Bruce Lee - the biography of this great man is like a dazzling flash of a star: extinct, but forever remaining in the memory of descendants, and sudden death still generates a lot of speculation and legends. His name has long been the personification of irrepressible energy and lightning-fast reaction. No wonder, even in childhood, he earned the funny nickname "never sitting still", which has become his kind of motto. We have already talked about the static gymnastics of this martial artist, and today we present to the attention of our readers a true and fascinating story of the life of this legendary personality.
Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940 in San Francisco. His mother, Grace Lee, was half German, and his father, Lee Hong Chuyen, was Chinese. The family moved to Hong Kong shortly after his birth. Our hero can be called without exaggeration a man with many names. Bruce was the second child in the family (the first son died in infancy). According to Chinese belief, the death of the firstborn was considered a punishment by the gods, so only the birth of a daughter could wash away the family curse. However, the couple did not have children for a long time, so they decided to adopt a girl from a poor family.
By a strange coincidence, Grace soon became pregnant and gave birth to a son. Fearing for the boy's fate, his parents gave him the female name Sai Fon ("Little Phoenix"). The baby was even pierced with an ear to deceive the evil spirits and force them to retreat. A little later, Bruce received the male name Li Xiaolong ("Little Dragon") because he was born in the year and hour of the dragon, according to the Chinese calendar. The adult name Li Zhenfan ("Come Back") was given to him by his mother. The actor owes the appearance of his creative pseudonym to the midwife, who wrote it down under the name Bruce on the birth certificate.
From an early age, the boy was distinguished by restlessness and an irrepressible thirst for adventure, for which he received the nickname Mo Si Tun ("Never Sitting Still"). The childhood of the future kung fu master was spent in the slums of Hong Kong, which became a real school of life for him. A short, puny boy was a tempting target for street hooligans, so the ability to stand up for oneself became an absolute must for "Little Phoenix". However, Bruce Lee himself was a noble bully. He could get involved in a fight under any pretext, even if someone looked askance in his direction or accidentally touched him and did not apologize. The age and build of the opponent did not matter to him.
Such clashes almost always ended in the same way: the boy returned home with a couple of fresh bruises and torn clothes, for which he received additional thrashing from his father. It must be said that the head of the family was not distinguished by special virtue and love for his children. As a comic actor in Chinese opera, Lee Hong Chuyen was famous and successful, but he spent a significant part of his earnings on opium and gambling. By Chinese standards, Bruce's father could be called a wealthy man, as he owned several apartments for rent throughout the city. At the same time, the Li family, including grandfathers and grandmothers, huddled in a cramped, stuffy apartment, where water was supplied only once a week and only for a few hours.
The hardships of everyday life hardened young Li Xiaolong's character. Friends and relatives recalled that Bruce was a very difficult person, as if two different personalities lived in him at once. On the one hand, he constantly pissed others off with his hooligan antics, but at the same time he was a very sensitive and responsive person. Grace Lee told how one day her son stood at the window for a long time, looking for something outside, then abruptly leaped from his seat and jumped out of his house. It turned out that Bruce noticed a blind man on the street, unsuccessfully trying to cross the road, and helped him.
When Li Xiaolong was seven years old, his parents sent him to a Jesuit school, hoping that at least here the restless child would be taught obedience. But in vain. The young fidget took a dislike to study from the very first day and began to run away from classes. A desperate mother, who paid a lot of money every month for the education of a negligent son, made a deal with him, allowing him to skip school if he warned him where he was going in return. Bruce happily agreed and adhered to the treaty scrupulously. He did not study better, and after a few years he was expelled from school.
Lack of craving for knowledge, however, did not prevent the young bully from catching a love of literature. Reading fascinated Bruce so much that he could sit over a book until late at night, in poor lighting. It is not surprising that by the age of six, the boy's eyesight deteriorated. In addition, as a child, he suffered from sleepwalking, which very much frightened the household.
The irrepressible energy of "Little Phoenix" had to be directed in the right direction, so Lee Hong Chuyen only breathed a sigh of relief when his son came to him with a request to pay for kung fu lessons. The father, who rarely fulfilled the whims of the children, willingly allocated the required amount. This is how Bruce Lee's first training began.