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The Bruce Lee Connection: How the Martial Arts Master Inspired Cowboy Bebop’s Spike Spiegel

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“Don’t tense up, it’s not about strength. You have to be fluid; you have to be like water.” This quote might sound acquainted to a Bruce Lee fan. Certainly, Lee uttered an analogous phrase throughout a 1971 interview whereas discussing his observe of Jeet Kune Do. Nonetheless, the credit score belongs to Spike Spiegel, the protagonist of Cowboy Bebop and a religious follower of Lee. Not solely does Spike observe martial arts, but additionally the spirit of Lee flows all through the collection.

Jeet Kune Do interprets to “Way of the Intercepting Fist.” Lee taught his college students that the second of an assault affords a chance to intercept and use it to at least one’s benefit. The perfect protection is a robust offense and to assault whereas defending. This requires the scholar to pay attention to their environment and react immediately in a pure method when battle arises. It’s a martial artwork that practices the type of no type. Which means that everybody can have their very own distinctive model, defending in a method that feels pure to them. Jeet Kune Do prizes simplicity, directness and above all, freedom of expression.



Spike dodges Roco

Just like Lee’s efficiency within the TV present Longstreet, Spike is approached by a younger man eager to study his method. Spike proceeds to show the idea of interception. He instructs the person, named Roco, to run towards him with a knife. Spike simply dodges the assault and makes use of Roco’s ahead movement in opposition to him, inflicting him to topple over. As Spike explains, “You apply excessive force, I control that force through fluid motion. That means relaxing your whole body so it can react instantly without resistance, without thought.” Spike’s method is straightforward, direct and formless. He’s conscious of his opponent and reacts to Roco’s actions within the second.

This model of martial artwork pairs effectively with the jazz of the present. In his e book Tao of Jeet Kune Do, Lee wrote, “Jeet Kune Do favors formlessness so that it can assume all forms and since Jeet Kune Do has no style, it can fit in with all styles.” Bebop is a sort of jazz that favors quick tempos and improvisations within the second of play. It requires the musician to anticipate the place the music will go whereas permitting them the liberty to take it the place they wish to go. In different phrases, it is an artwork type that values freedom of expression.


Along with celebrating Lee’s philosophy, there are a number of Easter eggs all through the present. The episode “Stray Dog Strut” has a number of. Abdul Hakim, the bounty head, strongly resembles Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, whom Lee battles in his posthumous movie The Recreation of Demise. Whereas on the lookout for leads on Hakim, Spike swings by an artillery retailer. He tries to strike up a dialog with the store’s clerk, who refuses to speak without cost. Noticing a pair of nunchucks, Spike says, “Must be the Way of the Dragon model.” Impressed, the clerk then shares the knowledge Spike wants. Within the Episode “Real Folk Blues, Part One,” as Spike peeks out a window, he sees a billboard selling a Bruce Lee film.

The collection as a complete performs out organically, following the Bebop crew daily. It follows a primary components, then veers off target at a second’s discover. Spike reacts to battle by means of intuition and impulse, embodying the formlessness of Jeet Kune Do. Cowboy Bebop honors the legacy of Bruce Lee and takes his philosophy to coronary heart, creating one thing revolutionary.


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