Bruce Lee would have been 72 today

by Kirik Jenness | source: The Underground Blog

Bruce Lee would have been 72 years old today.

He was born Lee Jun-fan on 27 November 1940, in San Francisco, and died known to the world as Bruce Lee, on 20 July 1973 in Hong Kong.

Lee found martial arts as a collection of countless strictly organized and controlled contradictory sets of beliefs and practices, each of which believed itself to be clearly superior to the others. It was, truly, a field in which everyone was better than average.

He left a legacy that truth in unarmed combat lay outside of fixed systems. He showed the world a contest with fighters in fingered gloves, using strikes, takedowns, and tapping out to submissions on the ground.

In short, he left a world that was ready to embrace mixed martial arts.

When MMA came along, a new system was created for the refining of technique. It is as simple as wheels on luggage - to figure out if something works in a fight, just fight. If a technique doesn't work for you, you'll know, because you will get hit in the face.

The name Bruce Lee gave to his approach - Jeet Kune Do, or The Way of the Intercepting Fist - captures that reality.

And if there was no Bruce Lee, you wouldn't be reading this, as there would be no UG.

I was 13 years old, the youngest kid in class, about 110 pounds, and spending the summer with pops in the mountainous Kingdom of Lesotho. I watched Enter the Dragon at the Holiday Inn, and since that moment, I have not wanted to do anything else for a living.

Pop got me into training with two South Korean 6th degree black belts. Then I went back to mom in the US and walked in the Suk Chung Institute of Tae Kwon Do and first thing you see is a pic of Mr. Chung and Bruce Lee arm in arm. Did TKD and wrestled in high school. College dropped wrestling the year I started so I did martial arts only, and bought into a studio when I graduated. Did that full time for a decade. Then one night we all got together to watch UFC 1 on PPV for $14.95.

Started learning everything I could about the new sport with a guy at the gym named Dave Roy, and put it together in a Notebook. We self-published it1998. Dave Roy set up an aol site called The Art of NHB Fighting, with a Technique of the Week in it. Expanded that into, and took a sound suggestion to call the place The Underground.

And here we are. No Bruce Lee, no UG.

So happy birthday Bruce, and thank you.


tags: Bruce Lee   


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Recent Comments »

RockyBullwinkle site profile image  

11/28/12 8:12 PM by RockyBullwinkle

I believe he is making an argument that Bruce's impact on martial arts was a lot like that of Jaws on the film industry. It was a great movie but had the unintended consequence of ushering in the modern blockbuster and killing the 70s golden age of adult filmmaking.I think there might be something to that comparison but I also think combat sports of any sort were still in the post WW1 doldrums when Bruce came around, and resparked an interest in martial arts.

FingerorMoon site profile image  

11/28/12 7:16 PM by FingerorMoon

Greatest martial artist of all time:lulz no. Godfather of MMA:...a little closer but still way off ....he definitely inspired a % of people to think outside dogma and look into cross training. And he is credited by early modern MMA guys like Bas and Frank as one of their inspirations for what thats wroth.Responsible for the greatest martial arts movie of all time:Fuck yeah.You can have a different opinion on that but your opinion would be wrong.

Shakwon site profile image  

11/28/12 6:57 PM by Shakwon

If you ever want to destroy your abs at the gym, try one of Bruce Lee's favorite ab exercises, The Dragon Flag.Here is a picture of him doing it:'s some info on how to do it:

Shakwon site profile image  

11/28/12 6:55 PM by Shakwon

You are incorrect, Bruce Lee may not have ever fought in a Mixed Martial Arts match in his life but he definitely competed in Martial Arts matches in his lifetime., Jet Li and Jackie Chan both got their start on the Beijing Wushu Team. Meaning they were plucked from school at a very young age to go to a specialized martial arts school in China and practice wushu day in day out

Sam Lowry site profile image  

11/28/12 1:57 PM by Sam Lowry

I remember watching Chuck on a daytime tv interview way way back, long before UFC 1, demonstrating some self defense stuff on the female presenter. Half the stuff he showed was Judo, which suprised me at the time. I was just getting into Judo myself.Hmm I can also remeber my old rather grouchy Judo instructor moaning about how the club's income pretty much dropped by half when the Bruce Lee movie craze hit.Not saying that is how Bruce wanted it to happen, but that is what happened.

Sam Lowry site profile image  

11/28/12 1:53 PM by Sam Lowry

Well Chuck Norris was already a Judo brown belt before he started karate. Bruce by comparison was well into his movie career before he started mixing in much in the way of grappling.

DiscipleDojo site profile image  

11/28/12 1:24 PM by DiscipleDojo

Name one other Kung fu/TMA guy at the time who advocated grappling and submissions to the degree Bruce did.   Bruce is no more responsible for watered-down McDojos than Sylvester Stallone is for watered down boxing.

DiscipleDojo site profile image  

11/28/12 1:21 PM by DiscipleDojo

Gene Lebell, Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, Hayward Nishioka, Jhoon Rhee, Bob Wall, Dan Inosanto and pretty much every real martial artist who ever trained with him told me to tell you you're uninformed.

Sam Lowry site profile image  

11/28/12 12:56 PM by Sam Lowry

Look he was a cool guy, but not the father of MMA. The result of his movies was a surge in interest in karate and kung fu, but a decrease in the number of people doing Judo or submission wrestling. In fact he pretty much killed off western submission wrestling :-/ I am sure the man himself was open minded, but people who just watched his movies did not generally come out more enlightened, and some ended up utterly deluded. Awaiting more red arrows, sigh. Gotta tell the truth though.