My son, who is a student of Kali (Why not kung fu, you say–? I guess he wanted to be his own man), was saying to me a while ago that it’s amazing how many people who call themselves “martial artists” can’t even throw an effective punch. I asked him why he thought that was, and he replied, “Well, I’m afraid it’s because of you, Dad. Your TV show gave people the idea that the martial arts were something to do with softness, having to do with a philosophy of peace and gentleness.” Well, that’s exactly what we were trying to do, the emphasis being on restraint more than anything. It seemed that Bruce Lee was getting the message of the gnarlier aspects of the arts across just fine without us. Still, one ought to be able to let loose when the time is right for it. Certainly, when we were off the set, working out, we didn’t hold back. On the contrary, just like anyone else, we got a big kick out of stuff like breaking things with our bare feet. Read the rest of this entry »
Posts Tagged Kung Fu
Recently, I was asked to comment on the resurgence of martial arts in this country. I find that difficult to answer, as the question makes assumptions that don’t quite hold water for me.
Martial Arts is big time. Has been. Will be more so. It’s not really so much a “renewed interest” as it is, for the first time, a truly mainstream interest. While everything on this planet cycles in and out and up and down, the growth of martial arts and Asian philosophy has been evenly progressive in this country, as well as in Europe and the rest of the world, ever since the movement first began. I was there. At the very beginning, with the help of the folks at Warner Brothers, I was privileged to become an evangelist for the arts. Read the rest of this entry »
A Thirtieth Anniversary Trip down Memory Lane
Back in 1971, a script came across my desk, so to speak (I actually had no desk: I barely had a front door) that was going to change my life and a whole lot of other people’s. It was called Kung Fu: The Way of The Tiger, The Sign of The Dragon. Jerry Thorpe, at Warner Brothers sent it to me because he’d seen my triumphant portrayal of The Emperor of The Incas on Broadway in ’65, and had been interested in me ever since. This, he thought, was a perfect role for me. Read the rest of this entry »