“Under the sky, under the heavens, there is but one family.” – Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee goes on to explain that he thinks of himself as a human being. As being a part of one race, and one race only, the human race. The martial arts legend and philosopher’s words ring so true today, as they did when he spoke them into existence in 1971. He was a foreigner who was not accepted into the fabric of American society, because of the way he looked, and because he was not the All-American acceptable male figure. Although he was born in San Francisco, on November 27th, 1940, he was still seen as different.
His love for his craft, and his role as a life-long martial artist did not allow the opinions, beliefs, and the limitations of others prevent him from pursuing his vision of sharing his teachings, philosophies, martial arts training and values with the world. He lived his dream, and he was a beacon for so many others to do the same. Despite being raised in Hong Kong, Lee was an American citizen, and fought through adversity, becoming the master of his own craft and style, Jeet Kune Do, “The Way of the Intercepting Fist.”
What many are unaware of is that Bruce Lee began his project while recovering from a back injury sustained during one of his practice sessions. His vision, his mind and his personal strategic plan for his love for martial arts would not be prohibited due to his physical ailment. Instead, it led further into a career as the world’s most successful movie start, not only as an actor, but a film director, and innovator. He can also be viewed as the grandfather of Mixed Martial Arts based upon his studying of multiple martial arts disciplines and the writing of his philosophy and book.
Bruce overcame the trials of life, from being Chinese, to not being what the American film and entertainment industry saw as being their typical hero, to being an atypical character. He refused to be placed into a stereotypical box, and created his own way, “The Way of the Intercepting Fist,” that punched a hole into the fabric of what American’s deemed acceptable, and built his own path.
Through it all, he was a man of peace, and a world and global citizen who broke through the bondage of racism, and racial discrimination as a martial artist, and as a movie star. However, Lee did not let his Chinese race be counted against him, or the fact that the US audience would not accept a non-American hero. He rose about it, and the little dragon became a living legend.
Bruce Lee stood for something larger than himself. He stood for change, and he became a representation for forward progress. It is to no surprise that we in the fight world, film industry and the philosophical and martial arts community study his teaching until this very day. He showed through his art is discipline, that racism could be defeated.
We can stand together, as one race, the human race, and defeat the racial prejudices and intolerant attitudes by being human rights champions. Let us stand shoulder to shoulder against this prevalent problem by taking a stand in our communities, cities and each and every one of our nations. We too can be the way of the intercepting fist, fighting for justice and fighting for what is right.