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December 21, 2023

Bruce Lee Was a Passionate Cha-Cha Dancer and in 1958, He Was the Winner of the Hong Kong Cha-Cha Championship

We all know Bruce Lee for his iconic martial arts scenes in Fists of Fury and Enter the Dragon. But before he became known for his quick movements, did you know he also had formidable dance moves?

It’s rumored that Lee’s dance career began because of his interest in girls, but it quickly led to a deeper commitment. He studied dancing as industriously as he did martial arts. Wherever he went, he carried a list of 108 different cha cha steps in a notebook. In 1958, Lee won Hong Kong’s Crown Colony Cha-Cha Championship at the age of 18. He also won Hong Kong’s inter-school boxing tournament the very same year. Talk about having a diverse range of moves!

However, Lee soon found himself in trouble fighting and facing a lack of academic progress. In 1959 with just US$100 in his pocket, he boarded a steamship and headed to San Francisco. After a brief stint of teaching Kung Fu independently, he soon opened a school for Kung Fu teaching the martial arts to anyone regardless of race or gender.

In the mid-60s, Lee was discovered while giving a martial art demonstration, kickstarting his acting career in Hollywood. As a pop culture icon, Lee not only paved the way for martial arts in the west but also helped changed the way Asians were portrayed in American films.


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