The art of expressing the human body


The art of expressing the human body – Bruce Lee


FOREWORD

 

When asked to write this foreword for one of John Little's definitive volumes on the life, art, and philosophy of Bruce Lee, I thought to myself, Where do I start?

How do I properly articulate the overwhelming emotions and warmth from my heart that I have for a man that I have known for over thirty years? How do I communicate the presence of a man that was—and remains—so influential in my life and so familiar to me and my wife Annie, that he is more like a family member? Indeed, Bruce Lee was a man who was such a good friend that I still keep a photo of him in my wallet—even more than two decades after his death. It is indeed an honor to be given this opportunity to say a few words about my friend, Bruce Lee.

I guess a good place to start is to answer the question I am most often asked: How did I first meet Bruce Lee? I met Bruce inSeattlein 1962 when my family and I were visiting to attend the World's Fair. James Lee, a friend of mine since childhood (and no relation to Bruce) had heard from his brother about Bruce and his martial art prowess and skill in cha-cha dancing. James asked me to check out "this cat" and see if he was any good. I was in for a surprise, to say the least.

I learned that Bruce was employed at a Chinese restaurant inSeattlecalled Ruby Chow's, so I went into the restaurant, ordered a scotch, and waited for him to arrive. After a little while, in walked a well-dressed young man; he was confident, almost cocky in his manner. So this is Bruce Lee, I thought to myself. After my introduction, Bruce asked me to demonstrate some of the gung fu that I had learned while inCalifornia. I performed a form from the sam seeng kune (three-line fist) style and Bruce remarked, "Pretty good, Allen." Then he asked me to try to throw a punch at him, and when I did, he simply grabbed hold of my arm and pulled me forward (utilizing a gung fu technique called a lop sao) so hard that I almost suffered a severe case of whiplash. That proved to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

I, of course, immediately reported back to James how impressed I was with Bruce's skill and ability. And James subsequently invited Bruce toOakland(where we both lived) for a visit. I still have pictures of Bruce's visit toOakland, when he first met James. On another visit, Bruce came to my house and we cleared the floor of all tables and chairs—not for gung fu practice, but for a demonstration from Bruce of cha-cha! Bruce definitely had rhythm and timing. After a few visits, Bruce decided to move toOaklandin 1964. He took James up on his offer to stay with him and his family. James's wife had recently passed away, so Bruce's new bride, Linda, took care of James's two young children.

In those days, James and I, along withOaklandstudent and friend George Lee, lifted weights to build our strength and muscle size. Before meeting Bruce, I had competed in bodybuilding contests and trained under Ed Yarrick alongside some of the best bodybuilders and fitness buffs of the time—men like Steve Reeves, Jack Lalanne, Clancy Ross, Jack Delinger, and Roy Hilligan. When Bruce first moved toOakland, he was very skinny After seeing the size of

 

our bodies—three "Chinamen's" bodies, at that!—I think Bruce's fierce competitiveness drove him to build up his own. I actually gave Bruce his first set of weights, and he tirelessly worked with them. By the results seen in Bruce's movies, I think it's safe to say that he was pretty successful with it.

Bruce and Linda's first child, Brandon, was born while they were living inOakland. In fact, it was when Linda was pregnant withBrandonthat Bruce had his famous altercation with the E*ung fu man who attempted to prevent Bruce from teaching his art to non-Chinese students. Although Bruce won the fight, he was displeased with his performance. (That was so typical of Bruce, to try to find ways to improve an already impressive level of expertise.) After it occurred, I asked Bruce about the incident and he commented that "it took way too long" for him to make [he opponent submit. This marked the planting of the seeds of what would eventually blossom into his art of jeet kune do. From this moment on, Bruce constantly strove to improve himself both physically and mentally, and to research the mechanics and science of combat thoroughly in order to learn more effective and efficient ways to subdue an opponent. And, because he dis¬covered that he was inordinately winded after this altercation, it was also at this point that Bruce increased the amount of hard physical training he performed.

After Bruce moved toLos Angelesa year or so later, he periodically came back to visit with us inOakland, sometimes bringing hisL.A.students Ted Wong or Dan Inosanto. And James, George, and I would also travel toLos Angelesfor special events like Bruce's or Linda's birthday, thereby reuniting the "four musketeers" (Bruce, James, George, and I). I still remember the time we visited Bruce on the set of "The Green Hornet" and having to sleep next to Bruce's great Dane dog, Bo. Another memory is from the time when Bruce and Linda's daughter Shannon was born. By then, Bruce had really gotten into serious weight training and his body looked terrific, i r was also during this visit that Bruce took me aside and showed me his now-famous "My Chief Definite Aim" statement, which he had written to help motivate himself.

Many people say that Bruce was way ahead of his time. But he was not so far ahead of his time as to seem eccentric or as though he did not belong to this world. I think a better description is that he was so finely attuned to himself and the world around him that he appeared to be ahead of his time. He dressed very well and related to all people and their situations. Bruce also knew exactly what he wanted in life. His focus and determination drove him to achieve the heights of success that he did in his short life.

I operated a grocery store inOaklandand Bruce often visited me there. I remember one time Bruce was at the store for eight hours, waiting to surprise Linda on her birthday. Using some butcher paper, he started sketching some beautiful gung fu drawings. At the end of the day he just threw them away. I kick myself now for not taking them out of the garbage can! They would be priceless to me, not because of the frenzy of Bruce Lee-memorabilia collecting that has sprung up since his passing, but because of the memories they would now represent of the time I spent with my friend in the store that day.

Bruce used to tell me that he would become a common household name—"like Coca-Cola"—and so it has come to pass! In all my travels around the world, I have seen that the name Bruce Lee is known everywhere, from across North America to all parts of Europe andAsia. One must understand that it is quite an accomplishment to be recognized in countries, such as China, that have been repressed, and yet if I mention the name Bruce Lee in a city like Shanghai, a lightbulb comes on automatically within the minds of the native Shanghaiese.

In looking over some of these points, I realize just how easily my anecdotes of Bruce come to me. But that is the way it was with Bruce. Time would just stop when he was around. He was so inspirational and high-spirited. When I was down, Bruce would always lift my spirits and I would feel better. He could be a serious person one moment and a jokester the next. He never left our house without showing my wife how hard and flat his washboard stomach was. He would often leave us with knots in our stomachs thanks to his sense of humor and hilarious jokes. I hope that these few remembrances I share with you convey some impression of what Bruce was like and the excitement we had in knowing him.

I must give credit to John Little for taking on the tremendous task of documenting Bruce's body of work. John has sacrificed much in order to allow us to read and ponder what Bruce left behind. In this twelve-volume library, John shows us that Bruce truly was a Renaissance man— a thinker, a philosopher, an artist, a tremendous physical specimen, and an actualized human being. Bruce was multifaceted and multidimensional. John provides the opportunity to appreciate the many layers that comprise Bruce Lee. In many ways, with the drive and determination he has demonstrated in revealing the man who inspired him as child, John reminds me of Bruce.

I must also commend Bruce's wife, Linda. When Bruce and Linda were first married, she was just a girl in her twenties, who didn't even know how to cook. When they first arrived inOakland, I showed her how to cook some of the Chinese dishes Bruce preferred. But she has blossomed into one of the most gracious women I have ever known. I know Bruce attributed much of his success to Linda. And it is with Linda's strength and perseverance that Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do was formed, an organization comprised of many of Bruce's direct students dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of Bruce's art and philosophy. Bruce would be very happy about Linda's dedication.

Bruce and Linda's daughter Shannon was only a few years old when Bruce passed on. But with the formation of Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do, Shannon is learning more and more about her father through the memories of many of Bruce's students and close friends. And withShannon's accomplishments, personally and professionally, Bruce would be moved, proudly hugging her and patting her on the back to acknowledge that she was always his little girl.

In closing, I suggest you read this book and use it to motivate yourself to pursue whatever goals you strive for in life. Here is the record of a man who had to overcome his own obstacles in life, and who achieved success because he believed in himself. Perhaps you can use this inspiration to achieve your own success. Even now, I feel Bruce's presence and he still motivates me to this day. When I'm lifting weights (which I still do two to three times per week), I "max out" my workout by doing one more rep for the "old man upstairs," and then do one more for Bruce. It never fails!

 

CONTENTS

 Foreword, by Allen Joe……………………………………………………………………8

Preparation MeetsOpportunity, by Linda Lee Cadwell ………………………………...11

Preface……………………………………………………………………………………14

What People Are Saying about the "Lee Physique"………..……………………………18

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………....19

 

1. The Pursuit of Strength ……………………………………………………………….26

2. Motionless Exercise:The Basic 8 of Isometrics……………………………………….35

3. Enter the Barbells:The Beginner's Bodybuilding Routine…………………………….39

4. The General (Overall) Development Routine…………………………………………46

5.The 20-Minute Strength and Shape Routine…………………………………………...51

6.The Sequence (Circuit) Training Routine for Total Fitness…………………………...56

7.The Circuit Training Routine for Increased Muscularity……………………………...64

8.The Enter the Dragon Routine for Martial Artists……………………………………..73

9.Specialization: Abdominals……………………………………………………………80

10.Specialization: Forearms……………………………………………………………...85

11.Bruce Lee's Top 7 Exercises for the Neck and Shoulders……………………………95

12.Bruce Lee's Top 10 Exercises for the Chest………...………………………………101

13.Bruce Lee's Top I I Exercises for the Back……………...………………………….105

14.Bruce Lee's Top I I Exercises for the Arms…………………………………………113

15.Bruce Lee's Top I I Exercises for the Legs and Calves……………………………..118

16.The Tao of Flexibility……………………………………………………………….126

17. "Real-World Power":The Cardio Connection……………………………………...139

18.Applied Power:Training with the Heavy Bag………………………………………149

19.Interval Training for Martial Artists………………………………………………...156

20. Fueling the Dragon (Nutrition)……………………………………………………..162

21 .A Day in the Life: A Look at How Bruce Lee's Training Methods Evolved………172

22.Days in the Life: Excerpts from Bruce Lee's Personal Training Diaries……………186

23.A Compendium of Bruce Lee's Personal Training Routines ……………………….207

24.Training Routines Designed by Bruce Lee for His Students………………………..236

 

APPENDICES

A.Bruce Lee's Vital Statistics…………………………………………………………..244

B.Bruce Lee's "Muscle Machine":The Return of the Marcy Circuit Trainer…………..245

 

Notes on Sources………………………………………………………………………..250

Index…………………………………………………………………………………... 253