Legacy of the Little Dragon 🙏🏻🐉
Today we celebrate the life and legacy of Bruce Lee, 李小龍 Lee Siu Lung, the ‘Little Dragon’, born Lee Jun Fan, 李振藩 (November 27, 1940), on the 50th anniversary of his passing on July 20, 1973.
There are few people who have made such a lasting impression on the world as Bruce Lee has. He was a martial artist, philosopher and “Artist of Life” who has become a cultural icon that continues to inspire us still.
He would have turned 83 years old this year, and I often wonder how he would have evolved and what he would have accomplished had he survived?
This past weekend, my wife, Tetana and I attended the ‘Bruce Lee’s Wisdom for Riding the Wave of Change – A Conversation with Shannon Lee’
at the Wing Luke Museum in Seattle’s International District, on Saturday.
In Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Bruce Lee’s Legacy, Shannon Lee, Chair of the Bruce Lee Foundation
( https://bruceleefoundation.org/ ) and Bruce’s daughter, offered practical and insightful perspectives on navigating change, shifting our perspective toward wholeness, focusing on redefining our personal wellbeing to tap our potential, and thereby amplifying harmony in our community.
Tetana and I both deeply appreciated the practical insights. It was profound, inspiring and heartfelt.
My wife, Tetana is a licensed mental health therapist, and an Indigenous member of the Colville Federation of Tribes; in the Question and Answer portion of Shannon’s talk, she asked Shannon’s perspective on how to deal with recent events and developments around intensifying racial tensions and attacks on civil rights and was deeply moved by her response. In her own words, Tetana says about Shannon’s “healing talk that literally left me in tears by the end. I’m looking forward to taking the teachings she shared from her father as well as her own healing journey, and apply them to my own life. 🥰
As I listened to her talk, I realized much of what I was teaching my clients in therapy was similar; however, I also realized that I wasn’t also walking the talk that I gave others for their healing journey. In my life, I too, deserve and could definitely use, these very same teachings! Making this connection at the end is what moved me emotionally.😭 I too deserve to live by these teachings, and so much more. I feel like this has been a significant moment of leveling up in understanding what I need in my own healing.🙏 I’ve had all of this in me waiting to be applied to myself all along. 💯✨️ 🥰 I’m so grateful to my husband for signing us up to go to this talk, and to Shannon, for her wisdom sharing.”
We were honored to briefly meet Shannon, and really admire how down to earth and friendly she is, as she signed our copy of her inspirational ‘Be Water, My Friend’ book.
I was honestly starstruck and struggled to maintain my composure. As much as I wanted to stay and talk more, she had other fans to greet before continuing with her busy schedule. Later that evening, she sang the National Anthem at the Seattle Sounders game!
After attending Shannon Lee’s talk, Tetana and I toured the Wing Luke museum, and the Bruce Lee exhibit there. We had a delicious dim sum lunch at Ocean Star Restaurant, and enjoyed wandering around Chinatown, before paying our respects to Bruce and Brandon Lee’s graves at Lakeview Cemetery.
How Bruce Lee Inspired My Life
When I was 12 (in 1982), I became interested in Martial Arts. I was an introverted, artistic kid that was fascinated with world mythology, Arthurian Legends, comics and Dragons. My older cousin Troy was studying Taekwondo and defended himself in numerous street fights; I looked up to him and he encouraged me to watch some of his Bruce Lee movies on VHS. Bruce Lee’s intense example kindled a spark in me, and changed my life. To be specific, Bruce Lee’s example struck such a resonant chord, on a Soul Level, that made me realize that martial arts was my way of life and he helped me discover myself. Soon after, I began studying Judo, and when a Kung Fu Institute opened 3 years later in my hometown, Omaha, NE, I begged my parents to let me join, and I’ve been training martial arts with various teachers ever since. What’s always inspired me is getting so deeply connected, that skillful refinement leads to — or gives way to — the raw expression of Spirit, or Soul. That moment of inspired Grace where we are so completely present and tuned in to Source and flowing from that authentic experience.
That is what I recognized when I first saw the ‘Little Dragon’ on film, and now, 40 years later, I am rediscovering on a personal level through Shannon Lee’s work with the Bruce Lee Foundation, the Bruce Lee Podcast, and her book “Be Water, My Friend.”
Shannon’s own unique insight brings so much practical clarity and focus to her Father’s philosophy, and it’s helping me to refine myself in a personal renaissance.
In my martial arts training over the years, I’ve had the good fortune to meet a couple of Bruce Lee’s students, Richard Bustillo and Jesse Glover, and also met one of Bruce’s teachers, Fook Yeung, and trained with his top student, Dave Harris, for a couple years before he passed.
I know that Fook Yeung had a very diverse background in several martial arts disciplines (Wing Chun, Southern Mantis, XingyiQuan, TaijiQuan and Bagua Zhang, Monkey Boxing, etc), and I’ve wondered how much this mixed approach influenced Bruce Lee’s development of his own martial arts expression as Jeet Kune Do.
My own practice of martial arts, especially the last 30 years, focuses primarily on a system called Bagua Zhang (“8 Trigrams Palm”), from 3 different instructors, which also focuses heavily on adapting to change and transformation in the moment.
The specific branch I practice, and now teach, is “Swimming Body Dragon Shape 8 Trigrams Palm”
Talk about Being Water! 🌊🐉
I remember my own Bagua Zhang Shifu, Yang Guotai, as critically opinionated as he was, referenced Bruce Lee with respect on occasion. Interestingly, much of Bruce Lee’s deep insights mirror the lessons in Bagua Zhang, which is a system designed to take a martial artist’s previous training foundation, and help them become strategically more well rounded, and at advanced levels cultivating Wu Wei, to attune to Source, connect to the archetypal patterns of transformation, and find our own natural expression.
“We are vortices whose center is a point that is motionless and eternal but which appears in manifestation as motion which increases in velocity in the manner of a whirlpool or tornado. The nucleus is reality whereas the vortex is phenomenon. Hold to the core!” ~ Bruce Lee 🐉🌀💫
In the last 3 months, I’ve returned to my initial source of martial arts inspiration, and have been reading biographies about Bruce Lee (the best I’ve read so far is ‘Bruce Lee, A Life’ by Matthew Polly), and Shannon Lee’s “Be Water, My Friend,” which lead me to the Bruce Lee Podcast, which I’ve been immersed in — so far listened up to episode #136!
The Bruce Lee Podcast is a practical, applied philosophy discussion and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in improving themselves and overcoming challenges in life. I’ve learned a lot about myself in the process, and has helped me get more centered and focused on my own life path, and cut through some of my own personal obstacles. So, I am excited to catch up to current — only a few hundred episodes to go! 😄
I want to finish here by saying thank you to Bruce Lee and his family— I have have felt such a powerful Soul-Level inspiration and connection to Bruce Lee, his son Brandon Lee and his daughter, Shannon. I extend a special heartfelt thank you to Shannon, for continuing to share her Father’s legacy, and her own personal insights and loving kindness; it is making a huge difference on so many people’s lives, including my own, and my wife, and through us, our children, clients, students and friends.
May all your efforts blossom into blessings of joy to Bruce Lee and your family, in this life and in Spirit. 🙏🏻🐉
Accepting New Bagua Zhang Students at the Mace Martial Arts WuGuan! 🐉
Share the Wisdom! 🙏🏻
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