The transcript below is from the video “Bruce Lee Myths You Believe” by Grunge.

Grunge (Brian P. Rubin, YouTube Channel for fun facts and cool tidbits on history, entertainment, science, and plenty more):

There’s no question that Bruce Lee was an extraordinary athlete, teacher, actor, and director. Even within the strictures of a 1960s TV series, The Green Hornet, his remarkable agility and grace are truly mesmerizing. Dying far too young, at only 32 years old, only adds to the icon’s tragic mystique. Along with the tragedy comes stories, so many stories of a man whose reality was more than remarkable all by itself. As detailed in Matthew Polly’s 2018 biography, Bruce Lee: A Life, there are still some myths about Lee that persist. Among them, Lee didn’t avoid alcohol because of discipline. The reality is that he didn’t like to drink alcohol because it caused an unpleasant physiological reaction, which he shared with an estimated 35 percent of Asian people.

Grunge (Brian P. Rubin, YouTube Channel for fun facts and cool tidbits on history, entertainment, science, and plenty more):

Even after a few sips, Lee would become flushed and nauseous, with sake as the only exception. He did, however, enjoy other substances, specifically cannabis. After a long day of training at home, Lee would head out to the garage for a marijuana cigarette, eventually moving on to hashish, which he would reportedly carry with him in small bags and pouches to chew on throughout the day. When asked why he got high by a fellow martial artist, Lee replied, ‘It raises the consciousness level.’ Occasionally, that level was too high for training partners. Polly cites a judo expert who allegedly stopped training with Lee, quote, ‘because he was sick of all the pot smoke swirling around.’ Lee’s surprisingly cavalier attitude towards pot also translated to his look, for a time, as he embraced a hippie aesthetic.

(Movie clip inserted for emphasis)

Kumar (Kal Penn):

“What kind of hippie are you?”

Hippie Student (Dov Tiefenbach):

“What kind of hippie am I? Man, I’m a business hippie.”

Grunge (Brian P. Rubin, YouTube Channel for fun facts and cool tidbits on history, entertainment, science, and plenty more):

Lee was known to the world as a ‘kinetic genius’, totally in touch with his body, a champion ballroom dancer able to quickly master any martial arts fighting style. There was only one obstacle in his way: learning to ride a bicycle. He was also declared medically unfit for the draft after failing his physical, perhaps for being too powerful? Jokes aside, Lee was human after all, a fact easy to forget in the wake of his ascension to mythical status. Though he was a sage, Lee was not always the picture of calm.

In a 2014 Reddit AMA, Lee’s daughter Shannon wrote: ‘He was definitely human. He also had a temper. He was also quick to anger. He wanted things a certain way and he had high standards and sometimes he could lose it. But the good thing about him was that he was self-aware. He knew when he had had a blow up and he would recover and reset and apologize and work on doing better next time.’

Grunge (Brian P. Rubin, YouTube Channel for fun facts and cool tidbits on history, entertainment, science, and plenty more):

Another human element lost in his legend is the reality of his path to America. According to Matthew Polly, he is often portrayed as a, quote, ‘impoverished immigrant who came to America to make it big’ But Lee actually came from a very reputable Hong Kong Family with its own chauffeur and two live-in maids. His father was a Chinese opera star, which helped Lee secure an early foothold as a child actor. By the time he had arrived in the US, he’d appeared in around twenty films.

Another famous myth that Polly debunks is that the TV Western/Martial Arts hybrid series Kung Fu was created by Bruce Lee, before being stolen away from him. Instead, as Polly told Entertainment Weekly, ‘It was written by two Jewish comedy writers from Brooklyn, Ed Spielman and Howard Friedlander. Lee did audition for the lead role, but that ended up going to David Carradine instead.

Grunge (Brian P. Rubin, YouTube Channel for fun facts and cool tidbits on history, entertainment, science, and plenty more):

As for that very premature death, there are some pretty wild ideas out there about what really happened. Was Lee actually killed in some mysterious, arcane, possibly mystical fashion? Had his popularity betrayed ancient secrets of the martial arts? Part of the source of all these conspiracy theories is that Lee died in the apartment of an actress to whom he was not married. However, he definitely wasn’t assassinated. The actual cause of death was a cerebral edema, but the source of the condition is unknown. Some have suggested that he was allergic to aspirin, which he’d taken for a headache, but Polly believes the underlying cause was actually heat stroke. Lee had been intensively rehearsing action sequences for the movie he was shooting, on the hottest day of the month in tropical Hong Kong. According to Polly, ‘I’m fairly certain it wasn’t ninjas.’

Check out one of our newest videos right here. Plus, even more Grunge videos about classic stars are coming soon. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and hit the bell so you don’t miss a single one.




Watch The Video Below!

Train Hard, Fight Easy!

Wall Bag