I remember when the great martial artist Bruce Lee died in 1973. I was shocked.
As a kid, I watched his movies, heard his interviews, and I even read a book about martial arts and the art he had created. (You might be interested in knowing that Lee also played the Green Hornet on television.)
Though it was difficult to believe—he was gone.
When I was a kid, there was no Internet. The only social media we had was playing outside face to face with other kids. We also didn’t have the option of joining elite traveling sports teams that practiced five hours every day. They didn’t exist, nor did any pie-in-the-sky notion that by participating on them we would be better positioned to sign a major league contract for millions of dollars. We were just kids who played until dark until one of our mothers would finally yell, “It’s supper time!”
I was an athlete growing up. My dad was a college boxer, and my uncle was an all-star lacrosse player. As a child, I played a sport in every season, and that continued in high school and college. I also loved boxing, back when it was a sport (not the extravaganza it is today) in which incredible fighters would move like “a will o’ the wisp,” parrying punches and throwing combinations that were too fast to see.
Karate and other martial arts were never on my street or in my town when I was growing up, but I become fascinated with them because of Lee’s influence. I was hooked and ready, but it was the movie “The Karate Kid” that finally propelled me to a nearby dojo to sign up for classes. Could I find the teacher or sensei who, like Mr. Miyagi, could bring out my best and test my capacity?
By studying martial arts, I was on a journey to see what I was made of and to see whether Bruce Lee knew something we didn’t.
You see, the martial arts are not just about fighting; they are a mindset. They involve learning to focus and watch your surroundings in a different—an enlightened—way. Practicing martial arts requires quieting your mind when everything else around you is in chaos. Sure, you learn to punch and throw kicks, but you also learn the art of self-discipline and about respecting yourself and others.
It turns out Lee did know something many of us do not but should.
Take my advice for what it is…its just AS I SEE IT.