Despite Never Completely Mastering It, Bruce Lee Once Overcame His Biggest Initial Hurdle in America

Despite Never Completely Mastering It, Bruce Lee Once Overcame His Biggest Initial Hurdle in America

At 18, Bruce Lee gained the courage to come to America and make something of his life. Although the initial years were tough for the master in terms of finances and work, he eventually turned around his fate. Through his martial art and acting prowess, Lee became one of the biggest global stars. Nevertheless, his success emerged due to his knack to attain perfection in everything he did. Although Lee was a master of all, there was one aspect that he could never champion.
Lee’s biography, Bruce Lee: A Life by Matthew Polly, revealed an insecure barrier that the master faced when he first came to America. Although he worked to improve it, he was never perfect in it.

Bruce Lee found a way to deal with his biggest hurdle in America
Growing up in Hong Kong, Lee’s native language was Chinese. Hence, when he came to America, he was proficient in English but not fluent. To communicate in a foreign country, Lee would have to translate his message from Cantonese to English in his mind. So, language was Bruce’s biggest initial hurdle in America.

In Lee’s biography, his American martial art student, Jesse revealed that whenever Lee got excited, he would trip over certain words and syllables. He told, “I don’t think I ever heard him say my name without stuttering,” the student added, “He always had to repeat the ‘J’ several times before he could spit it out.” As a result, stuttering would make him conscious and insecure. Lee hated when people made fun of it. So none of his friends and students dared to make fun of it.
To tackle his language problem, Lee would talk to his small group of friends in English. “His around-the-clock bull sessions with his boys were a way of attacking the problem through total immersion,” explained author Matthew Polly in his biography. With consistent speaking, his English improved rapidly. However, he never became fluent in the language.

Apart from practicing spoken English, Lee did other things also to perfect the language.
Bruce Lee would tell jokes in English

Bruce Lee’s podcast website reveals that when the master came to America, he wanted to learn the English language in a way he never had. So, while working on himself, he put a special focus on learning the grammar and syntax in English.
Lee also wanted to communicate colloquially, which made him practice telling jokes. The master believed that the ability to understand humor in another language helps in communicating more naturally. Besides this, Lee also practiced perfecting his handwriting, sentence structure, and signature.
The master put in so much effort only because the quality of his communication skills mattered to him a lot.

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