Producer 1990 Institute 
Overview Who was Bruce Lee? Trailblazing film star, martial arts icon, or popular philosopher? Taken all together, he was the master of influence long before it became common to discuss influencers in today’s digital world. Considered the most influential martial artist of all time, Bruce carved his own path and became known for bridging the gap between East and West as he grew to become a screen legend on both sides of the Pacific while introducing aspects of Eastern philosophy in popular culture stateside. Did you know that Bruce also welcomed all races to train at his martial arts studio despite experiencing racial discrimination personally and professionally? Could his biggest impact be helping us see all the potential ways we have to be true to ourselves and make a difference? Be like water and flow along with us as our new video educates us on Bruce’s story from a new angle. 

Video Time Codes:

0:01 Introduction 

2:30 Hybridity and Open Borders

4:41 Hollywood – The Sign of the Times  

8:57 Martial Arts 2.0 – Absorb Useful – Reject Useless 

11:47 Racial Solidarity – See Character Not Color 

13:14 Enter the Dragon – A Top 100 Roar of All Time 

15:22 The Legacy – Keep your Mind Open 

18:06 Credits 

Publish Date November 27, 2022
For 9-12 Teachers TBD
Reference Materials Read:

The Untold Truth About Bruce Lee, by Jonathan H. Kantor, updated: April 26, 2021, Grunge

The Truth About Bruce Lee’s Parents, by Robert Balkovich, Updated: Oct. 19, 2020, Grunge

42% Of Americans Can’t Name A Famous Asian American — Despite The Vice President Being One, by Marco Quiroz-Gutierrez, May 18, 2021, Fortune

Bruce Lee Born, by editors, November 22, 2021,

The Radical Way Bruce Lee Redefined Asian American Masculinity, by Brittany Wong, updated April 30, 2021,

Bruce Lee; Why He is Considered the Father of MMA, by staff writer, published date unknow,

Bruce Lee: 5 Reasons He’s the Biggest Influence in MMA, by Nick Colon, May 4, 2011,

How Bruce Lee became a symbol of solidarity with the Black community, by Kimmy Yam  June 11, 2020, NBC News

What It Means to Understand Bruce Lee, by Danny Chau, June 22, 2020, Theatlantic.Com

Bruce Lee and the invention of martial arts (blog post) – 2020, by Paul Bowman, November 27th 2020, OUPblog (a.k.a. Oxford University Press’s Insights for the THinking World)

‘Be water’: What was Bruce Lee’s combat philosophy and why does it appeal to the Hong Kong protestors, by Douglas Parkes, 20 Jun, 2020, South China Morning Post

Interview: Author Matthew Polly talks Bruce Lee and new biography, by Victor Rodriguez, Jun 25, 2018, 

Bruce Lee’s Profound Philosophy of Life: 7 Mind-Shifting Insights That Will Awaken Your Inner Warrior,  by Sofo Archon, published date unknown,

Jiddu Krishnamurti: Bruce Lee’s Philosophical Martial Arts Inspiration., by Nicolas Rufino dos Santos, July 1, 2020,

Bruce Lee’s Never-Before-Seen Writings on Willpower, Emotion, Reason, Memory, Imagination, and Confidence, by Maria Popova,

Enter the mind of Bruce Lee – by John Blake, July 20, 2020,

Warrior and the Legacy of Bruce Lee, by Mike Cecchini, April 5, 2019, Den of Geek

Shannon Lee on Bruce Lee’s legacy and how their family dealt with racism, by Marc J. Spears, June 4, 2020,

15 AAPI Content Creators You Should Be Following, by Meghan Crawford, May 16, 2022, Kapwing Resources

Influencer or activist? Social media and responsibility, by Ella Neve Wilton, February 1, 2021, University of London SOAS Blog

Influencers take to social media to stand against Asian hate crimes in the US, by Stephy Ching, updated February 17, 2021,

8 AAPI Activists and Creators You Should Pay Attention To, by Pratham Dalal, May 31, 2021, YR Media

Why James Coburn Was Bruce Lee’s Best Student in Hollywood?, by Charles Nicholas Raymond, November 7, 2021, Screen Rant


Jiddu Krishnamurti: Bruce Lee’s Philosophical Martial Arts Inspiration., By Nicolas Rufino dos Santos, July 1, 2020


Why so many black people love kung fu (7:30), The Guardian, Oct 31, 2019

Bruce Lee Philosophy, (3:57) By Bertamiráns F.C., Oct 9, 2015

How Bruce Lee Changed the World (2009),(1:30:37) By Roy Wong U.K., Dec 23, 2019 (Paywall)

How Bruce Lee Changed Martial Arts Cinema – Part 1| Video Essay, By Accented Cinema, Sep 12, 2019

Data Sources
Recommendation 11 Amazing Facts About Bruce Lee, by Google Arts & Culture

Interesting facts about Bruce and info on what life was like for him at that time – and by extension, other Chinese Americans, in the U.S.

Like Water: A Cultural History of Bruce Lee, by Daryl Joji Maeda, August 10,2022, published by NYU Press

Madeda’s cultural chronology of Bruce Lee reveals Lee to be both a product of his time and a harbinger of a more connected future. Like Water unearths the cultural and martial art strands that Lee intertwined that contributed to Bruce Lee’s rise to a new kind of global stardom against a backdrop of gold rush in California, and the British occupation of Hong Kong and the Cold War and the deployment of American troops across Asia

Be Water, My Friend: The Teachings of Bruce Lee, By Shannon Lee, October 6, 2020, by Flatiron Books

Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon shares the concepts at the core of his philosophies, showing how they can serve as tools of personal growth and self-actualization. Through stories from her father’s life and from her own journey in embodying these lessons, Shannon presents these philosophies in tangible, accessible ways.

Nomad of the Transpacific: Bruce Lee as Method, by Daryl J. Maeda, September 2017, pp. 741-761, American Quarterly, Volume 69, Number 3, Johns Hopkins University Press

Using Bruce Lee as an example, Maeda echos the calls on scholars to wrest the production of knowledge about Asia away from European and North American universities and frames of thought, arguing that Asian studies must be centered in Asian institutions, foreground inter-Asian comparativities, and apply Asian theorizing in order to decolonize, de-imperialize, and “de-cold war” Asian studies.


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