How good was Bruce Lee??

Manny

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Hi every one, if I recall Bruce Lee died in 1973, in that time I was a 5 years old and know nothing about MA, in those days my heros was the lone ranger and tarzan. Back in the 80's I saw some movies from Bruce and enjoyed it, however I don't know how good was Bruce Lee as a fighter.

Manny
 

igillman

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From what I have read about him he was very good. He had both speed and power along with a remarkable sense of timing. He trained almost all day every day which is what helped make him so good.

There are some videos on YouTube that show some of his fight scenes slowed down so that you can see the moves he performs in the space of a few seconds.
 

Daniel Sullivan

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Hi every one, if I recall Bruce Lee died in 1973, in that time I was a 5 years old and know nothing about MA, in those days my heros was the lone ranger and tarzan. Back in the 80's I saw some movies from Bruce and enjoyed it, however I don't know how good was Bruce Lee as a fighter.

Manny
Nobody really knows how good Lee was. Certainly, he was had a very high level of technical proficiency as demonstrated in his films.

But he has no documented fights.

I appreciate him as an innovator and a film star. He brought martial arts to the big screen in the west in a way that nobody else at the time could have. As a result, many people became interested in martial arts who otherwise would not have been.

Lee inspired several generations of martial arts enthusiasts, students, and fighters. That is a serious accomplishment.

Daniel
 

ATC

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Nobody really knows how good Lee was.
Well that is not really true. There are some great fighting leagends that did train with Bruce and they all say he was fast, hit hard and could fight.

Legends like Joe Lewis, Ron Harrison, Chuck Norris, Mike Stone, Bob Wall, and some others.

There is a documentary out there called "The Man the Myth the Ledgend" and they interviewed people like Joe Lewis and he states from his own mouth, "How do I know Bruce hit hard? Becasue he popped me quite a few times".

You are correct when saying that there are now documented fights. But there are some great fighters that have worked out (trained and sparred) with him.
 

troubleenuf

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Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt. Stories grow and change especially with someone like Bruce Lee. What was an "OK" hit 40 years ago is now a death blow. Thats the way things work. I used to take my students out in rain storms to do pushups on the sidewalk... when I got them back in I would tell them that in 20 years the story would be we were doing pushups on the sidewalk in a raging blizzard and the temp was 30 below.

Well that is not really true. There are some great fighting leagends that did train with Bruce and they all say he was fast, hit hard and could fight.

Legends like Joe Lewis, Ron Harrison, Chuck Norris, Mike Stone, Bob Wall, and some others.

There is a documentary out there called "The Man the Myth the Ledgend" and they interviewed people like Joe Lewis and he states from his own mouth, "How do I know Bruce hit hard? Becasue he popped me quite a few times".

You are correct when saying that there are now documented fights. But there are some great fighters that have worked out (trained and sparred) with him.
 

terryl965

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I will only add this he was considered by many to have excellent skills for his time. How that would eqaute today I do not know and nobody else does either.
 

Omar B

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We all can agree he was technically proficient and an innovator. From what we have heard and read from guys like Chuck Norris, Bob Wall, etc he did train with people and was pretty good. What I always think about was Bruce in a real fight, in a ring. He was around in the time of the hardcore karate days when dudes like Chuck and his crew ruled, I would have loved to know how he would have done in a ring rather than a gym or on screen.
 

Earl Weiss

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There is a documentary out there called "The Man the Myth the Ledgend" and they interviewed people like Joe Lewis and he states from his own mouth, "How do I know Bruce hit hard? Becasue he popped me quite a few times".

.

Joe Lewis speaks highly of him and if you have ever been on the floor with Joe Lewis a former world champ you would know that you can bank on what he says. There are also stories by those who were on movie sets when Bruce Lee was challenged. As far as i know he always accepted the challenge and always won. There was one challenge match where he came up short and it was during the convalescence that he wrote the Tao of jeet kun do.

I think there was a story of a confrontation with Gene LeBell where he came up short.
 

Disco

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"He was around in the time of the hardcore karate days when dudes like Chuck and his crew ruled, I would have loved to know how he would have done in a ring rather than a gym or on screen.".......... Omar B

You have to wonder though, why didn't he step into the ring during those days. Sparring and getting hit with not full blows is one thing, but stepping into the ring with the likes of Lewis, Wall, Stone, Norris and Harrison and "getting it on" with knock out power and intent is a whole different realm. :confused:
 

Bill Mattocks

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"He was around in the time of the hardcore karate days when dudes like Chuck and his crew ruled, I would have loved to know how he would have done in a ring rather than a gym or on screen.".......... Omar B

You have to wonder though, why didn't he step into the ring during those days. Sparring and getting hit with not full blows is one thing, but stepping into the ring with the likes of Lewis, Wall, Stone, Norris and Harrison and "getting it on" with knock out power and intent is a whole different realm. :confused:

Maybe he didn't think he had anything to prove to you.
 

Omar B

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Whoa! Calm down there Bill. The dude's just trying to make a point.

Yeah Disco. The 60's and 70's were a golden age in American Karate with dudes like Chuck and his crew, Ed Parker and his crew, Jhoon Rheen and his crew. I often wonder why Bruce didnt step in the ring, for at least a couple bouts. He was a great salesman and a charismatic personality though, a lot of people stand firmly by his teachings ... not that that means anything, many Grandmasters out there were not the greatest fighters, but their students were.
 

Disco

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"Maybe he didn't think he had anything to prove to you."

Even though I was around during that time frame, me and Lee didn't travel in the same circles, so I wasn't looking for anything from him. The core question was "How good was Bruce Lee" and there's nothing but conjecture for an answer. All the other guys named, were in the ring and everybody associates the profiles with tournament fighting and they always pose the Lee question into the same vain. The question can't be answered, but one surely wonders why Lee didn't use the ring as a bigger springboard for his activities. If asking this question has somehow triggered the Lee reprisal nerve, then by all means, please accept my apology and give my best to Mrs Lee....:uhohh:
 

clfsean

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Go ask the Lacey Brothers (Buk Sing Choy Lee Fut)... they knew him growing up in Hong Kong from the schools & neighborhood.

They may have a slightly different look on things.
 

Disco

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"They may have a slightly different look on things."

OK, I'm officially and certifiably now interested.......:eye-popping:
 

searcher

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Skill not withstanding, he has probably done more for bringing people into the martial arts than any other single individual in recent history. Like him or hate him, he influenced a great many martial artist.

Was he good? Without a doubt.

Was he a quick study? No doubt about it.

Was he gifted? You bet.

Was he the greatest? I will go with no. But I have no way to prove it one way or the other.
 

jks9199

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How good was Bruce Lee really? Who knows? How can you measure it?

He clearly and demonstrably trained very hard, with impressive personal discipline. And he sought out answers. But he also really had limited documented training himself, and very good arguments have been advanced suggesting that what he did was little more than the natural progression of training as one advances, had he only been willing and able to stick around in formal training.

He approached movie fight choreography in a new way, recognizing the strengths and weaknesses of camera angles, and utilizing them in very carefully planned scenes.

But he apparently wasn't very successful in passing on what he learned and developed -- or was very, very successful. Few of his students look like he did and move like he did. Many have gone in different directions. Of course, that may have been his intent with jeet kune do... in which case he did very well, since many of those same students have gone on to be highly respected and skilled names in the martial arts.

But, in the end, the whole thing is a moot question. There really is no way to get an answer. And not just because he never fought in a documented competition/sport match. How do you make the comparison at all?
 

ATC

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Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt. Stories grow and change especially with someone like Bruce Lee. What was an "OK" hit 40 years ago is now a death blow. Thats the way things work. I used to take my students out in rain storms to do pushups on the sidewalk... when I got them back in I would tell them that in 20 years the story would be we were doing pushups on the sidewalk in a raging blizzard and the temp was 30 below.
These people did not embellish anything. They simply said that he was fast and could hit hard. Joe Lewis only said he got pop quite a few times in sparring with him. Not that he did any bone crushing death blows. The same can be said for me fighting my instructors or fellow black belts. They hit me good quite a few times.

Just the fact that someone like Joe Lewis acknowledges that Bruce even trained with him is nothing to dismiss, let alone that this undefeated well known legendary full contact fighter would state that he got popped good quite a few times by him. I really don't see the exaggeration in the statement at all.
 
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