Credited as the most influential martial artist of all time, Bruce Lee helped pave the way for change in how Asians were represented in American media. Starring in many Hong Kong and Hollywood films, Lee developed his own mixed martial arts philosophy called Jeet Kune Do that is still practiced today. Lee even taught martial arts to several high profile stars including American martial artist Chuck Norris, actress Sharon Tate, and basketball pro Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Years later, Bruce Lee continues to be an influence in the field of combat sports as well as pop culture.
Although only lasting for a single season, The Green Hornet has since become a cult favorite. His acclaimed portrayal of Green Hornet’s partner Kato remains a favorite among the show’s fanbase, as is bolstered by our sale of a signed portrait of Lee as the masked valet for $23,750.
Personal items from the martial artist have also enjoyed quite a bit of attention from collectors, like this handwritten letter or this manuscript written by Lee while he was in high school. In these essays, which sold for $24,500, Lee discusses the philosophy of martial arts, writing about the opposing forces of softness and firmness. Around this time, Lee was beginning to develop his style of Jeet Kune Do which utilizes some of the principles outlined in these early essays. With his newly formed style, Lee contemplated the idea of earning a living through teaching martial arts, an idea that would come to fruition later on.
While he may be more recognizable from his film appearances, Lee opened his first martial arts school known as the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute of Seattle, Washington. Lee would issue membership cards to his students that he would personally sign. RR Auction has offered multiple cards in the past including this unissued ‘blue stripe’ card or this ‘gold stripe’ card issued to his student Taky Kimura. The ‘blue stripe’ card was even accompanied by a certificate of authenticity from Bruce Lee’s wife, Linda Lee, and realized $26,250 in February 2022.
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