Bruce Lee

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Under the sky, under the heavens, there is but one family. It just so happens that people are different.

Bruce Lee (27 November 194020 July 1973) was a Chinese American martial artist and actor who is widely regarded as the most influential martial artist of the 20th century.

Quotes[edit]

When you're talking about fighting, as it is, with no rules, well then, baby you'd better train every part of your body!
Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.
Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.
Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water.
Note: Many of Bruce Lee's statements are derived from his own studies of various schools of philosophy and the martial arts, and are sometimes paraphrases of previous expressions by others which he wrote down for his own instruction.
  • Nowadays you don't go around on the street kicking people, punching people — because if you do (makes gun shape with hand), well that's it — I don't care how good you are.
    • Bruce Lee interview on the Pierre Berton Show (1971)
  • You know what I want to think of myself? As a human being. Because, I mean I don't want to be like "As Confucius say," but under the sky, under the heavens there is but one family. It just so happens that people are different.
    • Bruce Lee: The Lost Interview (1971)
  • When you're talking about fighting, as it is, with no rules, well then, baby you'd better train every part of your body!
    • Bruce Lee: The Lost Interview (1971)
  • All types of knowledge, ultimately mean self knowledge.
    • Bruce Lee: The Lost Interview (1971)
  • Boards don't hit back.
    • As "Mr. Lee" in Enter the Dragon (1973); Bruce Lee's character said this to "Oharra" after Oharra had broken a board in the air with his fist.
  • A good martial artist does not become tense, but ready. Not thinking, yet not dreaming. Ready for whatever may come. When the opponent expands, I contract; and when he contracts, I expand. And when there is an opportunity, "I" do not hit, "it" hits all by itself.
    • Bruce Lee: Enter the Dragon (1973); In a conversation with an older member of the temple.
  • Don't think, feel....it is like a finger pointing a way to the moon. Don't concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory!
    • Bruce Lee: Enter the Dragon (1973); In a training session with one of the temple students.
  • Man, the living creature, the creating individual, is always more important than any established style or system.
    • As quoted in "From Wing Chun to Jeet Kune Do" by Jesse R. Glover in Black Belt Vol. 31, No. 9 (September 1993), p. 35
  • Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it.
    • As quoted in Bruce Lee : Fighting Spirit (1994) by Bruce Thomas (1994), p. 44
  • Forget about winning and losing; forget about pride and pain. Let your opponent graze your skin and you smash into his flesh; let him smash into your flesh and you fracture his bones; let him fracture your bones and you take his life. Do not be concerned with escaping safely — lay your life before him.
    • As quoted in Bruce Lee : Artist of Life (1999) edited by John R. Little, p. 192
  • There are no limits. There are plateaus, but you must not stay there, you must go beyond them. If it kills you, it kills you. A man must constantly exceed his level.
    • As quoted in The Art of Expressing the Human Body (1998) edited by John R. Little, p. 23
  • Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.

Tao of Jeet Kune Do (1975)[edit]

Jeet Kune Do favors formlessness so that it can assume all forms and since Jeet Kune Do has no style, it can fit in with all styles.
Awareness has no frontier; it is giving of your whole being, without exclusion.
  • Jeet Kune Do favors formlessness so that it can assume all forms and since Jeet Kune Do has no style, it can fit in with all styles. As a result, Jeet Kune Do utilizes all ways and is bound by none and, likewise, uses any techniques which serve its end.
    • p. 12
  • When there is freedom from mechanical conditioning, there is simplicity. The classical man is just a bundle of routine, ideas and tradition. If you follow the classical pattern, you are understanding the routine, the tradition, the shadow — you are not understanding yourself.
  • Do not deny the classical approach, simply as a reaction, or you will have created another pattern and trapped yourself there.
    • p. 25
  • Truth has no path. Truth is living and, therefore, changing. Awareness is without choice, without demand, without anxiety; in that state of mind, there is perception. To know oneself is to study oneself in action with another person. Awareness has no frontier; it is giving of your whole being, without exclusion.
    • This statement probably derives from a famous one of Jiddu Krishnamurti: "Truth is a pathless land."

The Warrior Within : The Philosophies of Bruce Lee (1996)[edit]

If one loves, one need not have an ideology of love.
The happiness that is derived from excitement is like a brilliant fire — soon it will go out.
There is no such thing as maturity. There is instead an ever-evolving process of maturing. Because when there is a maturity, there is a conclusion and a cessation. That’s the end. That’s when the coffin is closed.
  • To contemplate a thing implies maintaining oneself OUTSIDE it, resolved to keep a distance between it and ourselves.
    • p. 30
  • Running water never grows stale. So you just have to 'keep on flowing.'
    • p. 48
  • If one loves, one need not have an ideology of love.
    • p. 64
  • The happiness that is derived from excitement is like a brilliant fire — soon it will go out. Before we married, we never had the chance to go out to nightclubs. We only spent our nights watching TV and chatting. Many young couples live a very exciting life when they are in love. So, when they marry, and their lives are reduced to calmness and dullness, they will feel impatient and will drink the bitter cup of a sad marriage.
    • p. 66
  • Of course you’re there. Death is always there. So why was I afraid? Your leap is swift. Your claws are sharp and merciful. What can you take from me which is not already yours? . . . Everything I have done until now has been fruitless. It has led to nothing. There was no other path except that it led to nothing — and before me now there is only one real fact — Death. The truth I have been seeking — this truth is Death. Yet Death is also a seeker. Forever seeking me. So — we have met at last. And I am prepared. I am at peace. Because I will conquer death with death.
    • p. 77, spoken by Cord, the protagonist of the unproduced film The Silent Flute
  • Neither. I think of myself as a human being.
    • p. 87, when asked if he thought of himself as Chinese or American
  • The Three Stages of Cultivation — The first is the primitive stage. It is a stage of original ignorance in which a person knows nothing about the art of combat. In a fight, he simply blocks and strikes instinctively without a concern for what is right and wrong. Of course, he may not be so-called scientific, but, nevertheless, being himself, his attacks or defenses are fluid. The second stage — the stage of sophistication, or mechanical stage — begins when a person starts his training. He is taught the different ways of blocking, striking, kicking, standing, breathing, and thinking — unquestionably, he has gained the scientific knowledge of combat, but unfortunately his original self and sense of freedom are lost, and his action no longer flows by itself. His mind tends to freeze at different movements for calculations and analysis, and even worse, he might be called “intellectually bound” and maintain himself outside of the actual reality. The third stage — the stage of artlessness, or spontaneous stage — occurs when, after years of serious and hard practice, the student realizes that after all, gung fu is nothing special. And instead of trying to impose on his mind, he adjusts himself to his opponent like water pressing on an earthen wall. It flows through the slightest crack. There is nothing to try to do but try to be purposeless and formless, like water. All of his classical techniques and standard styles are minimized, if not wiped out, and nothingness prevails. He is no longer confined.
    • p. 108-109
  • In Jeet Kune Do, it’s not how much you have learned, but how much you have absorbed from what you have learned. It is not how much fixed knowledge you can accumulate, but what you can apply livingly that counts. ‘Being’ is more valued than "doing".
    • p. 117
  • You have to keep your reflexes so that when you want it — it’s there. When you want to move — you are moving. And when you move, you are determined to move! Not accepting even one inch less than 100 percent of your honest feelings. Not anything less than that. So that is the type of thing you have to train yourself into. To become one with your feelings so that, when you think — it is.
    • p. 126
  • In life, what more can you ask for than to be real? To fulfill one’s potential instead of wasting energy on [attempting to] actualize one’s dissipating image, which is not real and an expenditure of one’s vital energy. We have great work ahead of us, and it needs devotion and much, much energy. To grow, to discover, we need involvement, which is something I experience every day — sometimes good, sometimes frustrating. No matter what, you must let your inner light guide you out of the darkness.
    • p. 126
  • None whatsoever.
    • When asked what major religion he was affiliated with in 1972 by journalist Alex Ben Block, p. 128
  • To be perfectly frank, I really do not.
    • When asked if he believed in God, p. 128
  • I believe in sleeping.
    • When asked by his brother Robert if he believed in God, p. 129
  • There is no such thing as maturity. There is instead an ever-evolving process of maturing. Because when there is a maturity, there is a conclusion and a cessation. That’s the end. That’s when the coffin is closed. You might be deteriorating physically in the long process of aging, but your personal process of daily discovery is ongoing. You continue to learn more and more about yourself every day.
    • p. 131
  • I have come to discover through earnest personal experience and dedicated learning that ultimately the greatest help is self-help; that there is no other help but self-help— doing one’s best, dedicating one’s self wholeheartedly to a given task, which happens to have no end but is an ongoing process. I have done a lot during these years of my process. A swell in my process, I have changed from self-image actualization to self-actualization, from blindly following propaganda, organized truths, etc. to searching internally for the cause of my ignorance.
    • p. 133
  • Whether or not we can get together, remember well that art “lives” where absolute freedom is. With all the training thrown to nowhere, with a mind (if there is such a verbal substance) perfectly unaware of its own working, with the “self” vanishing nowhere, the art of JKD attains its perfection.
    • p. 156
  • You must have complete determination. The worst opponent you can come across is one whose aim has become an obsession. For instance, if a man has decided that he is going to bite off your nose no matter what happens to him in the process, the chances are he will succeed in doing it. He may be severely beaten up, too, but that will not stop him from carrying out his objective. That is the real fighter.
    • p. 161
  • Walk on.
    • p. 174

Jeet Kune Do (1997)[edit]

Jeet Kune Do: Bruce Lee's Commentaries on the Martial Way (1997) edited by John Little
The man who is really serious, with the urge to find out what truth is, has no style at all. He lives only in what is.
  • Jeet Kune Do rejects all restrictions imposed by form and formality and emphasizes the clever use of the mind and body to defend and attack.
    • Part 2 "Jeet Kune Do — The Fundamentals"
  • An instructor should exemplify the things he seeks to teach. It will be of great advantage if you yourself can do all you ask of your students and more.
    • Part 5 "On training in Jeet Kune Do"
  • As an instructor, you must be able to distinguish between poor performance caused by lack of ability or aptitude on the part of the student and poor performance caused by lack of effort. You should treat the first with patience and the latter with firmness. You must never apply sarcasm and ridicule.
    • Part 5 "On training in Jeet Kune Do"
Faith makes it possible to achieve that which man's mind can conceive and believe.
  • Even today, I dare not say that I have reached a state of achievement. I'm still learning, for learning is boundless.
    • Part 6 "Beyond System — The Ultimate Source of Jeet Kune Do"
  • The man who is really serious, with the urge to find out what truth is, has no style at all. He lives only in what is.
    • Part 6 "Beyond System — The Ultimate Source of Jeet Kune Do"
  • Take inventory of everyone with whom you have contact.
    • Part 6 "Beyond System — The Ultimate Source of Jeet Kune Do"
The intangible represents the real power of the universe. It is the seed of the tangible.
  • Faith is a state of mind that can be conditioned through self-discipline. Faith will accomplish.
    • Part 6 "Beyond System — The Ultimate Source of Jeet Kune Do"
  • Faith makes it possible to achieve that which man's mind can conceive and believe.
    • Part 6 "Beyond System — The Ultimate Source of Jeet Kune Do"
  • Possession of anything begins in the mind.
    • Part 6 "Beyond System — The Ultimate Source of Jeet Kune Do"
  • Thoughts are things.
    • Part 6 "Beyond System — The Ultimate Source of Jeet Kune Do"
  • Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.
    • Part 6 "Beyond System — The Ultimate Source of Jeet Kune Do"
  • The intangible represents the real power of the universe. It is the seed of the tangible.
    • Part 6 "Beyond System — The Ultimate Source of Jeet Kune Do"

Striking Thoughts (2000)[edit]

Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee's Wisdom for Daily Living (2000) edited by John Little
Emptiness the starting point.
We all have time to spend or waste, and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.
We are always in a process of becoming and NOTHING is fixed.
If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo.
We have finally come back to the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, who said everything is flow, flux, process. There are no "things."
What IS is more important than WHAT SHOULD BE.
Taoist philosophy … is essentially monistic. … Matter and energy, Yang and Yin, heaven and earth, are conceived of as essentially one or as two coexistent poles of one indivisible whole.
The all illuminating light shines and is beyond the movement of the opposites.
True thusness is the substance of thought, and thought is the function of true thusness. There is no thought except that of true thusness. Thusness does not move, but its motion and function are inexhaustible.
Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.
Don't fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.

Part I : On First Principles

  • Emptiness the starting point. — In order to taste my cup of water you must first empty your cup. My friend, drop all your preconceived and fixed ideas and be neutral. Do you know why this cup is useful? Because it is empty.
    • p. 2
  • Life is wide, limitless. There is no border, no frontier.
    • p 2
  • Life lives; and in the living flow, no questions are raised. The reason is that life is a living now! So, in order to live life whole-heartedly, the answer is life simply is.
    • p. 3
  • The meaning of life is that it is to be lived, and it is not to be traded and conceptualized and squeezed into a pattern of systems.
    • p. 3
  • The aphorism "as a man thinketh in his heart so is he" contains the secret of life.
    • p. 4; Lee here quotes Proverbs 23:7 "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he."
  • Meaning is found in relationship. — Meaning is the relationship of the foreground figure to the background.
    • p. 4
  • Life is never stagnation. It is constant movement, unrhythmic movement, as we as constant change. Things live by moving and gain strength as they go.
    • p. 5
  • Life itself is your teacher, and you are in a state of constant learning.
    • p. 5
  • The primary reality is not what I think, but that I live, for those also live who do not think.
    • p. 7
  • The timeless moment. — The "moment" has no yesterday or tomorrow. It is not the result of thought and therefore has no time.
    • p. 9
  • Knowledge, surely, is always of time, whereas knowing is not of time. Knowledge is from a source, from accumulation, from conclusion, while knowing is a movement.
    • P. 9
  • To realize freedom the mind has to learn to look at life, which is a vast movement, without the bondage of time, for freedom lies beyond the field of consciousness — care for watching, but don't stop and interpret "I am free," then you're living in a memory of something that has gone before.
    • p. 9
  • To spend time is to pass it in a specified manner. To waste time is to expend it thoughtlessly or carelessly. We all have time to spend or waste, and it is our decision what to do with it. But once passed, it is gone forever.
    • p. 10
  • Time means a lot to me because, you see, I, too, am also a learner and am often lost in the joy of forever developing and simplifying. If you love life, don't waste time, for time is what life is made up of.
    • p. 10; Here Lee paraphrases a much older English proverb: If you care for life, don't waste your time; for time is what life is made of. (as quoted in Bordighera and the Western Riviera (1883) by Frederick Fitzroy Hamilton, p. 189).
  • Be aware of doing your best to understand the ROOT in life, and realize the DIRECT and the INDIRECT are in fact a complementary WHOLE. It is to see things as they are and not to become attached to anything — to be unconscious meant to be be innocent of the working of a relative (empirical) mind — where there is no abiding of though anywhere on anything — this is being unbound. This not abiding anywhere is the root of our life.
    • p. 11
  • Concentration is the ROOT of all the higher abilities in man.
    • p. 11
  • Seek to understand the root. — It is futile to argue as to which single leaf, which design of branch, or which attractive flower you like; when you understand the root, you understand all its blossoming.
    • p. 11
  • What we are after is the ROOT and not the branches. The root is the real knowledge; the branches are surface knowledge. Real knowledge breeds "body feel" and personal expression; surface knowledge breeds mechanical conditioning and imposing limitation and squelches creativity.
    • p. 11

Part II : On Being Human

  • Flow in the living moment. — We are always in a process of becoming and NOTHING is fixed. Have no rigid system in you, and you'll be flexible to change with the ever changing. OPEN yourself and flow, my friend. Flow in the TOTAL OPENNESS OF THE LIVING MOMENT. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves. Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond like an echo.
    • p. 13; Unsourced variant: Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way round or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.
  • You cannot force the Now. — But can you neither condemn nor justify and yet be extraordinarily alive as you walk on? You can never invite the wind, but you must leave the window open.
    • p. 13
  • The Moment is freedom. — I couldn't live by a rigid schedule. I try to live freely from moment to moment, letting things happen and adjusting to them.
    • p. 13
  • The Now is indivisible. — Completeness, the now, is an absence of the conscious mind to strive to divide that which is indivisible. For once the completeness of things is taken apart it is no longer complete.
    • p. 15
  • The Western approach to reality is mostly through theory, and theory begins by denying reality — to talk about reality, to go around reality, to catch anything that attracts our sense-intellect and abstract it away from reality itself. Thus philosophy begins by saying that the outside world is not a basic fact, that its existence can be doubted and that every proposition in which the reality of the outside world is affirmed is not an evident proposition but one that needs to be divided, dissected and analyzed. It is to stand consciously aside and try to square a circle.
    • p. 15 - 16
  • In Science we have finally come back to the pre-Socratic philosopher Heraclitus, who said everything is flow, flux, process. There are no "things." NOTHINGNESS in Eastern language is "no-thingness". We in the West think of nothingness as a void, an emptiness, an nonexistence. In Eastern philosophy and modern physical science, nothingness — no-thingness — is a form of process, ever moving.
    • p. 16
  • What IS is more important than WHAT SHOULD BE. To many people are looking at "what is" from a position of thinking "what should be."
    • p. 16
  • Conditioning obstructs our view of reality. — We do not see IT in its suchness because of our indoctrination, crooked and twisted.
    • p. 19
  • True thusness is without defiling thought; it cannot be known through conception and thought.
  • Reality is apparent when one ceases to compare. — There is "what is" only when there is no comparison at all, and to live with what is, is to be peaceful.
    • p. 19
  • Reality is being itself. — It is being itself, in becoming itself. Reality in its isness, the "isness" of a thing. Thus isness is the meaning — having freedom in its primary sense — not limited by attachments, confinements, partialization, complexities.
    • p. 19
  • A self-willed man obeys a different law, the one law I, too, hold absolutely sacred — the human law in himself, his own individual will.
    • p. 19
  • One should be in harmony with, not in opposition to, the strength and force of the opposition. This means that one should do nothing that is not natural or spontaneous; the important thing is not to strain in any way.
    • p. 20
  • The dualistic philosophy reigned supreme in Europe, dominating the development of Western science. But with the advent of atomic physics, findings based on demonstrable experiment were seen to negate the dualistic theory, and the trend of thought since then has been back to the monistic conception of the ancient Taoists.
    • p.. 21
  • If thought exists, I who think and the world about which I think also exist; the one exists but for the other, having no possible separation between them. Therefore, the world and I are both in active correlation; I am that which sees the world, and the world is that which is seen by me. I exist for the world and the world exists for me. … One sure and primary and fundamental fact is the joint existence of a subject and of its world. The one does not exist without the other. I acquire no understanding of myself except as I take account of objects, of the surroundings. I do not think unless I think of things — and there I find myself.
    • p. 21
  • When we hold to the core, the opposite sides are the same if they are seen from the center of the moving circle. I do not experience; I am experience. I am not the subject of experience; I am that experience. I am awareness. Nothing else can be I or can exist.
    • p. 22
  • Taoist philosophy … is essentially monistic. … Matter and energy, Yang and Yin, heaven and earth, are conceived of as essentially one or as two coexistent poles of one indivisible whole.
    • p. 23
  • Voidness is that which stands right in the middle between this and that. The void is all-inclusive; having no opposite, there is nothing which it excludes or opposes. The all illuminating light shines and is beyond the movement of the opposites.
    • p. 23
  • Like everyone else you want to learn the way to win. But never to accept the way to lose. To accept defeat — to learn to die — is to be liberated from it. Once you accept, you are free to flow and to harmonize. Fluidity is the way to an empty mind. You must free your ambitious mind and learn the art of dying.
    • p. 25; Variant: Like everyone else you want to learn the way to win, but never to accept the way to lose — to accept defeat. To learn to die is to be liberated from it. So when tomorrow comes you must free your ambitious mind and learn the art of dying!
      • As quoted in Bruce Lee: A Warrior's Journey (2000)

Part III : On Matters of Existence

  • True thusness is the substance of thought, and thought is the function of true thusness. There is no thought except that of true thusness. Thusness does not move, but its motion and function are inexhaustible.
    • p. 42
  • Liberate yourself from concepts and see the truth with your own eyes. — It exists HERE and NOW; it requires only one thing to see it: openness, freedom — the freedom to be open and not tethered by any ideas, concepts, etc. … When our mind is tranquil, there will be an occasional pause to its feverish activities, there will be a let-go, and it is only then in the interval between two thoughts that a flash of UNDERSTANDING — understanding, which is not thought — can take place.
    • p. 43
  • Balance your thoughts with action. — If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you'll never get it done.
    • p. 43

Part IV : On Achievement

  • Concepts vs. self-actualization.Instead of dedicating your life to actualize a concept of what you should be like, ACTUALIZE YOURSELF. The process of maturing does not mean to become a captive of conceptualization. It is to come to the realization of what lies in our innermost selves.
    • p. 44
  • Life is better lived than conceptualized. — This writing can be less demanding should I allow myself to indulge in the usual manipulating game of role creation. Fortunately for me, my self-knowledge has transcended that and I've come to understand that life is best to be lived — not to be conceptualized. If you have to think, you still do not understand.
    • p. 45
  • Knowledge will give you power, but character respect.
    • p. 46

Part VIII : On Ultimate (Final) Principles

  • What you HABITUALLY THINK largely determines what you will ultimately become.
    • p. 120; This probably derives from a Rosicrucian proverb, "As you think, so shall you become", which is itself probably derived from Proverbs 23:7 "As he thinketh in his heart, so is he."
    • Possibly, but more likely derived from the Buddha: "All that we are is the result of what we have thought. The mind is everything. What we think, we become."
  • Know the difference between a catastrophe and an inconvenience. — To realize that it's just an inconvenience, that it is not a catastrophe, but just an unpleasantness, is part of coming into your own, part of waking up.
    • p. 120
  • The change is from inner to outer. — We start by dissolving our attitude not by altering outer conditions.
    • p. 120
  • Choose the positive. — You have choice — you are master of your attitude — choose the POSITIVE, the CONSTRUCTIVE. Optimism is a faith that leads to success.
    • p. 120
  • Cease negative mental chattering. — If you think a thing is impossible, you'll make it impossible. Pessimism blunts the tools you need to succeed.
    • p. 121
  • A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.
    • p. 121; this likely derives from the observation of Joseph Joubert: The goal is not always meant to be reached, but to serve as a mark for our aim.
      • As translated by Katharine Lyttelton, in Joubert : A Selection from His Thoughts (1899)
  • Don't fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.
    • p. 121


Misattributed[edit]

  • The perfect way is only difficult for those who pick and choose. Do not like, do not dislike; all will then be clear. Make a hairbreadth difference and heaven and earth are set apart; if you want the truth to stand clear before you, never be for or against. The struggle between "for" and "against" is the mind's worst disease.
    • In "The Tao of Jeet Kune Do" by Bruce Lee (1975, compiled and published posthumously) and also in Striking Thoughts: Bruce Lee's Wisdom for Daily Living (2000) edited by John Little, this is attributed to Lee, perhaps because it was found in his notes, but it is also quoted in precisely this form, from what appear to be translations of Taoist writings in The Religions of Man (1958) by Huston Smith. It is actually from Xinxin Ming, by the Third Chinese Chan [Zen] Patriarch Sengcan.

Quotes about Bruce Lee[edit]

If Bruce Lee wasn't the greatest martial artist of all time, then certainly he is the number one candidate. ~ Joe Lewis
  • I wouldn't have put a dime on anyone to beat Bruce Lee in a real confrontation. Bruce Lee was the best street fighter I ever saw, even to this very day, and not just pound for pound — but against anyone in a real fight.
  • There's no doubt in my mind that if Bruce Lee had gone into pro boxing, he could easily have ranked in the top three in the lightweight division or junior-welterweight division.
    • Dan Inosanto, as quoted in "The Truth of Boxing : A Critical Look at Bruce Lee's Hand Skills" by Bob Birchland in Black Belt Magazine (November 2007). pg. 93)
  • The slender, swift Bruce Lee was the Fred Astaire of martial arts, and many of the fights that could be merely brutal come across as lightning-fast choreography.
    • Pauline Kael reviewing Enter the Dragon, from 5001 Nights at the Movies (1982)
  • I wanted to do in boxing what Bruce Lee was able to do in the martial arts. Lee was an artist and, like him, I try to get beyond the fundamentals of my sport. I want my fights to be seen as plays.
  • In a dictionary, you say "greatest", you say "Bruce Lee", that´s the way it is. He is second to no one.
  • When Bruce Lee kicked, you don't shut your eyes. Because when you shut your eyes, you cannot see Bruce Lee kick it´s so fast! Human beings cannot move like cartoon [sound effects], that´s the fastest you can be. Even Muhammad Ali or Mike Tyson, their punches are fast, but you still can see [them].
  • I considered him by far the greatest. And for those who don´t considering him the greatest, at least he is the top candidate for being actually the greatest.
  • I remember many times my father (Ed Parker) talking about, pound for pound, Lee was the best martial artist, he´d ever seen.
    • Ed Parker Jr., quoted in the documentary "Bruce Lee: Curse of the Dragon", 1993 Warner Bros. Tom Kuhn Fred Weintraub
  • Bruce Lee is my Idol. I need to learn some techniques of Bruce Lee, especially the quickness of his hands and legs.
  • It's a little tough for the traditional martial artists to swallow, because one system doesn't do it. You've got to cross-train in many different systems. Actually, the father of mixed martial arts, if you will, was Bruce Lee. If you look at the way Bruce Lee trained, the way he fought, and many of the things he wrote, he said the perfect style was no style. You take a little something from everything. You take the good things from every different discipline, use what works, and you throw the rest away.
  • His martial art skills made Lee arguably the greatest martial artist of his time — or any other.
  • "The story was particularly serious . . . I know Bruce Lee from secondary school in Nigeria. I come from Ghana, and there has always been a race, a loving rivalry between two countries. So I was picked on. Every child who is bullied, has an imaginary hero. I had several, and Bruce Lee was the greatest. Every little boy has a little bit of Bruce Lee in him."

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