Sifu Freddie’s Message To Shannon Lee

Bruce Lee’s daughter Shannon Lee said,

“My dad would have really enjoyed UFC, I think he was very into real combat, his art is all about being a complete fighter and being able to handle yourself in any situation you find yourself in. This (the UFC) is really the closest you can get to it.”

Ms. Shannon Lee I completely disagree with you.  You may be Bruce’s daughter by blood but that does not mean you know anything about true Martial Arts.  The spirit of the Martial Arts is not passed on by blood, but the understanding comes from within and it’s an individual experience. Yes, Bruce was into studying real combat but UFC is not real.  His art is not about being a complete fighter, his art is about being a complete HUMAN BEING.  And yes, he teaches to be able to handle yourself in any situation you find yourself in by learning “The art of fighting without fighting” (as he stated in his film, Enter the Dragon).  Bruce Lee’s movies, his writings (and interviews) speak for him.  Sorry Ms. Shannon Lee, you don’t have to speak for him… And UFC is NOT the closest that you can get to real fighting.  Real fighting only occurs in real life – away from the cameras.  In real life, real fighting occurs spontaneously, not in controlled environments designed for entertainment for profit.  Real fighting many times will involve real death and real jail time.

Bruce’s movies portray something much more real than UFC will ever portray.

Sifu Freddie Lee

Freddie’s Modern Kungfu

[Thoughts via FMK’s Facebook. 1//10/12]

“To me, ultimately, martial arts mean honestly expressing yourself… Now it’s easy for me to put on a show and be cocky and be flooded with a cocky feeling… but to honestly express oneself – not lying to oneself.  And to express myself honestly; that, my friend, is very hard to do.” 

(Bruce Lee, “The Lost Interview.  Aired in 1971)

29 Responses to “Sifu Freddie’s Message To Shannon Lee”

  1. Here’s how I think it would play out if Bruce were both still alive and in top competitive form health-wise: He would be approached and called out by various fighters and we would simply dismiss these remarks.

    He would continue to turn these offers down and concentrate on his personal development and film career. Then some UFC guy will personally insult him, Ip Man or anyone else Bruce respected.

    Bruce would have naturally been training and evolving as a fighter, the whole time…consistently staying above the competition with his tireless work ethic and drive for perfection.

    He would then encounter the said offender and beat the stuffing out of him, leaving him bloodied and begging for mercy on the concrete.

    If Bruce DID decide to enter the UFC or other competitive arena, it would be as a decisive move to shut the mouth of the bully, not to win a belt, money, fame or glory.

    Would love to hear what Dan Inosanto would have to say about this (as the man & student that knew him best).

  2. Paul B. [Via Facebook’s Combative Corner Page]

    The following is a brief bio from Black Belt Magazine, to which Ms. Lee is a contributor:
    Born April 19, 1969, Shannon Emery Lee is the only daughter of martial artist and kung fu film legend Bruce Lee. As a youngster, she studied jeet kune do under Richard Bustillo, who was one of her father’s students. However, her serious studies didn’t begin until the late 1990s. To prepare for roles in action movies, she restarted her jeet kune do studies under the tutelage of Ted Wong. As the action in her roles intensified, such as Enter the Eagles (1998), Shannon Emery Lee increased her martial arts studies. She trained in taekwondo with Tan Dao-liang and wushu with Eric Chen. She also learned martial arts from the action director of Enter the Eagles, Yuen De, who is Jackie Chan’s Chinese opera brother. Because the film required her to fight Benny Urquidez, Shannon Emery Lee also took up kickboxing. Urquidez was her teacher.
    Today, Shannon Emery Lee keeps her hand in the martial arts world as the president of Bruce Lee Enterprises, which is a public-benefit corporation that seeks to preserve, perpetuate and disseminate Bruce Lee’s life example, philosophies and jeet kune do.

    Apparently neither the responsibility of her honoring her father’s legacy, or training in multiple martial arts with internationally recognized experts qualifies Shannon Lee to speculate or express an opinion about her father’s possible reactions to MMA and UFC.
    Interesting.

  3. Hdt S [via Facebook Personal Page]

    Yes the UFC is extremely physical, but to say it is close to the real rigors of combat is wrong. Sure, it may come fairly close to replicating the physical aspects of a real fight, but it is a lifetime away from the psychological side. I respect UFC fighters for being elite athletes, but they are not warriors who face death if they lose. Just my thoughts.

  4. Gwailo K [via Facebook Personal Page]

    I am certified in Jeet Kune Do out here in LA. Now who doesn’t enjoy watching the UFC? Would I use it in a fight? Probably not…but I do watch the UFC for another reason because there is probably some idiot out there who has some MMA training or just pics up techniques off the tv or dvds….that’s the idiot I have to stop in a streetfight because he doesn’t know any better. Look at what happened to GSP the minute he got poked in the eye he freaked out and was telling his corner “I can’t see I don’t want to fight no more”. And trust me I am a huge GSP fan…
    UFC is UFC and there are rules created by many associations for safety. Is it as close as we can get to a sport “combat”? Probably…but let’s not forget the techniques not allowed in the octagon…those my dear friends are OUR first line of defense…imagine what an MMA fighter would do when you start snapping fingers as he is trying to choke you or Kimura….
    WE as warriors train for a different Octagon…an Octagon made of cement, where one mistake there is no referee…pulling guard against five guys will get your head kicked like a soccer ball…

    Remember as in all martial arts training….its not the style…its YOU.

    There is JKD out there in the world and there is JEET KUNE DO! And am sure we could say that for every system out there that has become shared with the masses, there is no quality control out there…the only quality control comes from deep inside us….

    Just my 10 cents and a cup of joe.

  5. Gwailo K [via Facebook Personal Page]

    What makes me laugh is the self defense people who say “as taught to Navy Seals” don’t people realize the hours and hours of training Spec Ops go through to become what they are? I am still a firm believer in BASICS, BASICS and BASICS….and how come people don’t train in Mindset anymore…having a few “tricks up your sleeve” and not full submerging yourself in training (its a lifestyle here folks not a hobby) will get you killed. Saw a new kid gun in Target yesterday that shoots water pellets. That may be my new toy when showing people what can go wrong with gun disarms when not practised over and over and over again with REALISM….
    As with any true FIGHT any technique that goes wrong will cost you…that’s why Bruce Lee would talk about the Killer Instinct and IT….
    Ed Parker refered to it as “The Genie” (might have spelt that wrong hahaha)….those of us who train for self defense will know what I am talking about….techniques are great but if you don’t have the mind to back it up…forget it…
    Simple exercise…stand infront of a punch bag and throw a few shots into it…then…stand infront of the bag and visualize that the bag is an attacker on your front door attempting to get in your house and you are the only thing standing in the way of them and your wife/girlfriend/children…really visualize thi for a couple of minutes…make it as real as possible…now…hit the bag…

    • Basics get a bad press, to most people if something is basic it is austere, shoddy, just about does, I ignore the basics and instead urge people to concentrate on the fundamentals.

      I know they are the same thing, you know it, deep down they do to, but by the time we have practised enough to get a grip on them we might just about know enough to understand why they are important.

  6. Christian G [via Facebook Personal Page]

    You all have missed the deep insult paid to Bruce Lee’s daughter. This man and the rest of you have no idea how Bruce Lee would have felt about anything at all. Just like like this moron all of you only know him from his books and movies. Shannon Lee is his child. Not only did she live with the man till he died she was raised by her mother his wife. You think she didn’t know her father better than anyone? This mans only back up for his point was movie references. To say the things Bruce Lee did in his movies were more real than UFC is complete stupidity. They were movies the fights were staged, in most cases poorly so. The fact is Realism in a training situation is impossible to achieve. The best thing we have today is mma. It is the closest we can get to actual combat without going to jail or the morgue. Would Bruce Lee like it were he alive today? How the hell should I know? Maybe I should ask someone who knew him. His daughter perhaps. Unless you have been to war you are not a warrior. The worst thing to happen to martial art was to let everyone learn it. You armchair fighters make me weep for the future of martial arts.

  7. Kieran T. [via Facebook Personal Page]

    Funny this one. Personally I think she’s absolutely in the wrong for claiming to know what Lee would have thought about UFC – what age was she when he died again? Single figures anyway. On the other hand, that doesn’t make it right for other people to say Lee would have thought something else. She’s completely out of line to put words in Bruce Lee’s mouth, as it is to put words in anyone’s mouth, but it’s also wrong for us to do the same thing in our counter arguments. Personally I’m not a fan of UFC. I’m not going to site a bunch of reasons why I think Bruce lee, Takeda Sōkaku, Ueshiba Morihei – or any of the other most influential martial artists of the past 100 years – would like or dislike it though. These men were geniuses. For absolutely anyone to claim to know how they would have felt about UFC, MMA or anything else is absurd!

  8. Christian G. [via Facebook Personal Page]

    I have studied a lot if martial arts with a lot of people and one of the things that I have found is that the average martial artist wouldn’t last half a min is a “real fight”. You talk about street fighting vs cage fighting and I doubt most of you have done very much of either. Take your kung fu or jkd or any other traditional martial art into an octagon against a pro and see how well you do. Then and only then do you have the right yo judge. Also who the hell are any of you to say how well Shannon Lee knew her father? It strains the boundaries of arrogance. An easy 90% of martial arts practitioners couldn’t physically handle the basic conditioning needed to step into the cage. Let alone defeat trained fighter. I love martial art I have studied them since I was 11 years old. The one thing I have learned is that nothing prepares you for a fight better than fighting. Cage fighters fight. Martial artist only practice. Get over yourselves.

    • sal caradonna Says:

      Well said. I have been with the martial arts for many years and I feel sparring all the time will not only get you accustomed to real combat, but the conditioning is the best. I hate when so called street fighters say MMA fighters can’t fight in street fights because there are no rules or refs. They forget that MMA fighters have reached a high level in self defense themselves.

      • Court Ellis Says:

        This may be due to the fact that most of those people have never been in a street fight, and fail to realize the refs are only there for safety aspects. Trained fighter practice all the time without refs.

  9. Kieran T. [via Facebook Personal Page]

    To people saying this is an insult to Shannon Lee as she knew her own father far better than we ever could:
    Bruce Lee: 27 November 1940 – 20 July 1973.
    Shannon Lee: 19 April 1969 –
    Call me crazy, but I’m inclined to think that what a 4 year old knows about her father is probably mostly what her mother has told her. While I agree that’s more than most of us will ever know, it’s still less than his JKD disciples would know about his opinions on UFC, MMA, or anything else martial art related. Had it been one of his close friends, disciples or his wife who had said this there would be no controversy. Notice that none of them have ever said anything much on the subject. They’ve stayed very, very quiet for the most part though.
    So no: to my mind there’s absolutely no way Shannon Lee should have said what she said.
    I’m not saying it makes her a bad person, it was just an ill judged thing to say.

    • Robert Brede Says:

      I happened to cross this argument while looking for Bruce’s possible thoughts on Christianity.
      Several flaws I’ve spotted in this argument is that yes, Shannon was quite young at the time of Bruce’s death, she still has an UNPARALLED access to actual documents and journals written by Bruce Lee himself. In several interviews, she fondly caresses these thoughts from her father and through many other PERSONAL belongings of her father- she can draw conclusions that are more ‘connected’ to these rare insights than perhaps even Bruce’s students. Although having only a few years with her father, she still has UNPARALLED access to the woman that knew Bruce in ways that rival any direct student.
      If you read this Shannon, continue to enjoy your inherited heirlooms from your father and continue share your father with the rest of the world as best you can.
      Sincerely, R. Scott Brede
      Waukon, IA.

  10. Tito J. [via Facebook Personal Page]

    Lol crap, don’t we all… “I have studied a lot of martial arts with a lot of people” don’t we all.. I’m sure majority of people here on the same boat and share the same fashion.. Lol, PLease dont talk to me about street fight.. Did u ever get jumped.. Knife at your throat on broad daylight.. Pick pocket.. Snatcher…your talking to a guy who was born and raised in the street of the Philippines.. Where KALi and butterfly knife is born.. Home of Manny Pacquio… Were people learned to box in the street not gym…Trained Kyokushin Karate, Judo, Aikido, etc while stationed in Japan.. Trained TKD, RBSD, MMA while stationed in California.. Now, stationed in Italy.. Back to Judo and Kickboxing.. MWF.. Kickboxing and TTH JUdo… Oh did you say combat or warriors.. Don’t know about that.. But I’m active duty military police and instructor for law enforcement Is that count? I hope it does… Lol, okay I’m just poking the bear.. But all I’m just saying is leave her alone.. Shes Bruce daughter for crying out load…You all haters.. Lol.. And yes, that’s me in the nutshell so, NO ARMCHAIR WARRIOR in here.. Actually yes, I’m in the chair.. I caught a flu from running 7miles in a blistering wind.. Now i miss my kickboxing.. Oh well

  11. T.J. K. [via Facebook Personal Page]

    We can all agree I think about the differences between MMA and “real” fighting. We can all also agree on the level of athletics and brass balls it takes to be a pro fighter.

    Why I posted this was my complete incredulity over the personal attack on Shannon Lee. I don’t know Shannon Lee personally….and I am doubting that the person in question does either.

    I find when I am making a point in an argument, and the other person doesn’t have the intellectual wherewithal to poke holes in my argument, they then turn to insulting me (the person).

    It is one thing to disagree with MMA or the real philosophy of JKD or whatever….but to slam Shannon Lee like that is quite the irony here – running completely counter to the virtues and values that this person is supposedly standing for.

    Anyway….misery loves company and I wanted someone to listen to my bitching. Thanks all for being my sounding board.

  12. As a fighter who has studied under someone who trained with Dan Inosanto I can say this much:
    look to Bruce Lee’s interviews and his writing. He clearly states that he did not like competetive fighting because it would limit him in the damage he could inflict on an opponent. His daughter may be right in assuming that he would enjoy MMA as a sport or a vehicle to spark interest in martial arts,but I doubt he would want to compete. Bruce trained to fight without limitations and rules so if he cant pull your hair or gouge your eyes out then it’s not a real fight. UFC might be safer than you think. Maybe Bruce would have prefered the Kumite. What can be said is that we do not really know how Bruce would do in the UFC will all the rules in place. Perhaps he would have done better in the UFC early days where he could fishhook and elbow to the head. I still think Bruce Lee was defeatable,but only by someone with a deep understanding of the martial arts. The truth is Bruce died too young or we would have eventually seen him get into a brawl the way Chuck Zito did with Van Damme. So he died undefeated and the only thing I can imagine would be a solid record at PRIDE or some secret event at an undisclosed location with no fanfare.

  13. Now it’s easy for me to put on a show and be cocky and be flooded with a cocky feeling… but to honestly express oneself – not lying to oneself. And to express myself honestly; that, my friend, is very hard to do.”

    Bruce Lee is talking about people like you, Freddie. People who think they know more about martial arts than they actually do. Stop lying to yourself.

  14. sal caradonna Says:

    Bruce loved to watch boxing, in fact he incorporated it into JKD. To say MMA would not excite Bruce would be a lie. Bruce never wanted to compete, he was into self defense. To me, an avid martial artist now for 30 years, Bruce was the Jack La Lanne of martial arts. Not the biggest, strongest, or best fighter, but an innovator and pioneer.

  15. NOTICE : This is a LONG post so if you arent into reading long posts, skip it. However this post is meant for Mr Freddie Lee, so I hope that he at LEAST reads it.

    So Sifu Freddie Lee, you basically just told the INVENTOR of JKD’s own daughter that knew the man longer than you did as well as grew up watching and being told about it FROM her father that she doesnt know what she is talking about, or how her father felt?!

    Did I really just read that?! Do you even HAVE Bruce Lee’s fighting method volumes 1 – 4 as well as the Tao of Jeet Kune Do? Ive seen most of your videos on youtube and you NEVER have anything good to say about any other style of martial art but yours.

    I honestly thought that traditional Japanese Karate school instructors were close minded, but you sir take the cake. You preach about philosophy, inner peace, and how the other arts are “too violent” and lack “spirituality” and “inner peace” and then turn around and cuss like your from the ghetto and perform full power kicks to your training targets.

    You then preach about how boxing, thai boxing, wrestling, etc are promoted for brutality and profit. While this is partially true and there is corruption and greed in the combat sports world,tell me, do you CHARGE to teach people your martial art or do you teach them the old “inner peace spiritual way” where the student proves himself and then the master accepts him and teaches him.

    You do KNOW “martial” means “warlike” yes? A “martial art” would therefore mean “warlike arts” .A war or a fight isnt won with JUST “inner peace”. Someone gets hurt or killed. You obviously are in great shape and know kung fu but your extreme close mindedness is a horrible detriment. Especially for a spirited martial artist.

    I posted here because despite my best intentions I NEVER get a reply back on youtube

  16. You know Bruce Lee is considered the “Godfather of MMA”, right? He was one of the earliest proponents of integrating other martial arts, and learning the different stages of fighting. Striking, Clinching, and Grappling. For crying out loud, he had the precursors to MMA gloves on when he fought Samo Hung and tapped him out with a f’ing armbar in his biggest movie. How can you sit there all high and mighty, saying you know Bruce Lee, when you spew the opposite of what he embodied? “You take the good things from every different discipline, use what works, and you throw the rest away.” – Bruce Lee

    Guess what MMA is? What Bruce Lee preached. You don’t know Bruce Lee.

    • I couldnt have said it better myself Anthony. However the only thing I disagree with is ( and im sure you will agree ) is Lee is the FATHER of mma.

      Great Grandfather of MMA : Heilo Gracie
      Grandfather of MMA : Gene LeBelle
      Father of MMA : Bruce Lee

      • To call Bruce the “Father of MMA” is just plain ignorant considering the true history of what was going on in Martial Arts back then. Kajukenbo was MMA and it was founded in 1947 when Bruce was still a child actor in HK. By the time Bruce came along Kajukenbo was well established in CA and Bruce knew about it and trained with some of the practitioners.

        the “MMA” fighting scene back then was pretty much only in Brazil being called Vale Tudo.

  17. First of all, you can’t tell Bruce Lee’s daughter not to speak for him and then presume to speak for him yourself.

    Second, you can belabor the point that MMA isn’t real fighting all you want, but that doesn’t address what Ms. Lee said. What she said was that MMA is “the closest you can get”, and she’s right — unless you’re advocating going to seedy parts of town and picking fights with gangbangers. Is that the “real combat” you claim that Bruce Lee studied?

    Third, it’s pretty laughable to dismiss MMA as something “designed for entertainment and profit” and then in the next breath say that you get your truth from movies. There is no more objective truth in those movies than there is in MMA, and the fact that you have watched them does not give you the right to claim that you understand Bruce Lee better than his daughter does (and make no mistake — that is EXACTLY what you are doing here).

  18. She said Bruce Lee would have enjoyed the UFC. Why is that so hard to believe? As far as I know, Bruce enjoyed watching boxing so it’s not a big stretch to suggest he would have enjoyed UFC.

    Besides, you are taking this quote is taken way out of context. She acknowledges her dad’s personal philosophy and how it differs from MMA in other interviews. In fact, unlike a lot of uninformed people, she doesn’t think Bruce is the father of MMA. For the most part, she absolutely agrees with you. The only difference is that she also accepts there are similarities between MMA and JKD despite the limitations of MMA. It’s just her opinion that for MMA is as close as you can get to fighting without rules. Considering how most martial art styles and schools teach sports martial arts with far more rules than MMA, I say she has a somewhat of a valid point.

  19. Kenny Lee Says:

    This Freddie Lee is a huge fraud. He is a Bruce Lee wannabe who trashes MMA, BJJ, Wing Chun, Shannon Lee etc. Meanwhile he only has a few years of basic martial arts training.

    • Kenny, we appreciate you comment. While we still think that Sifu Freddie Lee has some good attributes and skill… it was ultimately has trashing of various systems (bjj in particular) that got him dismissed from The Combative Corner. We wish him luck, learning and acceptance.

  20. Captain wadasay Says:

    Shannon lee has turned Bruce lee into a fast food franchise.
    Bruce lee toys? Bruce lee t-shirts??
    Bruce lee in alcohol adds??
    Bruce lee was a philosopher inspired by Zen not a freaking alcohol sales man.
    Sounds like a big mock to me not a tribute at all.
    She says the fans of lee who don’t like this should get a life?
    Maybe she should get her own life and stop disrespecting a Combative philosopher and martial artist.

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