Anecdotes of The Little Dragon (Part 1 of 2)

April 15 2017 at 11:38 AM
LJF  (Login LJF)

The following is a compilation of some anecdotes of the little dragon as shared by his HK friends and colleagues:

1. Pang Him
(GH’s South Korea Production Manager cum BL’s International Manager)

“I got to know Bruce through Raymond Chow in 1972. Later, Chow asked me to help Bruce to prepare the location filming for “Game of Death” in South Korea. Bruce was a charismatic star with great sense of humor. Earlier on, I’ve recommended Ji Han Jae, the Korean Hapkido master to play the pagoda guardian in “Game of Death.” Raymond Chow and Bruce then wanted me to help them find great Karate fighters who could kill bull with bare hands. But they were not satisfied with the Korean fighters I found for them. They thus, sourced elsewhere for suitable candidate. Also, Bruce hoped I could help him promote his Jeet Kune Do in South Korea because of my good connections there. He hoped JKD could flourish over the world and South Korea was a good place to promote his art since many people learnt Taekwondo and Hapkido. However, Bruce passed away suddenly in 1973 and was not able to realize his dreams. Upon his death, nearly a hundred South Korean construction workers who were in the midst of building the “Death pagoda” set, all turned to face the south (HK) before bowing thrice to pay respect to the late Kung Fu superstar.” ......(Wenweipo, 11th Mar 2013)

2. Bruce Liang
(HK famous 70s Kung Fu film star; two times HK Karate Free Sparring champions)

“During filming of “Hapkido” (1972), I encountered a highly-skilled Hapkido master from South Korea (i.e. Hwang In-Shik) who possessed 7th dan in Hapkido, 6th dan in Taekwondo and was specialized in kicking, grappling and throwing techniques. He was also known as the “King of Left Kicking.” This fellow was very cocky and despised other HK actors. I was very young and hot-blooded then and really couldn’t stand his air of arrogance. So, I challenged him to fight. Unfortunately, I fought and lost to him twice. This really upset me for days. One day, I met Bruce Lee in the studio and he learnt from me about the whole incident. Lee told me not to worry and assured me that justice will be served. Not long later, Lee invited Hwang to star in his movie, WOTD. Then about a month later, I met Lee again. He came over to me with a big grin and whispered to me, “Hey, I beat him up!” Lee kept his promise and I really admired him whenever I think about this incident.”

”If you watch WOTD, you’ll notice actually Lee and Hwang In-Shik were almost fighting for real. Many audiences might think that Hwang didn’t maximize his real ability. What was the reason that Hwang looked absolutely weak and was subdued totally by Lee??? You must know that both possessed real Kung Fu and if Lee wanted Hwang to lose, Hwang, being a proud and arrogant guy would reject. Hence, like what Lee said, he had fought and beaten Hwang. That’s why he was submissive to Bruce (Note: This was backed up by Robert Chan and Tony Liu who witnessed the real fight behind the scene). In WOTD, he couldn’t even stand a strike or blow from Lee. Hwang was real fast and mean but Lee was even faster and meaner than him.” ......(Chinese Daily Headlines – Kknews, 4th Dec 2016)

3. John Liu (aka Lau Chung-Leung)
(“Super Kicker” of the 70’s Kung Fu films; student of “Flash Legs” Dorian Tan Tao-Liang; two times IKU Karate champions in Long Beach (1964 & 1967); beat Chuck Norris in an exhibition bout in 1976; founder of his own martial arts system, Zen Kwun Do with his own martial arts school in Paris, France.)

“Both Bruce and I were actually “Martial Arts Champions.” In 1967, we participated in the Long Beach International Karate Tournament. I won the IKU Karate championship while Bruce won the Kung Fu Exhibition Champion (Demonstrations). There’s where we got to know each other. I always tried to avoid talking martial arts with Bruce because I found that he was really a martial arts fanatic and would be deeply engrossed talking about it non-stop. He was also very obstinate in certain of his perceptions. I knew Bruce always wanted to be the best in that arena and would never settle for a no. 2 place. Furthermore, Bruce loved to spar with anyone even opponents twice his size because that was what his martial arts philosophy emphasized – practical fighting. Bruce’s overall achievement was remarkable. I’m teaching martial arts in France and if it wasn’t for Bruce’s Kung Fu influence, many French would still be looking down on the Chinese due to our past poor sick men’s image. Now, it has changed completely because of Bruce.” ......(Chinese Tianya, 1st May 2016; adapted from HK Commercial Daily, 26th Apr 1977)

4. Dorian Tan (aka Tan Tao-Liang)
(HK 70s “Super Kicker” action star; 3 times Korean National TKD Champions and 1 time World TKD Champion; former close bodyguard of the South Korean President; dubbed “Flash Legs” for his incredible execution of continuous fiery kicks on the ground and in the air; notable students include John Liu, Yuen Biao and Shannon Lee, daughter of the late Bruce Lee)

“There’s a speculation over the years in HK that a young action star who was a 3 times TKD champion once challenged Bruce to a duel in the early 70’s. Bruce defeated him in just 2 rounds. It was claimed that the HK media had coverage on that duel and that this young action star who dared to challenge Bruce was Dorian Tan and from there, Tan propelled to fame and began his movie career. In 2006, HK newspapers reported (with photos) that Tan and his 26 years old son were involved in a dispute and big fight at a HK Western restaurant. The then 60 years old Tan used his TKD to fight 10 guys and suffered minor injuries. His spectacular skills at his age were considered truly amazing. The restaurant owner, Ms Tammy, a Turkish, who witnessed the entire brawl said, ‘The fight was even more exciting than any Kung Fu movie I’ve watched. But he and his son had made a mess of my restaurant and I shall make them pay for the losses.”

Dorian Tan said: “After the HK restaurant incident, HK papers began to carry reports that I once challenged Bruce Lee and lost to him a few decades ago. I really don’t know why there’s such a speculation. It didn’t happen at all. Many of my U.S. students called me up for clarification after they heard this rumor. They asked me whether I was being defeated by Bruce Lee…… (smiled awkwardly). This whole incident really hurts me and I always wanted to clarify this rumor for a very long time. It’s an insult to any martial arts practitioner especially ‘verdict’ is given to who’s the winner and who’s the loser for a fight that has never taken place. Frankly, I really didn’t know Bruce much. I only met him once at a HK restaurant and we didn’t speak for more than a sentence. But I honestly think that he was a great martial artist and admire his immense passion for both martial arts and movies. It was Bruce that people over the world first got to know Kung Fu and many martial artists, like me got a chance to star in the Kung Fu movies. For this, I’m always grateful to him.”......(Chinese Yidu Read01, 7th May 2016)

5. Bowie Wu Fung (aka Wu Gar Sau, Woo Fong)
(Veteran HK Cantonese matinee idol in the 50’s and 60’s; was nicknamed the "Dance King" for his great dancing skills; close celebrity friend and Cantonese co-star of Bruce)

“I got to know Bruce when he was still a teenager. We have played along in the 1956 Cantonese movies, ‘The Wise Guys Who Fooled Around’ and ‘Too Late For Divorce.’ Bruce and I had great fun working together. I remember the teenaged Bruce once had a crush on this beautiful actress called Christine Pai Lu-Ming who played along us in “The Wise Guys Who Fooled Around.” Bruce always stuck around Christine Pai, so the crews and I would always tease him. Bruce was embarrassed and was quite pissed off. He then went abroad for his further study in the late 50’s.”

“After Bruce returned to HK from the U.S. in 1970, I treated him with great hospitality. I remember accompanied him around to watch many HK locally made swords-fighting and martial arts movies. But none was able to meet up with his expectation. Bruce then told me proudly with his thumb pointing to his nose, “If I’ll to return to HK to make movies, I’ll definitely be the hottest and the highest paid actor!” I wasn’t surprised by what he said because Bruce was always full of confidence. His predictions came true ultimately.”

“Bruce was a hyperactive guy and would train constantly. He often asked me to hit him but before I make my move, he had already known my intention and intercepted me way before I could react. He was damn fast. My impression of Bruce was that he was a straightforward and positive person who was never bogged down by any trifling matters. In HK, we would hang out in various places like Jordan, Tsim Sha Tsui and Mong Kok. His favorite place probably would be Tsim Sha Tsui because he used to go there frequently.”

“When Bruce moved to Kowloon’s Cumberland in 1972, he called me up and invited me to see his new house. So, I went over to take a look. There was a small pond with a Japanese bridge in his front yard garden which looks glamorous. However, in contrast to the beautiful scenery outside his house, the deco inside his house, I found, was quite “unnatural.” So, I advised him to get some experts to see and adjust the house’s Feng Shui. But Bruce just smiled and said there’s no such need. I remember in his study room, there was either a tiger or leopard (skin) lying in front or at the back of his desk which somehow made one felt uneasy. I told him ‘it’ would sort of ‘obstruct” his destiny.’ Yet, Bruce thought otherwise and ignored my words. He died shortly later. Anyway, today it was really sad to see his house had turned into a sex motel. Personally, I think it would be a fabulous idea that his house be preserved and converted into a museum so that his legacy would continue to flourish.”......(Sina Entertainment News, 4th Nov 2015)

6. Cheng Kam Cheong
(Renowned 70s HK singer from Malaysia; famous for singing ‘The Big Boss’, ‘Ultraman’, ‘Brother 11th’ and ‘The Bell Rings In the New Zen Temple’; the only singer who sang next to Bruce live on HK-TV.)

“After watching ‘The Big Boss’, I really admired Bruce and his incredible Kung Fu. So, based on its storyline, I wrote a song with the similar title (different from movie’s theme song) to pay tribute to Bruce. This song not only became very popular in HK but also Southeast Asia as soon as the LP was released. I remember Bruce first heard of my song “The Big Boss” when he appeared in one of the TVB’s “Enjoy Yourself Tonight” shows. He liked it so much that he immediately sent someone to look for me and dated me for “Yam Cha” (drink tea or tea time) at the Peninsula Hotel in Tsim Sha Tsui. But coincidentally I was tied up with many works then and couldn’t attend the appointment. About a month later, we bumped into each other at the alley of the Broadcast Drive where the former TVB station was situated.”

“Bruce was very friendly. He shook my hand, hugged me and said, “Brother Kam Cheong, try and hit my stomach as hard as you can!” I did and it was like hitting a rock! Then, he showed me his shadowless kick. It almost touched my face and I could feel the wind rushed past my nose tip. His windy shadowless kick was truly amazing. It was the first time we met but we seemed to be like old friends. Then, I thought it wasn’t easy to meet this superstar so I got a reporter near by to help us take a photo with his flashlight camera. But Bruce quickly said, “No photo! No photo!” and took the briefcase under his armpit to block his face. He was really a frank person with true temperament! Luckily, some time later, I got a chance to take a photo with him and “Fatty”- Lydia Shum Tin-Ha at the backstage of the TVB studio.”

“Bruce said he liked my songs and asked me to give him my LP album, “The Big Boss.” I agreed without any hesitation. However, my original LP cover only carried my photos and there wasn’t any Bruce’s Big Boss photo on it which wasn’t appropriate. Thus, I had no choice but to search the black market and finally obtained few of my pirated LP albums with Bruce’s photos on the cover. I then gave them to him as souvenirs. Many fans weren’t aware actually those LPs with Bruce’s photos were all pirated copies (Laugh). It was really funny whenever I think about it. I’m not sure but these pirated LPs might have fetched a higher price than my original LPs in the second hand items auction nowadays mainly because of Bruce’s photos on the cover.”

“In Nov 1972, TVB invited me to sing “The Big Boss” in celebration for its 5th Anniversary. While I was preparing to sing in my Big Boss’s Kung Fu costume, a guy suddenly came out from a giant cake (prop) and surprised everyone on stage. It was Bruce! We were all astonished and delighted as we weren’t informed of Bruce’s impromptu appearance in the program beforehand. In contrast to my old traditional costume, Bruce was dressed in his showy and fashionable suit and simply stood out among the rest. He was really the star of the night and the center of attraction. For me, it was the most memorable moment in my life as I was singing next to the Kung Fu King surrounded by many TVB stars. I remember when I tried to show my kick (which was a kind of awkward) while singing, Bruce smiled amusingly and everyone cheered with laughter. That was a wonderful night where those present won’t forget for the rest of their life.” ......(Apple Daily, 13th Feb 2007)

 Respond to this message   

  • Anecdotes of The Little Dragon (Part 2 of 2) - LJF on Apr 15, 2017, 11:43 AM
  • shadowless kick ? - Anonymous on Apr 15, 2017, 3:39 PM
  • Awesome! - Julian on Apr 15, 2017, 4:36 PM
  • Interesting anecdotes - Billy on Apr 15, 2017, 6:28 PM
  • Great read! Thanks LJF! NT - Fred on Apr 16, 2017, 3:31 PM
  • Bruce Liang, John Liu & Dorian Tan - S.Wira on Apr 16, 2017, 5:06 PM
  • Siao Fong Fong - Steven C. on Apr 20, 2017, 4:32 AM
  • Re: Anecdotes of The Little Dragon (Part 1 of 2) - Suraj on Apr 20, 2017, 6:58 AM
  • Re: Anecdotes of The Little Dragon (Part 1 of 2) - za john on Apr 20, 2017, 10:06 PM
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