If I tell you I'm good, you would probably think I'm boasting. If I tell you I'm no good, you know I'm lying.
July 20, 2010 3:32 PM   Subscribe

That guy was a moment in history that will never be repeated.
posted by Wataki at 3:46 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by christopherious at 3:47 PM on July 20, 2010

I'm gonna repost the Moth segment I linked in the thread a bit down the page: Chink. The guy's speaking style is perhaps a bit annoying to some, but I still found it very powerful.

Related blog post.
posted by kmz at 3:50 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

"OK, now show us some kung fu moves."
"It's kind of hard to do it alone, but I'll do my best."
"Well, one of the fellas will step in with you..."

And thus ended the life of John Peterson, boom mic operator, 1930 - 1966.

God rest his beaten-to-a-pulp soul.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 3:57 PM on July 20, 2010

Every time I see that clip I am always impressed at how fast Lee was.
posted by bwg at 4:23 PM on July 20, 2010

I read one of his books several years ago, and recall him mentioning that the secret of the one-inch punch is that in addition to striking your target with all the force you can muster you add a push at the end. Physics takes over to send the poor target sailing backward with a couple of broken ribs. I'll just watch it on film, thankyouverymuch.
posted by vverse23 at 4:27 PM on July 20, 2010

And of course, gongfu is very sneaky, you know, like the Chinese...

Did he really say that...?

Anyway, talk about culture clash, holy crap.
posted by Huck500 at 5:02 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Having watched the rest of the audition and then some fight scenes from The Green Hornet, I imagine Lee on set going, "Yeah, you know what would be really cool? I could launch into some monkey style and then flip onto this table and..."

And the director going, "Yeah, that's great, now hit that guy and strike some kind of oriental-looking pose, ok?"

But thanks for sharing the vid, never seen it.
posted by Huck500 at 5:13 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

I've said it before and I'll say it again: the Green Hornet's main superpower is that he's friends with Bruce Lee. Not a bad superpower, all things considered. But it's probably not as good as actually being Bruce Lee.
posted by mhum at 5:14 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

Every time I see that clip I am always impressed at how fast Lee was.

There's an interview with Sammo Hung where he talks about meeting Bruce Lee by chance as they were stopping by the same movie studio:

Sammo: "Wanna fight?"
Bruce" "Sure!"
Sammo: "And then I woke up. 'Good punch!!!' (thumbs up)"

Look up some Sammo movies on youtube- he's pretty scary quick himself...
posted by yeloson at 5:29 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

posted by rosswald at 6:33 PM on July 20, 2010

Speed kills. Those are some of the quickest strikes I have ever seen, and he's in a suit and tie... the Japanese and Okinawan disciplines rely on understanding where and how an opposing martial artist will strike, and countering it even before the first movement. An Ai Ki Do-ka with a few decades of study might be able to cope with that, and a Karate expert or sumotori or bare-knuckle boxer might be able to just freakin' take it before dishing it back... everyone else? There's your all-time MMA champ.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:37 PM on July 20, 2010

The world is just so much better because Bruce Lee was in it. I love that guy.
posted by callmejay at 8:02 PM on July 20, 2010

Bruce Lee is my hero.
posted by Malice at 8:16 PM on July 20, 2010

Slap*Happy, in America, Bruce Lee was the first prominent advocate of questioning martial arts mysticism and tradition and demanding proof, not of worshipping it. He specifically warned people not to trust white-haired old masters that claim to be deadly and won't spar with you. He loved Western boxing and disdained the idea that a martial art was worthwhile because it was from Japan or any other place or tradition.

"And do not let anyone tell you that martial art is different from boxing. True that they do not shy away from kicks or elbows, but basically and ultimately all arts return to the same truth."

--Bruce Lee, The Tao of Gung Fu

His foremost student, Dan Inosanto went on to explore many martial arts, including ones prominent in MMA now. He has a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from the highly respected Machado brothers. Bruce Lee was already studying boxing and was studying grappling with Gene Lebell when he died. Had he lived, I have no doubt he would have embraced MMA training.

As for being an all-time champ? He was confident but realistic. He said that Muhammed Ali would "kill him" (bottom of middle column), so he understood the realities of size and strength in fighting and was egoless enough to admit this. (I think he could have been a featherweight MMA champ, though, if he had been transported to the future before his death.)

I think that this - the promotion of skeptical, realistic, and evidence-based thinking in regard to martial arts - is his second greatest legacy. Giving Asian American kids and other minority kids someone to relate to in popular culture that wasn't bloodless or passive is first.
posted by ignignokt at 8:40 PM on July 20, 2010 [5 favorites]

Had he lived, I have no doubt he would have embraced MMA training.

The training, perhaps. The sport? No. It was my understanding that he didn't believe in fighting with so many rules.
posted by Malice at 9:14 PM on July 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

He said that Muhammed Ali would "kill him"

I always loved that line. I can totally here in my head how he would have said it, too. "Dees ah little Chinese hands. Heed kiwl me."

What I respond most to when watching Bruce Lee is the simplicity of the equation: get exceptionally good at something, and the cool confidence and swagger comes as a by-product.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 11:05 PM on July 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

Man I love watching Pierre Burton in action.
posted by benzenedream at 12:08 AM on July 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

At the very and of the video, Bruce Lee expressed the sentiment that we were all part of the same family. Pierre ended the video very quickly at that point. I would just like to say that I agree with Bruce Lee.
posted by Quonab at 2:19 AM on July 21, 2010

In 1990 Kaj Pindal and Derek Lamb collaborated to create "Karate Kids" for Street Kids International. It was an animated short, intended to attract and teach abandoned children in the world's poorest countries about AIDS.

After talking with children and street workers, they decided to model the hero after Bruce Lee because was the most widely known and respected personality. I think it's cool that he's still a hero to the world's most vulnerable.
posted by bonobothegreat at 5:40 AM on July 21, 2010

Bruce Lee sits at an interesting nexus in international culture still 37 years after his death. People are still writing books about him, check out - Theorizing Bruce Lee
As an actor he's interested and as a martial artist he was astounding but we have so little to go from on what the guy was really like or what he was about.
A couple of quick notes. Lee actually studied western boxing while still in high school and was turned onto it by his (secondary) teacher Wong Shun Leung. Wong was an infamous Hong Kong street fighter and you could say Lee's unorthodoxy mostly stemmed from training with him. Lee was 1/4 German, and his teacher Yip Man, was told not teach him because of it so Wong took over.
The One Inch Punch is really just a trick, and yes it pretty much is a push. The ability to use it in a fight is next to nil, but that (like everything else) didn't stop Lee from training the hell out of it until he could do it beautifully.
As Lee got older and more famous he was challenged quite a bit and more and more people would question him on his ability. There are a couple of stories where people would ask him questions about fighting other people and he usually shrugged it off, but there are also stories where people would straight up challenge him and he tore right through them.
For some reason martial artists like to quote Lee but if read through his books and collected notes you can see where he starts contradicting himself as he got older. Even in the screen test and interview videos you can see how he had changed his mind about the arts.
I also find it interesting that martial artists tend to lump Inosanto in there with him, but I'll digress from that conversation *coughforemoststudentTedWongcough*
posted by P.o.B. at 8:45 PM on July 22, 2010

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