Most of the people remember him as someone who destroyed his opponents with ecstatic ease, both when challenged on the screen and even when off it. Call him a Dojo Monk, a paradigm adjective of fitness or what you may, but there’s no denying the cult of the greatest martial artist ever born as described by Hollywood. Lee Jun Fan, or best still, Bruce Lee was in fact not just simply a legendary martial artist but way more than what met the eye. An accomplished communicator, a merciless pursuant toward self- perfection (even if one realizes that perfection is a myth), a doting father, a loving husband and above all, a man who reached spiritual heights through his electric body of work, through rigors of Martial Arts- Lee wasn’t your average Guru.
Must it be said, that on most occasions of his life, a short one, considering the fact that he left us all a bit too soon (Died July 20, 1973) having lived only for 32 years, being born on November the 27th, Bruce Lee was a largely misunderstood figure. Rather, should it be construed that he wasn’t perceived nearly as well and in totality as he would have himself liked or would have thought of.
While there is no denying his martial arts brilliance, a specter unputdownable and masterly for all those who have made visitations to his nearly flawless body of work, it would make for poor understanding of Bruce Lee by just resorting to his glorious, commercially palatable and in other words, “starry” image when he stood for much more in life than the combined sum of his measurable work.
That said, it beckons us, fans, critics, haters and rumor mongers and there’s no shortage of any- to attempt to capture some fascinating insights about a man less understood. Apart from being a Philosophy major from the University of Washington, in an America at a time when being an “Oriental” or hailing from the Oriental land was pretty much chided for whatever reasons the United States held or rather still holds, Lee mastered in writing essays, poetry’s and detailed personal correspondences with fans who saw in him- a reflection of a spiritual warrior. Fighter, therefore may not be the most apt term to explain Lee’s DNA since those who reach spiritual heights seldom crave for bratty or brash tags such as these.
It is highly unlikely that as fans, or listeners to the phrase Bruce Lee, one that still rings an alarm to the mind as it did then, during peak of his fame (end 60s to early 70s) that we wouldn’t be reminded of his most applauded movie of all time: Enter The Dragon. The film that released posthumously, was not only the first ever Chinese martial art venture released by Warner Bros. (needs no introduction) but was perhaps the finest representation of Lee at heights of his philosophical prowess as seen during the 2 hour long martial art epic.
While Lee was also an intensely private man when he wanted to be, his public image never secluded the lesser explored spiritual dimension, one which was not just evident in the very way he gave interviews or spoke to fans, but also marked his supreme hold of the English language and of its engaging vagaries something that Lee finely blended in developing and communicating about his personal philosophy of life, which touched upon Buddhism, Confucianism and further explored the life of another less understood and highly debated intellectualist of our times: J. Krishnamurti.
What augurs well for media when both describing and lamenting (critics) Lee’s exploits is the immediate outside layer that conveys the man’s extraordinary physicality. But, truth be told- Lee was a tough nut in matters of the mind as well. No other martial artist, known in public life, leave alone celebrities has commanded as much respect for his intelligence and “self awareness” as earned by Lee. And, it only remains to be seen who can overtake Lee, both for his ardent quest for self perfection and his mastery over those unbeatable martial art maneuvers.
What’s Up Life thought to tribute the man who passed away at 32 but not before touching innumerable lives around- with his gift for philosophy and his literal divine providence at being this less understood scholastic mind. Time may be just right, to attribute to Lee what he also stood for, above and away from the conforms of Martial Arts- toward his understanding of Life- a legacy he left behind through some ecstatic quotes that bear the true Bruce Lee character- of passion, simplicity and a certain depth toward understanding life that has hitherto remained less experienced, aside the Lee classicists.
We hereby attempt to capture the mind of one of the finest icons of our times through some potent quotes that both elucidate and inform of Bruce Lee’s might. He stood out with his prowess in the minefield called Life; one lit with challenges and the need for constant self-discovery and in the magnanimity of wisdom that he delivered on the most seemingly trivial aspects of life.
Here, Lee speaks of a fundamental truth that governs our life. If we keep cool, we can do it all. But, often in everyday lives, we do just the opposite of keeping cool don’t we ? In a nutshell, anger makes us a nut-case. Lee stated that one must try to control temper as much as possible
On the importance of being yourself
Lee was known for his remarkable honesty in all that he did and said. He was an authentic soul, a charismatic man who intended at keeping things simple and sorted, displaying contempt for aping or mimicking another person. Through this thought, he reinstated the need for authenticity. That we must explore ourselves and express ourselves in the best possible capacity without putting on a mask that is ulterior in its representation to who we are only complicates life.
On the importance of practice
Bruce was known for his incessant drive to improve and better himself. It was a journey on which his life literally depended. At the same time, it may not also be wise to hold the thought of absolute perfection as an ideal antidote toward the frailties of our lives. In this popular quote, which has stuck by Bruce’s iconic martial art image in a fashion akin to snow in winters, Lee emphasized on the need to be constantly prepared for anything an everything in life through practice. In our everyday lives, it has become a bit of a tonic-consumption, hearing the phrase- practice leads to perfection, despite there not being a thing called perfection in the literal sense of the word. Still, Bruce Lee with his nearly perfect physique, agility, mental and emotional capacities instilled in his fans and family members the ethos of self betterment. As in it, lies the key to attain glories.
On the need to own up to our faults
This remains one of his least popular quotes and the reason is quite obvious, is it not? Don’t we all make mistakes, surely! But, just how many of us do own up to those faults and attempt to improve? There may be many, but clearly this social reality stares blankly at our faces every now and then. Lee, ever the holder of clear conscience and believer in great honesty emphasized the need to acknowledge ones mistakes and to work on them too. Off course, it doesn’t make us small if we say sorry when needed.
On the way of life
Life is often complicated. Could it be that we too add our own colors to it? Perhaps yes but not always, one thinks. Whatever it might be, Bruce Lee emphasized on the need to keep things simple and uncomplicated. The more difficult we become, the more complex life gets. It’s simple. The path to attaining brilliance often goes through the difficult but walk-able road called simplicity.
On learning from Defeat
Unarguably, the hardest in life is to consume a defeat. Sure, it takes us all in its wake of devastation but then, what really is a defeat? While we would all be doing injustice to ourselves by inferring that its ‘subjective’ or differs from one’s self-motivation to another, there lies the great wisdom of the Dragon; Bruce Lee. He smashes the most difficult truth, rather facet of human life by slap kicking it with extraordinary wisdom. Defeat is actually a stepping stone to organize and re-gather ourselves. It is rightfully said, defeat is actually a state of mind. In common parlance, we have also heard the phrase- A soldier never quits until he’s dead.
Through this quote, one realizes that Bruce Lee, the dragon, the master, the mindful martial artist was also a soldier of life.