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Q&A with Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee’s Daughter

Shannon Lee heads the Bruce Lee Foundation and Bruce Lee Enterprises, which authorized The Treasures of Bruce Lee by Paul Bowman. (Related: Click here to read a Q&A with Paul Bowman.) The following is an excerpt from Examiner.com’s interview with Shannon Lee. Visit examiner.com to read the entire interview.

You were only four years old when he died.

It’s an interesting thing for me, in that my memories of him are very vague–like being in the house or visiting him on a movie set. They’re glimpses of images. But what I remember most about him is the feeling of him, if that makes any sense. I remember the intensity of his energy, feeling intensely loved and intensely safe and very moored to him, if you will, as a parent. That’s something that’s hard to describe, but definitely the thing I remember most.

You wrote the foreword for The Treasures Of Bruce Lee. What else did you do for the project?

I collaborated with the publishers on it, which meant going through the archives and coming up with items that could possibly be included in those wonderful pull-outs to give it a really personal touch. We obviously supplied photographs and provided information for the text, and helped with any corrections or additions and factual questions. It was really soup-to-nuts involvement throughout the process.

Any of the pull-out memorabilia that you can single out?

I think that the things that I really like are the more personal items: smaller photographs or letters or writings–those kinds of things. The reproduction of tickets to Way Of The Dragon is pretty cool. Items like that that give you more of a personal feel for my father.

I really think the little card from Steve McQueen is really cool. I always really liked the reproduction of the “Ally of the Dragon” card given out at the premiere of Enter The Dragon at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre. There’s one handwritten sheet from my father’s poetry with sketches on it–that stuff is all really great. Some of the larger artwork pieces are great, too, but the smaller ones come from a more personal standpoint.

Keep reading this interview on Examiner.com!


BruceLee.com

Bruce Lee is remembered not only as the martial artist who inspired people to better themselves physically and mentally but also as an actor, a writer, a director, a teacher, and a philosopher. Authorized by Bruce Lee Enterprises, The Treasures of Bruce Lee tells this unique man’s story – his aspirations, his family life, his passion for martial arts – as never before, through painstaking research, never-before-seen memorabilia, and rare, unpublished photographs. It includes 5 posters and 15 removable facsimile items from the Bruce Lee Archives, including handwritten poems, membership cards, and Lee’s illustrations and notes on all aspects of martial arts.

Q&A with Paul Bowman

Paul BowmanPaul Bowman, author of The Treasures of Bruce Lee, answers questions from Jim Bessman at Examiner.com. The rest of the Q&A is posted on Examiner.com.

This is such a beautiful book. But there are so many—hundreds, probably. Why another?

Well, you’ve just hit the nail on the head, right there: This is a beautiful book. As soon as you see it, you realize it’s not simply a book, and certainly not a book like any other. This is a collector’s item unlike any of the other books on Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee’s family and the publishers worked together to make sure of that. I’ve seen a few reviews of the book already and they all seem to agree that it’s not a book you simply read, it’s one you experience. And I can’t take any credit for that. I just wrote the words.

But I think the words do important work, too: They set out some key facts about Bruce Lee’s life and significance, rather than repeating myths and legends.

It’s subtitled “The Official Story.” What makes it “official”?

It’s official in that it was commissioned and overseen by the guardians of Bruce Lee’s legacy–his own family. In other words, this is not just a storybook about Bruce Lee. It’s the story of Bruce Lee. True, there are others, but none that work in quite the same way as this book–narrative plus unseen photos and facsimiles of memorabilia, etc., which make it a great experience.

How did it come about?

I believe Shannon Lee wanted to see a book like this. I was honored to be asked. I’d like to think she asked me because she likes my other writing on Bruce Lee, but that’s really for an academic audience, so I suspect she suggested me because she saw me in Pete McCormack’s excellent recent documentary about Bruce Lee, I Am Bruce Lee. Anyway, I know most of the facts and fictions about Bruce Lee, and the publishers were given access to the Lee family archives of photos and memorabilia.

Keep reading this interview at Examiner.com!

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Bruce Lee is remembered not only as the martial artist who inspired people to better themselves physically and mentally but also as an actor, a writer, a director, a teacher, and a philosopher. Authorized by Bruce Lee Enterprises, The Treasures of Bruce Lee tells this unique man’s story – his aspirations, his family life, his passion for martial arts – as never before, through painstaking research, never-before-seen memorabilia, and rare, unpublished photographs. It includes 5 posters and 15 removable facsimile items from the Bruce Lee Archives, including handwritten poems, membership cards, and Lee’s illustrations and notes on all aspects of martial arts.

Enter the Dragon – 40 Years Ago Today

Today is the 40th anniversary of Bruce Lee’s film, Enter the Dragon. After the massive success of his Hong Kong martial arts films, with all manner of imported Hong Kong martial arts movies suddenly growing in popularity, Hollywood finally sat up and took notice of Bruce Lee in 1972. The result was Enter the Dragon, a film that the original movie posters heralded as “the first Hollywood-produced martial arts spectacular.” It was a film that arguably transformed not only Hollywood fight choreography forever, but also popular culture. The following is an excerpt from The Treasures of Bruce Lee: The Official Story of the Legendary Martial Artist by Paul Bowman, regarding the fight scene between Lee and O’Hara (played by Robert Wall).

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The beauty and brilliance of the scene derives from Lee’s amazing speed. First, he wins point after point against O’Hara with single back-fist strikes that are delivered faster than the camera can actually record. The humiliation of this causes O’Hara to break protocol and to try to cheat. In response, Lee moves into a breathtaking kicking sequence. When the kneeling O’Hara illegitimately grabs his leg, Lee delivers a jumping back-flip kick. Lee then waits for O’Hara to return to the fight. But in the face of every one of O’Hara’s attacks, Lee floors him, with beautiful spinning back kicks as well as a kick to O’Hara’s groin delivered by falling to the ground and kicking upwards as O’Hara attempts a jumping kick.

The relentless humiliation leads O’Hara to attempt to attack Lee with two broken bottles. Lee responds in a memorable sequence, all shown in slow-motion: he disarms O’Hara with a kick to the forearms, then floors him with several head-kicks, and finally a powerful sidekick, before ultimately finishing him off by jumping on him. We don’t see exactly which part of O’Hara’s body Lee stamps on, because the camera focuses close-up on Lee’s face. However, the close-up actually emphasizes the intensity of this moment.

This is only one of many memorable moments in the film. It is entirely due to Lee’s character and fight choreography that Enter the Dragon made such an impact and remains so significant and memorable. It is easy to forget, but one must remember that most Westerners had never seen anything like the character that Lee played, and fewer still had seen anything like the truly astonishing fight choreography.

In fact, it was this film that truly put kung fu on the global map. Before this film, few Westerners had even heard of Oriental martial arts. Americans had heard of Karate, Judo, Tangsoodo and Taekwondo, because of the US military involvement in Japan and Korea. But virtually no Westerner knew anything about Chinese kung-fu. However, Carl Douglas summed it up exactly in the 1974 disco track that became one of the best-selling singles of all time: After Enter the Dragon, “everybody was kung fu fighting.”

Bruce Lee is remembered not only as the martial artist who inspired people to better themselves physically and mentally but also as an actor, a writer, a director, a teacher, and a philosopher. Authorized by Bruce Lee Enterprises, The Treasures of Bruce Lee tells this unique man’s story – his aspirations, his family life, his passion for martial arts – as never before, through painstaking research, never-before-seen memorabilia, and rare, unpublished photographs. It includes 5 posters and 15 removable facsimile items from the Bruce Lee Archives, including handwritten poems, membership cards, and Lee’s illustrations and notes on all aspects of martial arts.

Don’t forget to check out BruceLee.com for special bundle offers!