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Yip Man Poster

(19 x 13),
Bruce Lee IP Man Wing Chun CANVAS PRINT
This poster honors the venerable Grand master of Wing Tsun, Yip Man, Bruce Lee's master.

A must for all devoted Wing Tsun practitioners!


Tao of the Dragon:
Bruce Lee's Ongoing Global Influence
By Davis Miller

On a September evening in 1973
I stepped into a tiny, dilapidated cinema. The house lights dimmed, the stained velvet curtains parted. And there he stood, luminous with hubris. One minute into the movie, Bruce Lee threw his first punch. With it, a power came roiling up from Lee's abdomen, affecting itself in waves not only upon his onscreen opponent, but on the movie audience.

My hands shook; I quivered electrically from head to toe, as if I'd swallowed a bellyful of lightning. Then Bruce Lee launched the first real kick I'd ever seen. My jaw fell open like the business-end of a dumptruck. This man could fly. Not like Superman -- better -- his hands and feet flew whistling through sky.

Lee was so quick that the paths of his handstrikes were invisible. You could see punches begin and end -- nothing in the middle. And he moved in such a marvelously precise fashion that when he was facing the camera, his blows seemed to slice the screen into sections.

A large part of Bruce Lee's appeal for me was that he was my size. (I was five-foot-six and weighed ninety pounds. Guys had nicknamed me "Fetus.") Though Lee seemed invulnerable, he was almost puny; there was an egg-shell fragility about him. If this little guy could whup bad guys and do so with power and ratifying beauty, I could, too.

In the lobby, I found a copy of a pulp magazine with Lee on the cover. I read the obituary on page one -- at 32, Lee had died on July 20, three weeks before the release of Enter the Dragon (1973), the movie designed to introduce him to American audiences.

Inspired by what I'd witnessed on the screen, I went into training to become the Second Greatest Martial Artist of All Time. Of course I never made that goal. Along the way, however, I became some sort of Bruce Lee scholar.

A few things I learned may surprise you. Lee was a childhood movie star in Hong Kong; by the time he moved to the US in 1958, he was a teen idol. Lee's own childhood idols were Elvis, James Dean and Jerry Lewis. He was so taken with Lewis that the comedian's facial expressions and body habits are observable in the martial arts films Lee made as an adult. Lee had the idea for his movie, Game of Death (1978), when he was a teenager; Kareem Abdul Jabbar's character in the movie was based on one of Lee's greatest fears -- a large version of himself.

Although Lee is usually regarded as a martial arts ascetic, the truth is notably different. In 1971, when he moved back to Hong Kong, he bought a floor-length mink coat, Elvis-style sunglasses, and various pairs of platform shoes. He drank sake and caroused. Hong Kong fans called him "Three Legs Lee," a reference to his kicking ability, as well as his sexual prowess.

In death, Lee became the first genuinely international film luminary. A theater in Iran played Enter the Dragon from 1973 until 1979, when Shah Pahlavi was overthrown by the Ayatollah Khomeni. By 1977, Enter the Dragon was one of the twenty most profitable movies in the history of cinema. Over the years, millions of people came to regard Lee's fight scenes as virtual religious artifacts. Now, his name is recognizable everywhere on the planet. In the 1960s, there were less than 500 martial arts schools in the world; by the turn of the millennium, owing chiefly to Lee's influence, there were more than ten million martial arts students in the U.S. alone.

Which brings me again to my story. In September 1973, I saw Bruce Lee's image on a movie screen and woke up. When I glided from a rundown movie house into the great big world, everything was different -- brilliant, interesting, as vivid as a freshly sliced orange in the sun on a winter kitchen windowsill. And it stayed that way. This wakefulness is a quite fine thing to have been given by my childhood idol.

Buy the Tao of Bruce Lee today!
Davis Miller is the author of the critically acclaimed bestseller "The Tao of Bruce Lee" (Vintage). In his new book, "The Zen of Muhammad Ali and Other Obsessions" (Vintage), Miller further explores the Bruce Lee phenomenon in a section titled "Bruce Lee, American." Read now.

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