Bruce Lee, An Ideal Role Model

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In the Book Bruce Lee: They Died too Young, writer Jon Lewis tells the story of the greatest martial artist that ever lived. Known as Lee Jun Fan only to his family, Bruce Lee was an enthusiastic boy who took a special interest in the martial arts. Unfortunately,his life was cut short at the age of only thirty-two. Through this short yet unbelievably incredible life, Bruce Lee still proves to be an excellent role model due to his discipline,determination, and self-improvement. One of Bruce Lee s best characteristics was his discipline. During Bruce s teenage years he was a member of a street gang that simply went looking for fights. However, through martial arts Bruce developed discipline and was soon able to control himself. Bruce s discipline is easily seen in this quote about problems that occurred on the set of Enter the Dragon. Another problem was that the martial arts extras- most of whom were members of the Chinese crime syndicate, the Triads, would sometimes challenge Bruce to a real fight. For the most part Bruce would ignore it (30). Bruce s discipline can also be seen in the amount that he practiced his martial arts. He would practice everyday for hours, and even as a young child he was always practicing. Bruce Lee s devotion to kung fu was total. At home, during dinner, he pounded away on a stool with alternate hands to toughen them (8). Although Bruce Lee is a good role model due to his discipline, it is not the only reason. The second characteristic that made Bruce Lee a good role model was his determination. During his life Bruce Lee was constantly plagued with problems. One of these was chronic back pains. In 1970 Bruce injured his back in a weight-lifting session. The diagnosis was that he had permanently damaged his fourth sacral nerve. Not only would he need months of bed rest, the doctors informed him, but he would never practice kung fu again (18). Despite the doctors orders, Bruce began exercising again after only six months, and within a year he was again in top physical condition. Yet another example of Bruce Lee s determination is found in his struggle to get a job and support his family. Once Bruce had gotten settled in America, he was constantly in and out of a job. He had been paid $400 a week during filming and drove a red Porsche. Now, suddenly, he was forced back to a dwindling income from the kwoon (17-18). However, Bruce kept on trying and soon secured himself a job. Bruce was now the hottest film property east of Hollywood (25). No matter how grim the situation seemed, Bruce always faced it with the utter most determination, and it is this determination that helped him to improve himself so much. The final characteristic that made Bruce Lee an excellent role model was his self-improvement. Throughout his life, Bruce always strived to be bigger and better. He had an unquenchable appetite for knowledge and was constantly reading books to gain more knowledge. During the six months when Bruce was bed ridden due to his back injury he raised his daughter, and He also undertook an extensive study of the martial arts. His notes eventually filled eight two-inch-thick notebooks (19). Besides seeking self-improvement in his martial arts, Bruce also sought to improve his abilities as an actor, producer, and director. The problem of who would direct the next Bruce Lee film was easily solved: he would do it himself (27). In order to achieve this goal Bruce had to read and reread a library of books about filmmaking (27). Through these means and others, Bruce always strove to improve himself. Bruce Lee is the greatest martial artist to ever live. His life is not only inspiring, but also very interesting due to his untimely death. Through this extraordinary life Bruce Lee has and will continue to prove to be a good role model. This is due to his discipline, determination, and self- improvement. If one quote could sum up his life, it would be this, I m going to be the biggest Chinese star in the world (20).

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