When you think of the word hero, who immediately springs to mind? I’m sure a majority of people will think of someone famous. An actor/actress, musician, sports person, a writer, a painter, a celebrity chef, an activist, a revolutionary leader. If you look at the list I’ve just mentioned, you’ll see a consistent factor related to the particular “heroes” you would have thought of. That is either they’ve contributed something to the world through their own means which may have initiated action for the greater good, or they have plain, simple talent. These inspirational figures can help guide your ambitions and envision what you should aspire to be.
Bruce Lee had been dead 20 years before he effortlessly took the title of hero in my eyes. He mesmerised me in a way that was unprecedented. I appreciate there’ll be certain people who may neither be interested in Bruce Lee or even know who he is and as much as I’d like to reiterate the illustrious history of my hero to help people appreciate the reasons behind my admiration, I think it’s best I keep it brief.
Bruce Lee revolutionised martial arts, movies and physical conditioning. A Chinese, born in America he was the victim of prejudice from both sides of his heritage. Chinese masters of Kung Fu refused to teach Bruce when he sought tuition for they felt they would be revealing their secrets to someone not totally Chinese. Fate lead Bruce to the doorstep of a Grandmaster who accepted him as a student. Grandmaster is the highest rank within Chinese martial arts. Despite Bruce respecting the traditions of Chinese martial arts, he identified flaws within the techniques of any style he learned. So he went on a mission developing his own style of martial arts, Jeet Kune Do, a hybrid fighting method which was a consolidation of the more effective techniques within different styles. He hacked away at the inessentials of all styles to sculpt a more efficient style of self defence. This was also arguably the birth of modern day MMA.
He obliterated racial barriers through his determination to simply show the world the beauty of Chinese culture. He defied the highest authority within the Chinese community to teach anyone of any race, colour or ethnicity who wanted to learn this style of martial arts that had never been seen in the western world before. He became the first Asian star to make it in America. Before Bruce, there was no such thing as a martial arts movie. Maybe movies of swordplay, samurai, people flying around with supernatural powers but never hand to hand combat. He was renowned for his dedication to physical conditioning also.
Bruce Lee’s legacy lives on through his teachings of martial arts, philosophy and his movies. Not bad for a man whom died at the age of 32.
Now, heroes and role models are forged in the midst of brilliant publicity. Magazines, interviews and especially reality TV shows such as Keeping up with The Kardashians have created a library of people who have become figures of admiration.
People can’t help what they are entertained by. Through the gruelling weekly schedule that we live, if you work full time, if you’re a parent, whatever your daily life contains, you may be stimulated by watching simple shows that need no level of comprehension to be able to watch it. Same would apply to glossy, tabloid newspapers or magazines reporting on mindless, irrelevant dross they consider stories may be material you can be attracted to to wind down after a stressful day.
Whatever the reasons, we have to encounter people such as The Kardashians on a daily basis despite their lack of any sort of talent apart from their extreme efforts of broadcasting their self indulgence in their own lavish lifestyle. Lavishness provided to them by their late father’s hard work and through zero talent or some sort of positive contribution. Yet, these people get mobbed in the street like heroes.
Pop culture can distort children’s perception of what talent is, misguiding their aspirations down a path they’re not destined to take. Pop culture helps destroy the whole purpose of a hero. A hero is someone who inspires a creative talent in people, or help spark a realisation of what it takes to make a positive difference in the world. They inspire us to look into ourselves to seek who we truly want to be. Bruce Lee inspired that quest for me; can you imagine The Kardashians doing that?