“Showing off is the fool’s idea of glory.” — Bruce Lee (teacher, martial arts pioneer, film-maker)
Last week, we talked about how Bruce Lee initially didn’t get much respect when he started teaching in 1959. That started to change in 1964, when a close friend introduced him to Ed Parker, the founder of American Kenpo Karate. Parker was impressed by Lee’s abilities, and took a serious interest in his work — he respected Bruce Lee. He invited Lee to give a special demonstration at the Long Beach International Karate Championships that year. This would be a chance for Bruce Lee to get the attention of martial artists from all over the United States. Bruce Lee chose to demonstrate a unique technique — the “one-inch punch”. He knocked his partner over backwards with a punch starting just one inch away. Some people thought Lee was just unusually strong, and he was showing off. Others, like Ed Parker and Jhoon Rhee, saw that Lee was showing them something completely new about how a punch could work.
1) When Bruce Lee started teaching Wing Chun in 1959, should everyone have just given him respect right away?
2) Do you think Bruce Lee would have been invited to do the demonstration if he hadn’t earned Ed Parker’s respect?
3) What do you think is the difference between getting someone’s attention, and showing off? Which deserves respect?
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