When Lee eventually graduated he was added to Team Guy. During the team's first meeting he vowed to become a splendid ninja that specialized in taijutsu. Neji Hyūga 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.
Lee is extremely energetic, single-minded, and over-enthusiastic. 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 also 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 readily befriending Gaara and forgiving him for crushing his arm and leg, which led to his hospitalization and nearly ended his career as a ninja. Lee feels others should show the same respect towards their opponents, and is disgusted whenever someone is unnecessarily cruel to their enemies.
Lee is known for speaking respectfully to others, being very proper in both English and Japanese language versions, and never using contractions or swearwords. He also uses formal Japanese, applying proper titles ("-san", "-kun", etc.) to anyone he meets. However, Lee refers his team-mates Neji Hyūga and Tenten just by their given names, implying that he is close enough to them to use such an informal way to speak to them. His relationship with Guy has also caused him to acquire many of Guy's traits; in addition to his personality, his dedication to his promises, as well as his belief that one cannot dislike food, are characteristics of Guy.
Lee's attempts to prove and better himself are recurring themes for his actions throughout the series. He is generally optimistic, and believes that, with hard work and passion, he can surpass a natural genius, but can be prone to depression when faced with setbacks. His drive to succeed was initially most evident with his rivalry with Neji, having learned from Guy that having a rival will provide incentive to succeed. Neji, a "genius" ninja, found Lee's efforts of bettering himself to be in vain, believing Lee would be stuck as a "failure" for the rest of his life.
As such, Lee resolved to prove Neji wrong, and confronted another "genius", Sasuke Uchiha, in an attempt to test his worth. While Lee maintained the desire to defeat Neji in a fight throughout the Chūnin Exam Arc, after Neji's eventual defeat by Naruto Uzumaki, another so-called "failure", Lee became less interested in this goal. Neji's rejection of his previous belief in fate might also have contributed to this, as he now respects Lee, believing that he will surpass the gifted with enough work.
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. While she did not seem to share these feelings for him, and considered him weird, Lee maintained these feelings, and went out of his way to help her throughout the Chūnin Exams. Sakura becomes more appreciative after this, and punches Naruto whenever he insults Lee.
Despite this, Sakura does not seem to return any romantic feelings for Lee, as she refers to him with the more formal "Lee-san", as opposed to "Lee-kun". After the Exams' conclusion, Lee's interest in Sakura goes largely unaddressed in the manga. It is occasionally referenced in the anime, such as when Naruto fought Lee in the Lee's Dojo arc; Naruto transformed into Sakura, causing Lee to forget about the fight long enough for Naruto to attack him.
Lee possesses very thick eyebrows (leading to the nickname "Centipede Brows" (ゲジマユ, Gejimayu; English TV "Bushy Brows") by Naruto) and large, perfectly rounded black eyes. During his academy days, Lee's hair was much longer and fastened in a braid, along with his style of dress, gave him a more traditional Chinese appearance. When first joining Team Guy Lee's appearance changed a lot as well. He had shorter hair than before that curved upwards in the back. He still maintained the Chinese appearance, since he wore a robe and a martial arts belt around his waist. After joining Might Guy's team, his appearance changed considerably to emulate his idol and sensei.
His hair was cut and styled into a bowl-cut style like Guy, and he also began wearing the same attire, consisting of a green jumpsuit, orange leg warmers, and wears his red forehead protector as a belt. The only attire difference Lee had to his sensei were the bandages he regularly wore around his hands and wrists, which also cover a set of stitches on his left hand, a trait that was due to his rigorous taijutsu training. In Guy's youth however, it was revealed that he also wore bandages.
During Part II, his appearance has changed the least out of his friends. The most noticeable changes are that he has grown considerably taller, and wears a flak jacket, as a chūnin, further emulating his sensei, however instead of wearing it open, Lee's is zipped up.
Guy's leadership has influenced Lee's training habits, which, coupled with his hard-working resolve, has allowed Lee to rapidly improve. When making a promise, for example, Lee assigns himself arduous tasks to complete in the event that he doesn't live up to his expectations. When this promise is broken, usually just barely, he ends up training to prevent it from happening again.
Since Guy began training him, Lee has worn extremely heavy weights on his ankles that appear deceptively light, increasing his strength at the cost of inhibiting his speed to levels that his peers still consider quite fast. Upon removing the weights, Lee's speed vastly increases, making it almost impossible to see his movements with the unaided eye. As such, the removal of his weights is a huge trump card for Lee. When he removed his ankle weights during his fight with Gaara, they enabled him to be the first person to ever bypass his defences and strike him.
Lee has trained so extensively he can run and even fight while unconscious, using nothing but pure muscle memory. A flashback during the 'Curry of Life' filler arc, in Part I, highlighted that Lee can run in his sleep, due to training from Guy. Lee, as a properly-trained ninja, is more highly aware of his surrounding through his senses than a regular person would be: Highlighted in the 'Three-Tails' arc, when he was blinded by Kigiri's Vanishing Smoke Prison Technique, Lee called on his training from Might Guy to be able to home in on Kihō through his "spirit sensor" — which he had developed through "unceasing diligence and determination".
Lee has no talent for ninjutsu or genjutsu, leaving him unable to use them. Because this would ordinarily make life as a ninja impossible, Lee's dream is to become a famous ninja who uses only taijutsu, despite having had very little talent for this, as well. Guy has specially trained him to reach this goal, teaching him a number of forbidden techniques in the process. The most basic of these is his Strong Fist style of combat, a martial art style focusing on external damage. In doing so, Lee has become a taijutsu master, as he has only trained in that form and has therefore almost perfected it. Lee is shown to be very fast even with the weights on his legs, but his true speed was first shown in his match against Gaara. His speed and prowess surpass those of more experienced ninja, and it is only in unique circumstances that his taijutsu is not enough to defeat an opponent. During Lee's fight with Kimimaro in Part I, Lee accidentally drank sake instead of his medicine, and slipped into Drunken Fist. After Lee slipped into Drunken Fist, Kimimaro noted that Lee's attack form was "too angular". In the anime, it also seems that Lee is proficient with melee weapons. He tried to attack Kisame with a pair of Tonfa, but he was stopped before he could show his abilities. However, in Naruto the Movie 3: Guardians of the Crescent Moon Kingdom, Lee was shown to be very skilled with wielding nunchaku and a staff.
Eight Inner Gates
Through Guy's teachings, Lee has learned how to open the first five of eight chakra gates, a feat that is difficult for even the most talented ninja. 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 they die 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. In Part II, he seems to be able to recover from using the chakra gates quickly as he was not injured after using it, but was very exhausted.
Lee has manifested a natural predisposition towards the Drunken Fist. When he drinks as little as one drop of alcohol, he becomes an unpredictable and unstoppable force of destruction and chaos. His actions while drunk are usually misguided attempts to impress Guy, regardless of whether or not Guy is around. He drunkenly attacks any friend or foe that is near him.
Guy explained that, after Lee accidentally drank a small amount of sake, he proceeded to demolish the bar they were in, and it took the combined efforts of Guy and Neji to hold him down without harming him. To help him take advantage of the Drunken Fist, Guy has given Lee an alcoholic chocolate in Naruto: Shippūden the Movie to be used only in a "dire pinch" — Lee however is under the mistaken impression that they are simply an aid for opening his sixth chakra gate, commenting that they taste like his medicine.
Chūnin Exam Arc
Having 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 and Kotetsu. Soon afterwards, he confronted Sasuke, challenging him to a fight to see how he fared against the Sharingan. Guy interrupted their fight, however, when Lee tried to use the Front Lotus, and Lee was forced to do laps around the practice range before he could proceed onto the first phase of the exams. 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 Team Dosu, and went to her aid. He used his Front Lotus on Dosu, but he survived the attack because of Zaku using his Decapitating Air 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. When this too failed, he attempted the Forward Lotus, but Gaara was able to escape at the last minute. His options running out if he was to win and prove himself, Guy allowed him to use the Reverse Lotus. Gaara survived by turning his gourd to sand and 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, 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. 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 Konoha began, and Lee was knocked unconscious.
Sasuke Retrieval Arc
Over the coming weeks, Guy tried a number of his own remedies to heal Lee, though none of his efforts worked. It was not until news of Tsunade becoming Hokage reached them that they found hope. 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. In the end, Lee successfully survived the operation. Upon overhearing Naruto, Chōji Akimichi, Kiba Inuzuka, and Shikamaru Nara talking about the mission to bring Sasuke back to Konoha, Lee suggested that Neji go with them. Lee was disappointed that he couldn't go with them, still recovering from his surgery (in the anime, he had yet to undergo the surgery).
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 anticipated moves were unpredictable to Kimimaro, he revealed his Kekkei Genkai, Shikotsumyaku, 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 Gaara's new techniques completely buried Kimimaro, Kimimaro 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 return to Konoha.
Curry of Life Arc
Lee revealed that he once ran a marathon with Guy near the village of Katabami Kinzan shortly after being assigned to his team, and when he collapsed from exhaustion near the Curry of Life shop, the owner, Sanshō, and her son Karashi fed him curry and saved his life. Lee's dedication caused Karashi to become enthusiastic, and he later left. A year later, when he came to the village with his team-mates and Naruto to defeat the Kurosuki family, he found that Karashi had joined, and was upset that Karashi had sought strength in this way. He allowed Karashi to seek redemption, but Karashi used this opportunity to lure Lee's group into a trap after their first battle with Raiga. The trap failed due to Naruto's use of shadow clones, and while the villagers were willing to seek vengeance on Karashi, Lee stepped in, promising to take responsibility for Karashi's actions. Karashi used the opportunity to take Ranmaru to revive Raiga. Lee went to fight Raiga with Naruto and Neji, and was knocked out but brought back to consciousness with the Curry of Life. The curry, however, accidentally contained wine, and Lee was intoxicated. He fought Raiga, but was defeated, and Naruto finished Raiga off.
Ninja Academy Arc
The Academy Students were divided into teams of three and were assigned to a genin who would lead them on a mission against the other teams. Lee was assigned to lead a team of three academy students; Chen, Samo and En. His time with them was not covered much except that he was doing better than Naruto: After fending off some 'bandits', one of Lee's charges addressed Lee as "Lee-Sensei" out of awe, and, overjoyed, Lee went off into one of his declarations into the sunset whilst his students tried to tell him that he was going the wrong way.
Guy and Lee Impersonator Arc
Guy and Lee left the village on a mission, and two spies tried to imitate them. Tsunade immediately saw through their disguise, and gave them various difficult, disgusting, or humiliating missions in order to keep them busy and prevent them from learning anything. They encountered the real Lee and Guy on the way out of the village and tried to attack, but were sent flying back to Konohagakure.
Lee accompanied Neji, Naruto, and Tenten on the mission to Hoshigakure, playing a lesser role than in previous arcs. He attempted to follow two of Akahoshi's men while hiding under a barrel, as Tenten suggested, but was discovered almost instantly. While trying to infiltrate Akahoshi's mansion, he pretended to use a jutsu known as "Wall-Removing Technique", but, in actuality, it involved him moving at high speed to open a door from the other side. He was wounded during the final battle with Akahoshi, leaving Naruto to fight him alone.
Lee's Dōjō Arc
Lee, seeing that he had little time to train with other people due to the many missions that must be done, sought a new means of training. He saw a man challenging a dōjō, ready to take the sign if he won, and ready to join if he lost, and believed that a dōjō would bring many strong opponents. When Naruto stumbled upon the dōjō, Lee asked that he fight, but Naruto hastily left, late for reporting back to Tsunade.
Guy, after hearing about the dōjō from Naruto, decides to disguise himself in order to fight Lee. However, he was given a mission at the last second, and an impostor replaced him. Lee fought the impostor and easily defeated him, but Naruto believed that the impostor was Guy, and that he was not fighting at full strength in order to avoid revealing himself. Naruto fought Lee while the impostor transformed into Lee, but met the real Guy while trying to leave, and was easily defeated by him.
Third Great Beast Arc
Lee's condition worsened, and Tsunade became concerned about him injuring himself again. She removed him from missions, but allowed him to keep training after he convinced her to do so. Around this time, Guy arrived with a new student, who easily defeated Lee and injured his ankle. While Lee was recovering, Guy took the new student with him on a mission, causing Lee to believe that he had abandoned him. It was then revealed that the new student was an impostor, and that he planned on seeking vengeance against Guy. Lee headed to Guy's location, but was trapped in a castle made out of sparring posts. He and Lee were tricked into fighting each other by seeing the other as a sparring dummy, but they saw through the technique and opened their chakra gates to destroy the dummies without harming the actual person, freeing themselves and destroying the castle.
Trap Master Arc
Lee, despite having few special abilities, made some noteworthy contributions to the investigation. While he initially encouraged the academy students to keep practicing throwing kunai, once he realized that hitting the bull's eye would cause a chain reaction that would detonate explosives around Konoha, he caught a kunai in midair just before it hit the target, despite being far away from it. He defeated Gennō with his taijutsu during the final confrontation.
Naruto accompanied Sakura and Lee to escort Gantetsu. When the ship was sliced in half by a metal wire, Lee ended up with Sakura, and found the orphans Gantetsu had cared for. During the raid on the hideout, he fought the Shinobazu members outside.
Ultimate Weapon Arc
Lee and Naruto helped Gaara fight and defeat an opponent who could absorb his enemies' chakra with his armour. After the mission, he sparred with Tenten, who was upset over being the only member of the Konoha 11 left out of the mission despite having a mission at the time, and noted that, in order to be able to face Naruto when he returned, they too must become stronger.
Team Kakashi was sent on a mission to rescue Gaara from Akatsuki. When Tsunade began to worry that they might have problems, she sent Team Guy as back-up. On their way to a rendezvous point, they were attacked by Kisame Hoshigaki. Kisame was quite angered that Guy didn't remember him from their fight in Part I. Kisame soon captured Lee, Neji, and Tenten, but by opening the sixth gate, Guy ended the fight quickly, and they moved on.
Once Kakashi's team arrived after them, the two squads found out that there was a barrier on the Akatsuki headquarters, something Team Guy volunteered to take down. They split up and removed seals spread out across the area, bringing down the barrier but triggering a trap: they were attacked by clones of themselves. When they were about to be defeated, Lee figured out how to beat the clones - by being stronger than when they met them. With that, Lee uses a new technique to defeat his clone. Later on, they reunited with Team 7 and, once Gaara was revived, they headed back home. As they left, Guy was carrying Kakashi for a piggyback-ride. Lee, thinking it was training, told Neji to get on his back so that they might race back to Konoha, but was forcefully rejected.
Twelve Guardian Ninja Arc
Unlike past fillers, Lee's appearance is in this one was very small. He first appeared shortly after Sora arrived in the village and began fighting with some of Lee's fellow graduates. Thinking it was a spirited sparring match, he joined in. Later, during Kazuma's invasion of Konoha, Lee helped defend the village from the zombies.
Guy taught Tenten and Lee how to synchronize attacks, something that consisted of tying them together, which had little success. Soon afterwards, they were assigned to assist Team Yamato and Team Kurenai with sealing the Three-Tailed Beast. Lee was tasked with preventing any interference with the sealing, so confronted Guren's men when they arrived. Although they tried to use a smokescreen to blind him, Lee was able to use his heightened senses to seek them out and defeat them. He then faced Guren herself, but was unable to stop her from interrupting the sealing. Later, after learning that Naruto was trapped inside the Three-Tails, Lee was assigned as a guard against interference from saving Naruto and sealing the Three-Tails. Lee expressed his confidence that Naruto was alright, and his desire to have an all-out battle with Naruto one day. Later, Lee was surprised to find that Guren's men had returned for a second fight. Despite his passionate desire to fight, he and his team were defeated and nearly killed by the enemies' new-found might. He and Tenten survived thanks to her iron shell. Later, they return to Konoha with the others.
Konoha History Arc
Lee is seen recuperating at a physical training room after his fight with Gaara at the Chūnin Exams. To make sure Lee recovers quicker, Guy makes him a special medicine created form the Jofuku flower. When Naruto accidentally drinks the medicine, he must go to the Jofuku Forest to retrieve more flowers.
Invasion of Pain Arc
When Pain's invasion of Konoha began, Team Guy was away on a mission. During a stop on their return home, they noticed a number of birds apparently escaping from the village. They rushed to the village, and found it to be in ruins. They found Hinata Hyūga badly injured, and got her medical attention. Later, he is seen with the rest of the village celebrating Naruto's victory.
Five Kage Summit Arc
When news reaches Konoha of Sasuke Uchiha's crimes against other villages, Lee and the rest of the Konoha 11 decide they should eliminate Sasuke themselves before he can involve Konoha in a war. So that Sakura can inform Naruto of their decision, Lee, Kiba, and Sai escort her to the Land of Iron. When they locate him, Sakura tells Naruto that she loves him, surprising Lee. This does not convince him to give up his own search for Sasuke, so they leave without another word. Sakura then asks her escorts to help her find Sasuke. When they near his location, Sakura tries to knock them out so she can face Sasuke alone. Sai stops her, so Sakura convinces Lee and Kiba that he is a traitor. While they try to detain him, she succeeds in knocking them out. After Sakura and the rest of Team 7 meet with Sasuke, they revive Lee and the others and return to Konoha. Lee is later seen with the rest of the Konoha 11, hearing Naruto's decision to take responsibility for Sasuke.
Shinobi World War Arc Edit
During the Fourth Shinobi World War, Lee is assigned to the Third Division alongside Sakura and Guy. He is seen fretting over his sensei's condition while Sakura tries to heal him. When members of the Surprise Attack Division are attacked by the revived shinobi, the Third Division arrives in time to intercept the attack. He is then seen along with the Third Division clashing against the resurrected ninja. Upon Kakashi's orders, they group into a Manji Formation, Lee promises that no matter what he will protect Sakura; she however tells him to also be careful as last time Zabuza was able to penetrate the formation from its weak point; the centre. He and Guy later intercepted Haku's assault with the Leaf Coiling Whirlwind. Lee is then seen along with the rest of Third Division recuperating after the first day of war.