On January 31st, 1967, during a break from filming his role as Kato in Green Hornet, Bruce Lee wrote and illustrated the following letter to friend and metal-worker George Lee, the man responsible for crafting the Jeet Kune Do founder’s weaponry and other fighting equipment. This was the year Bruce Lee’s new, dynamic martial arts system was unveiled and as such some promotional material was needed; most notably a symbolic miniature tombstone, the epitaph of which perfectly illustrated Lee’s opinion of classical, overly-structured martial arts.
Transcript follows. Image courtesy of BruceLee.com.
I’ve been shooting Batman these few days and busy like hell. I believe I should be able to find time to show your boy and his friends around the studio this coming Friday.
The Oklahoma appearance was great and I’m asked back for another one in Georgia. That sign you made has created quite a hit – everyone admires your talents.
If you have time, I like to make two requests for some stuffs that you can make for me. They are gadgets to put my system across.
First, I like three signs for hanging like picture on wall – slightly smaller than the sign you made for me. Here are the plans & ideas – this project by the way is to illustrate the thought behind my system – the 3 stages
Explanation for the three signs (same black shining background as the sign you made)
Here all we need is one red half and one gold half of the yin yang symbol. HOWEVER no dot is need on either halves; in other word it is just plain red with no gold dot, or just plain gold with no red dot (this serves to illustrate extreme softness (like [?]) or/and extreme hardness (like [?]). So just follow the drawing and also put the phrase – PARTIALITY – THE RUNNING TO EXTREME on the black board.
Exact yin yang symbol like the sign you made for me except there is no Chinese Characters around the symbol. Of course, the phrase – FLUIDITY – THE TWO HALVES OF ONE WHOLE will be on the black board.
Just a shinny black board with nothing on it except the phrase EMPTINESS – THE FORMLESS FORM
The other three signs have to be the same size because they illustrate the three stages of cultivation. Please do make them like the sign you made for me aluminium symbol and shinny black board.
The second gadget I have in mind is used to dramatize the not too alive way of the classical so called Kung Fu styles. What I have in mind is a miniature “tomb stone” and here is the drawing
[ILLUSTRATION OF A TOMBSTONE, ENGRAVED WITH “IN MEMORY OF A ONCE FLUID MAN, CRAMMED AND DISTORTED BY THE CLASSICAL MESS”]
I’m sure you know how a grave looks like and make it with any material you like (aluminium tomb stone is fine) and at any size you want. Not too small though, because it’s for display.
Call me collect is you have any problem.
Thank you in anticipation.