Bruce Lee was one of the most successful movie box-office attractions of all time. Some would also call him the greatest fighter of his (and maybe of all) time. While almost everyone knows something about Bruce Lee, here are a few things you may not have known. His father was a highly celebrated actor in China, both on stage and in the movies. Bruce began acting in movies at the age of four. At the age of twelve, having made several movies, he starred in "The Little Dragon". This was the catalyst that sparked his martial art training. In it, he played a punk that cleaned up the street gangs in Hong Kong. The few martial arts moves he had been taught for the stunt scenes was all Bruce knew about fighting. That role made him the target of many street toughs. Out of self-preservation, he joined a gang himself, where he met a young man named William Cheung. Cheung, already a student of Yip Man for over a year, introduced Bruce Lee to Yip Man. Thus began Bruce's formal training in the martial arts. He was a dedicated student and quickly developed his skills to surpass most of Yip's students. Having little humility, he refused to exhibit traditional respect for his Sihings (elder students). The elder students approached Yip Man and used the fact that Bruce Lee was not 100% Chinese to force him out of the school. Traditionally, it was forbidden to teach kung fu to any student who was not full Chinese. Despite this, Bruce slipped back to Yip's apartment for late-night, clandestine training sessions. He continued to train with William Cheung and they began testing their skills by challenging and accepting challenges from street fighters.
At age 18, due to the fact he was born in San Francisco and could claim American citizenship, his parents sent him to the United States. He settled in Seattle, where he began attending Edison Technical School. His martial arts skills made him a novelty and celebrity. He began to attract other martial artists and fighters who were amazed at his skills. Each of them was a skilled fighter in his own right. Among them were: Jesse Glover, a black belt in judo; Ed Hart, a middle-weight pro boxer and street fighter; Howard Hall, Leroy Porter, Pat C. Hooks, another black belt in judo; Charlie Woo, Skip Ellsworth, also a judo player; James W. DeMile, a street fighter and heavy-weight boxing champion in the Air Force; Leroy Garcia, a boxer and wrestler; Taky Kimura and John Jackson, both judo players. These men became his inner circle, the charter members of his research and development team.
Bruce was an unusual teacher. His personal goal unchanged, he was driven, not to teach, but to perfect the science of fighting and to prove himself the best fighter in the world. Rather than teach them a formal martial art, he taught each of them attributes to enhance their own skills so that they could continue to challenge him. This in turn, forced him to grow. Many of these early students went on to teach the skills that they developed during their training with Bruce. After developing his fighting skills and philosophy for four years, Bruce broke from the group and opened his first school in Seattle. He taught for a year and a half before moving to California. He left the school to Taky Kimura. Jesse Glover and James DeMile also open a school with Bruce's blessing. James DeMile, fascinated by the fighting science he had acquired through Bruce, went on to codify his knowledge and create a self-defense system called Wing Chun Do. Ambrose Academy is proud to be part of this legacy.