During his time in the Academy, Lee proved to have no talent for ninjutsu and genjutsu. When he was mocked by his peers because of this, Lee persevered, focusing on taijutsu. After he succeeded in graduating he was added to Team Guy along with Neji Hyūga and Tenten. During the team's first meeting, Lee vowed to become a powerful ninja without using ninjutsu or genjutsu. Neji laughed at him, but their sensei, Might Guy, took a special interest in Lee. He encouraged Lee to keep at it and, in time, began teaching him powerful forms of taijutsu.
PersonalityEditLee is extremely energetic, single-minded, and hot-blooded. Despite his very passionate nature, Lee has also shown strong instincts, able stay focused at the mission at hand, rarely losing his composure, and notice the presence people around him, even recognizing his friends. He is characterized as being the epitome of a "nice guy", having assumed many of Guy's personality quirks. One such trait is his apparent lack of common sense, believing at times that he can get what he wants by not wanting it. At other times, he takes copious notes, but forgets that he cannot check them during a fight. He has a keen sense of honour, and respects his opponents, refusing to hold grudges against those who have defeated him, and returning favours to those that have helped him. This was shown by his befriending of Gaara, forgiving him for crushing his arm and leg — injuries that nearly ended his career as a shinobi. Lee feels others should show the same respect towards their opponents, and is disgusted whenever someone is unnecessarily cruel to their enemies.
Because his shortcomings in ninjutsu and genjutsu makes life as a ninja difficult, Lee's dream is to become a famous ninja who uses only taijutsu. Taking a liking to Lee and his resolve, Might Guy has specially trained him to reach this goal, teaching him a number of forbidden techniques in the process. While his taijutsu was originally only just above average, through gruelling training, Lee revealed an enormous potential for the art, essentially becoming a taijutsu master while still being a child. His prowess surpasses those of more experienced ninja, able to keep up with Guy himself, and it is only in unique circumstances that his taijutsu is not enough to defeat an opponent.
AbilitiesEditLee also possesses immense physical strength, as he was actually capable of driving his hand into the earth to rip up a huge section of a giant tree's root. During the Fourth Shinobi World War, after being enhanced by Nine Tails’ chakra, he was able to completely bisect Madara Uchiha with a single kick.
Through Guy's teachings, Lee has learned how to open the first five of the chakra gates by the time he was twelve years old, later the sixth gate sometime before the Fourth Great Shinobi War, a feat that recognised him as a genius by the likes of Kakashi Hatake as it is highly difficult for even the most talented ninja to open a single gate regardless of hard work. Because of the danger to his body that the gates' power presents, Lee is only permitted to open them in certain circumstances such as life-or-death situations, protecting someone dear, or defending his way of the ninja. Most humans can only access less than 20% of their muscle potential but the eight gates uses chakra to "force" the muscles to work at much more power than they normally do, allowing the user to run at phenomenal speeds, pick up enormous weights, and much more at the expense of the muscles themselves. Near 50%, the muscles start to wear down and tear. Much more than that, approaching 100%, the muscles begin to break down and disintegrate. Once the Eighth Gate has been opened, they are practically unstoppable, but the user dies in the process. Lee has also learned or developed a number of taijutsu that take advantage of the extreme power and speed he gains from opening chakra gates. After the time-skip, Lee can now open the chakra gates instantly, even showing a faster recovery rate from using them without suffering any of the damaging after-effects, but he still shows noticeable exhaustion.
Part 1Having not been allowed to participate the year before, Team Guy took part in the Chūnin Exams along with the Rookie Nine. They initially tried to avoid attention by acting weak, but Lee accidentally let slip his true strength by interfering with a fight between Sasuke Uchiha and Kotetsu Hagane. He also fell in love with Sakura Haruno. Soon afterwards, he confronted Sasuke, challenging him to a fight to see how he fared against the Sharingan, but not before knocking out Naruto Uzumaki, who tried to fight with Lee himself. Guy interrupted Lee and Sasuke's fight, however, when Lee tried to use the Primary Lotus, and Lee was forced to do laps around the practice range before he could proceed onto the first phase of the exams. Shortly after his introduction to Team 7, Lee revealed that he liked Sakura Haruno, asking her to be his girlfriend and vowing to protect her immediately after they met. She did return these feelings for him, and considered him weird and awkward. Mesmerized by Sakura's beauty, and desperate for her affection, the prideful Rock Lee falls onto his hands and knees, begging Sakura to be his girlfriend. The disgusted Sakura simply ignored him and leave the premise, leaving the bent-over and humiliated Rock Lee with a painful rejection.
With Tenten's help, he gained the answers for the written portion, and proceeded to the second round. After spending their first few days in the Forest of Death gathering supplies, Team Guy split up in search of other teams. Lee came across Sakura being attacked by a group of Sound Ninja led by Dosu, and went to her aid. He used his Primary Lotus on Dosu , but he survived the attack because of Zaku Abumi using his Slicing Sound Wave in the ground, and Lee was left unable to defend himself from a counterattack from Dosu. Neji and Tenten soon arrived to help, but didn't have to because Sasuke woke up, and once he recovered they moved onto the preliminaries.
In the preliminaries, Lee was matched against Gaara. When his standard attacks proved unable to bypass Gaara's defences, he removed his ankle weights to increase his speed and managed to land a couple of hits on Gaara. Then, he attempted the Primary Lotus, but Gaara was able to escape at the last minute revealing a sand clone instead. His options running out if he was to win and prove himself, Guy allowed him to use the Hidden Lotus.
Gaara again survived by turning his gourd to sand to cushion him, and the techniques took a massive toll on Lee's body. Gaara added to Lee's injury by crushing his left arm and leg. Though Guy intervened to stop Gaara from killing him, Lee got to his feet to continue the battle, despite being completely unconscious.
Because of his injuries and his teacher's intervention, gaara was declared the winner, and medics predicted, that even if Lee recovered, his injuries would prevent him from ever being able to be a shinobi again. He nevertheless tried to train while he was in the hospital, something that only worsened his condition.
When he was asleep, Gaara came to his room and tried to kill him, but he was stopped by Naruto and Shikamaru Nara and later by Guy. To try and cheer Lee up, Guy took him to watch the final round matches, but they were surprised when they arrived to find out that Neji had been defeated by Naruto. Envious of Naruto, Lee then watched Gaara's fight with Sasuke, and marvelled at how quickly he had learned to emulate Lee's speed. Before the fight could finish, however, the invasion of the Leaf Village began, and Lee was knocked unconscious.
Over the coming weeks, Guy tried a number of his own remedies to heal Lee, though none of his efforts worked. Lee plummetted deeper into depression, as he began to lose hope. When the news of Tsunade becoming Hokage reached them, that hope was renewed. But, when she examined Lee, she informed him of the dire situation: his broken bones and torn muscles have healed, but fragments of bone had lodged in his spinal column, and removing them would involve an extensive operation that only she was capable of. When Tsunade offered him an operation that carried a fifty percent chance of returning him to his former state, or dying in the process, Lee was hesitant to accept the operation. Though Lee was worried he would die in the operation, thanks to Guy's influence, he accepted the surgery. Upon overhearing Naruto, Chōji Akimichi, Kiba Inuzuka, and Shikamaru Nara talking about the mission to bring Sasuke back to the Leaf Village, Lee suggested that Neji go with them. Lee was disappointed that he couldn't go with them, still needing to go through his surgery that was scheduled for later that day.
Once Lee was well enough to move, he left the hospital to follow them and provide assistance. He caught up with Naruto, who was in the middle of a battle with Kimimaro, and told him to go after Sasuke while he dealt with Kimimaro. At first, it seemed Kimimaro overmatched him, but after Lee drank some sake that he had mistaken for his medicine, he began to outclass Kimimaro. Though Lee's druken moves were unpredictable to Kimimaro, he revealed his unique ability which, combined with Lee sobering up, easily took over the battle. Before his attack landed on Lee, Gaara arrived just in time to save him. Even though Lee insisted to fight side-by-side with him, he knew he was only getting in Gaara's way. For the rest of the battle, Lee watches and is amazed by Gaara's new abilities. Even though one of Gaara's new jutsu completely buried Kimimaro, he counters by turning the battlefield into a forest of bones, which Lee and Gaara escaped by hanging onto a pair of small clouds made out of sand. Kimimaro then emerged from one of the bones, preparing to kill the two at point blank range. They were saved, however, as Kimimaro finally succumbed to his disease and died. After the battle, Lee and Gaara reflect upon Kimimaro's purpose, then the two returned to their respective village.