give "Way" a truly international feel, Bruce shoots on location in Rome, using the Italian capital’s stunning landmarks, to frame the action. In addition, rather than using the Hong Kong fighters so familiar to local audiences, Bruce enlists the services of friend and karate legend Chuck Norris, to appear as his nemesis in the deadly climatic confrontation set in Rome’s ancient Coliseum. This incredible one-on-one encounter stands even to this day, as one of the most skilful and realistic fight scenes ever committed to celluloid, and is a lasting tribute to the outstanding abilities of both men. "Way of the Dragon" also allowed Bruce to take the application of his trade-mark weapon the Nunchaku ever further, than in "Fist of Fury". In an amazing scene at the back of the restaurant, Lee dispatches his attackers using not one but two sets simultaneously.
Using a concept first conceived during location-scouting for "The Silent Flute" in India, Bruce begins work on "The Game Of Death" in August 1972. The premise of the movie, is of three fighters fighting their way up a multi-floored pagonda. To pass from one floor to the next, each fighter must defeat a master of a particular style. During the progression of the battle, two of the fighters, played by James Tien and Chieh Yuan, would be defeated and killed due to their rigid adherence to one particular style of combat and their inability to adapt to the differing challenges presented on each floor. The ultimate warrior, played by Lee, a fluid fighter unrestricted by an adherence to any one particular style, would on the other hand, successfully defeat each subsequent master, before gaining enlightenment after victory on "The Floor of the Unknown". Tragically after filming a number of electric scenes with escrima expert and senior Jeet Kune Do instructor Dan Inosanto, Hapkido master Chi Hon Joi, and 7"6 Basketball sensation Abdul Kareem Jabbar, Bruce was never to complete the project due to his untimely death. The fifteen minutes or so of footage which has survived, prove that "Game of Death" could have been Lee’s finest work. An explosive nunchaku battle with Danny Inosanto and the remarkable ‘David and Goliath’ confrontation between Bruce and Jabbar are years ahead of their time. While working on "The Game Of Death", Bruce is offered a Hollywood contract with Warner Brothers to make "Enter The Dragon". Bruce signs and makes the most successful martial arts movie of all time. The choreography on display is inspired. The cavern fight scene in particular where Lee takes on scores of attackers single-handedly with bare fists and feet, a bo staff, double sticks and his trusty nunchaku is an ensemble sequence which still ranks as one of the most accomplished ever filmed, even 27 years after the movie’s original release.
Bruce’s lightening hand strikes against chief protagonist Bob Wall were reportedly so fast during principal photography that the camera speed had to be adjusted before they could be successfully caught on film. Shortly before the release of "Enter the Dragon", the film that would finally make Bruce a star in the eyes of the Western World, he tragically succumbs to a brain aneurysm on Friday 20th July 1973, before he can reap the rewards. His death allegedly is the result of a reaction to Meprobabate contained in a tablet for headaches called "Equagesic".
Bruce dies in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong. He receives a national funeral in Hong Kong viewed by tens of thousands of mourners. Before Linda and the children plus close relatives and friends including Steve McQueen and James Coburn had Bruce is also given a private burial at Lake View Cemetery in Seattle on July 31st 1973, he is aged 32.
Five years after Bruce’s death, Golden Harvest Chief Executive Raymond Chow finally releases "Game of Death". -Using "Enter the Dragon" director Robert Clouse, a number of stand-ins and the formidable expertise of Hong Kong actor, director and fight choreographer Sammo Hung, Chow creates a framework in which to showcase the final unseen work of Bruce Lee. Upon its release in 1978, fans marvel at the intricate fight choreography and physical expertise on display in each of the three remarkable fight scenes.
Today Bruce Lee is still a world icon and an inspiration to all seeking the answers to life's problems, and the search for ultimate knowledge that is self-knowledge.
Cause Of Death
Bruce died from multi-factoral causes. His doctors knew what almost killed him on May 10th, 1973. He even presented it to Dr. Langford, the next day, when Langford came in and interrogated him at the hospital, after saving his life. He wanted to know if Bruce was taking any drugs. There was no other explanation. He pulled out Nepal hashish and Langford told if he started taking this again, it would kill him. He rejected Langford's medical advice and flew to UCLA and was clean. They found nothing wrong with him, because there were no drugs in his system. This gave him a false sense of security and a few weeks before he died, he was ingesting it again. This type of hashish he got from Katmandu, Nepal. It's one of the most near-lethal strains of *unrefined* hashish and is much more rarer than the refined types manufactured in the Middle East.
It's been documented to kill it's users the exact same way it killed Bruce on July 20th, 1973. It's neurological side effects are nightmarish, and contains over 4,000 chemical compounds, any one of which, his central nervous system could build up a sensitivity to, and so highly toxic, cerebral edema, kidney/ adrenal failure, vomiting, convulsions, cardiac arrest/coma and death is the result. On May 10th, 1973 he ate some in the bathroom and then collasped on the floor at Golden Harvest Studio, regained consciousness and then collasped again, and went into convulsions and seizues and was throwing up, then went comatose. Dr. Langford was very concerned about Bruce having no body fat left, as this will only worsen side effects of drugs in his system. There is no fat to help absorb it, and he also had his sweat glands removed later in 1972. Removal will also cause brain edema, because the saline that carries toxins, builds up in the body and bloodstream. The fluid buildup is pumped from the heart into the brain, resulting in cerebral edema and kidney failure, convulsions and, coma and death. When Bruce left the hospital on May 10th, Dr. Langford was sure he would be back.
He was one of the top two doctors in the Orient and is still alive today. He was right; 10 weeks later, he died. No one killed Bruce--he killed himself with drugs. The doctors were surprised he lasted til July 20th. There were no marks on his body, just heavy swelling from the edema and some bruises on his left temple, running up the brow ridge. While in Betty's bedroom on July 20th, the seizures from the reaction jerked him off her bed, and the left side of his head was hit. They are too small to be the result of a blow with a weapon. Bruising is common with violent body seizures. The inquest was sham. Two UK doctors flew in to overturn Bruce's doctor's cause of death, and blamed it on a pain pill ( he had been taking for years ). It was also for insurance reasons and payouts, since Bruce stated in his will, he didn't use illegal drugs and if he did--he would be subject to payouts to certain parties. The government in Hong Kong was behind this. They didn't want a hashish epidemic on their hands, with all the young kids who worshipped Lee and wanted to be just like him. The night of July 20th, he ingested the hashish in Betty's apartment, than complained of a mind-numbing and constricting headache ( this is a side-effect ), and she gave him the pain pill, Equagesic, to counter the headache. Betty is supposedly writing a book, telling everything, right now.
Bruce's weight in 1972 was 146, as he stated in a phone-taped interview with Alex Ben Block, who called him while he was making Way in summer 1972. He looks about the same weight in the filmed footage GOD some 3 months later in Sep-Oct the same year. Healthy weight. When he arrived in HK in 1970, he was 155, and weight traing trimmed him down. In 1973, while making ETD, he was about 135 pounds and underweight. By May, he was down to 126, some 20 pounds. I've seen a few photos of Bruce shortly before his death and he looks frail and sickly. The robustness from his face is gone. Dr. Langford said he looked obscene, with only 1% of body fat on him. It's easy to tell Bruce in his last few months--June and July. He's so thin and has a new and fuller hairstyle he never wore while in HK. There's a B&W group photo on a gallery on a website, with Bruce, Betty and co-stars and his appearance is identical to the July 10th TV appearance he made in 1973. Timeframe is approximate.
The hashish he was taking was very bad for him, no doubt. Why would Dr. Langford tell him NOT to take anymore if it was GOOD for him. That is what was in his bloodstream on May 10th. Lee was no expert on drugs and formerally was anti-drug. He had costisone injections for the back injury he sustained in 1969 up until he died. This mixes in more drugs in his body and with literally no body fat left, sweat glands removed, making a hypersensitive reaction and death even more positive. Tom Bleeker's book has drawn heavy fire and I don't think it's all in rational proportion,and yes, some things are true. I'm not scorning it, but I doubt if everything stated is altogether true. Sure, if he wants to theorize, that's fine, about Bruce's death being foul-play. It's common. The only people who would know more would be several of his co-workers and friends who were with him the last 12 months of his life. I hope Betty publishes her book. The murder scenario is too easy to fabricate, and there are no hard facts to back it up. People claim "I know who it was and what happend". They want to take the credit and 15 minutes of fame. If they wanted him killed, I mean really, arranging an accident is the best way on the street. The focus is exploring Bruce, his body chemisty, what he took, knowledge of drugs he took, his health in general, form his peak to his decline. He was a sensitive and high-strung guy and had to cope with fame. Taking drugs is common with this.
Ask me to prove it? The proof is there, and much more clearer than it was 31 years ago. The point is not fighting about it. Assemble everything you know and put it together and you're not going to draw a blank.
A few of Bruce's awesome feats:
Bruce's striking speed from 3 feet away was five hundredths of a second.
Bruce could throw grains of rice up into the air and then catch them in mid-flight using chopsticks.
Bruce did press ups using only 2 fingers.
Bruce could thrust his fingers through unopened cans of Coca-Cola. (This was when soft drinks cans were made of steel much thicker than today's aluminium cans)
Bruce was able to explode 100lb bags with a simple sidekick.
Bruce would ride for 45 minutes (10 Miles) on a stationary bike, when he'd finished, a huge pool of sweat was beneath him.
Bruce once caved in a protective headgear made from heavy steel rods, rods that had previously withstood several blows from a sledgehammer.
Bruce's last movie "Enter the Dragon" was made for a modest $600,000 in 1973. To date, is has grossed over $300,000,000.
Quotes From Bruce's Friends about his Amazing Feats:
Herb Jackson - "Bruce was interested in becoming as strong as possible".
Jesse Glover - "When he could do push ups on his thumbs and push ups with 250lbs on his back, he moved on to other exercises".
Herb Jackson - "The biggest problem in designing equipment for Bruce was that he'd go through it so damn fast. I had to reinforce his wooden dummy with automobile parts so he could train on it without breaking it. I had started to build him a mobile dummy that could actually attack and retreat to better simulate "Live" combat, sadly Bruce died before the machine was built. It would have been strung up by big high-tension cables that I was going to connect between two posts, one on either side of his backyard. The reason for the machine was simply because no one could stand up to his full force punches and kicks, Bruce's strength and skill had evolved to point where he had to fight machines. Bruce was very interested in strength training, you could say that he was obsessed with it".
Danny Inosanto - "Bruce was only interested in strength that he could readily convert to power. I remember once Bruce and I were walking along the beach in Santa Monica. All of a sudden this huge bodybuilder came walking by, and I said to Bruce "Man, look at the arms on that guy" I'll never forget his reaction, he said "Yeah, he's big, but is he powerful???".
Chuck Norris - "Lee, pound for pound, might well have been one of the strongest men in the world, and certainly one of the quickest".
Joe Lewis - "Bruce was incredibly strong for his size. He could take a 75lb barbell and from a standing position with the barbell held flush against his chest, he could slowly stick his arms out, lock them and hold the barbell there for 20 seconds, that's pretty damn tough for a guy who at the time only weighed 138lbs. I know 200lb weight lifters who can't do that."
Danny Inosanto - "Bruce had tremendous strength in holding a weight out horizontally in a standing position. I know because I've seen it. He'd take a 125lb barbell and hold it straight out".
Jesse Glover - "Bruce would take hold of a 70lb dumbbell with one arm and raise it to a lateral position, level to his shoulder and then he'd hold the contraction for a few seconds. Nobody else I knew could even get it up there, let it alone hold it up there".
Wally Jay - "I last saw Bruce after he moved from Culver City to Bel Air. He had a big heavy bag hanging out on his patio. It weighed 300lbs. I could hardly move it at all. Bruce said to me "Hey, Wally, watch this" and he jumped back and kicked it and this monster of a heavy bag went up to the ceiling, Thump!!! And came back down. I still can't believe the power that guy had".
Hayward Nishioka - "Bruce had this trademark "One Inch Punch", he could send individuals (Some of whom outweighed him by over 100lbs) flying through the air where they'd crash to the ground 15 feet away. I remember getting knocked up against the wall by that punch. I didn't think it was possible that he could generate so much power in his punch, especially when he was just laying his hand against my chest, he just twitched a bit and Wham!!!, I went flying backward and bounced off a wall. I took him very seriously after that."
Jesse Glover - "The power that Lee was capable of instantly generating was absolutely frightening to his fellow martial artists, especially his sparring partners, and his speed was equally intimidating. We timed him with an electric timer once, and Bruce's quickest movements were around five hundredths of a second, his slowest were around eight hundredths. This was punching from a relaxed position with his hands down at his sides from a distance between 18-24 inches. Not only was he amazingly quick, but he could read you too. He could pick up on small subtle things that you were getting ready to do and then he'd just shut you down".
Doug Palmer - "Bruce was like the Michael Jordan or Muhammad Ali in his prime, somebody who stood above everyone else. It's not that the other martial artists weren't good. It's just that this guy was great".
Jesse Glover - "Bruce was gravitating more and more toward weight training as he would use the weighted wall pulleys and do series upon series with them. He'd also grab one of the old rusty barbells that littered the floor at the YMCA and would roll it up and down his forearms, which is no small feat when you consider that the barbell weighed 70lbs".
Herb Jackson - "He never trained in a gym, he thought he could concentrate better at home, so he worked out on his patio. He had a small weight set, something like a standard 100lb cast-iron set. In addition, he had a 310lb Olympic barbell set, a bench press and some dumbbells, both solid and adjustable".
Karreem Abdul Jabbar - "Bruce put me on a weight training program during the summer of 1970. It was a three days a week program, comprised mainly of the same stuff he was doing for the major muscle groups. I think I was doing about 2 sets of 12 reps, but it worked".
Danny Inosanto - "Bruce would always shadow box with small weights in his hands and he'd do a drill in which he'd punch for 12 series in a row. 100 punches per series, using a pyramid system of 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 and 10lb dumbbells and then he'd reverse the pyramid and go 10, 7, 5, 3, 2, 1 and finally zero weight. He had me do this drill with him and man what a burn you'd get in your delts and arms."
Linda Lee - "Bruce was forever pumping a dumbell which he kept in the house. He had the unique ability to do several things at once. It wasn't at all unusual for me to find him watching a boxing match on TV, while simultaneously performing full side splits, reading a book in one hand and pumping the dumbell up and down with the other. Bruce was a big believer in forearm training to improve his gripping and punching power. He was a forearm fanatic, if ever anyone came out with a new forearm course, Bruce would have to get it."
George Lee - "He used to send me all of these designs for exercise equipment and I'd build them according to his specs. However I wasn't altogether foolish, I knew that if Bruce was going to use it, it must be effective, so I'd build one to send to him and another for me to use at home."
Bob Wall - "Bruce had the biggest forearms proportionate to anybody's body that I've ever seen. I mean, his forearms were huge. He had incredibly powerful wrists and fingers, his arms were just extraordinary".
Van Williams (Green Hornet) - "Me and Bruce used to have these wrist wrestling contests. The two combatants arms are fully extended with the aim of twisting the opponent's wrist in a counter-clockwise direction to win. I was the only known person to best Bruce at this and he used to get really mad at that. But it was simply a matter of weight ratios, I outweighed him by damn near 40lbs. Still, Bruce had a pair of the biggest forearms I've ever seen".
Herb Jackson - "Bruce used to beat all other comers at this type of wrist wrestling and even joked that he wanted to be world champion at it".
Taki Kimura - "If you ever grabbed hold of Bruce's forearm, it was like getting hold of a baseball bat".
Danny Inosanto - "Bruce was so obsessed with strengthening his forearms that he used to train them every day. He said "The forearm muscle was very, very dense, so you had to pump that muscle every day to make it stronger".
Van Williams - "Bruce used to pack up Linda and Brandon and drive over to visit my wife and me at the weekends. He'd always bring with him some new gadget that he'd designed to build this or that part of the body. He was always working out and never smoked or drank. He was a real clean-cut, educated and wonderful person. I've got to admit that when I last saw him, which was a month or so before his death, he was looking great, his physique was looking as hard as a rock. Bruce had great respect for me and as a joke he placed a sticker in the back window of his automobile that read, "This car is protected by the Green Hornet".
Mito Uhera - "Bruce always felt that if your stomach wasn't developed, then you had no business doing any hard sparring".
Linda Lee - "He was a fanatic about ab training, he was always doing sit ups, crunches, roman chair movements, leg raises and V-ups".
Chuck Norris - "I remember visiting the Lee household and seeing Bruce bouncing his little boy, Brandon, on his abdomen while simultaneously performing leg raises and dumbell flyes."
Herb Jackson - "He did a lot of sit ups to develop that fantastic abdomen. He told me "The proper way of doing sit ups isn't just to go up and down but to curl yourself up, like rolling up a roll of paper, doing them this way effectively isolates the abdominal muscles". He would also perform sit ups where he'd twist an elbow to the opposite knee when he rolled himself up".
Bolo Yeung - "Bruce had devised a particularly difficult exercise that he called "The Flag". While lying on a bench, he would grasp the uprights attached to the bench with both hands and raise himself off the bench, supported only by his shoulders. Then with his knees locked straight and his lower back raised off the bench, he'd perform leg raises. He was able to keep himself perfectly horizontal in midair. He was incredible, in 100 years there will never be another like him".
Linda Lee - "Bruce's waist measurement certainly benefited from all of the attention he paid to his ab program. At it's largest, his waist was 28 inches. At it's smallest, his waist measured under 26 inches".
Bob Wall - "Bruce was pretty much of a five mile runner, but then Bruce was one of those guys who just challenged the heck out of himself. He ran backwards, he ran wind sprints where he'd run a mile, walk a mile, run a mile. Whenever I ran with Bruce, it was always a different kind of run. Bruce was one of those total athletes. It wasn't easy training with him. He pushed you beyond where you wanted to go and then some".
Karreem Abdul Jabbar - "I used to run with him up and down Roscamore Road in Bel Air when we trained together during the summer of 1970. It was a very hilly terrain, which Bruce loved, and we'd do that at the beginning of each of our workouts".
Mito Uhera - "He'd ride a stationary bike for 45 minutes straight (10 Miles) until the sweat would form in pools on the floor beneath him."
Herb Jackson - "Bruce would wear a Weider Waist Shaper (a type of sauna belt) when riding his stationary bike. It was all black and made out of neoprene. He'd put it on before getting on the stationary bike. Then he'd turn the resistance up on it. He'd pedal the hell out of the bike. Sweat would pour out of him. He'd ride that bike for a series of 10 minute sessions. He felt that the sauna belt focused the heat onto his stomach and helped keep the fat off. Now maybe it worked and maybe it didn't, but you'd be hard pressed to find any fat anywhere on his body".
Danny Inosanto - "Bruce would be constantly reading through the muscle magazines and looking for new products that would help make him leaner. If he found such an item, he'd read all about it, order it, and then try it out to see if the claims made for it were true or not. If he found that it wasn't all it was cracked up to be, he'd discard it and try something else. He was forever experimenting".
Bob Wall - "Every room of his house in Hong Kong had some kind of workout equipment in it, which he'd use whenever the mood overtook him. His garage, well he never had a car in his garage because it was always filled with equipment. He had a complete Marcy gym that was located just off the kitchen. Everywhere he went, even in his office, he had barbells and dumbbells. He literally trained all the time. His bodybuilding system consisted of lifting weights on a two days on, two days off type of program. However I also know that he changed things around a lot. Generally, his program consisted of three sets per exercise and usually about 15 reps. He was doing a lot of cable work at the time, when he'd pull one way and then the other way, he was into angles and he'd never do the exact same angle twice in a single workout. He was always trying to do things in a slightly different way".
Ted Wong - "Bruce would do a lot of different types of sit ups and bench presses. He was also using a technique like the Weider Heavy/Light Principle, working up to 160lbs in the bench press for three sets of 10 on his heavy days and then repping out for 20-30 reps with 100lbs on his light days. Bruce experimented successfully with partial reps, movements performed in only the strongest motion. He liked the fact that they were very explosive, sometimes he would do the bench press, using just the last 3 inches of the range of motion. It was the same range in which he would do some of his isometric exercises".
Linda Lee - "Bruce's physique reached its absolute peak during the later part of 1971. I think his physique looked just as good in '73, but he had been working really hard from '72 on. It was just one movie after another when we lived in Hong Kong. So he was having less time to do all the training he would have liked to".
Dorian Yates (Mr Olympia) - "He used to do that thing where he'd spread his scapulas and then tense every muscle in his body, he had an incredible physique".
Jhoon Rhee - "You could show him a tremendously difficult technique that took years to perfect and the next time you saw him, he would do it better than you".
James Coburn - "Bruce and I were training out on my patio one day, we were using this giant bag for side kicks, I guess it weighed about 150lbs. Bruce looked at it and just went Bang, it shot up out into the lawn about 15ft in the air, it then busted in the middle. It was filled with little bits and pieces of rag, we were picking up bits of rag for months".
Danny Inosanto - "Bruce told me to come along with him one day to Joe Weider's store in Santa Monica to help him buy a 110lb cast iron weight set for his son Brandon. I thought this was an odd gift since Brandon was only 5 years old. Bruce bought this beautiful Weider barbell/dumbell set from Joe's store, and when we pulled into my driveway, he said "I'm just joking, Dan. I bought this for you".
Michael Gutierrez - "Bruce Lee is very hot these days. So hot in fact, that a 8x10 sheet of paper that Bruce wrote on and signed in 1969 recently went for a cool $29,000 at the Bruce Lee Estate Auction in Beverly Hills last August".