They say the secret of your success in that movie, The Big Boss, was that you did your own fighting. Martial arts has a very, very
deep meaning as far as my life is concerned because as an actor, as a martial artist, as a human being. All these I have learned from martial arts. Maybe for our audience who doesn’t know what it means you might explain exactly what you mean by “martial art”. -It’s a combative form of fighting. Some of them became sport, but some of them are still not. I mean, they use for instance, kicking to the groin, jabbing fingers to the
eyes and things like that. No wonder you’re successful in it. Chinese movies are full of this kind of action anyways. Can you break 5 or 6 pieces of wood with your hand and your foot? -I’ll probably break my hand and foot. You set up and school in Hollywood for people
like James Garner and Steve McQueen and the others. Why would they want to learn Chinese martial art? -All type of knowledge ultimately means self-knowledge. So therefore they’re
coming and asking me to teach them, not so much how to defend themselves or how to do
somebody in. Rather, they want to learn to express themselves through some movement. Be it
anger, be it determination or whatsoever. So, in other words, what I’m saying therefore
is that he is paying me to show him in combative form, the art of expressing the human body. -Which is acting in a sense isn’t? -well… -or it would be a useful tool for an actor to have.
-It might sound too philosophical, but is un-acting acting or acting un-acting. -You’ve lost me!
-I have, uh? [laughs] What I’m saying actually it’s a combination of both. Here is the natural
instinct and here is control. You are to combine the two in harmony. Not, if you have one to
the extreme you’d be very unscientific. If you have another to the extreme you become
all of a sudden a mechanical man. No longer a human being. It is a successful combination
of both. So therefore it is not only pure naturalness or unnaturalness. The ideal is
unnatural naturalness or natural unnaturalness. -Yin Yang! -you’re right man. That’s it! [laughs] One of your students, James Coburn, played in a movie called in a movie called “Our Man Flint” in which he used Karate. Was that what he learned from you? He learned it after. You see, actually I do not teach Karate because I do not believe in styles anymore. I mean,
I do not believe that there is such thing as a Chinese way of fighting or a Japanese way
of fighting or whatever way of fighting. Because unless human beings have 3 arms and 4 legs
we will have a different form of fighting, but basically we have only 2 hands and 2 feet.
so styles tend to not only separate man because they have their own doctrine and then the
doctrine became the gospel truth that you cannot change, but if you do not have styles.
If you just say “well, here I am as a human being. How can I express myself totally and
completely?” That way you won’t create a style. Because a style is a crystallization. That
way it’s a process of continuing growth. -You talk about Chinese boxing. How does it differ
from say, our kind of boxing? -If it is a sport. Now you’re talking about something else. You
have regulations, you have rules, but when you’re talking about fighting as it is. With
no rules. Well, then baby you better train every part of your body and when you do punch.
Now, I’m leaning forward a little bit, hoping not to hurt any camera angles. I mean, You
got to put the whole hip into it and snap it! and get all your energy in, and make this into a weapon Boards don’t hit back. -What is the difference between Chinese boxing and what we see these young men doing at eight o’clock every morning on the rooftops? In some parts called “shadow boxing”which they’re always…? -It’s a kind of a slow form of exercised which is called Tai Chi Chuan -Give me a demonstration. Show me. Can you do a little bit of it just to see? -I mean, hand wise it’s very slow and you push it out, but all the time you are keeping the continuity
going. Bending, stretching, everything. As opposed to being…you know, you just keep it moving. -It looks like a ballet dance. -Yeah, it is. The idea is running water never grows
stale, so you gotta just keep on flowing. To me, okay? to me. Ultimately martial arts
means honestly expressing yourself. Now, it is very difficult to do. I mean, it is easy
for me to put on a show and be cocky, but to express one self honestly, not lying to
one self and to express myself honestly. That my friend is very hard to do, and you
have to train. You have to keep your reflexes so that when you want it, it is there. When
you want to move you’re moving and you move you’re determined to move. Not taking one
inch. Not anything less than that! If I want to punch. I’m going to do it man! and I’m
going to do it, so that is the type of thing you have to train yourself into. To become one with the…You think… Bruce Lee had a big part, or a supporting role in the Longstreet series and this had an enormous effect on the audience. What was it? -I think the successful ingredient in it was
because I was being Bruce Lee. -Yourself. -Myself, right. -There were some lines that expressed
your philosophy. I don’t know it you remember them or not. -Oh, I remember them. -Let’s hear it. -This is what it is, okay… I said empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. Now, you put water into a cup…it becomes the cup. You put water in a bottle, it becomes
the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can clash. Be
water my friend. -You still think of yourself as Chinese or do you ever think of yourself as North American? -You know what I want to think to think of myself? As a human being.
Because under the sky. Under the heaven, man; there is but one family. It just so happens man,
that people are different.