This week we talk with Bruce Lee superfan Daniele Bolelli. Shannon first met Bolelli when he was interviewed for the documentary I Am Bruce Lee and later she was a guest on his podcast “The Drunken Taoist.” Bolelli is an Italian born author, college professor, martial artist, and has two podcasts, “The Drunken Taoist” and “History on Fire.”
Bruce Lee came into Bolelli’s life when he was a 7 year old kid growing up in Italy. Daniele and his dad watched a Bruce Lee movie together and he was hooked. Bruce’s energy and personality as a movie star captivated the young Bolelli, but he built a life-long relationship with him by reading Bruce’s writings and philosophies.
Bolelli is also a martial artist who starting his training at 15. He finds that Bruce Lee’s philosophies are helpful in studying martial arts and life. Like Bruce, he studied several styles of martial arts including Chinese kung fu, Brazilian jiu jitsu, boxing, wrestling and MMA. He currently prefers Judo because of the aesthetics of the big throws and the “ground game” where he gets to put Taoism in action. He says the ground game is like playing high level chess with your body and that it’s not just about brute strength.
“If you dedicate yourself to one thing and one thing only all the time, then it’s not about life anymore, it’s about that one field…Anything you do in life should be at the service of enriching you as an individual. It shouldn’t be the other way around that you sacrifice your individuality in the name of this one field or this one idea. That’s missing the point.” - Bolelli
The Bruce Lee philosophies that are most relevant to Bolelli are: “Research your own experience” and "Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, add what is specifically your own.” These concepts have influenced Bolelli's whole life, and also inspired one of his books called "Create Your Own Religion: A How-To Book without Instructions."
Similar to Bruce Lee, Bolelli writes down what he wants out of his life and his goals. He takes time throughout the week to write down ideas or thoughts, and this helps with his mental clarity.
(Awesome Asians and Hapas)
Daniele Bolelli’s #AAHA shout-out goes to his 7-yr-old daughter, Isabella who is half Chinese. He is so inspired by her wise thoughts and ideas that he often writes them down and occasionally features them on his podcast The Drunken Taoist. He has been documenting her thoughtful ideas since she could speak so it’s becoming a collection of her own wisdom that he will eventually give to her when she’s older. She even has a Bruce Lee postcard by her bed. Thank you Isabella—we think you’re awesome!
This week’s #BruceLeeMoment comes from listener Phil C.: Hi Shannon & Sharon, I was listening to your Steve Aoki podcast and his mention of the racism he experienced growing up reminded me of one of the two Bruce Lee moments I had: The first one was in junior high. I was sometimes bullied there. One tormentor was about to beat me but before he did, he asked if I knew kung fu. I didn't answer. He backed off, probably because my not answering meant maybe I knew some (and that I'm of Chinese ethnicity, probably helped, the stereotype working in my favour). The art of fighting without fighting. My second Bruce Lee moment came years later in University. An international student from Swaziland (Above South Africa) told me Bruce was big there. I never even heard of his country until then. He said he watched Bruce's films in an outdoor theatre there. When he told me this, I realized Bruce's impact---he was, in fact, the biggest movie star of his time. Had he had lived, I'm sure he would have certainly reached his written goal of becoming the highest paid actor in world, over that Steve guy! I know these moments on the surface might not be philosophically profound but they show Bruce's legacy to this day. Thanks for the opportunity of sharing my Bruce Lee moments with you. Following you always to learn more about Bruce, the man. Regards, Phil C.