Bruce Lee – All That is Man

It is my pleasure to introduce you to the “All That is Man” series. The concept is simple – posts dedicated to the manliest of men throughout history and share some of their amazing feats and abilities. My rationale is equally as straightforward – it’s no secret that today’s males are uber-pansies compared to the rough and rugged men of yesteryear. While I am not an advocate of returning to our manual labor roots, I think it is important to acknowledge the great feats that men have been able to accomplish.

This first installment focuses on Bruce Lee, the star of just about every classic kung fu movie worth watching. He was the quickest little dude and trained ridiculously hard to keep his body in top notch physical condition, which culminated in some absurd feats and abilities. But what really set him apart may have been his philosophy.

Quick background. Bruce was actually born in San Francisco (not China), spent his childhood in China, but returned at the age of 18 to attend the University of Washington. Along the way he became a martial arts expert and dropped out of college to teach martial arts.

Bruce Lee taught what he called “the style of no style” becuase he thought traditional martial arts were too rigid and didn’t translate into chaotic street fighting. This philosophy would later be called “Jeet Kune Do” or the “Way of the Intercepting Fist.” However, rather than opening a chain of karate schools like most martial arts experts, he decided the best way expose his ideas and philosophies was through film.

Unfortunately Bruce Lee and died at age 32 from a sensitivity to a muscle relaxant in a painkiller, just before his latest movie made him an international superstar. Who knows, if he lived longer maybe Kung Fu movies would be mainstream today, right up there with comedies and dramas. Maybe Walker Texas Ranger would have had an Asian fusion.


  • Lee performed one-hand push-ups using only the thumb and index finger.
  • “When he could do push ups on his thumbs and push ups with 250lbs on his back, he moved on to other exercises”. -Jesse Glover
  • Lee could thrust his fingers through unopened cans of Coca-Cola. (This was when soft drinks cans were made of steel much thicker than today’s aluminum cans)
  • Lee could take in one arm a 75 lb barbell from a standing position with the barbell held flush against his chest and slowly stick his arms out locking them, holding the barbell there for 20 seconds.
  • Lee performed 50 reps of one-arm chin-ups.


  • Lee’s combat movements were at times too fast to be captured on film for clear slow motion replay using the traditional 24 frames per second of that era, so many scenes were shot in 32 frames per second for better clarity.
  • In a speed demonstration, Lee could snatch a dime off a person’s open palm before they could close it, and leave a penny behind.
  • Lee could throw grains of rice up into the air and then catch them in mid-flight using chopsticks.
  • Lee’s striking speed from three feet with his hands down by his side reached five hundredths of a second.
  • “Everybody’d be standing around, and suddenly you’d feel something tick your ear like a bug hit it or something. You’d turn around and realize that Bruce had just jumped in the air, kicked out and hit the lobe of your ear.” – Van Williams

Philosophy (Bruce Lee quotes):

  • “To hell with circumstances; I create opportunities.”
  • “Ever since I was a child I have had this instinctive urge for expansion and growth. To me, the function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential.”
  • “All types of knowledge, ultimately leads to self knowledge”
  • “I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine.”
  • “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.”
  • “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
  • When a doctor warned him not to inflict too much violence on his body, Bruce dismissed his words. “The human brain can subjugate anything, even real pain.”

VS. Chuck Norris

VS. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (yup, you read that right)

VS. an entire Japanese school

With nunchucks

3 thoughts on “Bruce Lee – All That is Man

  1. jessem says:

    “Lee could throw grains of rice up into the air and then catch them in mid-flight using chopsticks” – I wanna see a video…

    • Skinner says:

      Yup, I agree. Although if we saw a video of some random guy doing it we would just assume it was fake. It’s kind of neat that this is the last time legendary feats will be passed down only by word of mouth – now any amazing talents are sure to end up on YouTube.

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