The most iconic name in all of martial arts history surely has to be that of Bruce Lee.
He was a living legend in his own time and in death, has only become bigger. In the 40 years since his passing Lee has in no way diminished in his importance to the culture of martial arts, and the impact that he had on Hollywood and the genre of action movies is still felt, to this day. He was, simply put, the first true bad *** of the silver screen. Movie fans were in awe of his cat-like abilities and physique. No one, including other great “tough-guy” actors of the period, many of whom were Bruce’s friends, would ever kid themselves about who the real "man" was.
However, Bruce was so much more than an incredible martial artist and physical specimen. Lee had an incredible personality. He was the guy that could light up a room the moment he entered it. He was, in a word, charismatic. Bruce simply had a way about him. He was bright, charming, articulate man and one with a tremendous sense of humor. He was the whole package; inclusive of being a brilliant actor.
This week, another great legend of MMA, Bas Rutten, was given a tour of some of Lee’s personal treasures and as by Bruce’s daughter, Shannon. Of the pieces that Bas was shown, fans have a chance to see a number of legendary items from Lee’s life, many of which, at least in metaphor, showed up in the bio-pic that bears his name; Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story.
One item that fans get to see is the (model) grave and tombstone Bruce had commissioned post his infamous Oakland challenge match. Fans will be aware of this fight and its significance, as it was featured prominently in the movie of his life. Of particular interest regarding the piece, is the inscription Bruce had transcribed onto the model’s tombstone. It reads as follows:
“In memory of a once fluid man crammed and distorted by the classical mess”.
It's certainly an interesting item, and one has to wonder what it would fetch at auction if Lee’s fans were allowed to bid on it.
However, the show stopper has to be the books that Shannon (had) brought out for exhibit; a seven volume, hand written set called “Commentaries on the Martial Way”. In looking at them and if you’re a fan of Lee’s, it’s hard not to think that weren't looking at some ancient and valuable manuscript; something religious and holy in its nature. The books, to say the least, were / are impressive to see.
Here are a few minutes with Bas Rutten and Shannon Lee, as they discuss her dad and the greatest martial artist of all time, Bruce Lee.
Video courtesy of AXS TV Fights