Saturday 9 June 2012

Bruce Lee was Arrogant and a Bully and a C…

An ABC of Bruce Lee

Although Bruce Lee is revered as the first and best martial artist to hit the Big Screen, imagine what 'Bruce the Bully' would have become had he not been famous. He would probably have gotten himself into trouble with the law and either been killed, seriously wounded or imprisoned.

By many, if not all, accounts Bruce Lee was fortunate to be "born in the United States into a showbiz family [and to have] a better command of English than the other boys [in Hong Kong]". He was also a child actor. From an early age, all this 'privilege' gave him a sense of superiority over others. This arrogance (or 'his charisma' as those who diplomatically put it) can be seen in his earliest TV interviews and movies … his trademark characteristic is to look down his nose at other people and to appear smug and superior and a "Know-it-all".

Bruce Lee childhood film scene 李小龙童年电影片段 (YouTube)

Bruce Lee - The Lost Interview (GoogleVideo)

Bruce Lee quote (at 11:25 in The Lost Interview):
"To me, ultimately martial arts means 'honestly expressing yourself'. It is very difficult to do. I mean it is easy for me to put on a show and be cocky and be flooded with a cocky feeling and I feel like pretty cool. Or I can make all kinds of phony things and fancy things and be blinded by it."
"But to express oneself honestly, that my friend is very hard to do. You have to train, you have to keep your reflexes so that when you want it, it is there. When you want to move, you are moving. And when you move you are determined to move. Nothing less than that. If I want to punch, I am going to do it Man! I'm gonna do it. That is the type of thing you have to train yourself, to become one with what you think, you know."

So, Bruce Lee's philosophy was to 'honestly express himself' ... what he thought, he did, and you can bet that he did so determinedly. We can see that his thoughts and values and desires include being arrogant, cheeky, self-confident and violent. And that is how he expressed himself.

Basically, Bruce Lee wanted to justify his basest physical urges (i.e. wanting to punch and kick someone). "If I want to punch, I am going to do it Man! I'm gonna do it."

[Note: This blog champions critical thinking. So, taking a leaf from Bruce Lee's book of philosophy: If I want to think, I am going to do it Man! I'm gonna do it. ]

By all means, enjoy and revere Bruce Lee for his work and contributions to the movies and to our popular culture. But let's not forget that he was also an ABC!* Arrogant, a Bully and a C...

*American Born Chinese


Childhood days with 'Big Brother' Bruce Lee (SCMP; paywall)
John Carney
Jun 03, 2012    
 Robert Wang, age 12, on the school boxing team. Photo: SMP

Robert Wang Wei-han may have rubbed shoulders with some of Hong Kong's most powerful tycoons for years, but none of them was as famous as the man with whom he went to school - Bruce Lee.

The movie star, four years older than Wang, was a loner who did not mix with the other pupils at La Salle College, which was then located at Perth Street, Ho Man Tin.

"There was something extraordinary about him that marked him out from the others," Wang said. "He carried himself as if he was superior to others. But he was not popular and lived in his own world of martial arts."

Lee was born in the United States into a showbiz family, which gave him a better command of English than the other boys, and he already considered himself a star after appearing as a child actor in local films. Wang remembers him as being temperamental. All the 16-year-old Lee wanted to do was to practise his fighting skills, and most of the time it was on the other pupils.

"He was always on the prowl, looking for trouble. He was very unpleasant. Everyone was afraid of him," Wang said. "He had a reputation as a troublemaker and was involved in so many fights that he was summoned to see the principal frequently and earned himself many disciplinary warnings. He was eventually kicked out of the school."

Before this though, Wang and Lee competed on the school boxing team together. Wang idolised him as a boxer because he was so good and freely admits to "sucking up to him" and calling him "Big Brother" because he was older. He went out of his way to befriend him and in return Lee called him "Kid".

Even after Lee was expelled from the school and returned to the US, Wang was destined to meet him one more time. It was 1972 and Lee was standing on the concourse of the Star Ferry terminal beside a large billboard advertising his new film Way of the Dragon. Wang was on his way to work and called out: "Hi, Big Brother, you're now big in the movie world!"

"Hi, Kid," Lee replied. "Just stand here by my side." Lee didn't take the conversation with him further and just wanted to give Wang his 15 minutes of fame. "I shared in his glory as passers-by gasped in astonishment", snapping pictures, Wang said.


  1. Bruce wasnt a bully, he was a highly intelligent sensitive guy with a big heart, much like myself.. bruce was actually said to be very loyal, smart, funny, brave, kind, shy. he was a good guy.. as for being dead, in prison ect, for sure,, i can relate i am the same person bruce lee is.. many often think of people like me as the bad one, because when we explode we win and we aint scared to stand up for ourselves, for our friends and for what we believe in.... If being a scared little man, turning away from altercations because you are scared and weak means you are a good person then ill accept me and bruce are bad people and bullies...... but the TRUTH is, we are just more couragous, sensitive and smarter than the average people, so we understand peoples intent,, and when they want to harm us or harm the people we love, so we are willing to stand our ground, if it means fighting.......

    A passive person is not a good person, a good person is the one that does things for the right reasons, it is not what you do, but the reason behind WHY you do it.....

    Bruce Lee later in life when he became a MEGA SUPERSTAR, i would agree and probably think he got quite cocky... but he didnt have the characteristics of a bully.... if beating someone up because they have bad morals and are hurting your friends for no reason makes you a bully, then that is the most stupid thing i have ever heard... BRUCE growing up has alot of enermies because he was smart,, good looking charasmatic... people use to hate him and BULLY HIM, so he would fight to defend himself and stand up for himself...... i hate the way people think the people that win the fights are the bullies.... BULLIES ARE WEAK PEOPLE THAT CAUSE HARM TO OTHERS TO MAKE THEMSELVES FEEL BETTER< WEATHER IT BE PHYSICAL, VERBAL, OR PASSIVE... that is the true definition of a bully.. not someone who win fights.... most people just dont have the guts to stand upto bullies... it is people like me and Bruce that get wrongly accused of being one..

    BRuce aint stupid he knew fighting would lead to death, or prison, so did his dad, thats why they moved him to America...

    Bruce later in life got a bit cocky, He became the worlds biggest movie star overnight... which explains his cockiness.... that is the one thing i think bruce needed to learn,, to be more humble... he was a good person never a bully... just needed to learn to be more humble regardless of how great he was and what he achieved..

    1. No Bruce was not a bully tho he appeared to be cocky. He truly believed in his non classical approach to be superior & was outspoken..unlike most Chinese who had a tendency to hold back & not offend others. Bruce is deep down humble but had a fighter"s spirit if challenged. Critics may just look at his outward behavior than study his teachings & thoughts. Mind you I'm Chinese & can tell u there r many of my people who appear humble but are not if u know them well. It's a Chinese culture to act humble but Bruce was not a chinaman per se. In some ways he had a westerner"s way of speaking out.

  2. I am guessing by my intelligence which is clearly high, because ill prove it right now by my claim..

    I claim that the person who wrote this article, infact 'I KNOW' the person that wrote this article has NEVER been in a fight, has had people bully him but NEVER been able to stand up for himself because he is weak and scared.. and that is WHY when he see\d bruce fighting, he see's it as senseless bullying violence.... if a police officer shot dead a terrorist trying to bomb a school full of innocent children, does that make the police officer a bully and a bad person too????? think about it..

    This is why I cannot stand people who havent lived life and have done nothing but studied at school and been a good boy all their life, because they cannot even begin to understand the deeper fundimentals of life, and they judge people for things they dont know,, educated people with no life experience are just plain ignorant...

    Bruce was not a Bully.... jackie chan, everyone that knew bruce said he treated EVERYBODY nice,, he was always looking after people, protecting people and making sure people were feeling good about themselves... how is that a bully???????

    in turn jackie Chan admitted when he was younger he was a bully..... i guess you probably would never of thought that would you... nice guy jackie chan a bully, confident bruce lee a nice guy....!! well what do you know...

    1. Bruce was a vastly overrated philosopher, and he was perhaps "above average" intelligence, like you, but nothing special.

  3. Bruce was a Bully, it even was confirmed in a documentary made of him, The former bully and man about town became the perfect husband and father for Wife Linda & Brandon

  4. Talk to any of his first-hand students. It is unfortunate that Jesse Glover just passed. He would have told you a doozey. About how bruce told his students they would call him "master" from then on out. When a number of them didn't want to comply, he threatened them, and their families. There was a formal invitation and a sit down, where 4 guns were drawn on bruce under the table. He was then told to kindly fuck off, and that was the end of it. He contributed a whole lot to the world of cinema, and martial arts. Ghandi also had a lot of great things to say about peace...that doesn't change the fact that the asshole was a complete racist and spoke out against black people world-wide.

  5. Bruce Lee was arrogant ideed. As for having learned wing chung, he only learned the first form, not the whole style. There is the truth about Bruce Lee and there is the legend about him, what he can truly be credited for is changing the American view of the Chinese man.

  6. I can see that you completely misinterpreted Bruce Lee's words. He meant that it would be easy for him to act all cocky, but that wouldn't have been expressing would have been lying to himself. Which means he disapproved! He was a revolutionary thinker. If you think breaking tradition is arrogance, please feel free to do so, but I think blindly following tradition is wrong and I am going to admire the person who didn't use his amazing skills for making money in tournaments because he didn't think they were supposed to be for sports. 'Showing off is the fool's idea of glory' he said, which is probably why you never saw him in the ring becoming champion even though he could've! You think his basest urge was to punch? Now see, he was talking about combat, with no rules. You take things out of context and they become all wrong. Are you really going to hold yourself back in real combat? He was trying to tell you how to defend yourself, man, not to punch people all the time! And 'the word superstar really turns me off' 'the word star is an illusion'(The Lost Interview) are these the words of a person who is delighted to find himself famous? He became famous because of his skill and philosophy and charisma(yes, it is charisma which you can possess without arrogance), okay? Think on that!

    1. Yes, people can have charisma without arrogance but bruce lee was clearly an arrogant bully...there a clear line between defending yourself & going way too far to the point of outright bullying. And his words in his interview were so obviously fake humility so that he wouldn't look & sound like a bigger asshole than he already was! You clearly are a delusional hero worshipper of bruce Lee, think about that for a change instead of your own self-righteous beliefs

  7. "One thing I have learned about myself is that I have a bad temper. I have a violent temper."
    -- Bruce Lee (from I Am Bruce Lee)

  8. bruce lee, sonny chibba and jackie chan

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  9. I am a big Bruce Lee fan and lay researcher. Yes, it does appear he was very naughty as a child but he changed as he grew up and moved to the States. I think we should give him credit for not being constrained by what others thought and fearlessly living a life that reflected his views, beliefs and goals. Too many of us are hiding behind fear, excuses etc and rightly so, probably won't achieve much (or better put, anywhere near to what Bruce Lee achieved) in our life times

    1. I my goodnees.... By beating up people & justifying it as heroism- that's whatyou call "achievement" & "greatness"????? Lee's views,beli bel& goals were wicked tyranny masked as "heroism" no matter what name or justification you give it!

  10. Thank you Aikunle. Yes, you have a point ... too many people are constrained by societal values to be unable to express themselves fully. There are obviously pros and cons to this.

  11. Bruce Lee was very arrogant. He was also an overrated philosopher as some of his quotes came from people that he read, not from himself. His intelligence was "above average" but nothing very special.