How Fast Bruce Lee Progressed In The Martial Arts

Discussion in 'JKD / Jeet Kune Do' started by PhotonGuy, Aug 4, 2019.

  1. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,255
    Likes Received:
    326
    Trophy Points:
    143
    Its common knowledge that Bruce Lee is the founder of JKD. Before creating JKD Bruce Lee had trained in multiple styles most notably Wing Chun but there are stories about many of the other styles he trained in. There was one case where he made a deal with an instructor. This particular instructor taught some style of kung fu although Im not sure exactly what kind. Anyway, Bruce Lee, aside from training in the martial arts, also was really good in cha cha dancing. He made a deal with this instructor that in exchange for some lessons in the kung fu that he taught, Bruce would teach him cha cha. According to the instructor it would take the average person about three months to learn the basics of his kung fu. It took Bruce Lee three days to master the basics. So much for his cha cha lessons, the instructor said, three days was just enough for him to get down the basic rhythm.


    Anyway the point is if you're phenomenal like Bruce Lee you can reach certain levels much faster than the average person. No, martial arts can't be rushed, if by rushing you're skipping over certain stuff, but it is possible to learn it faster depending on how much you put into it. Bruce Lee would disagree with people who say you can't progress faster.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  2. kempodisciple

    kempodisciple MT Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2012
    Messages:
    5,407
    Likes Received:
    1,542
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    New York
    Found something on how to spot an urban legend.

    - Consider what form the information took when it was passed along to you. Was it a narrative — that is, a story told as a sequence of linked events with a beginning, middle and end? Did it feature a surprising twist and/or end with a "punch line" that sounded like a joke, or the plot of a television show? If so, it may have been an urban legend. Proceed with skepticism.

    Yup.

    - Most often, urban legends walk a fine line between outlandishness and believability. Does the story you heard seem a little suspect, yet kind of believable? Was it told to you as if it's true? Often the teller of an urban legend will even begin with the statement, "This is a true story." When someone feels they need to affirm the accuracy of what they're about to say beforehand, pay close attention. They may not fully believe what they themselves are saying.

    Right along that line, and told as if it's true.

    -Watch for statements such as "This really happened to a friend of a friend," or "I heard this from the wife of a co-worker," or "You won't believe what happened to my brother's housekeeper's son," etc. Urban legends are almost always about things that happened to someone other than the teller -- indeed, someone the teller doesn't even know firsthand.

    Pretty sure you don't know Bruce Lee.

    -Have you heard the same story more than once from different sources, possibly even with different names and details? Stories tend to change and grow over time as they're told and retold by different people. If there's more than one version, it might be an urban legend.

    First google search (and the only one 5 minutes of google-fu found pn the story) told me the average person would learn it in 3 weeks, not 3 months. so there's a difference.

    -Does the story seem too good to be true, or too horrible or too funny to be true? If so, there's a good chance you've got an urban legend on your hands.

    Yup. Too good to be true.

    -They forgot one: is there a benefit to this story, beyond spreading truthfulness?

    Yup. It helps glamorize Bruce Lee, and spread popularity of JKD and Lee-ites.



    Based on the above, I'm going to go out on a limb and say this story may not be entirely accurate.
     
    • Like Like x 5
    • Agree Agree x 1
  3. Rat

    Rat Black Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2018
    Messages:
    632
    Likes Received:
    75
    Trophy Points:
    43
    I don't believe he really did much "proper" fighting. The story of bruce lee is pretty much grossly over exaggerated.

    He was kind of the most popular kind of mix your martial arts person of the time in a time where it wasn't that common or mainstream. But i think it was done before him and some less than notable people may have forwarded that kind of ideology.

    Its kind of like celebrity status to glamorize/popularize something which wasnt normal/popular.
     
  4. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,786
    Likes Received:
    1,342
    Trophy Points:
    303
    Yep that's the word....stories..a bunch of big tales made to make him look amazing and some world beater despite him never actually being tested in combat
     
  5. Gweilo

    Gweilo Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2019
    Messages:
    424
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    43
    I heard this story back in the 80's, and seem to remember it was 3 weeks, if you can imagine an Aikidoist going to learn Hapkido, lots of the locks and throws are almost identical, as they come from the same place, just a different philosophical approach, so a student as above should pick up the techniques very quickly.

    @Headhunter although there are no professional records of Lee fighting, there are recorded interviews with other martial artists, who actually did fight him. There is an interview with Sammo Hung where he claims during the filming of enter the Dragon, lots of the extras that where bought in from the locality started talking about how Lee was not as good as Lee thought he was, so Sammo being young, and who had a lot of fights being a local naughty boy, became difficult with Lee during the filming of a scene (playing to the crowd of extras), which ended with Lee asking Sammo if he wanted to fight, which Sammo excepted. In Sammo Hung words, they squared up, Lee asked if he was ready, Sammo nodded. Sammo remembers the hit from a kick to the face, which he did not see, just felt his face swell, and the blood run from his mouth, to which Sammo replied you win.
    I cannot remember the exact dvd this interview was on, but it was in no way to promote Lee, not on a Hung film.
     
  6. Buka

    Buka Grandmaster

    • MartialTalk Mentor
    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2011
    Messages:
    9,228
    Likes Received:
    5,801
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Maui
    I've trained with under some Martial Artists that had the opportunity to have trained with Lee. I had some long discussions about their remembrances of him. They all said he was damn good, something special. Not like average good, but really damn good.

    These are people who are not star struck, are Martial notables in their own right, guys like Ed Parker, Joe Lewis, Wally Jay and on and on. They said "wow" when they talked about his abilities. Wally Jay's wife, Bernice, a Martial Artists herself, showed me a photo of Wally and Bruce that she kept in her wallet. She told me that they had a gym in their basement for when Wally had visiting Martial Artists over, which was all the time I guess. They would go down stairs and train. "Except", she said, "When young Bruce would come over. They'd push the couch over to the side and train right there in the living room and wreck my house."

    The photo showed Wally and Bruce, drenched in sweat, sheet eating grins on their face, the living room a total shambles, overturned chairs, rugs bunched in the corner, lamps on their sides on the floor. She said she had seen every Martial Artist Wally ever trained with. She said she never saw anyone move like Bruce Lee. I'll remember that photo for as long as I live.

    So I dunno'. I'm going to go with the guys who taught me, guys who actually trained with Lee and who I accept at their word.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 1
  7. Gweilo

    Gweilo Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2019
    Messages:
    424
    Likes Received:
    117
    Trophy Points:
    43
    Wally Jay... Legend.
     
  8. Danny T

    Danny T Senior Master

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2002
    Messages:
    3,954
    Likes Received:
    2,051
    Trophy Points:
    388
    Location:
    New Iberia, Louisiana USA

    Yeah…I never had the opportunity to meet much less train with Bruce but like you Buka I have trained with several who have…These are people who are rather outstanding martial art fighters themselves and they were all highly impressed by not just his training but his actual skills and we weren’t talking about his acting or movie making skills. Oh and they weren't fellow students or students of his.

    Amazingly quick, powerful, very fight intelligent; were the kind of words used to describe their experiences with him.
     
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1
  9. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,255
    Likes Received:
    326
    Trophy Points:
    143
    The story about Bruce Lee mastering the basics in a style in three days was in a biographical video about Bruce Lee that I used to have. Anyway, whether the truth has been stretched with that story or whether there is even any truth to the story the fact remains that Bruce Lee was phenomenal in the way he trained. He would be doing drills with the wooden dummy and his friends would go out for pizza, they would come back and he would still be doing the drills and he would say something along the lines of, "Im almost done, then Im switching hands." So Bruce Lee did take far less time overall to get to the levels in the martial arts that he got to, then the average person.
     
  10. jobo

    jobo Grandmaster

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2017
    Messages:
    5,790
    Likes Received:
    797
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    it seems reasonsblvto one that someone all ready trained in ma and weityh good motors skills could learn the " basics of another ma in three days provided they were full days say 30 hours , someone with exceptional mirror skills in considerably less time
     
  11. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,255
    Likes Received:
    326
    Trophy Points:
    143
    Well yes. In actuality you don't learn anything "in less time" 30 hours is 30 hours any way you look at it, but that 30 hours can be spread over two days, three days, five days, a week, two weeks, ect.

    So if it takes you 30 hours to develop a certain level of skill and its your goal to reach that level of skill, you can get there sooner if you spread it out less. If you train five hours a day you will get there in six days. If you train one hour a day you will get there in thirty days. Certainly if you train five hours a day you will get there sooner than if you train one hour a day.

    But the fact remains, in both cases you trained for a total of 30 hours.
     
  12. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    11,697
    Likes Received:
    2,002
    Trophy Points:
    263
    Location:
    San Francisco
    Whether or not you can quantify something and say that it takes X number of hours to learn something is a discussion of its own.

    However. How you spread your thirty hours does matter. If you pile it on all at once, then mental and physical fatigue eventually sets in and those hours are not all of high quality. Likewise, if you spread it out over too much time, it also is not so high quality.

    I suggest that 30 hours spread over ten or twelve days is probably more effective than 30 hours spread over two days, or thirty hours spread over a year.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  13. Martial D

    Martial D Senior Master

    Joined:
    May 18, 2017
    Messages:
    2,689
    Likes Received:
    834
    Trophy Points:
    213
    In the pre MMA Kung Fu is magic days people pretty much believed Bruce Lee was an unstoppable God that can beat anyone.

    There is still a bit of holdover from those days, even though we know better now.
     
  14. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,786
    Likes Received:
    1,342
    Trophy Points:
    303
    We still get it now with ip man. People believe because of the donnie yen movies that he was some amazing fighter. But really ip man was just a martial art teacher who smoked opium his whole life
     
  15. punisher73

    punisher73 Senior Master

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2004
    Messages:
    3,392
    Likes Received:
    487
    Trophy Points:
    143
    I will try and find the exact information, but if my memory is correct, Bruce Lee traded Cha-Cha lessons to a kung fu master to learn some of that styles forms. Wing Chun forms are not very dramatic and Bruce wanted something that looked better on camera, it had nothing to do with actually learning the style or its basics. Bruce exchanged A LOT of information with a lot of different people, and most agreed that he was very physically talented and could pick up movements very quickly.

    It was the same reason that Bruce Lee went and studied Hapkido for it's kicks, he wanted something "cool" for the cameras when he played Kato on Green Hornet. It had nothing to do with martial arts knowledge, but illustrates that he was very physically gifted and learned quickly.
     
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2019
  16. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,786
    Likes Received:
    1,342
    Trophy Points:
    303
    Yep that what I heard he didn't know enough wing chun so he needed some flashy stuff to teach to look good.

    That was his main reason for working with guys like Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis etc, so he could spar and train with high level guys and pick up stuff from them.

    From what I've read his teaching for him was more about training himself and I know people who knew him and they've said he actually wasn't that great a teacher. He could be rude and dismissive and if you didn't pick something up straight away he'd just move on and never cover it again and her impatient and angry with his students
     
  17. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,255
    Likes Received:
    326
    Trophy Points:
    143
    Well yes to say how much time it would take to learn something would depend on all sorts of other factors and as you said, its a discussion of its own.

    Anyway, regarding how you spread the 30 hours, piling it on all at once, training for 30 hours straight, would probably not be a smart thing to do, you would most likely burn yourself out and/or hurt yourself and in doing so you would be unable to keep on training so in the long run it would set you back. Heck, Im not sure if even Bruce Lee would advocate training 30 hours straight.

    Spreading it out too much, for instance spreading it over a year as you put it, will obviously take you much longer and as you said, it would not be high quality.

    But, if you were to train as much as you can given various factors such as your own fitness and endurance levels, your recovery time, your passion for what you're learning, your time schedule, ect. it stands to reason you will reach an x level of skill sooner than if you were to spread it out more.
     
  18. PhotonGuy

    PhotonGuy Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Messages:
    3,255
    Likes Received:
    326
    Trophy Points:
    143
    But I thought patience was a very important virtue in the martial arts. Surely, if anybody were to set an example of how a martial arts practitioner should be it would be Bruce Lee.
     
  19. gpseymour

    gpseymour MT Moderator Staff Member

    Top Poster Of Month

    • Supporting Member
    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2012
    Messages:
    21,308
    Likes Received:
    6,227
    Trophy Points:
    448
    Location:
    Hendersonville, NC
    There is some evidence that 30 hours isn't just 30 hours, though. In learning, the mind needs time to process, so in most cases 30 hours in 2 days is actually inferior to 30 hours in 2 weeks (which is probably inferior to 30 hours in 1 week).
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Headhunter

    Headhunter Senior Master

    Joined:
    Aug 26, 2016
    Messages:
    3,786
    Likes Received:
    1,342
    Trophy Points:
    303
    Yeah that's a load of rubbish. Martial artists are human beings as was Bruce Lee. No one is perfect everyone has their faults, Bruce Lee was an arrogant hot head, he left Hong Kong because he was getting in daily gang fights. He broke one of his students jaw by going after them hard when they landed a hit on him in sparring. He was not this zen master that people make him out to be. Not saying he was a bad guy but he had his faults like everyone else and the word arrogance always surrounds him
     
    • Agree Agree x 1

Share This Page