5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Bruce Lee

On November 27, 1940, Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco and went on to become a cultural icon. To celebrate Bruce Lee’s birthday, here are 5 things you probably didn't know about martial arts legend...


He Was Born In The Year & Hour Of The Dragon Lee was not only born in the year of the dragon under the Chinese zodiac, but he was also born within the hour of the dragon at 7:12 in the morning. This is a big deal within the world of ancient Chinese folklore. The dragon in Chinese mythology is considered the most powerful animal and can  overcome any of life’s obstacles. It also explains Lee’s nickname as a child, “The Little Dragon.” Throughout both Lee’s life and film career, the Dragon would always remain a prominent symbol.

He Was a Competitive Cha-Cha Dancer Bruce Lee was one hell of a dancer.  He was so good on the dance floor, he actually won Hong Kong’s Cha-Cha Dancing Championship in 1958. When he set sail for San Francisco in 1959, his initial plan was to make a living by giving dance lessons while he got settled. Although his first job upon arriving in San Francisco was that of a dance instructor, he left the Bay City after several months and relocated in Seattle to continue his high school education.  It was in Seattle where Lee’s career as a martial arts instructor blossomed.  


He Failed A Military Physical While Lee seemed like the perfect physical specimen, it wasn’t perfect enough to pass a United States military exam. In 1963, he was summoned to appear before a draft board for possible induction into the Armed Forces, only he was rejected.  Lee was deemed unfit for combat, but the reason behind their decision varies depending on the source. Some of the reasons for his rejection have been suggested that either had a sinus disorder, poor eyesight, one of his legs was shorter than the other, or he had an un-descended testicle, or a combination of all four.  Whatever it was, Lee avoided the possibility of going to Vietnam and he continued his studies at the University of Washington and opened up a martial arts studio in Seattle.

He Got Snipped At The Age of 22 Here's another strange fact. The martial arts master made the surprising decision to get circumcised when he was 22 years old.  Why did Lee get such a painful operation so late in life?  While many parents have their sons circumcised for religious or health purposes, Bruce Lee decided to get circumcised to be more like an American.  Ouch! 

Lee Was in High Demand by Those in Hollywood Bruce Lee trained some of the biggest stars of the era. Steve McQueen, James Garner, James Coburn, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Roman Polanski were among some of Lee’s martial arts students. When Lee died, George Lazenby, McQueen, and Coburn served as pallbearers at his funeral. Lee even helped Chuck Norris, his friend, get a small part as a henchman in Way of the Dragon. If you watch the movie, don’t blink or you will miss him.