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"Bruce Lee:  A Warrior's Journey"
Old 04-06-2005, 09:09 AM   #1
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"Bruce Lee:  A Warrior's Journey"

Hey, Ronin, definitely one from the martial artist's dessert tray. I stumbled across it on AMC but it may be floating around the dojo.

The director assumes that you already know a little about martial arts and who Bruce Lee is. He mostly focuses on 1960-1973 and doesn't even discuss Lee's death. There's an extensive interview with Lee's widow, who's been through a lot considering that she's also Brandon Lee's mother. John Little discovered 12 minutes of "lost" footage of Bruce Lee's last project and devotes the documentary to explaining its origin before showing it.

I enjoyed learning that Lee was the Green Hornet's TV character "Kato". Little also claims that Lee was the creative force behind the TV series "Kung Fu", his most poignant experience with Hollywood racism. Other scenes & fights with Chuck Norris are great, but I especially liked the movies of Lee's demonstrations at karate tournaments & private lessons. (At one point three of his students were all national champions.) Lee's original Hollywood screen test is almost as enjoyable as the clips of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar's "low" round kicks sailing over Lee's head.

From the perspective of a martial arts student, I think Lee's work was profound yet lost in the stereotypes. Hollywood racism was nothing compared to the outrage of expat Chinese martial artists who discovered that Lee was teaching Gung Fu to Bay Area gaijins. It was even more interesting to learn about the controversy of Lee's audacity to update Gung Fu into a modern, efficient fighting style instead of a centuries-old martial-arts dance. His Jeet Kun Do reminds me of classic tae kwon do trap fighting, and I wonder how much the Koreans borrowed from the Chinese. I had no idea that Lee worked so hard to use his "no way as the way" metaphor in his fight scenes, especially the "lost" footage.

This is especially inspiring as I watch the tae kwon do grandmasters bicker over new equipment, kicking styles, and scoring rules. I think we need to lock them all into a room with this video to inspire them to stop politicking and start making decisions...
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"
Old 04-06-2005, 01:57 PM   #2
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"

I think I've seen it on A&E or some other cable channel a number of times, as well a few other similar one's. His book (actually published posthumously) Tao of Jeet Kune Do, I feel, is a must have for any serious martial artist's library. Too bad he didn't live long enough to fully develop his art. He was incredible. One thing he believed regarding kicking in real situations was that they are generally only effective from the knee down. How does that view fit with your experience in TKD? But in my limited view, the most awesome and influential martial artist (as if it would be possible to determine such a thing) of the last 100 years, bar none, is Morihei Ueshiba. If you can get a hold of his autobiography, Invincible Warrior you might find it extremely interesting. He had the great fortune to live to 86 so his art was able to evolve to the highest degree. It will be my great honor to participate as one the featured instructors at a upcoming seminar paying tribute to his memory on the occasion of the 36th year of his passing.
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"
Old 04-06-2005, 02:54 PM   #3
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"

Quote:
His book (actually published posthumously) Tao of Jeet Kune Do, I feel, is a must have for any serious martial artist's library... *

... the most awesome and influential martial artist (as if it would be possible to determine such a thing) of the last 100 years, bar none, is Morihei Ueshiba. *If you can get a hold of his autobiography, Invincible Warrior you might find it extremely interesting.

One thing [Lee] believed regarding kicking in real situations was that they are generally only effective from the knee down. How does that view fit with your experience in TKD?
Thanks, my public library has both of them!

Absolutely. TKD only allows kicks above the belt-- or at least above the hip-- but plenty of us have injured ourselves from late or misplaced knee strikes. I know one black belt still recovering from a yellow belt's accidental kick that tore both his MCL & ACL. His retirement is likely to include significant disability.

Just finished my last physical-therapy appointment. Both knees are stronger than ever and, better yet, I'm more aware of how to avoid injuring them. The injury highlighted a couple significant deficiencies in my stance; I hope fixing other problems is less painful. Our kid just passed her blue belt (6th keub) test; I'm taking mine tonight. We're embarking on our second year of training a little wiser, a lot stronger, and much humbler...
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"
Old 04-07-2005, 09:31 AM   #4
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"

(quote Nords): "TKD only allows kicks above the belt-- or at least above the hip-- but plenty of us have injured ourselves from late or misplaced knee strikes. I know one black belt still recovering from a yellow belt's accidental kick that tore both his MCL & ACL. His retirement is likely to include significant disability."

The thing I see about high kicks, from a practical standpoint, is that they have too far to travel, giving the opponent time to react. Also, being on one leg gives up your stability and rootedness. So when the kicking leg is grabbed, you're going down to the ground. I generally don't care to watch the UFC kinds of things, but have a cousin who referrees and competes in them. He'll sweep or kick to the lower leg. You rarely see an effective high kick in MMA. Muy Thai style knee strikes to the ribs or chest during a clinch is another story. I thought the ponderous kicks by Kareem in the film to be a bit funny.

Good luck on your test. Remember to breathe.
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"
Old 04-07-2005, 09:46 AM   #5
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"

A bit off topic, but is there a definitive "best" martial arts fighting technique in a no-holds-barred fight? My understanding is that the different fighting styles (of which I know little) have their own rules and systems...but if you threw those out (no concept of fair play) and all you wanted to know was who would win in a street fight, is there one system that tops all others? Or does it depend on the relative skills and abilities of the practioner?
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"
Old 04-07-2005, 09:53 AM   #6
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"

Yeah, next time I see a spinning hook kick I'm gonna have to try to remember that I have more time to react than a round kick. For whatever good that serves!

I practice kicking as high as possible so that when I get tired I'm still above the belt. About my only edge with younger fighters is my anaerobic-pain endurance.

Here's a geezer martial arts problem for you. Presbyopia kicked in with a vengeance about six months ago and without reading glasses I'm very unhappy about having things shoved toward my face (closer than I can focus).

Now my reflexes have started closing my eyes when head kicks approach. It's a heckuva hard habit to break. It's making mobility much more important than speed or power.

The test was fine. Sabumnim always reminds kid & me that we have more power than accuracy, so he surprised me with a double board break (usually it's just one). Of course I tensed up and completely missed both boards on my first try, exactly the point he was trying to make. Once I was pissed off at myself, the splinters flew. So this month we're practicing "Look before you kick".
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"
Old 04-07-2005, 09:58 AM   #7
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"

Can't say from personal experience, since I'm not into fighting anyone, but watching the mixed martial arts (MMA) contests, fights almost always seem to go to the ground. So the grapplers usually have an advantage over the boxers. Having met Rickson Gracie, I would put all my bets on him because he's a superb jujitsu grappler and a skilled athlete. But there are still rules in those MMA fights, so who knows. A bullet from 6 feet seems to be the most effective to me. A sniper is a sneaky bastard. The mind is still the most effective weapon in my opinion. Probably a combo of skill, training, experience, craftiness, suprise, and luck.
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Kicking & striking
Old 04-07-2005, 06:39 PM   #8
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Kicking & striking

Speaking from a whole 13 months' experience, even that has been spent learning to attack from greater distances. What used to be started at arms' length now begins from four or even six feet out. Grappling has too many vulnerabilities to risk defending yourself, even if you're an expert with blinding speed.

I'd do everything in my power to avoid being touched by someone with judo/aikido skills. Most of tae kwon do consists of getting into target range, making the moves, and getting the heck outta there. In a self-defense situation the best target is the knees/ankles or the genitals/stomach. Once you've reduced the opponent's mobility, you could hope to completely immobilize him with more of the same and then depart the scene quickly. Head kicks, of course, would be a completely unecessary and totally emotional reaction.

But 90% of self defense is not getting into that sort of situation in the first place.

In a "no holds barred" fight, it'd be interesting to see if the participants could be padded well enough to survive yet still able to move. I don't think they'd have very long careers!
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"
Old 04-08-2005, 03:45 AM   #9
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"

Re. "I'd avoid being touched........kicking and striking"
Skip the classes and visit your nearest gun shop

JG
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"
Old 04-08-2005, 05:29 AM   #10
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Re: "Bruce Lee: *A Warrior's Journey"

Watched all that Bruce Lee stuff mentioned - and thoughly enjoyed it all from a couch potato, historical, social mores/commentary point of view. I even like a little Jackie Chan over the top humor every once in a while - at the same time appreciating the athletics required.

Youth is wasted on the young. No phys ed or guns - I have this automatic weapon - a golden retriever - in bad weather he rides in the front of the pickup and on a chain in back on good days.

Dumb me - 40 years ago - I though cars were a babe magnet. Try a golden retreiver in the back of a pickup when you go to town.
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