Bruce Lee's Daughter, Shannon Lee, Is Carrying on Her Father's Legacy

Lizzy Rosenberg - Author

Jun. 8 2020, Updated 11:37 a.m. ET

On Sunday, June 7, ESPN aired a brand-new documentary on martial arts legend, Bruce Lee, called Be Water. The film, which was directed by Bao Nguyen, according to USA TODAY, pays homage to Bruce's favorite saying: "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.”

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The film delves into the late athlete's life, while also highlighting the accomplishments of Bruce Lee's daughter, Shannon. Not only has Shannon carried on the passionate message of her father, as the chairperson as the board of directors for the Bruce Lee foundation, but she has also found solace through his martial arts teachings and wisdom. 

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Bruce Lee's daughter, Shannon, grew up with a passion for performing.

Shannon spent half her childhood in Los Angeles, and the other half in Hong Kong, but one year after her father passed away in 1974, she moved to Los Angeles with her family, according to After studying martial arts as a child and graduating high school, she attended and graduated from Tulane University, where she appeared in several musicals and operas. She graduated with a B.F.A. in vocal performance, and then decided to move back to Los Angeles, to pursue acting full-time.

Some of Shannon's acting credits include Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, WMAC Masters, High Voltage, Martial Law, Blade and Enter the Eagles. She also continued singing, and ended up also co-writing and performing on the album, "The Mechanical Forces of Love with Medicine" with Cantonese singer, Sam Hui. 

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Martial arts have kept Shannon Lee connected to her father's legacy.

It was expected that Shannon and her late brother, Brandon, would practice martial arts as children, however, it was hard for them to do so after their father passed away, according to ESPN. Though Shannon shied away from practicing throughout much of her childhood and young adult life, she reconnected with it as an adult, and began studying her father's practice, Jeet Kune Do, under one of Bruce's former students, Ted Wong, who has sadly since passed away as well.

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"For me, that moment in time was very important. It was important to understand and connect with my father in this art form, but it also helped me understand my father and his philosophies," Shannon said in a personal essay on "There is so much I know about my father from his martial arts teachings, movies and philosophies. And all of these aspects of my father's life help me connect to this memory of his energy."

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Shannon is now the chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Bruce Lee Foundation.

In 2002, a year before giving birth to her daughter, Wren, Shannon and her mother co-founded the Bruce Lee Foundation. The non-profit provides financial assistance to underprivileged students to help them attend college, take martial arts classes, and attend Camp Bruce Lee's summer program, which promotes physical and mental health practices.

Needless to say, through practicing martial arts, and through promoting the practice by offering accessible classes to those who may not be able to afford them, Shannon is doing everything she can to carry on her father's legacy.

Stream Be Water now, on ESPN+.

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