The Tao of Bruce Lee: A Martial Arts Memoir

The Tao of Bruce Lee: A Martial Arts Memoir

by Davis Miller

In this companion volume to his critically acclaimed first book, The Tao of Muhammad Ali, Davis Miller turns his attention to a second iconic figure of the twentieth century--and another of Miller's own seminal influences: film star and martial arts legend Bruce Lee.Just weeks after completing Enter the Dragon, his first vehicle for a worldwide audience, Bruce Lee--the self-proclaimed world's fittest man--died mysteriously at the age of thirty-two.

He revolutionized the martial arts and forever changed action moviemaking.

As a troubled young man in rural North Carolina, Miller was on a road to nowhere when he first saw Enter the Dragon, an encounter that would lead him on a physical, emotional, and spiritual journey and would change his life.As in The Tao of Muhammad Ali, Miller brilliantly combines biography--the fullest, most unflinching and revelatory to date--with his own coming-of-age story.

  • Language: English
  • Category: Combat
  • Rating: 3.90
  • Pages: 208
  • Publish Date: June 5th 2001 by Three Rivers Press
  • Isbn10: 060980538X
  • Isbn13: 9780609805381

What People Think about "The Tao of Bruce Lee: A Martial Arts Memoir"

I just found out from another book called Zodiac Baby Names that Bruce Lee was a Saggitarius.

newspaper and magazine reviews, TAO OF BRUCE LEE: Ted Leventhal, Booklist (starred review and Booklist sport book of the year): This fantastic second book by Miller runs deeper than an account of the author growing up as a "karate kid" in the 1970s. It is equally a study of the nature and role of the hero in popular culture, a poignant and unusual coming-of-age story, and an informative biography of Bruce Lee. The Times (London): A martial arts Nick Hornby, Miller bulks up with a punishing regimen and reads everything he can by or about Lee, discovering a personal philosophy that allows him to grow as an adult and feel secure in himself. With the publication of his second book, Miller continues to invent a powerful new form of writing. Tony Parsons, author Man and Boy, (London) Daily Mail: I loved Davis Miller's The Tao of Bruce Lee, a book about hero worship. Then came Muhammad Ali and Bruce Lee. Miller devoted his life to the martial arts and in the process discovered that he did, indeed, have a life. After telling his own story, Miller attends to Lee's saga, gently debunking many myths. Yet, it's the first half of the book, the stories about Miller's own life, that makes this homage so noteworthy. Ron Shelton, director and writer, Cobb, Blaze, Bull Durham: Davis Miller is singlehandedly, brilliantly, and beautifully reinventing memoir, biography, and coming-of-age books. Terry Peters, Vancouver (Canada) North Shore News: Miller tells of his own transformation from withdrawn weakling into martial art enthusiast.

I love this book, and I'm not sure that the best audience for it is Bruce Lee fans. Half of the book features the only real biography that's been written.

On top of that, it's a fascinating chronicle of how Lee inspired Miller to become involved in martial arts, which in turn got him into writing.

Davis Miller argues that, of all the living icons that have emerged in the 20th century, Bruce Lee is perhaps the closest to be revered as a god. As numerous documentary makers, biographers and martial arts writers have discovered, it is not difficult to find positive support for the cult of Bruce Lee. However, Miller, who singles the man out as one of his two major influences in life, is not content with hearing what those who mythologize him have to say. Miller also argues that Lee cared little for teaching martial arts, but was more interested in developing himself through training with his students. One has only to read one the last notes in Lees posthumously published book The Tao of Jeet Kune Do to see that the great man feared his approach might become a style. Despite there being some wonderful Jeet Kune exponents out there, it is not difficult to see how many have completely missed the point of the Lees postmodern martial arts message. Miller perhaps didnt realize it when he was writing this book in the 1990s, but his research and conclusions suggest that Lee was ahead of his time in blending the self-help movement with the martial arts. Being an experienced writer as well as a martial artist, Miller clearly isnt awed by Lees supposed profound adages and is less impressed with some of his reading material. Despite being promoted as a companion volume to Davis Millers first reflective and introspective study on a childhood icon, The Tao of Muhammad Ali, The Tao of Bruce Lee can easily be read as a stand alone book. The reader who comes to the work in hope that they will be getting a full researched biography of Bruce Lee might be put off by the first two parts of the book, which focus on Millers early life growing up and the dream-like influence Lee exerted over his development. These two parts of the book provide an interesting insight into the ideas that Lee helped put over and hope he provided for the small boys who were bullied at school. Its an interesting observation and introspection on the human condition, but it is better addressed in a chapter called Wanting to Whup Sugar Ray in Millers collected work, The Zen of Muhammad Ali. Despite these problems, The Tao of Bruce Lee is perhaps one of the most important reflective martial arts books written in a long time. This isnt a reference book or intended to be a typical scholarly study on the life of Bruce Lee, more an honest cultural and personal reflection. Miller does a great job in explaining the genuine cultural importance of Bruce Lee as opposed to the pseudo-philosophy that is attributed to him.

The story centers around Millers adolescence and the lead up to his discovery of Lee and how this began to change his life.

Towards the final third of the book, the author starts to jump around a bit, speeding you through a good fifteen to twenty years of his life, till he gets to a point where he is given an opportunity to write a biography on Bruce. The redemption of this book lies in much of the information given in those rushed and ill-sourced chapters.

This detracts from the otherwise interesting commentary by the author, which is far more relevant when related to his life.

The following is the publisher's description: "The single most intimate look at Muhammad Alis life after boxing, told through the story of an unexpected friendship. Following in the contemporary tradition of writers such as Joan Didion, Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese and Nick Hornby, Miller gives us a series of extraordinary stories that coalesce to become a moving and timely introduction to the human side of a legend." In addition to APPROACHING ALI, I'm author of the critically acclaimed internationally bestselling books TAO OF MUHAMMAD ALI (Random House/Vintage) and TAO OF BRUCE LEE: MY MARTIAL ARTS MEMOIR (Random House/Vintage), which was judged Sports Book of the Year 2000 by the American Library Association's BOOKLIST magazine.