Bruce Lee. And hands that moved faster than the eye could see!
This November 27th, Bruce Lee would have been all of 76, had he lived on.
In 1973, he passed on at the young age of 33. Much like the many young prophetic geniuses who walked the Earth before and after him.
But yes, he does live on, through his movies, and his legacy of Jeet Kune Do, a martial art form he created; and through his lesser known musings and writings. An ardent pupil of martial arts from a great master Yip Man (another great legend); and of philosophy, of performing arts and more, he became a Guru to new young teens like me in my school days. I still consider him my First Guru!
I got see my first movie Enter the Dragon (repeat-seen oh-so-many times), long after his passing away. In those days, Hollywood films hit Indian shores years after their premiere in the West. I cannot forget the way he literally blew us away with his words and his feats! The extraordinary calm, dispensing deep wisdom, in striking contrast to the suddenly unleashed power-storm of punches and kicks, accompanied by locomotive catcalls and rippling calisthenics - presented an awe-inspiring, magnificent spectacle to young minds like me.
The instant transformation of a mild, unassuming, shy smiling young chap into a powerhouse of explosive action is something that still confounds!
I lost no time back then, running my hands through hot sand roasted on a fire; karate-chopping bricks from the backyard (don't ask me about the thickness), fabricating a nun-chaku with a chain and thick teak-wood sticks (not to ask how many head bumps), and enforcing on myself a regimen of push-ups and sit ups and exercises that easily bestowed six-pack abs on a tight tummy (my mirror never lied)! These have been naturally replaced by family-pack abs at the moment ;)
Masutatsu Omaha's book titled ‘’Vital Karate’ became a Bible of sorts. And the walls of my room were soon crowded with the posters and centre-spreads of Bruce Lee the Magnificent, with the room itself smelling of Colgate toothpaste (no glue back then) squeezed generously from tubes to stick them posters up on the walls.(I later dedicated side walls to Bruce Springsteen, Kiss, Debbie Harry, Anne Murray, Thin Lizzy, Floyd, The Eagles, Steve Miller Band, Police, Dire Straits, Bob Dylan, Uriah Heep, and various others in succession, through the subsequent musical phase of life).
Bruce Lee's other movie releases - Return of the Dragon, Big Boss, Fists of Fury, Game of Death, were eagerly watched many times over, by millions of Bruce Lee fans like me all over the country! We were awed to know Chuck Norris and Steve McQueen, were his favourite pupils.
Mid 70s through early 80s was also the time when the Kung Fu movies hit the screens, overshadowing Karate. ''Forever Mine'' was the first with the knuckle-fist, followed by Shogun's Ninja, The 36th Chamber of Shaolin and a host of others with snakes, eagles, monkeys and dragons in their very titles. Bruce ‘Le’ was no heir. Jackie Chan brought in a different flair. Comedy Kung Fu genre ;) Jet Li still enthralls. And then came the kick-boxers!
But for me it was always first and foremost, Lee.
Always larger than life. Reminding me of the superman in every man.
It was years before I came to know the ideological struggles and the stern discipline that shaped his life, and learn about his introspective and inquisitive nature that contemplated on the Self and the Mind. Emotion, Reason, Will, Determination, Imagination, Conscience, Self-Actualisation...he not only thought about them but also defined them to himself and enshrined them within. To better understand and harness the Thought-Action/Mind-Matter connection.
Please prepare to be shocked and surprised while checking out this link to read some surprising pages from Bruce Lee's diary - writings about things of the Intellect, of body, mind and spirit in an unforgettable, beautiful scrawl.