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Thread: Bruce Lee vs. Wong Jack Man fight

  1. #481
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    my thing is how old was bruce lee when this took place? He was like what 19 or 20? he was just a kid, man. a stupid young kid. NOBODY was worth anything much at that age.
    people need to stop acting like this was some awesome life ending match. bruce kept teaching and wong jack man kept teaching. all that really matters.
    I'm pretty sure the only thing tongs do nowadays is make sure Chinese restaurants don't pay out tips to their waiters. - Pazman[/B]

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  2. #482
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    Bruce was about 24 at the time. I don't know about you guys but getting trapped and falling in a fight is still a problem for the person who has fallen, accident or not, Bruce had the advantage at that point and probably could have beaten the snot out of him there. In real life, no one's gonna give flying fuk if you've fallen because of an accident. Bruce had better control than I would have because I would have capitalized on that.

    There's a common thread amongst all the stories told on Bruce's side: WJM was running from Bruce! Remember Starnes vs Quarry?

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  3. #483
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    In today's SF Chron....

    The Chron is doing some sort of retro series in their sports section called Game Changers. Here's the beginning of the article (you must be a subscriber to get it all).

    SPORTS
    In Oakland, Bruce Lee transformed martial arts
    By Vic Tafur September 4, 2015 Updated: September 8, 2015 7:29pm


    Photo: Michael Ochs Archives Bruce Lee, circa 1970.
    It is a car dealership now, one of many on Broadway in Oakland, and there is no shrine or even a small sign that 51 years ago, the biggest martial-arts star of all time was fighting there for his livelihood.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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  4. #484
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    Commentary on this from Paul Bowman

    Wong Jack Man versus Bruce Lee Mythology: On Bruce Lee Legends and the forthcoming George Nolfi 'bio-fic'

    The origin story of Bruce Lee's Jeet Kune Do hinges on Lee's 1964 fight with Wong Jack Man. This is a crucial event in the martial arts biography of Bruce Lee, because it prompted his subsequent reflections on why he had not won quickly, cleanly and decisively. This caused him to revaluate critically his 'classical' or 'traditional' martial arts training and to begin researching and experimenting with both new theories of combat and innovating with new training methods and techniques.

    So far, so good. But what about his opponent, Wong Jack Man? What does the origin story do with him? And, given the fact that Wong is still alive and disputes key aspects of the story, what might this tell us about 'reality'?

    In many accounts – both in writing and in film – Wong is said to have challenged Lee to the fight because Lee was offending the Chinese martial arts community by teaching kung fu secrets to white and black westerners. In this narrative, Lee is a representative of an open-minded multiculturalism. If we follow the chain of dominoes that falls down from here, this means that Wong is conversely the representative of an essentially racist and closed Chinese community. If Lee is the future, Wong is the representative of a separatist, hierarchical and racist past. Wong writes his formal challenge letter and has it hand delivered to Lee by a deputy. In some versions, the letter actually comes from the elders and rulers of the Chinese martial arts community tout court, and Wong is their champion.

    In these versions, the Chinese community is formal and structured. As such, for the word 'community' we can easily hear the word 'triads'. And the liberal multiculturalist Bruce Lee is accordingly anathema.

    Of course, in literal terms, in this narrative, the Lee-Wong fight most frequently becomes a fight to decide Lee's right to teach martial arts at all, never mind to non-Chinese people. The point that is emphasized is that if he loses, he loses his right to teach at all. But, as I have been suggesting, the story has a strongly symbolic or even symptomatic dimension.

    Given the symbolic character of the key coordinates of this hugely overdetermined narrative structure, the bits and pieces of information that we have been given about the plot line of the forthcoming 'biopic' on Bruce Lee, directed by George Nolfi, are understandable. As one site writes: 'It will focus, in part, on Bruce Lee's 1965 duel with famous kung fu master Wong Jack Man and the attempts all three men made to stem the influence the Triads had around San Francisco'.

    Now, at first I found this laugh-out-loud funny. For what we have here is a total flight of fantasy. Bruce Lee teaming up with Wong to fight the triads?! But in terms of the overdetermined character of the Jeet Kune Do origin myth, this kind of thematic exploration makes a kind of perfect sense. For, if we think about these narratives, the fight takes place at a transitional time: Bruce Lee has yet to escape from his martial arts culture. He's struggling with it. He's an ethnically Chinese man in the US, with a white wife and a burning ambition. But in many respects he's still stuck in 'China'. As Gina Marchetti writes of the intra-ethnic struggle played out by Brandon Lee in Rapid Fire, to become smoothly 'Asian-American', there must be a battle with something 'Asian' that must be vanquished (Marchetti 2006, Bowman 2013). Thus, Lee comes into contact with the representatives of China-abroad, fights and wins. He is now free to renounce and transcend something of his past and embrace the future.

    In these narratives, Wong becomes the bearer of all of the negative symbolism of a formal, ancient, traditional, violent, Triad-China. And Lee must beat this, to prove not just 'his' but also modern multicultural US superiority. But what of Wong? In real life, very little attention has been given to what Wong has said very about the fight, although the Wikipedia entry that appears highly in an online search on him is suggestive: 'According to Linda Lee Cadwell, Bruce Lee's wife, Lee's teaching of Chinese martial arts to Caucasians made him unpopular with Chinese martial artists in San Francisco. Wong contested the notion that Lee was fighting for the right to teach Caucasians, as not all of his students were Chinese' [accessed 14 December 2015].

    Nonetheless, in the films, such as Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, and even supposedly sober documentaries on Bruce Lee, such as one I appeared in (I Am Bruce Lee), Wong is roundly dismissed as a Chinese racist, pure and simple – a kind of capo of the racist Chinese 'authorities'.

    As Sylvia Huey Chong has argued in her book, The Oriental Obscene (Chong 2012), the problem with this kind of narrative is that it locates racism related to the Chinese in the US firmly in the Chinese community: the Chinese are racist, because their community is closed and impenetrable, and so on. This means that even the celebratory narrative myths of Lee 'struggling against racism' displace the lion's share of 1960s racism away from the white hegemony and onto the shoulders of the ex pat Chinese community.

    Given this, a reconsideration of famous characters like Wong in films like the forthcoming one from Nolfi do not seem surprising. But, on all the evidence we have to date about the likely plot structure, it seems that the film is following film-history rather than the biographical-history of Bruce Lee. But, this is hardly surprising: as Meaghan Morris has pointed out, it is easy to forget that films are primarily about films, at least as much as and before they are about anything else (Morris 2001).

    In this light, it seems that George Nolfi's film will be in some sense responding to representations of Wong as typified by films like Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, and undertaking a reflection based primarily on them. And indeed we should ask, whether informed by film or by history: what about Wong? If Bruce Lee learned so much from this fight, what did Wong learn?

    Surely both the real and the mythological Wong must have learned from the fight with Lee. And if Lee beat him, then what is the lesson that the mythological Wong might? That Lee's modern 'Western' ways are superior, perhaps even the future… Such a Wong might renounce the triads and indeed 'team up' with the mythological Lee on his ineluctable battle against iniquity, tradition without reason and blind conformity to style, etc.

    Of course, I have scanty information about the film at this time. Only time will tell what the film comes to be. But we do have information about Wong, and his fight with Bruce Lee.
    Continued next post
    Gene Ching
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  5. #485
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    continued from previous

    As mentioned, according to the Bruce Lee Posthumous Myth-Making Machine, Wong challenged Lee because Lee was teaching non-Chinese. However, according to Wong, he did not actually challenge Lee because of this. Indeed, many people have stated that Wong was actually responding (as an individual) to Lee's own open challenge to any martial artist to come and see how good he was. This makes so much more sense than the version peddled by certain members of the Lee family (see I Am Bruce Lee for a good example of this), in which Wong was angry at Lee for teaching white people. Moreover, in some of his few published statements, Wong notes that he was not actually racist at all and was indeed teaching white people kung fu at the time himself. His motivation for the fight was mere headstrong youthful arrogance and aggressiveness, pure and simple.

    But why has this never been properly been heard, acknowledged or engaged? Why do people ignore the 'two arrogant young men jostling for position in their own egos' narrative and prefer instead the 'beating Chinese racism' narrative? Doubtless there are many reasons (this is what 'overdetermination' means): because a lot of cultural thinking takes place via symbols, metonyms and stand-ins (Freud regarded 'condensation and displacement' the key aspects of 'dream-work', and this can be applied to the ways that cultures deal with 'issues', such as, say, racism – we dramatize them via stand-ins and proxies, good guys and bad guys); because Bruce Lee supporters, including the family members who have since gone on to rely on Lee's brand for their income, have actively encouraged it; because we want the battles of our heroes to be parables, allegories, and to bespeak larger truths; and so on. Unfortunately, in this mushrooming mythological process, one living individual, Wong Jack Man, has been transformed into an enduring anti-hero, both bad guy and victim.

    In the essay, 'Dominici: or, The Triumph of Literature', in Mythologies, Roland Barthes argues that a certain shared type of literary and cultural education became a key part of the prosecution's case against a man accused of murder in post-War France. The prosecution, said Barthes, relied entirely upon the kinds of association one would find in certain genres of literature to convert circumstantial evidence into 'proof' of the accused's 'inevitable' thoughts and behaviours. The case of Wong Jack Man has similar contours. But there is no courtroom for Wong other than the interminable media myth machine. Perhaps the most we can hope is that Nolfi's 'bio-fic' comes to redeem Wong in the mythical realm.

    But, we have to wonder, who will them become the new bad-guy? One might suspect, 'Old China', again. Yet, China in 2015/16 is not the same as China in the 1960s, 70s, 80s or even 90s. Reports that in researching his story Nolfi went to China to research the taiji of Bruce Lee's father are tantalizing in this regard. For, if Nolfi is combining a reworking of the Wong Jack Man Fight Myth with an argument that Lee's 'one inch punch' can be traced back to taiji, then this sends out a clear signal that the film has transnational aspirations. For taiji is, of course, in Adam Frank's words, the very symbol of 'Chinese-ness', in both the PRC and indeed for the rest of the world (Frank 2006) – taiji has long been what Douglas Wile called China's cultural ambassador to the world (Wile 1996).

    (In this light, if I were to indulge further in this kind of amateur plot diagnosis, I would be inclined to wager that it seems likely that 'the bad element' to be purged in the forthcoming bio-fic will not be 'old China', but rather the abomination/mutation that is 'China abroad', China unanchored, the China that has left China… And although this is surely going to be the Californian Chinese community, it also sounds a lot like the much reviled 'neither here nor there' China-outside-China that has long been played by Hong Kong.)

    To my mind, if the film is set to combine the mythologised fight with a claim that Lee's Jeet Kune Do owes a direct causal debt to traditional taijiquan (in the form of a claim that taiji's 'short power' is the source of Lee's 'one inch punch', for instance), then this attests to the transnational ideological alignment of the Bruce Lee Industry and the dominant ideology of the PRC. Transnational-Lee seems likely to be set to work for both Hollywood orientalism and the huge markets of the PRC – when 'PRC' no longer stands for the 'People's Republic of China' and now refers more to the 'Public Relations of China'.



    References


    Bowman, Paul. 2013. Beyond Bruce Lee: Chasing the Dragon through Film, Philosophy and Popular Culture. London and New York: Wallflower Press.

    Chong, Sylvia Shin Huey. 2012. The Oriental obscene: violence and racial fantasies in the Vietnam era. Durham: Duke University Press.

    Frank, Adam. 2006. Taijiquan and the Search for the Little Old Chinese Man: Understanding Identity through Martial Arts. New York and Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Marchetti, Gina. 2006. From Tian'anmen to Times Square: Transnational China and the Chinese Diaspora on Global Screens, 1989-1997. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.

    Morris, Meaghan. 2001. "Learning from Bruce Lee." In Keyframes: Popular Cinema and Cultural Studies, edited by Matthew Tinkcom, and Villarejo, Amy, 171-184. London: Routledge.

    Wile, Douglas. 1996. Lost T'ai Chi Classics of the Late Ch'ing Dynasty. New York: State University of New York.
    For more, see Birth-of-the-Dragon & Martial-Arts-Studies-Disrupting-Disciplinary-Boundaries-by-Paul-Bowman
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  6. #486
    Greetings,

    I think Bruce made his peace with his match with Wong jack Man while he was alive; case in point, did anyone notice that the choreography in the opening match in Enter the Dragon was more than 95% Northern Shaolin?


    mickey

  7. #487
    once upon a time it was still segregation and color folk were still treated badly, chinatown was a slum with terrible poverty. bruce lee was rich and had white blood and acted arrogant looking down on them. he wanted to teach kung fu but didnt learn a proper style and started challenging people. then a starving skinny restaurant waiter challenge him to fight. he wailed on his head but couldnt knock him out and the guy was back to work the next day, bruce lee complained his hands hurt. then he get his dad to help him into the movie business. white people watch his movie then make high pitched noise at asian people until the late 90s. the end.
    Last edited by bawang; 12-17-2015 at 05:26 AM.

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  8. #488
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    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    once upon a time it was still segregation and color folk were still treated badly, chinatown was a slum with terrible poverty. bruce lee was rich and had white blood and acted arrogant looking down on them. he wanted to teach kung fu but didnt learn a proper style and started challenging people. then a starving skinny restaurant waiter challenge him to fight. he wailed on his head but couldnt knock him out and the guy was back to work the next day, bruce lee complained his hands hurt. then he get his dad to help him into the movie business. white people watch his movie then make high pitched noise at asian people until the late 90s. the end.
    Accurate and unpopular.

  9. #489
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    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    once upon a time it was still segregation and color folk were still treated badly, chinatown was a slum with terrible poverty. bruce lee was rich and had white blood and acted arrogant looking down on them. he wanted to teach kung fu but didnt learn a proper style and started challenging people. then a starving skinny restaurant waiter challenge him to fight. he wailed on his head but couldnt knock him out and the guy was back to work the next day, bruce lee complained his hands hurt. then he get his dad to help him into the movie business. white people watch his movie then make high pitched noise at asian people until the late 90s. the end.
    i've missed this place. love you, bro.
    where's my beer?

  10. #490
    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    once upon a time it was still segregation and color folk were still treated badly, chinatown was a slum with terrible poverty. bruce lee was rich and had white blood and acted arrogant looking down on them. he wanted to teach kung fu but didnt learn a proper style and started challenging people. then a starving skinny restaurant waiter challenge him to fight. he wailed on his head but couldnt knock him out and the guy was back to work the next day, bruce lee complained his hands hurt. then he get his dad to help him into the movie business. white people watch his movie then make high pitched noise at asian people until the late 90s. the end.


    On point. As always.
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    Originally Posted by RD'S Alias - 1A

    I have easily beaten every one I have ever fought.....

  11. #491
    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    once upon a time it was still segregation and color folk were still treated badly, chinatown was a slum with terrible poverty. bruce lee was rich and had white blood and acted arrogant looking down on them. he wanted to teach kung fu but didnt learn a proper style and started challenging people. then a starving skinny restaurant waiter challenge him to fight. he wailed on his head but couldnt knock him out and the guy was back to work the next day, bruce lee complained his hands hurt. then he get his dad to help him into the movie business. white people watch his movie then make high pitched noise at asian people until the late 90s. the end.
    Bawang does have one white friend recall, so don't get to mad at him for sounding like a racist .
    Last edited by boxerbilly; 01-01-2016 at 09:33 AM.

  12. #492
    Quote Originally Posted by boxerbilly View Post
    Bawang does have one white friend recall, so don't get to mad at him for sounding like a racist cu--nt.
    i havent mentioned any race with negative accusations so you are actually the racist here.

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  13. #493
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    Bruce Lee is dead buried and rotten.

    Leave him there.

    He was not as good as he thought he was.

    Jackie Chan still going strong after breaking many more bones than Bruce.

    Sammo Hung is still going strong, Bruce is dead, buried and rotten.

    Chuck Norris is still going strong.

    Even fahking Bob Wall, is still alive.

    Bruce is not.

    Hence, Bruce' Kung Fu skills were not good.
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  14. #494
    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    i havent mentioned any race with negative accusations so you are actually the racist here.
    BULL-----. " bruce lee was rich and had white blood and acted arrogant looking down on them."

    So what exactly was the point of pointing out Lee was part white ? Was that just to bring the rest of us up to speed he was not pure blood Chinese thus somehow inferior or was it he felt superior because he had white blood , and that was the point you were trying to make ? Perhaps you mean both ?


    And I am fairly ****---ing certain it was he that was looked down of for that and not the other way around. If he was ****y it was because he was BRUCE LEE and yeah, being part white was part of Bruce Lee !


    edit, anyway dude. Make some white friends. We aint all bad. This is not the first time I see you write WHITE this or that like it is a bad thing. **** if I will bow down and accept that because because some numbnuts all of a sudden believe it is politically incorrect to be white. WTF ? I AM WHITE ! I am also Indian. I am PROUD to be WHITE ! PROUD I TELL YOU.

    Does that make me a racisit ?
    Last edited by boxerbilly; 12-29-2015 at 10:29 PM.

  15. #495
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    I never heard of Bruce Lee talking much, if at all, about his part German heritage. His mom was half-German, so he was only a quarter German. But he always *seemed* to identify with being Chinese. And of course, here in the States he would have been identified as Chinese by non-Asians. I have heard that when some of Yip Man's other students found out that BL had some white blood, they used that to get Yip Man to expel BL from the school. Because (supposedly) Yip Man would not teach foreigners.

    TBH, I've known several "full-blooded" Asians who look more "mixed" than BL did. And if you see photos of BL's siblings, they look even less mixed than BL, yet they were also quarter German.

    BL was very c0cky, but so are a LOT of MAists, especially young guys, and some not so young, too. I can't count the number of arrogant people I've met in MA over the years. BL was just more famous, and probably more outgoing/outspoken than most. He was also really young. He probably would've changed if he'd gotten older.

    But let's be clear: EVERYONE is mixed-blooded. Otherwise, every human being would have flippers instead of hands and legs.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 12-30-2015 at 03:27 PM.

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