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Chinese Kung-fu & Bruce Lee

Written by Daniel Otero

China’s Kung fu and why Bruce Lee is great

By: Daniel Otero

Growing up in 1970s-New York City, I saw the rise of Kung-fu since I was three-years old.  One of the greatest things which I saw, was an amazing young-martial artist, Bruce Lee (1940 – 1973) do magical things with his hands and feet!  Back then, the special treat my family had for me was to go into Chinatown for food and a good old fashioned martial-arts movie.  It was the decade of the *‘chopsocky film craze’. Kung-fu fever was hitting the streets and growing thanks to Bruce Lee.

The rise of this 4,000 year-old martial art came slow; however, by the 1960s Hollywood, Bruce Lee in the series ‘The Green Hornet’ brought it to life with vivid action for all to enjoy.

Bruce gave meaning to Kung-fu through his Jeet Kune Do style.  The art which he founded prior to his death.  Upon Lee’s passing, Kung-fu didn’t die out, but surged to be a great force in technique, movies, a T.V. series like ‘Kung Fu’ with David Carradine and a fashion statement during that era. Yes, everything was Kung-fu: from the song ‘Kung Fu Fighting’, everybody wearing kung-fu shoes and the new martial art’s craze was to learn this ancient-mysterious discipline from China.  One unique and special… Continued in tradition not only thanks to Bruce Lee, but the greats like: Jackie Chan (‘Drunken Master’) and Jet Li (‘Lethal Weapon’).

The chopsocky craze in movies did continue through the 1970s well into the late 1990s (at least that is my opinion); and doesn’t give any indications of slowing down anytime soon.  With the new series which recently came out, ‘Warriors’, inspired on the writings of Bruce Lee himself or ‘Wu Assassins’, there’s a new breed of young-Asian actors coming about with their best in Kung-fu.

Therefore, Kung-fu will never die.  It is the patrimony of China and thanks to this, it continues to exists.  With men such as, Bruce Lee, he had the vision to make it bigger and better than ever.  Taking this art with an idea in mind and sending it for the rest of the world to bask in it.

Thanks China and Bruce Lee!  You are always in my heart!

*Chopsocky – colloquial term for movies from Hong Kong and Taiwan (1960s to 1980s) with plenty of martial arts, Kung-fu, explosions and violence.  Term first ‘coined’ in the United States by Variety Magazine in 1973, after the movie ‘Five Finger Dragon’ was released (ref. Wikipedia and Free Dictionary).

About the author

Daniel Otero

A New Yorker who has been living in China for the past 10 years. He's a freelance writer/journalist and ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher.

A former member of the military with extensive travel to 50 countries and has lived in six.

Lover of life, good food, travel, writing and dealing with social issues.