In the center you see a teapot with the three scratch marks that Bruce Lee is often pictured with (on his chest). I’ve used the teapot in homage to one of Bruce Lee’s most famous quotations about his life philosophy: "Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless: like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; you put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; you put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” That’s also why a chemical and physical diagram of water is on the right-hand side (H-O-H with the angle and distance shown). Water takes the form of whatever container it’s in; it’s hard at times (you don’t want to fall off a bridge into water) and soft at others (you sink into it as well), and it’s an impossible enemy to defeat: strike it with force and it splatters only to reform itself again. If one is like water in these ways, difficult to contain or define, taking different positions and different strategies at different times to be indifferent to an opponent, one will always be victorious. Bruce Lee was also known for his wave-like movements, in his arms, and body, and his kicks seem to have an unworldly power that seems to result from much more than the individual parts of his body and more like the collective wavelike motion of them. Thus I’ve modeled his attacks as mechanical waves, with the momentum (p) being equal to the energy carried by the wave divided by its speed.
The top section shows how Bruce Lee (李小龙) seems to describe a set of non-Newtonian mechanics: in “Enter the Dragon”, he says to an opponent who tries to impress him by breaking a board violently in front of his face: “Boards don’t hit back”. Taking this interpretation in relation to Newton’s Third Law, which holds that every force gives rise to an equal and opposite force, as would two equally challenged opponents be in a match, we see that a board is not a true opponent, and will not fight back with an equal and opposite force; it will only give way. Bruce Lee goes on to defeat the opponent in a sorely mismatched fight (Bruce Lee is far superior), showing that for every attack that comes at Bruce Lee, he hits back with many many times the force (-N for an opposite force, where N is much greater than 1, meaning it’s much stronger than the opponent’s force F).
Continuing his metaphorical violations of physics, I’ve taken the liberty of referencing the 1974 Carl Douglas hit “Kung Fu Fighting” (which hit after kung fu movies became massively popular in the US, thanks mostly to Bruce Lee and his several films both in Hong Kong and Hollywood) lyric “those kicks were fast as lightening” and shown his kick speed at about the same speed as a lightning strike (the return stroke specifically, which has a stream of electrons traveling at around 1/3 the speed of light).
Bruce Lee was not just impressive due to his fighting technique but also for his impressively toned physique. I’ve likened his composition to solid marble with calcium carbonate (CaCO3, or limestone/chalk) and dolomite (CaMg(CO3)2, another major component of some marbles).
Another one of Bruce Lee’s philosophical-leaning martial arts sayings was “I fear not the man who has practiced ten thousand kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick ten thousand times.” That understanding that strict practice and technique, which Bruce Lee excelled at, beats showiness is shown in the algebraic inequality.
Enter the Dragon (龍爭虎鬥) is widely considered one of the greatest martial arts films of all time, and stars Bruce Lee both as the main actor as well as an uncredited director. It was released shortly after his tragic death by cerebral edema (probably due to an allergic reaction to a common analgesic medicine for a headache he had), and has left behind a cultural legacy and even been added to the Library of Congress. It also paved the way for future martial arts films, and stars a younger Jackie Chan (before he was famous) getting beaten up multiple times by Bruce Lee, an interesting confluence of famous martial arts stars in US cinema history.
Bruce Lee is also notorious for his shrieking during encounters with opponents. I’ve shown an attempted graph of harmonic entropy (higher meaning more dissonant, lower meaning more consonant) of tones with intervals between the same tone and two octaves. His shrieks seem to run the gamut of intervals, thereby averaging out as highly dissonant and shriek-like (high harmonic entropy). [I made a bit of a mistake there—ignore the scribbled out bits]
Aside from his role as a bona fide Hong Kong movie star and budding Hollywood star, he also undoubtedly played a significant role in spreading martial arts films to the US and in bringing Chinese cinema (“chopsocky” or not) to the US as well. I’ve shown him as a catalyst to other stars like the aforementioned Jackie Chan (lowering the activation energy or delta-E of their pathways into prominence). I have a sign in latin that relates to a famous scene in Fist of Fury (one of his break-out films that broke box office records in Hong Kong) where he’s turned away from entering a park by a guard who points to a sign that specifically prohibits dogs and Chinese people. He then sees the guard let a foreign woman take her dog into the park and takes even greater offense, starting a fight with a local man that jokes that if he acts like a dog he’d have a better chance of getting in. The terms I’ve used include both the scientific names for dogs (Canis familiaris) and a riff on the phrase “sick man of East Asia” (which also appears in the same film as an insult to the Chinese), “Homo sapiens infirmus”, meaning sick human. I’ve played off the idea of his leaving a trail of defeated foes in each film (bodycount = 105/year) while referencing his role the Magnuson Act (Chinese Exclusion Repeal Act of 1943), which repealed the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 but set the quota for Chinese immigration at a paltry 105/year. It’s the same kind of rule that he would have smashed with his Fists of Fury.