Bruce Lee would have been 72 today

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

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.