The Man Behind the Dragon

The Man Behind the Dragon

Marital artist. Philosopher. Film star. Cultural icon.

These are some of the words that are used to describe the late Bruce Lee.

But, how much do you know about the man behind the legend?

We caught up with Robert and Phoebe Lee, the siblings of the legendary star who were in town for the recent ONE Asia MMA Summit 2013. The sociable duo was generous in regaling us with fond personal memories of Bruce through the ages.

Noting that Bruce was always a hyperactive character, Robert painted a picture of a fashionable youth who was an avid kung fu comic reader. However, it was only after a tussle with school mates that he realised the importance of self-defence and went into marital arts.

Robert also pointed out that Bruce was an individual who was always eager to learn and try new things. This was reflected in Bruce’s marital art career. Although he started off as a Wing Chuan practitioner, he was a big fan of boxing legend Muhammad Ali. Robert recounted how an enthusiastic Bruce would religiously re-watch video footage of Ali’s bouts and study the sport. 

Through his diligence, Bruce theorised that a fight is akin to a rhythm-less dance. It is a physical as well as mental chess game which requires a fighter to harness all available marital art techniques to one’s advantage.

In fact, a fighter’s extensive marital arts knowledge should enable a fluid reading of an opponent.  Thus, this enables a fighter to instinctually counter an opponent attack. By this rationale, Bruce concluded that a fighter should not be limited to a fixed discipline of marital arts. Hence, he came up his own fluid fighting philosophy, Jeet Kune Do or the Way of the Intercepting Fist.

Pictures courtesy of and

Tragically, Bruce passed on at the tender age of 32. Although he was taken away from us way too soon, his legacy still lives on through his works and more importantly in the memories of his loved ones.


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