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Martial Art Icon
All of the above terms have been used to describe Bruce Lee. To say that Bruce Lee was one of the most influential martial artists of the 20th Century would be an understatement. In 2005, Lee was listed as one of "Time" magazines 100 Most Important People of the 20th Century.
However, Lee's physical abilities were only the tip of the iceberg. The most powerful weapon in Bruce Lee's arsenal was, in fact, his mind. Besides being one of the most influential martial artists of the 20th Century and a cinematic superstar, Bruce Lee was also a philosopher and one of the original champions of self-help and human achievement.
As Lee evolved his revolutionary, "non-restrictive" approach to martial art training and combat, he simultaneously evolved a unique, non-restrictive philosophy toward life and living, the central theme of which is "personal liberation" -- liberation of body, mind, and spirit through greater self-knowledge.
Bruce Lee serves as a beacon of human potential, of what is possible for an individual to achieve if they're willing to put forth the time and energy into their personal growth and development. His words and influence have been felt by millions of people around the world and his non-restrictive philosophy of self-actualization and personal liberation has impacted the lives of countless individuals. His writings and actions have spurred people in all sorts of disciplines, and he continues to inspire thousands of individuals around the world, from all walks of life, including rappers, musicians, film directors, artists, body-builders, athletes, martial artists, business entrepreneurs, and innovators. His capacity as a role model cuts across genders, nationalities, ethnic groups and social classes.
The following are testimonials from successful people in various fields regarding the effect Bruce Lee has had on their lives:
“The one thing – among many – that I have learned from Bruce’s philosophy of Jeet Kune Do is being able to adapt. It’s about having the fundamental skills available so that you can react to any situation.”
Kobe Bryant - NBA legend
"His fighting style was whatever his opponent made him do. That is so much of what design is, too, because as a designer you have to become the person and/or object that you're designing."
(D'Wayne Edwards - Former Design Director for Nike's Jordan Line and Founder of Pensole Footwear Design Academy)
"Bruce Lee inspired me, made me dream - made me realize I wanted to be a filmmaker."
(Brett Ratner - Top Hollywood film director)
"Bruce Lee encouraged me to make my own films with the real Chinese spirit."
(John Woo - Top Asian/Hollywood film director)
"He definitely inspired me to want to do more with my life."
(LL Cool J - Actor/ Top-selling Rap artist
"Bruce Lee inspired the world of all athletes from different sports, not just martial arts, to train."
(Franco Columbu - Legendary body-builder and two-time Mr. Olympia
"I've told people all over the world that Bruce Lee was one of my idols, mainly because of his mental stability, because of his fighting spirit, because it was more mental than physical."(Sugar Ray Leonard - former World Champion boxer/ boxing promoter
“Bruce Lee influenced me tremendously -- Creativity is about sort of spitting out what you’ve got inside -- the things that have influenced you, the images that have stayed in your mind -- BL and all the things I took away from his movies always stayed in my mind” --
Ari Merkin - CEO of NY ad agency TOY
(Photo courtesy of David Sasha Tadman)