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A Conversation with Bruce Lee


[Bruce Lee]
…As an actor, as a martial artist, as a
human being All these I have learned from Martial Arts. How can I express myself?
Totally and completely. Definitely in the beginning I had no intention
or whatsoever that what I was practicing and what I’m still practicing
now would lead to this begin with! To express oneself honestly,
not lying to oneself And to express myself honestly.
Now THAT, my friend, is very hard to do! … Biography first…
– You were born in San Franciso I understand? Right! 1940 November 27. Sagittarius! – A diplomat! – And you moved to Hong Kong shortly after? Yes, when I was three months old. – 3 months old, you moved to Hong Kong? Yes. – And you were educated in Hong Kong? Partly, when I was up to around 18 years old, I moved back to the States
and I was attending the University of Washington in Seattle. – What was your major? Are you ready for it?
– Yes
Philosophy man! Haha!
– Beautiful! – I understand you were a child actor
in Hong Kong. Well, I started acting around 6 years old. – What kind of things did you do? Well, mainly unimportant things.
Haha! -They are very important to me.
For instance… I was 18 years old I think something
like you know you know a co-starring role. Other than that, it’s kind of like
you know not anything important… – Were you in things with your father?
Well, no, not really My father was in a Chinese Opera. A completely different thing you know and
I never did like that, you know. I would rather like to watch
‘The Lone Ranger’! – I understand your father was fairly famous in the Chinese Opera. Yes, he was.
– Is he still alive? No. He passed away in 1965. – Oh. What was his name? Lee.
L – E – E – H – O – I – C – H – U – E – N Lee Hoichuen.
– I see. – How many languages do you speak? Well, Cantonese, English and a little bit of Mandarin. – I see. – And you make your films now in
Chinese I understand. In Mandarin, yes.
– In Mandarin they are made? Yes.
– I see. – Was your mother in the theater too? No. – What is your nationality?
– What do YOU feel your nationality is? Two worlds, of course!
Because I hold a dual passport. – I see As soon as I finish all these things here, I would like to move back and just stay there. – You will move back to the US?
Yes. – May I ask what is your height?
– How tall are you? Five seven and a half. – And your weight? 140 (one forty) pounds. – And you don’t have to
answer this if you don’t want to – What is your religion? None! Whatsoever.
– None. Do you believe in God? To be perfectly honest, I really do not. – Did you ever have any other jobs
besides being an actor? Yes. I was teaching Martial Arts. – In the United States?
Yes. – In San Francisco or Los Angeles? Well I had three schools
One in Oakland, one in Seattle And one in Los Angeles. Later on I closed them.
And taught private lessons. – What were they called? My type of Martial Art? – Your Jeet Kune Do?
Yes. Exactly. – Is that what the school is called?
– The ‘Jeet Kune Do’ School? Well actually, I do not believe in schools. Have you read my ‘Black Belt Magazine’ article?
– Yes I have. You have? Well, you know More and more I believe…
You have two hands and two legs The thing is how you make
good use of yourself and that’s about it! Styles restricts you to one way of doing it and therefore limiting your human capacity. – You said in ‘Black Belt Magazine’
That man, the living creature, the creating individual is
always more important than any established style. – Does this mean that
you change your style all the time? I mean this.
Man is always in a learning process. Whereas style is concluded, established and solidified. You cannot do that
because you learn everyday as you grow on. – When did you begin studying the martial arts?
At what age? 13 (Thirteen).
– Did you do study with any famous Sensei? I studied under Yip Man
Y – I – P – M – A – N . He taught me a Chinese Art. – That is the name of a man or the art? The name of my instructor. – What form of the martial arts
did he teach you? The Style is
W – I – N – G C – H – U – N Wing Chun (詠春) – Is that a Chinese form of Karate? You cannot call it a Chinese form of Karate,
Karate came AFTER Wing Chun It’s Chinese ‘Gung Fu’. – Oh! It’s Gung Fu?
Yes. All this Karate, and other martial arts came AFTER that. – Have you ever been married? Yes! Definitely! I have two kids! – How long have you been married? I’ve been married for 9 years. – What is your wife’s name? Linda.
– Linda. Is she Chinese or American? She’s American. – What are your hobbies?
– What do you do to relax? To relax? I WORK! Workout. Doing the things that I want.
Movies, things like this. – How many hours do you
practice studying Jeet Kune Do? I average about 2 hours a day. – Is there a difference, you say something
the ‘Black Belt’ article that, there’s no difference between a Japanese martial
artist and a Chinese martial artist who comes to Jeet Kune Do
– Can you explain? Now, many people come to instructors Most of them they say –
“What is the truth? Hand it over to me.” One Instructor will say –
“I will give you my Japanese way of doing this”. Another Instructor will say –
“I will give you the Chinese Way of doing this.” To me, that’s all.. Baloney! Because… IF there are men with 3 hands
or men with 4 legs, Then there ARE a different way of doing things. But since we have only 2 hands and 2 legs,
Nationality does not mean anything. At least we can say
there are different APPROACHES This does not have to limit to ONE approach. Approaching gets closer to our own self. Art is an expression of our self. When you go to a Japanese Style,
You are expressing the ‘Japanese Style’. You are NOT expressing yourself. – You also say in Jeet Kune Do –
“Life is a constant process of relating.” – What do you mean by that? For instance, when I see a Japanese martial artist I can see the benefit and the limitation. In that respect, I am relating to them. Man is living. He is relationships.
He is relating and growing. – This philosophy you have, goes against
most martial arts teachings, right? Yes. Because most of them are so doggone stubborn! “200 years ago, men fought like this,
so that’s how you fight.” If you maintain that type of attitude… You got it! You will never grow.
Learning is a constant discovery. And if we follow the old methods,
it is a continuing repetition of what is being passed down for generations. – In 1940, at age 18, you returned to
United States, Los Angeles? When? – Sorry, in 1958 you came back to Los Angeles? In 1959, I went to San Francisco first. Then I went up to Seattle, Washington.
– Oh, right. You went to school. – When did you become a professional actor? That is a very funny story! When I went back to the States, I really did think –
“Here I am, a Chinese…” Not prejudice, or anything. The holistic thinking –
“How many times in film is a Chinese required?” When it IS required it is always the typical stereotypes. – Right. So I said “To hell with it!”. But in 1964 – Long beach, California
International Karate Tournament I gave a demonstration. At that time William Dozier
was doing the Batman TV Show. He saw me and signed me up,
and I did the Green Hornet . Then I went on to do Longstreet. – How long did the Green Hornet TV Show last? One Season. – I thought it was longer than that? No. – Then it was on TV in Asia, and did
much better than in America, right? In a way, it established me here in Hong Kong. – So you stayed in the States, did some Longstreet Episodes then… Did you see the one where
I taught James Franciscus? – No, I didn’t see that. – I heard about it though. When you get a chance,
ask Paramount to show it to you. It is worth seeing, really. That episode, Stirling Silliphant… We sat down and wrote that story together. – Starring you and James Franciscus?!
Yes. The first one. The name of the episode is
“The Way of the Intercepting Fist”. They asked me to go back and do a Television Series. Warner Brothers competed with Paramount. They offered $25,000 to hold me for a TV show. – This was after Green Hornet?
They didn’t give it to me, but… … I absolutely wanted to do it. Then I went back to Hong Kong in 1971. And did a movie called ‘The Big Boss’. And the damn thing broke the all-time record! – Now ‘The Big Boss’ was produced by Raymond Chow?
Yes. – And the Director was Lo Wei?
Yes. – How much did the film cost to make?
How much to make THAT film? VERY cheap. Around $500,000 Hong Kong which
is less than $100,000 US. – How much did it make? It grossed in Hong Kong alone
around $500,000 US. Wow. It broke all-time record. Before this, Chinese movies were kind of unrealistic. Overacting and alot of these jumping around and you know… Basically, not as real as they could be. So I came back and introduced some
new elements to it… Like when I kick I REALLY kick, and all that. – That is dangerous, right? Let me say this. Totally. Martial Arts is expression of oneself. – And in your films, do you express yourself? Yeah. Honestly and as much as I can! I did that and then it was a huge success
and then the second film … – Wait. Where was ‘The Big Boss’ filmed?
– In Hong Kong? It was filmed in Bangkok. So the next one came out,
and it broke the first record by over 1 million! – Was Lo Wei the Director on ‘Fists of Fury”? Yes. – And was Raymond Chow the Producer? – Who produced Fists of Fury? Yes. Today we are shooting now on location. It is called ‘Way of the Dragon! It is my company that is producing it
and I am directing it. – How much did ‘Fists of Fury’ cost to make? ‘Fists of Fury’ is around $800,000 Hong Kong. – Which would be…
Under $200,000 US. – How much money did that make overall? Overall, close to 1,000,000 US
(1 million) in Hong Kong alone. – Where else will it play besides Hong Kong? ‘The Big Boss’, the first one, took
all-time record in Hong Kong and Singapore… … and Thailand. ‘Fists of Fury’ is doing the same
thing right now in Singapore. This one I’m doing now, it’s not released yet. But I have EVERY inch of confidence
it will break the previous 3 films. – ‘Way of the Dragon’ is your new film.
– You are producing this yourself? You know Chuck Norris? – I know the name. He is also in it.
The location was filmed in Rome (Italy). – What is the plot of ‘Way of the Dragon’? It is a simple plot of a country boy going to a place where does not speak the language, but somehow he came out on top. Because he honestly, and simply, expressed himself! By beating the hell out of them! Listen, I have to go now, because
my lunch break is over! We have to start shooting.
My Producer is saying I do not have time to eat my lunch now! – A couple quick questions –
– Will your films be dubbed into English? Warner Brothers, who is also invested and I am planning to do
some films strictly in English. I really have a feeling that
in time it will reach the United States. Like the Italian movies. The Clint Eastwood, Spaghetti Western style. – In the ‘Black Belt’ article it said you had been challenged by alot of people who wanted to make their reputation
by ‘Beating Bruce Lee’. – Is that still true?
Oh YES! Every damn day!
In fact, the one who challenged me, He became a movie actor himself.
– Who is that? … Companies beginning to hire him! Then of course, somebody punched him out! After the film, they got into a fight. People challenge me. Right? Then they do not like it. So somebody else challenge the guy who challenged me! It is like this! – Do you enjoy being an actor? Yes! Every inch of it! Because it’s my way of expressing myself. It is phenomenal! It never happened before. Has anyone ever got in to sign
a contract with another company another company and they get $10,000 US! Can you believe that? It is like… I do not believe it MYSELF! – Has your life changed
since you’ve become successful? – I understand you are Cult Figure
in Hong Kong you are very famous! My life has changed in the sense that
it is like I am in jail. – Really? Like what? I am a monkey in a zoo.
People looking at me. I like the simple life,
I like to joke a lot and those things. Now I cannot as freely as I could before. Because misinterpretation comes in and all that. But it has not changed me. In my process of being born and going to die,
something happened. Which is breaking some record. To me that doesn’t mean anything. It is just something that happened. It can be anything. That I am proud.
That I am better than I ever was. Just the same damn old shit!
Hahhahaha! I look around I always learn something. That is to be always yourself. To EXPRESS yourself!
To have FAITH in yourself! Do not go out and look for a
successful personality and duplicate it. That seems to me the
prevalent thing in Hong Kong. They always copy characters. But they never start from the very root of his being. And that is ‘How can I be ME?’ I never believe the word ‘Star’. That is an illusion. What the public calls you. When you become successful when you
become famous, it is VERY easy to be blinded by everything that is happening. Everybody comes up to you with ‘Mr. Lee.” When you have long hair they will say –
“Hey man that is IN baby!” “That is the IN thing!” But if you have no name they say – “Boy! Look at this disgusting, juvenile delinquent!” Too many people are Yes! Yes! Yes!
to you all the time. So unless, at that time, you have gone through a lot and understand what life is about, and right now man some game is happening and realizing such, that that is a game!
Fine and dandy! Then it’s alright. But most people tend
to be blinded by it because If things are repeated too many times you believe them and it BECOMES a habit. To be honest and all that. I am NOT as bad as some of them. but I definitely am NOT saying
that I am a saint! Okay?! There is no such thing as an EFFECTIVE segment of a totality. By that I mean I do not believe in the word ‘STYLE’. Why? Because unless there are human
beings with 3 arms and 4 legs, Unless we have other group of being on
earth that are structurally different from us then, then there
might be a different style of fighting. Now why is that? Because we have 2 hands and 2 legs now. The important thing is “How can we USE it to the maximum?” In terms of path – straight, curve and round lines. They might be slow, but
depending on the circumstances SOMETIMES fat might not be slow. In terms of legs, you can kick
up, straight, same thing right? Physically, how can I be very so well coordinated? That means you have to be an athlete. You have to jog and all the basic ingredients. Right? After all of that then you
ask yourself how can you honestly express yourself at that moment? In being yourself when you punch, you really want to punch. Not punching because trying to avoid getting hit. But to really be IN with it and express yourself. That is the most important thing to me. How can I, in the process of learning
how to use my body, to understand myself?

Robin Kshlerin

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5 COMMENTS

  1. Martial Madness Posted on February 28, 2020 at 3:22 am

    Timestamps
    0:01 Intro
    1:28 My Early Years
    3:25 On Nationality and Religion
    4:40 On Being a Teacher
    6:22 My Journey in Martial Arts
    7:24 My Life, My Family
    8:05 Express Yourself
    10:28 My Return to America
    11:21 The Green Hornet
    12:05 Longstreet
    13:07 The Big Boss
    14:59 Fists of Fury
    16:35 Way of the Dragon
    20:00 In My Own Words

    Reply
  2. Lennon John Posted on February 28, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Missed u Bruce!

    Reply
  3. Mitchell SG Posted on February 28, 2020 at 8:39 am

    Enlightening! Priceless thoughts.

    Reply
  4. Frank Tel Posted on February 28, 2020 at 9:09 pm

    Great job on this

    Reply
  5. cambumbo77 Posted on March 1, 2020 at 3:33 am

    This video was done very well . Thank you for the clips, phone conversation Etc . Hope to see more like this so people can listen and understand and know more about Bruce Lee . A great thinker , Philosopher ,A true Martial Artist in every sense of the word . He distilled the art of fighting to its most natural form. The founder Of Jeet Kune Do . He was so much more than what people saw on the big Screen . The man was real to the core , way ahead of his time , a true motivator for millions of people ,he shocked the world . Bruce Lee accomplished so much and broke so many barriers in such a short time . Bruce Lee The Legend The Best Ever ..

    Reply
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