This is a moment when I’m almost at a loss for words. Quite frankly, Bruce Lee was more than just a man. He was a different species altogether. Something about the way he owned the screen, how he brought sheer confidence and energy to everything he did. I can’t deny that Bruce Lee is easily one of my favourite actors of all time.
I think what separates him from everyone else is the fact he was just so positive. His heart was so pure, unfettered by the superficial. Sure, he was a star with money, and he spent that money well. However, his most prized possession was always his family and his love of his history and culture. There was a light inside him that just seemed to stretch beyond his human cave and penetrate the souls of everyone he met and anyone who ever watched one of his films.
His acting was simple. He wasn’t attempting make grand statements about how brilliant he was. Bruce Lee was a storyteller, always wanting to give form and movement to every scene. Even in the midst of a fighting sequence, he always managed to pour in a bit of philosophy and imagination. One of the most classic examples of this is the fight sequence that was actually not included in one of his most famous films Game of Death. It was a scene in which two of his comrades had already attempted to stop one of the gritty henchmen — and failed miserably. However, Bruce walks in, all swagger and sophistication, carrying nothing but a stick of bamboo. It’s then he begins to not only dismantle his opponent, but also teach him about the power behind fluid movement and “broken rhythm.”
The scene starts at 4:07
It’s this combination of class and confidence that saw Bruce become the catalyst for the expansion and vision of the martial arts genre. Bruce redefined the scope of martial arts, expanding its vocabulary and expressing it with a fluency that very few have managed to have since. As a student of the legendary Yip Man, Lee incorporated the fluidity of the peaceful master’s style with the precision of his own brand of Wing Chun, providing what most would consider the foundation for Jeet Kun Do. It was with this powerful expansion of the classic martial arts style that he bombarded the film industry and created some incredible art. Indeed, his fighting sequences were more than just pauses of drama for the moments of action everyone loves. They were veritable dance sequences, snippets of powerful ballet and jazz that brought the style itself to a new level of grandeur.
But Bruce was more than just an actor. More than a fighter. He had a mind that was as broad and fluid as the water he moulded his fighting style after. It was his philosophies on martial arts and the grander scheme of life that were always so fascinating, always so vibrant. He had a heart and mind that was grounded in beauty, energy, life. I think that’s what puts him in a league above most any other actor I’ve ever witness — his candour and affection for life spilled over into his acting, into his writing. He pushed beyond simply being a gorgeous man with an intriguing fighting style. He was a blessing, a gift.
There’s nothing more potent than a man who’s very aware of himself, very full of knowledge about the world around him and how to interact with it. Bruce Lee was more than simply a master of a very beautifully ethereal form of martial arts, he was a teacher, philosopher, a genuine student and lover of life. For that, he will forever hold a spot in my heart as a rare breed of human who came along to spread his love and then left us with an enormous feeling of peace.