Under: martial arts
21 Nov 2010

I don’t know about you but the two biggest martial arts influences on me were the TV series The Green Hornet and the movie Enter the Dragon! I was picked on as a kid and started reading everything I could about marital arts. I saw karate/kung fu as a way to even up the odds against bigger, stronger boys. I had some success in defending myself in the sixth grade but later after moving into a rough neighborhood – I was mugged while going to the store.

Then while I was 16 years old, I knew that Bruce Lee was the real deal! While unlike many of my friends, I was not into hero worship but respected martial artists like Bruce Lee because if a light Asian man could overcome weight and strength advantages of his foes – there was hope for a skinny wannabe martial artist (me)!

Sylvia “Sly” Zimmer worte a nice, informative piece over at ParanormalAnd.com (scroll down to the Hollywood Ghosts and Curses section or click the next link) entitled “Bruce Lee Was There Really A Curse?” I will have to admit here and now that Sly is the writer of the family. Sure I work at writing interesting content for my blogs but she (Sylvia) really researches her topics and brings a fresh perspective for paranormal, mysteries, and sci fi type of topics like the old TV show, “One Step Beyond” did.

In this post I will review a bit of Sly’s story and add some of my prespective on Bruce Lee. Here is one of the opening paragraphs introducing Bruce Lee:

 His trademark cocky confidence, feral stalking gait, mesmerizing glower, predatory wildcat screams and lightening-fast movements, put him in a class all his own and a force to be reckoned with. He didn’t quite fit the stereotypical, 20th century image of the mild mannered Asian that many mindsets of a Western world recognized. This lethal powerhouse, encased in a steely sinewy sweat drenched body, sized up his opponents and with his palm outstretched, in a fighter’s stance, let loose an unexpected ferocity that left us speechless.

Here are some of the feats Bruce Lee accomplished.


Sylvia opens with who Bruce Lee was, his untimely death and how Bruce Lee is remembered. I enjoyed reading Bruce’s bio that included his early childhood and subsequent arrival back to the United States. I remember watching this on a movie but enjoyed the greater detail. It was interesting to me that Ed Parker’s Internationals (a huge West coast tournment where I’ve competed) was where Bruce Lee was “discovered” in the West.

Sly has been a martial arts fan as a child, watching many flicks and basically thought Bruce Lee was amazing! While I agreed with her I was somewhat more reserved because I didn’t see any marital artist, singer, actor or anyone as “great” but merely as the flavor of the month maybe. I will have to say that I was wrong and that Bruce Lee truly has stood the test of time and is still widely recognized as one of the great martial arts masters of all time.

Bruce Lee taught one of my great influences, Joe Lewis (former kickboxing world heavyweight champion) fighting strategy and he (Joe) shared it with the Tracy’s organization. Tracy’s had an almost unbeatable fighting team in the 1960’s in part due to Joe Lewis’s association with Bruce Lee!

Some of the techniques that have helped my fighting over the years has been the concepts of initial movement and critical distance. You see initial movement is when you start a hand or foot isolated from the rest of the body initially. After the limb has a little extension – you let the body follow. Bruce mastered this technique and thereby seemed faster than anyone!

True he was fast but his ability to connect with his kicks and punches (in my estimation) had more to do with his initial movement. You see the eyes tend to notice the whole body and not slight movements at first. So through Bruce Lee, to Joe Lewis and the Tracy’s organization, I have been able to hit my opponents easily without telegraphing! This has helped me win all of my street fights  when I used initial movement with critical distance!

What is critical distance? Did you watch Machida vs Rampage? Well if you did – did you notice how Machida was able to mostly stay out of the striking range of Rampage? That is one good example of critical distance. Many great point karate fighters have mastered critical distance. Muay Tai  and Boxers don’t really understand critical distance (or use it) as they are more interested in trading power moves but if critical distance is use in conjunction with other striking strategies – that can be a winning combination in whatever fighting style you like!

So I am forever indebted to Bruce Lee as his strategies have partially made me the fighter that I have become.

Sly does a good job reviewing the TV shows and Movies Bruce Lee starred in and she even narrated  many of the fight scenes along with flash graphics of the moves! I like that she took the time to do this story right.

She (Sylvia) gives some background on the curse and Bruce Lee’s untimley death along with some interesting video clips of Bruce Lee’s life and accomplishments!

If you are interested in reading this great overview of Bruce Lee – head over to ParanormalAnd.com’s Bruce Lee, was there really a curse?

I’ll close with one man’s opinion about how good Bruce Lee really was.


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9 Responses to “Bruce Lee; Great Review on ParanormalAnd.com!”

  1. DojoScore Says:

    Whatever the truth about his fight record, or a curse, he probably inspired more people to study martial arts than anyone else in a century.
    DojoScore recently posted..Help Us Celebrate the Best in Martial ArtsMy Profile

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  3. Ryan Says:

    Really nice post, the information is greatly appreciate 😉

  4. Matt Klein Says:

    Hi John, Top fight scenes over at http://paranormaland.com/index.html. Loved the match-up between the katana and numchuks especially in the Chinese Connection. Website is well worth visiting.
    Matt Klein recently posted..Motivating Children in Martial ArtsMy Profile

  5. Dr. J Says:

    As I think you know, several of Bruce’s techniques came to me through Joe Lewis and the Tracy system. They worked really well then and still do :-)

  6. John W. Zimmer Says:

    Hi DojoScore, Yep – I’m one of them!

    Thanks Ryan.

    Thanks Matt – I love some of the fight scenes! Bruce sure set the standard!

    Hi Dr. J! We share that common lineage! :)

  7. Tiger Says:

    Even after all these years I can’t get enough of Bruce Leeisms (is that even a word?).
    Years ago I attended a Kali/JKD seminar and I got to meet
    Guro Dan Inosanto who shared some of his own experiences with Bruce Lee and just based on those I gotta say Bruce Lee must have been out of this world. Lightning fast, strong, unpredictable, and certainly able to adapt to his opponent.
    Also, I really enjoyed your elaborating on the critical distance again. Very insightful and a really good reminder.
    Thanks, John.

  8. Chase Says:

    Reading all about him being a street thug who uses martial arts in a real fight, sure thing his somebody to be reckoned. And the martial arts world would always be in debt with Bruce lee’s promotion and influence of the art.

  9. Elmer Querubin Says:

    No matter what arguments that goes with the Bruce Lee legends, there is no doubt that he is probably the most major influencer of the martial arts world.

    I was lucky enough to have dinner with Guro Dan Inosanto, (please don’t assume that I have dinner with Guro Dan all the time, I’m just lucky enough to have an instructor that is close to him) and he talked about his encounters with the Si Gung Bruce. He said the Bruce was way ahead of his time. He showed me original writings of Bruce about styles of martial arts he was studying. Arguably, this was the first attempt to mix martial arts.

    This is an awesome post, John!