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BRUCE LEE Paperback – 15 Apr 2014

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Unknown; 2 edition (15 April 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0897502086
  • ISBN-13: 978-0897502085
  • Product Dimensions: 1.9 x 25.4 x 30.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 220,264 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Tracing Bruce Lee's path from wing chun student to jeet kune do founder, this publication chronicles his physical journey - from Hong Kong to Seattle to Oakland to Los Angeles and back again to Hong Kong - as well as his voyage of self-discovery and actualisation. It draws on numerous conversations with Lee's childhood classmates, former students, and family friends, offering a unique insight into the life of the legendary martial artist.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Paul Wade on 1 July 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A breath of fresh air to Bruce Lee books-excellent,really well written.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 15 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
New Book Reveals Evolution of Bruce Lee’s Formless Form 15 Jun. 2014
By Tyler R. Tichelaar - Published on
Format: Paperback
Before I read this book, I only knew that Bruce Lee had been a martial arts movie star. I had never seen one of his films or read anything about him. I had no idea what a fascinating person he was—not only was he a great athlete, but I was pleasantly surprised to discover what an incredible artist and philosopher he was. In fact, “artist” better defines him than “athlete,” in my opinion, because as Tommy Gong shows in “Bruce Lee: The Evolution of a Martial Artist,” Bruce Lee was devoted to his art, constantly studying form and learning how to improve it, seeking to make it the formless form that could never become stagnant by making it adhere to hard principles.

Gong retells Bruce Lee’s life story by focusing on his development of his own form, Jeet Kune Do. Gong explores the three primary periods of Lee’s development and teaching while living in Oakland, Seattle, and Los Angeles at different times in his life. By interviewing Lee’s former students, Gong found significant differences in what they were taught. The result is a new understanding of Lee’s methods and the evolution of his formless form of Jeet Kune Do, and a close look at the philosophical beliefs Lee held about martial arts and about life itself.

Anyone already familiar with Lee and his martial arts will find all the details needed here to take that understanding to a new level, including the curriculums Lee gave his students, the influences on Lee, and his own thoughts and desires to develop his art. Gong states that the book’s purpose is to answer the question, “What drove him [Lee] to modify his techniques and training methods, influencing his direction and development as a martial artist?”

What I found most amazing about this book is that while it could be used to understand and improve one’s own technique, complete with photos of various moves and stances, more importantly, it reveals Lee’s philosophy behind creating Jeet Kune Do and his refusal to capitalize upon creating a form that could be taught in a franchise of schools because he knew the students would suffer as a result. Lee insisted on personally teaching Jeet Kune Do to his students, and he did not expect them to follow his methods exactly but to use what they could and develop their own skills according to what worked best for each one. Among the many numerous quotes in the book from Lee about the development of Jeet Kune Do, Lee states, “Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style,” and “The function of Jeet Kune Do is to liberate, not to bind.” Gong adds, “He encouraged followers to blaze their own paths in their personal development and excellence in martial arts, to have faith and trust in themselves when taking directions that might even stray off the Bruce Lee path.”

Lee understood that martial arts was about far more than physical fighting. He stated, “To me, at least the way that I teach it, all types of knowledge ultimately mean self-knowledge. So, there are people coming in and asking me to teach them not so much how to defend themselves or how to do somebody in. Rather, they want to learn to express themselves through some movement, be it anger, be it determination or whatever. So, in other words, they’re paying me to show them, in combative form, the art of expressing the human body.”

More than an athlete, movie star, or artist, Lee was also a philosopher. He was an adamant believer in positive thinking and even wrote poetry with a positive message to it. He believed in the spiritual side of his art, stating, “Jeet Kune Do, ultimately, is not a matter of petty technique but of highly developed personal spirituality and physique. It is not a question of developing what has already been developed but of recovering what has been left behind. These things have been with us, in us, all the time and have never been lost or distorted except by our misguided manipulation of them. JKD is not a matter of technology but of spiritual insight and training.”

After reading “Bruce Lee: The Evolution of a Martial Artist,” I am now an admirer of Lee. I have a great respect for not only his physical but his intellectual prowess. He devoted himself to his art, reading everything he could from books on fencing and wrestling to Chinese philosophy and self-help books. He was more than a martial artist; he was a liberator of man. In a 1971 article in “Black Belt” magazine, he stated, “we must recognize the incontrovertible fact that regardless of their many colorful origins (by a wise, mysterious monk, by a special messenger in a dream, or in a holy revelation) styles are created by men. A style should never be considered gospel truth, the laws and principles of which can never be violated. Man, the living, creating individual, is always more important than any established style.”

Now I understand why Bruce Lee became an icon and remains a household name forty years after his death. It’s not because he was a great martial artist, not because he had a great physique but because he had an inquisitive mind and a great soul that allowed him to achieve that great skill and physique, and to create a legacy that will live on for generations to come.

Anyone who is a Bruce Lee fan will love this book as well for its numerous photographs and anecdotes about Bruce Lee. It is a great testament to a great man, and I feel like my life has been enriched by having read it.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Bruce Lee, the Evolution of a Martial Artist- A pleasant surprise. 3 Jun. 2014
By Norman Baker - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
When I first saw this book on Amazon I was skeptical. There are so many books on Jeet Kune Do and Bruce Lee, some good , and some bad. Then I saw that it was by Tommy Gong. I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with Tommy Gong a couple of times at JKD seminars and events, and I know that he is very knowledgeable. I just got my copy of the book today, and I must say that this is an outstanding book. It has to be the most in depth analysis of the evolution of Bruce Lee and his martial art ever written. I especially like Chapter 6, Comparison of Core Techniques. Thank You, Tommy Gong, for writing this book. It fills a void that most JKD books never even touch.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
The One to Start With 17 Jun. 2014
By Norman Ferriere - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book! Tommy Gong traces Bruce Lee's evolution as a Martial Artist from his Wing Chun roots (at age 13) in China, through his different "phases" upon moving to America (Seattle, Oakland, Los Angeles), clearly highlighting the techniques and training methods Bruce Lee incorporated, developed - and often discarded - along the way. After guiding the reader through the various phases of JKD, the author then outlines the core techniques, which, I feel, is as good a place to start as any, if you want to know what JKD fighting is really like. But Tommy Gong also discusses the philosophical side of Bruce and how he tried to incorporate his personal beliefs into his system of Martial Arts. Martial Arts is as much a way of looking at life, dealing with the world and facing our own fears and limitations, as it is about fighting and Bruce Lee was constantly aware of this, as Tommy Gong shows us. There are six Appendices, One of which is an interesting discussion of Biomechanics, applied to JKD, written by 3 experts in the field. Another appendix is an overview of Bruce's personal library. One of Bruce's most ardent beliefs is that we never stop learning, growing and changing and that adhering rigidly to any style or system inhibits our growth as Martial Artists and as Human Beings.

I hope this volume will go a long way toward clearing up many of the misconceptions surrounding Jeet Kune Do, since the author provides many quotes and excerpts from Bruce himself as well as his widow, Linda and JKD instructors like Ted Wong, who apparently logged more training hours with Bruce than anyone else. There are lots of great photos and illustrations (many I'd never seen before), taken from various sources, including private collections, and they complement the text wonderfully, sometimes demonstrating techniques, sometimes illustrating concepts. I also like the brief "biographies" of Bruce's friend and students, such as Ted Wong and Allan Joe. They help to capture the feel of the time and places Bruce was teaching and developing his art.

For me, Tommy Gong's book clarified so many points and answered so many questions about the techniques (both evolution and execution)of JKD. I've always known that Bruce's art developed through the years, but this book pins it down and shows which of the main techniques developed during which period and how they differed from previous "versions". If you are a long-time fan of Bruce Lee and JKD, this is well worth adding to your library. If you are looking for a place to begin learning about Bruce Lee or his art, I recommend starting with this book, to get an overview of the history and development of JKD. This is one book I will be reading and re-reading.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
One of the best 14 July 2014
By Bob Landers - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is the best ever written on Bruce Lee's Martial Art. Purely factual and put together In an orderly fashion. This volume has many unpublished photos and documents from the Bruce Lee archives . There is so much garbage out there on Bruce Lee ... This book sets the standard of what could be and should be regarding Lee's incredible Legacy.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Remarkable Achievement 18 Oct. 2014
By Scot MacKenneth - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just finished reading Bruce Lee, the Evolution of a Martial Artist, by Tommy Gong. This is such a good book for any martial artist interested in Lee and his systems of fighting. He was Chinese and American from the get-go, born in San Francisco. In fact, his Chinese name, Jun Fan (pronounced fawn) means protector of San Francisco. However his youth was spent in Hong Kong, where he became a child movie star, and studied Wing Chun, a southern style of Kung Fu, with Yip Man. The book shows how Lee incorporated elements of Kung Fu and Western forms of fighting, i.e., fencing, boxing, and so on, on his path toward mastery of the martial arts, at a time when everyone else viewed different Asian and Western systems as walled-off from each other. It also shows that there was much more to Bruce Lee than just acting or fighting. He studied Asian and Western philosophy, reading constantly, and analyzing films of great fighters like Jack Dempsey, Muhammad Ali, and so on. His influence was widespread, partly because of the different people he trained at times, for example, Joe Lewis, the great Karate champion. I knew Bruce in Oakland, and this book really captures his great drive for excellence and self-improvement.
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