It’s Bruce Lee’s birthday today, so unless you’re one of THOSE kinds of people who prefer Jackie Chan or Chuck Norris, you should pay your respects.
Chuck Norris ain’t got shit on Bruce Lee.
ITT: Bruce Lee being badass
I haven’t been paying my respects recently.
I’m a small guy. I’m 5’4" (and the nurse was being generous,) 125 lbs. at the very most. I’m in my mid twenties, so I’m not growing any taller to support much more weight in muscle healthily.
When you’re as small as I was as a teen, and athletics and physical prowess are a large part of what your peers value, it’s hard to feel good about yourself all of the time, because no matter what you do, you’re not going to appear as being physically capable.
And I’ve never believed that it doesn’t matter what people think of you. Sometimes, it does.
But when I was a teen, I saw a lot of martial artists who were also small but who could hold their own against anyone in movies (and had off-screen exploits to show their strength and physical skill.)
Jackie Chan had always been fun to watch, even though he himself was a great choreographer and martial artist.
Bruce Lee was a philosophical motivator for me though. I don’t know much about jeet kune do nor have I read any of his books. I’ve only seen a couple of his films.
But I did have that poster I embedded behind my bed. Someone that small (5’7") being that confident, because he could train himself, he knew himself, and he knew his opponent.
Even though I was small, I never actually had to defend myself. I’ve said before that middle school and high school was pretty good. Fairly popular, played varsity football, never picked on, participation in various clubs (heck, I did my share of picking.) But still, I was somewhat awkward. I never really developed a proper sense of confidence, in part because of my size (especially when playing football.)
But I’d look to that Bruce Lee poster and I felt like I could be strong enough and skilled enough to make up for raw strength. I lifted weights, went to football camps throughout the Southeast US, performed conditioning during practice and at home…I began to love the discipline of developing a body that could do exactly what I needed it to do (and learning what I couldn’t do.)
So even though I never played a lot, I had a lot of respect from my teammates, because I was still a good football player and because I knew what I needed to do during games and practice.
After I got to college, I began to take Tae Kwon Do in order to actually try to apply my discipline more specifically, and I got a lot out of that (especially in learning to defend myself should I ever have to regardless of how big a potential opponent(s) might be.)
I don’t like showing myself online, but I’m blurry enough. The black guy with the jumping front kick would be me. The guy holding the board is about 6’, probably a bit taller (I’d say about 6’2"). Easily over 200 lbs. So even though I’m rusty, it’s good to know that I can jump and kick someone who towers over me.
Again, I drew a lot of motivation from Bruce Lee to be athletic and fit. It’s really sad that he died so early, but think how popular he is even among us, even though anyone under 30 here would have never seen him while he was alive. I think it speaks to his influence on the world of entertainment, at least.
Obligatory Epic Rap Battle of History:
Why must the good die young…