Bruce Lee: A Podcast Biography

Historian, professor, and martial artist Daniele Bolelli has just released a free two-part podcast from his subscription service on Luminary, and his subject is the life and philosophy of Bruce Lee. You probably know of Lee as an actor, and likely that he was a martial artist, but he also demonstrated philosophical depth related to both martial arts and life in general.


Bruce Lee completely transformed martial arts. At risk of extreme oversimplification, most martial arts are Confucian, while Lee's approach was Taoist. He was a radical, and his radicalism was rooted in a different philosophy.

Most martial arts schools are extremely hierarchical, with a strong emphasis on tradition and a nearly religious attitude. Lee advocated a much more fluid approach of learning from anyone, stripping away anything superfluous, and free experimentation. Lee tended to be deliberately confrontational in his approach to traditionalists as he developed his own ideas into what would become Jeet Kune Do.

Further, Lee was a voracious reader with an intellectual streak one would not initially expect from his high-energy, athletic persona. His followers include athletes and scholars, because his approach emphasized more than mere martial arts.

My only caveat here is Bolelli's thick Italian accent. Some may have trouble understanding it, although I find it just adds color to his commentary. If you'd like a preview, he was a guest on Sebastian Major's Our Fake History podcast episode 125, although that is a followup to the previous epoisode 124, so start there first!