Chuck Norris – “Lee, pound for pound, might well have been one of the strongest men in the world, and certainly one of the quickest”.
Jesse Glover – “When he could do push ups on his thumbs and push ups with 250lbs on his back, he moved on to other exercises”.
Herb Jackson – “The biggest problem in designing equipment for Bruce was that he’d go through it so damn fast. I had to reinforce his wooden dummy with automobile parts so he could train on it without breaking it. I had started to build him a mobile dummy that could actually attack and retreat to better simulate ‘Live’ combat, sadly Bruce died before the machine was built. It would have been strung up by big high-tension cables that I was going to connect between two posts, one on either side of his backyard. The reason for the machine was simply because no one could stand up to his full force punches and kicks, Bruce’s strength and skill had evolved to point where he had to fight machines. Bruce was very interested in strength training, you could say that he was obsessed with it”.
Danny Inosanto – “Bruce was only interested in strength that he could readily convert to power. I remember once Bruce and I were walking along the beach in Santa Monica. All of a sudden this huge bodybuilder came walking by, and I said to Bruce “Man, look at the arms on that guy” I’ll never forget his reaction, he said “Yeah, he’s big, but is he powerful?”.
Wally Jay – “I last saw Bruce after he moved from Culver City to Bel Air. He had a big heavy bag hanging out on his patio. It weighed 300lbs. I could hardly move it at all. Bruce said to me “Hey, Wally, watch this” and he jumped back and kicked it and this monster of a heavy bag went up to the ceiling, Thump!!! And came back down. I still can’t believe the power that guy had”.
Hayward Nishioka – “Bruce had this trademark “One Inch Punch”, he could send individuals (Some of whom outweighed him by over 100lbs) flying through the air where they’d crash to the ground 15 feet away. I remember getting knocked up against the wall by that punch. I didn’t think it was possible that he could generate so much power in his punch, especially when he was just laying his hand against my chest, he just twitched a bit and Wham!!!, I went flying backward and bounced off a wall. I took him very seriously after that.”
Jesse Glover – “The power that Lee was capable of instantly generating was absolutely frightening to his fellow martial artists, especially his sparring partners, and his speed was equally intimidating. We timed him with an electric timer once, and Bruce’s quickest movements were around five hundredths of a second, his slowest were around eight hundredths. This was punching from a relaxed position with his hands down at his sides from a distance between 18-24 inches. Not only was he amazingly quick, but he could read you too. He could pick up on small subtle things that you were getting ready to do and then he’d just shut you down”.
Linda Lee – “Bruce was forever pumping a dumbell which he kept in the house. He had the unique ability to do several things at once. It wasn’t at all unusual for me to find him watching a boxing match on TV, while simultaneously performing full side splits, reading a book in one hand and pumping the dumbell up and down with the other. Bruce was a big believer in forearm training to improve his gripping and punching power. He was a forearm fanatic, if ever anyone came out with a new forearm course, Bruce would have to get it.”
Bob Wall – “Bruce had the biggest forearms proportionate to anybody’s body that I’ve ever seen. I mean, his forearms were huge. He had incredibly powerful wrists and fingers, his arms were just extraordinary”.
Taki Kimura – “If you ever grabbed hold of Bruce’s forearm, it was like getting hold of a baseball bat”.
Danny Inosanto – “Bruce was so obsessed with strengthening his forearms that he used to train them every day. He said “The forearm muscle was very, very dense, so you had to pump that muscle every day to make it stronger”.
Linda Lee – “He was a fanatic about ab training, he was always doing sit ups, crunches, roman chair movements, leg raises and V-ups. While reading, while watching TV, while talking. All the time. While watching TV, he liked to try to do v-sits for a whole show (30 minutes).”
James Coburn – “Bruce and I were training out on my patio one day, we were using this giant bag for side kicks, I guess it weighed about 150lbs. Bruce looked at it and just went Bang, it shot up out into the lawn about 15ft in the air, it then busted in the middle. It was filled with little bits and pieces of rag, we were picking up bits of rag for months”.
MitoshiIn Uyehara – “In 1967, Lee performed various demonstrations, including the famous ‘unstoppable punch’ against USKA world Karate champion Vic Moore. Lee told Moore that he was going to throw a straight punch to the face, and all he had to do was to try to block it. Lee took several steps back and asked if Moore was ready, when Moore nodded in affirmation, Lee glided towards him until he was within striking range. He then threw a straight punch directly at Moore’s face, and stopped before impact. In eight attempts, Moore failed to block any of the punches.” (Actual video!)
Linda Lee – “There were so many nights where I would wake in the middle of the night, and Bruce was not there. I would find him in his study at 1, 2, 3 in the morning, reading, writing, studying.”
Shannon Lee – “Bruce had around 3500 books in his library. And he had read them all.”
Some videos proving the quotes:
What Bruce said:
“Be formless… shapeless, like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You pour water into a bottle; it becomes the bottle. You put water into a teapot; it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow, or creep or drip or crash! Be water, my friend…”
“All types of knowledge ultimately lead to self knowledge”
“Use only that which works, and take it from any place you can find it”.
“Quick temper will make a fool of you soon enough”.
“I always learn something, and that is: to always be yourself. And to express yourself, to have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate him”.
- “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential”.
In his 20’s, before any of his success, Lee sat down and wrote this letter to himself:
My Definite Chief Aim
I, Bruce Lee, will be the first highest paid Oriental super star in the United States. In return I will give the most exciting performances and render the best of quality in the capacity of an actor. Starting 1970 I will achieve world fame and from then onward till the end of 1980 I will have in my possession $10,000,000. I will live the way I please and achieve inner harmony and happiness.
The real Haves and Have Nots are not those with money and those without money. Nor is it those with education and those without education. It is not even those with opportunity and those without opportunity. It is, and will continue to be, those who are focused and committed and those who are undisciplined and lazy. That is the gap that will continue to grow until we reach what is essentially a feudal state or a collapse of capitalism.
Maybe it was luck that caused the committed to be so. Maybe the crapshoot of DNA caused that person to be born competitive and committed. Maybe their parents were productive and committed—to each other, to parenting, to their art. Maybe the impossible mixture of their personality and their environment was just right. Lucky for them.
But the reality is that luck has nothing to do with hard work. Anymore than luck explains laziness.
It is OK to be unambitious. It is not OK to be lazy. It is OK to be one of the Have Nots. It is OK, even, to choose poverty. It is not OK, though, to fester in laziness and complain about inequality.
“No advance in wealth, no softening of manners, no reform or revolution has ever brought human equality a millimeter nearer.” (Orwell, George. 1984.)
You don’t have to be ambitious or driven or focused. But you must know that if you’re not those things, you will have to choose contentment. Lack of those things means you don’t get to be one of the Haves. Which is fine.
There’s more: the price of entry might be going up. Driven, committed people—in all endeavors—seem more driven and committed than ever before. They have more knowledge, science, methods, tools, choices, and (above all) competition than ever before.
In which group will the future find you? The choice is primarily yours. And you have everything you need to Have.
You rise earlier than you’d like. You shower, dress, shove food in your mouth, and rush out the door to go to school/work. At school/work, your agenda is set by someone else, and you work on tasks by, and for, someone else.
This typical daily routine not only gets in the way of doing what you want, but it gets in the way of figuring out what you want.
And nothing matters more than what you want.
There are people who do not desperately want something. People who do not madly crave. They are likely content with the routine. And that is fine.
Adam Corolla has numerous successes. He has the #1 podcast at iTunes. In an interview, someone asked him how he got his success. Adam seemed surprised by the question. He replied:
“Look, here’s the deal: when you want something, you can get it. We always talk about drug addicts– there’s nothing more expensive than cocaine. Just dig this thought– per ounce it’s more than gold, it sure the hell is more than lobster… It’s the most expensive weighted substance on the planet. And the POOREST people, the people with no job, whose family has disowned them years ago, are able to connect with the world’s most expensive substance.
“Thus, when you want to do something, you will get it DONE.”
What do you want?
Shortly after hearing Adam’s quote, I happened to pick up a Wall Street Journal. Inside was an article about Ryan Seacrest. It briefly told his story. Guess what? He did not become a Variety Show Host by accident, or by falling into it, or by aiming for something else and settling for it. He wanted it, specifically, passionately, obsessively.
Do what you want.
If you do what you love long enough, eventually you will master it. Once you master it, people will pay you to do it. It is the perfection that stills the universe: a being doing what they most love, and another being needing that thing done.
The people that history remembers are those who did not get ground down by the tedium of the typical routine.
Seth Godin has been absolutely killing it lately*.
- Why do we care about football. I am critical of “Sports Worship”, but Seth discusses it without being critical. Even better.
- A diet for your mind
- Paracosms, loyalty and reality in the pursuit of creative problem solving. The article is more capitvating than the title.
- For the one person who didn’t get the joke What you do is not going to be for everyone. No matter what it is you do.
(*By lately, I really mean: everyday for the past six years.)
He’s called “The World’s Greatest Blogger” because he is. And more.