Last month, America's first statue to Bruce Lee was unveiled in Los Angeles's Chinatown. It's incredible that it's taken so long — it's been forty years since he died — given the man's impact on not just American culture, but global culture, too.
im电竞官网-Lee's influence was multifaceted, immeasurable. His specific martial art, kung fu, remains reasonably popular, but other forms have risen on the glamour that he brought to the table. Mixed martial arts has emerged as a legitimate sport, while aikido and tae kwon do are becoming virtually essential supplements to standard education. In parts of South America, tae kwon do is the second most popular sport after soccer. Colombia is considering mandating it in school. In America, and to a lesser extent in Europe, it is becoming a rite of middle-class life: You take your kids to tae kwon do either before or after you take them to violin lessons.
There's a reason that martial arts have become so popular with parents: A series of studies from Europe and the U.S. have shown huge benefits from early martial arts education. It is not in any way about learning how to beat people up. It is about learning to sit still and listen to orders. The largest study of tae kwon do in American schools found remarkable increases in confirming earlier work on its role as a creator of "self-regulation." Martial arts are particularly good for boys, and have a strong effect on kids with ADHD. Earning a black belt feeds a child's hunger for demonstrable accomplishment. In short, when you read a New York Times op-ed about a problem in contemporary education with boys, the solution is probably a discipline-based form of martial arts.
These recent studies contain a kind of implicit indictment of the educational trends of the past thirty years. Collaborative, esteem-building education models have become dominant in many schools. And for the most part, parents and teachers approve of those more "civilized" forms of education. But then the same parents sign their kids up for martial arts — basically the Marines for tots — paying extra for a hierarchical, militaristic, structured form of rote physical learning.
This model was introduced to America, and through America to the world, by Bruce Lee. Where the typical American action hero has swagger and a huge gun, the heroes in Bruce Lee movies achieve strength and mastery over violence through self-discipline. In a film like Enter the Dragon, im电竞官网-the physical conflict is forced on the hero. He'd rather just be training all the time, honing his skills and improving himself, but when the situation requires it, he does his duty flawlessly.
L.A.'s Bruce Lee statue is not the first of its kind in the world, of course. In 2005, the small Bosnian town of Mostar put up one to and community spirit without being ethnically specific. The memorial didn't work out as planned — the Croats and Bosnians in town were upset that Lee's warrior pose faced their neighborhoods, and the statue was vandalized within hours of being unveiled — but the residents were nonetheless correct to put it up. Their doing so was as fitting a testament to Lee's achievement as any, an unabashed expression of the kind of idealism he still embodies even forty years after he died (at thirty-two — what have you done with your life?).
im电竞官网-Today, we have a clearer picture of Bruce Lee's legacy. He was not just a badass, not just the leading evangelist for martial arts and innovators of cinema. He was also one of the founders of the self-improvement movement, a representation of the virtues everyone wants for themselves, and especially for their kids: self-control, fair play, and a willingness to work hard. And, yeah, sometimes being a badass.
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