Who’s the Master? Or the better question is what’s a M.A.S.T.E.R.? Bruce Lee did not consider himself a martial arts master but a student constantly learning and improving. 50 years ago, Bruce Lee transcended however his spirit continues to cross multicultural eras. Passing on July 20, 1973 (Yes! 720 for all the Martial Arts Trickers who celebrate International Tricking Day), he provided the blueprint to encourage a practitioner to not only learn multiple disciplines but most importantly STUDY the essence of martial arts to apply one’s wisdom through philosophy, business, entertainment, sports, family, and community. We need to take a moment to reflect on the works that have inspired our modern day warriors.
I would like to share a framework that may support our industry platforms where your contributions have been recognized. With HEAL and STEM based educational programs, martial arts activity activates the mind, body, and spirit. The acronym of M.A.S.T.E.R. is a strategic methodology encompassing these attributes however complex in tactical and technical application.
Math | Olympics: As a Cha Cha champion, Bruce Lee had a rhythm of expression (charisma) and understood the 8-count. Was Bruce Lee a contributor of Hip Hop culture? Absolutely. As B-Boys prepare for Paris 2024 Olympics, the disciplines of Chinese animals styles combined with ground and air power moves holds true to his inspired philosophy.
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times."
The 10,000 kicks paradigm are the notable break beats that these modern day monks battle inside the cypher transforming themselves as visual instruments utilizing their flow state as a weapon.
I believe he would have continued to promote the marriage of Eastern and Western cultures sanctioning the B-Boys on behalf of the International Olympic Committee. He would’ve loved Hip Hop and enjoyed learning the elements.
Arts | Action Design: Bruce Lee’s action design and directing continues to be the source reference for video game, animation, live stage show, and film studio franchises throughout the world. From wide screen action sequence to close up emotional reactions, from story board sketches to directing scripts, from emojis to avatars, the camera was Bruce Lee’s tool to present culture his truest expression of a human being with impeccable gifts.
“To me, ultimately, martial arts means honestly expressing yourself. Now, it is very difficult to do. It has always been very easy for me to put on a show and be cocky, and be flooded with a cocky feeling and feel pretty cool and all that. I can make all kinds of phoney things. Blinded by it. Or I can show some really fancy movement. But to experience oneself honestly, not lying to oneself, and to express myself honestly, now that is very hard to do."
He knew the structures of cinematography growing up as a child actor. The Bruce Lee style was to extract the motion from motion pictures. There are known department filters that have the ability to take away from the authenticity of developing a movie such as executing a script, developing a character, directing the film crew, shooting camera angles, and post-editing techniques. Being an organic filmmaker who studied each of these crafts, he was enthusiastic to collaborate with the production team to bring his innovative heroic action genre to the silver screen.
I believe we would have gained further wisdom from him with a production company delivering martial arts content not only for Hollywood, but also for Bollywood and beyond.
Science | Business: Bruce Lee was only able to share a short time with us, but he was able to demonstrate his calisthenics and Jeet Kune Do (JKD) practice. Once he passed, his brand was briefly fractured by production companies attempting to substitute his likeness due to FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt).
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it."
The presentation JKD as a new art form quickly regressed as traditional styles reclaimed market share. Martial art styles and publication dogmas emerged searching for their next martial arts superstar. Martial art schools began to integrate with corporate sales teams and a new media marketing engine was adopted as the Bruce Lee brand became the iconic representation catapulting martial arts as “big business”. Fortunately, his philosophical writings and memorabilia left to his family has been well preserved with the BruceLeeFoundation.org. His teachings are still widely accepted and acknowledged within the martial arts community and across a plethora of business industries.
I believe he would have obtained his philosophy degree from the University of Washington and could have very well contributed into the PhD program as a professor while branching out to support Asian American studies and International Business programs.
Technology | Competition: Known as the father of mixed martial arts (MMA), the recognition that Bruce Lee has received in competitive sports is inevitable. His philosophies of technical precision, patience for enduring repetition, and mindset of expressing oneself freely has been the deciding factor between winning a game versus being a champion of life. He concentrated on the latter experiencing the best versions of himself. He did support tournament promotors and utilized the competitive platform to expand the martial minds of his peers showcasing a way (Tao) for them to educate the ecosystem.
“The world is full of people who are determined to be somebody or to give trouble. They want to get ahead, to stand out. Such ambition has no use for a gung fu man, who rejects all forms of self-assertiveness and competition.”
I believe he would have been inducting within numerous Hall of Fames as well as been one of the most decorated award winning actor/director/producer with many EGOTs (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony) recognizing him for his lifelong ambitions and contributions. His award speeches and TV interviews would have been captivating.
Engineer | Networking: From business to technology seminars, conventions have been events to share new products and services to educate the market on future innovations. Mixed martial arts and tricking have been that millennial innovation from applying Bruce Lee philosophy inside the cage to becoming part of an action stunt team. One region that takes much pride in the Bruce Lee phenomenon is the Bay Area of California. It’s not a coincidence the pioneers of martial arts sport performance (Bellator MMA & Loopkicks Tricking) have been greatly influenced by the San Francisco/Oakland native.
“Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one's potential.”
The convention model has become a platform for mixed martial artists, martial athletes, dancers, and movement subject matter experts to network and express themselves. The cultures primary objective is to provide a venue where new legends are always being developed and created. Over the past decade, conventions have become the venue where talent is being discovered for upcoming entertainment projects and harnessing careers.
I believe he would have sponsored and attended an array of conventions to recruit and develop emerging talent. He loved to teach and the lineage of JKD decedents would have been global influencers across all motivational and movement lifestyles. His M.A.S.T.E.R. class conventions would have included powerhouses such as Tony Robbins, Les Brown, Robert Kiyosaki, and Bob Proctor to name a few.
Reading | Philosophy: Accumulating a personal library of over 2500 books centered around Eastern and Western philosophy, fighting methods, and self-help, Bruce Lee was an avid reader who composed over 800 aphorisms sharing his personal truths. He was known to journal his thoughts and ideas while using it as a reminder to maintain self-awareness. Within his writing were his
7 Affirmations of that being Memory, Subconscious Mind, Imagination, Reason, Emotion, Conscience and Will Power that he utilized as a harmonious system for well being and cultivation.
“One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity.”
Reading and writing is an ongoing journey one needs to develop to communicate and find total freedom within one’s self. Shannon Lee recently published “Be Water, My Friend” which presents how martial arts is a perfect metaphor for growth. Through her father’s writings she has been able to practice his teachings every day.
I believe he would have continued to adapt and recreate himself through the times utilizing martial arts as the core principles to promote human behavior and the law of attraction. He would have been published in many research journals and authored many New York Times Best Sellers.
Bruce Lee is within us all. His wisdom that we have embraced has developed us into generational healers striving for unity giving breathe to social consciousness. If he was President, a Nobel Peace Prize Winner, and peacekeeper with the United Nations, martial arts would be the campaign to serve and save our future generations.
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Shannon Lee and the Bruce Lee Foundation. “Be Water, My Friend” and Camp Bruce Lee have been the most valuable source of wisdom that presents the depth and breadth of self-actualization.
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