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An Unforgettable Encounter: Harry Martin Interviewing Bruce Lee in 1966

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In the annals of martial arts history, the name Bruce Lee resonates with unrivaled charisma and prowess. Lee’s magnetic presence, astonishing skills, and profound philosophy continue to inspire people around the world. But let us rewind the clock to 1966, when a relatively unknown martial artist named Bruce Lee was interviewed by the acclaimed British journalist Harry Martin. This one-of-a-kind encounter left an indelible mark on both men and provided a captivating insight into the mind of the legendary Bruce Lee.

The Encounter:

It was a crisp autumn day when Harry Martin, armed with his recorder, entered the cluttered training space of Bruce Lee’s martial arts studio in Oakland, California. The place hummed with energy as students diligently practiced their techniques, while Lee, in the eye of this martial arts hurricane, exuded an air of quiet confidence.

The Interview:

Martin’s fascination with martial arts had led him to Bruce Lee, whose reputation was just beginning to emerge beyond the realm of martial arts enthusiasts. Armed with a list of thoughtful questions, he endeavored to unravel the essence of Lee’s philosophy and understand the man behind the growing legend.

Martin began the interview by asking Lee about his early years and how he discovered his passion for martial arts. Lee graciously recounted his upbringing in Hong Kong, where he witnessed street battles and altercations that sparked his interest in self-defense. He spoke about his first formal martial arts training in Wing Chun and how it paved the way for the development of his unique Jeet Kune Do style.

As the interview progressed, Martin inquired about Lee’s views on martial arts as a means of self-expression and personal growth. Lee passionately described how martial arts, to him, transcended physical combat and became a form of artistic expression. His belief was that the practice of martial arts offered a path to self-discovery and self-realization, and he stressed the importance of cultivating both mental and physical strength.

Martin was keen to explore Lee’s philosophies beyond martial arts. He delved into his views on the integration of Eastern and Western traditions, seeking to understand how Lee bridged cultural divides. Lee candidly shared his belief in the universality of martial arts, emphasizing that its essence transcended cultural boundaries and served as a unifying force.

The conversation then took an intriguing turn as Martin delved into Lee’s thoughts on the portrayal of martial arts in movies. Lee expressed his dissatisfaction with the way Asian martial artists were typecast and stereotyped onscreen. He firmly believed in challenging these stereotypes and bringing authenticity to martial arts representation in films.

Throughout the interview, Martin sensed the intensity and depth of Lee’s thoughts, realizing that this was a man driven by a profound desire for change, both within the martial arts community and beyond.


Harry Martin’s interview with Bruce Lee in 1966 was a captivating encounter that showcased the multifaceted aspects of Lee’s philosophy. It highlighted his dedication to martial arts, his belief in the fusion of cultures and his determination to transform the stereotypes associated with Asian representation in Hollywood.

This interview was a testament to Bruce Lee’s enduring legacy and his profound impact on the world. His insights into martial arts as a means of self-expression and personal growth continue to resonate with countless practitioners, while his desire for cultural unity and authenticity has left an indelible mark on the film industry.

As we reflect on this unique encounter between two awe-inspiring individuals, we are reminded of Bruce Lee’s words: “Empty your mind; be formless, shapeless, like water.” In these simple yet profound words lies the essence of a man who forever changed the world of martial arts.

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