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MMA legend Bruce Lee would have been 70 November 27, 2010

 

 

SPORTS NOTES EXTRA EXTRA - BRUCE LEE WOULD BE 70

James Loving/National Radio Text Service

 

Contrary to what many believe Lee didn't make many films particularly in the English language. It was his most popular film Enter The Dragon that gave him the filmmaking credentials that he sought. The irony is that he didn't live to see it.

 

Wednesday November 24, 2010

BRUCE LEE - THE LEGEND OF MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)

Believe it or not Bruce Lee would have turned 70 November 27, 2010. UFC president Dana White considers Lee the innovator of what is now known as MMA (Mixed Martial Arts. Lee died July 20, 1973 in Hong Kong.

Lee became a legend after his own time as he died at the young age of 32 in Hong Kong from cerebral edema. He was slight of build compared to most of the UFC stars of today. Former UFC heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar has the body of a combination of Iron Man, Robo Cop, and Superman.

Lee is respected for his mixed martial arts skills and creating innovative techniques which are applied in the UFC today. The largest influence on Lee's martial arts development was his study of Wing Chun. Lee began training in Wing Chun at the age of 13 under the Wing Chun teacher Yip Man in 1954, after losing a fight with rival gang members.

In the spring of 1959, Lee got into a street fight and the police were called. From all the way to his late teens, Lee's street fights became more frequent and included beating up the son of a feared triad family. Eventually, Lee's father decided for him to leave Hong Kong to pursue a safer and healthier avenue in the United States. His parents confirmed the police's fear that this time Lee's opponent had an organized crime background, and there was the possibility that a contract was out for his life.

Fighting wasn't his only interest. Lee was introduced into films at a very young age and appeared in several short black-and-white films as a child. He had his first role as a baby who was carried onto the stage. By the time he was 18, he had appeared in twenty films. In 1961 Lee enrolled at Washington University and majored in drama and also studied philosophy and psychology which helped shape his future and the melding of his martial arts skills with filmmaking.

In blending his two skills Lee broke into the Hollywood scene as a supporting actor playing the role of Kato in the series The Green Hornet. The show lasted just one season, from 1966 to 1967. He also played Kato in three crossover episodes of Batman. This was followed by guest appearances in a host of television series, including Ironside (1967) and Here Come the Brides (1969). More minor roles followed. Contrary to what many believe Lee didn't make many films particularly in the English language. It was his most popular film Enter The Dragon that gave him the filmmaking credentials that he sought. It was the first Chinese martial arts film to have been produced by a major Hollywood studio and was produced in association with Golden Harvest and Lee's Concord Production Company.

The irony is that the film was released in Hong Kong July 26, 1973 a week after his death. The USA release was August 17, 1973. The film was a box office success. With a budget of $850,000 (est.) it grossed HK $3,307,520.40 in Hong Kong, $25,000,000 in the USA AND $90,000,000 Worldwide. All are estimated figures.

Lee was as enthusiastic about the film business as he was about martial arts. The finished version of Enter The Dragon was significantly different from the original screenplay drafts as Lee revised much of the script himself, including having written and directed the film's opening Shaolin Monastery fight sequence. Lee wanted to use the film as a vehicle for expressing what he saw as the beauty of his Chinese culture, rather than it being just another action film. He never lived to see the impact of his work and the appreciation of his filmmaking talent.

On 20 July 1973, Lee was in Hong Kong, to have dinner with former James Bond star George Lazenby, with whom he intended to make a film. According to Lee's wife Linda, Lee met producer Raymond Chow at 2 pm at home to discuss the making of the film Game of Death. They worked until 4 pm and then drove together to the home of Lee's colleague Betty Ting Pei, a Taiwanese actress. The three went over the script at Ting's home, and then Chow left to attend a dinner meeting.

Later Lee complained of a headache, and Ting gave him an analgesic (painkiller), Equagesic, which contained both aspirin and the muscle relaxant meprobamate. Around 7:30 pm, he went to lie down for a nap. When Lee did not turn up for dinner, Chow came to the apartment but could not wake Lee up. A doctor was summoned, who spent ten minutes attempting to revive him before sending him by ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Lee was dead by the time he reached the hospital.

There was no visible external injury; however according to autopsy reports, his brain had swollen considerably, from 1,400 to 1,575 grams (a 13% increase). The only substance found during the autopsy was Equagesic. On 15 October 2005, Chow stated in an interview that Lee died from a hypersensitivity to the muscle relaxant (meprobamate) in Equagesic, which he described as a common ingredient in painkillers. When the doctors announced Lee's death officially, it was ruled a "death by misadventure"

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