Bruce Lee: A Retrospective
Part 2: The man behind the mystique

Most interesting, however, is a look behind the mystique; beyond Lee's stardom in both the acting and martial arts world and into his personal and home life.

The Chinese Cultural Center is a few steps away from Telegraph Hill and Coit Tower.
The Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco lies just down the street from famed Telegraph Hill.

The exhibit contains numerous letters, sketches, and journal entries, all of which give a fascinating insight into Bruce Lee as a whole person. There's a letter to his wife Linda, where he discusses baby daughter Shannon's colic. Or a day planner open to 23 May 1968--what was a typical day in Bruce Lee's life?

Bruce Lee's Schedule Comments
punch: 600 (L) 600 (R) Quite a morning regimen. According to John Little's book on Bruce Lee's fitness program, The Art of Expressing the Human Body, this was a common way for Bruce to start the day.
12 noon: Lunch (Mito) This would be Mito Uyehara, the founder of Black Belt magazine and Lee's co-author of the Bruce Lee Fighting Method series.
cycling: 6 miles (under 17 min) Lee kept a stationary bicycle at his Los Angeles home for cardiovascular workouts.
4pm: Lew Alcindor   Lew Alcindor is better known today as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the basketball great. Abdul-Jabbar studied extensively with Lee, and starred in the climactic fight scene of the movie Game of Death.


 More of this Feature
• Part 1: A look back at Lee's life
 Elsewhere on the Web
• Kareem Talks About Bruce
• The Philosophy of Bruce Lee

You can take a look at Bruce Lee's ambition and quest for greatness. Daily affirmation cards, with notes on "Memory," "Subconscious Mind," and "Confidence," in Lee's handwriting in neat ballpoint lines. Or cards with the oath from the success classic Think and Grow Rich: "I have clearly written down a description of my definite chief aim in life, and I will never stop trying, until I shall have developed sufficient self-confidence for its attainment." I can just imagine Lee carrying around those cards with him, and reading them to himself, thinking of his future greatness.

Interspersed with the records of Lee's daily life are products of his creative side: notes on philosophy (Lee was a philosophy major at the University of Washington), sketches of Chinese fables and of martial arts techniques, and sheets of poetry. Some of the sketches eventually became illustrations in the book Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

The exhibit truly shows all sides of Bruce Lee, both as a wildly popular megastar and as an aspiring family man. The exhibit shows that while many in the world regard Lee as one of the greatest martial arts ever, he himself, and those close to him, knew he was still just a man, facing the demands of everyday life, discrimination, and the side effects of fame.

Since his passing, Lee has become one of the most influential, if not the most influential, martial artists of the modern era. Bruce Lee: A Retrospective gives visitors a wonderful view into all the facets of Bruce Lee. Don't miss it.

The Chinese Cultural Center (CCC) is in San Francisco's Chinatown, at 750 Kearny Street, 3rd Floor (Holiday Inn). Bruce Lee: A Retrospective is open to the public October 22, 2000 - February 18, 2001. Admission is free. Contact the CCC at 415 / 986-1822 or

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