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Bruce Lee Podcast

Oct 12, 2017

Director John Alan Thompson joined us to discuss the film project we worked on together, “One Family.” John discovered he wanted to be a filmmaker at 15. A video production class in high school and seeing “Apocalypse Now” propelled John to start experimenting with filmmaking. His teacher told him about a competition that AFI was hosting for students, and his senior year John created a short film that ended up placing. After that first taste, John dove into filmmaking. John still mostly works in short formats, creating music videos, commercials, and short films, including the short film he made with the Bruce Lee Family Company “One Family.” This project came to John during a time when he was feeling creatively depleted and filled doubt about some life choices. When he started reading Bruce’s philosophy, it was exactly what he needed to hear at that moment in his life. John absorbed from Bruce that fundamental part of living is finding that true essence inside of you and expressing it to the world. For the “One Family” film, Shannon wanted to share this story of the fight between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man, a pivoting moment for Bruce that hasn’t been told well. The biggest challenge with creating “One Family” is that we didn’t have any footage we could use. This challenge of recreating the fight through non-traditional means intrigued John. He pitched the idea of using old photographs and animating them, which proved to be complicated since we didn’t have an animation budget. No one moves like Bruce Lee, so the creative puzzle was how to represent the energy, movement, and flow of Bruce’s fighting. When Bruce had a school in Oakland, he was challenged by the San Francisco Chinatown community because he was teaching his martial arts in a very brash way and teaching it to anyone who wanted to learn regardless of gender, race, or background. That was not done. The Chinatown community wanted him to stop teaching to non-Chinese so they challenged him to a fight. They picked their champion, Wong Jack Man, and came down to the Oakland school for the fight. Shannon’s mother, Linda, witnessed the fight. Bruce won the fight in 3 min, but the take away for him was that his traditional kung fu training didn’t prepare him for actual combat outside of a competition environment. This opened Bruce’s mind to needing to look at Kung Fu and his approach to combat as well as to training and being in the right kind of shape. Bruce won the right to continue teaching whoever he wanted and continued to do so. He truly believed that we are all one family, all of us humans, no matter our backgrounds, ethnicity, gender, or orientation. This is why the film is titled “One Family.” #AAHA Paul Kariya is a Japanese Canadian hockey player that played in the NHL from 1993-2010. He played for four NHL teams, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Colorado Avalanche, Nashville Predators, and St.Louis Blues. He still holds a few team records for Ducks and Predators. NHL First Team All-Star three times, Second Team All-Star twice. Kariya's international resume includes Olympic silver in 1994, and gold in 2002 with Team Canada, World Championship gold in 1994, silver in 1996, World Junior Championship gold in 1993. He was elected to the Hall of Fame on 26 June 2017, and is the first Asian player to be inducted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. #BruceLeeMoment From listener Dan V.: “Growing up as a young child was not easy for me. Never knowing my father and only living with my mother until I was four years old, it was a very difficult time for me, as you can imagine. In 1970 I was forced to live in a shelter until I was nine years old. It was in those years that I was taken in by Bruce Lee's philosophies through his movies. He inspired me to take up martial arts; I loved the energy that was linked to his Philosophies.” Share your #AAHAs, #BruceLeeMoments, and #TakeAction progress with us at Find the full version of our show notes at