The martial artist turned stuntman turned actor helped shape generations of film and TV fans. More than 50 years after his death, the impact of his work is still being felt within entertainment, according to Varsity. Fans of 60s TV will recognize him as Kato, the loyal and energetic companion to the Green Hornet on the short-lived show, while perhaps his greatest influence is felt in the world of cinema.
Bruce Lee pioneered a more visceral style of martial arts movie, building his career with the legendary fighting film Enter the Dragon and Big Boss, but he also championed himself and Asian people everywhere to the American public. Until him, there had been few role models for Asian-Americans to follow after and even fewer who were as self-assured, confident, and undeniably cool as Lee.
Since his untimely death at the age of 33 due to a suspected allergic reaction to medication, Bruce Lee has achieved legendary status among fitness and martial arts fans. His stardom has only grown over the years. His image is iconic, with his signature pose, hairstyle, and grim expression all lending themselves to video games of many genres. In the 80s he was depicted as a video game character for the first time with a game titled simply Bruce Lee for the Atari 8-bit and PCs at the time. More recently, he has appeared as a playable character in the UFC series of games by EA. You can also find another game simply titled Bruce Lee among the online slots from Gala Casino. It uses the fighter’s iconic imagery front and center, further proving his impact on pop culture. Even the film about his life, Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story was turned into a game for the Sega Genesis.
While his films remain iconic and entertaining, it is Bruce Lee’s impact on the world of martial arts that keeps him in popular culture so long after his death. In fact, he was one of the first martial artists to take both the fitness and nutrition sides of the sport seriously. Here are some of the ways he pioneered fitness within the martial arts world.
He Drank Protein Shakes
Protein shakes are nothing new in fitness and are often seen as necessary to get the muscle-fuelling amino acids that athletes need. However, in the sixties and seventies, they were something new on the market. Lee was one of the first athletes to make them a regular part of his diet and exercise regime, experimenting with different formulas over the years. This included one that was a blend of an entire raw hamburger, though that one thankfully didn’t take off.
He Mixed Disciplines
Bruce Lee was famous for his own style of martial arts, known as Jeet Kune Do, which took bits of other styles, combined them, and discarded what worked. He took this approach to fitness as well, taking part in strength and conditioning training long before other martial artists would take them as seriously. This included regularly lifting weights and running four to five miles each morning as well as numerous bodyweight exercises. This might seem obvious to athletes today but it was revolutionary at the time and helped Lee perform almost superhuman acts of fitness.
He Implemented Technology
Such an intense training regimen takes its toll on even the most honed of athletes, so Bruce Lee took what he had learned from other professional athletes and used it to help him recover faster. This included an electric muscle stimulator, which he soon incorporated into his training to improve muscle tone and definition as well as recover quicker.
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