Was Bruce Lee really that good?

Not intended to be a negative thread.

But was Bruce Lee really this amazing unbeatable fighter that everybody thinks he was? I know he trained hard and was in great shape, but did he win a lot of fights against experienced opponents?

I was watching a video of him training on a heavy bag and he looked horrible. So I was just wondering if he was another Van Damme or Jackie Chan?

Again, this isn't meant to be negative.

Best thread eva.

Not trying to be a dick, man. I just figured this would be the best place to ask and get an educated view from people who actually train, AND are familiar with Bruce Lee.

Bruce Lee was okay but the real deal is Chase Bays


From what I've seen and heard, he was extremely good in many aspects of his game (even by today's standards), but had room to improve in certain parts (like the grappling).

Unbeatable? No one is unbeatable.

Another Jackie Chan or Van Damme? Bruce was a real fighter: pretty complete by 1970's standard, and quite good even by today's standards. I haven't heard anything about Van Damme's nor JC's fighting prowess.

To me, Bruce is unbeatable in terms of his contribution to martial thought and practices. He was one of, if not the first, to truly advocate physical athleticism in the martial arts (back in the day when "ki" or "chi" were the rage). He was also one of the first to advocate studying several martial arts in order to attain complete martial knowledge. To me, this is his lasting legacy.

I can think of several fighters who would give him a hard time, if not outright KO or submit him.

But I can only think of a handful of martial artists (Kano, Gracie, etc.), who really shaped and revolutionized how we train martial arts today. Bruce Lee is one of those martial artists.

Thanks, that was a good response.

I wonder what whould've happened to the "best fighter of his time" fantasy if someone put Bruce Lee in the ring on Lumpini Stadium back then...

The footage of him hitting the heavybag.... I don't think he looked bad. That thing was flying. He was popping it hard.


probaby the same thing that would've happened to any fighter at that time. KO'ed by knees and elbows.

However, if you had put that same lumpini fighter in a more open environment, like the street or octagon, there's a good chance that the little dragon could edge out the thai fighter with a good groin kick or two.

"The footage of him hitting the heavybag.... I don't think he looked bad. That thing was flying. He was popping it hard."

No offense but you should go watch it again. His hands are down by his waist, and when he punched he didn't pull his fist back to defense, he just hit the bag and let his hand hang out there for a while.

Unless you saw different footage, I have a DVD from Best BUy called Jeet Kune Do or something and that's where I saw it.

Is there some way that somebody could post it?

According to people that he was training with then (Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, Gene Lebell, Ed Parker, Dan Inosanto etc), they all say he was the real deal!

He lived and breathed the martial arts and was a fighter first and an actor second.

Also remember that these were the days before anyone heard of the Gracies or the UFC.


yes, Bruce's form wasn't the best in the footage. I wasn't all that impressed the first time I saw it either. Form isn't always a good indicator of anything other than that you have bad form.

Then again, have you ever watched George Foreman (in his younger days) hit the bag? His form wasn't so hot either. And look how devastating he was in his prime.

"let his hand hang out there for a while."

He was probably perfecting the classic Bruce Lee pose of shrieking and flexing after KOing an opponent. Waaaaah!

"Unless you saw different footage, I have a DVD from Best BUy called Jeet Kune Do or something and that's where I saw it. "

It was in black and white right? I thought his form looked "bad" too when I first saw it. Like a kid hitting a heavybag. But than I notice the heavybag was flying, so he hits really hard.

sovann that the was the funnies link ever!

man i couldnt stop laughing!

LOL! thanks

I post on another forum where someone posted a question like this one. When I stated someting about BL being a striker that learned a little grappling from Judo Gene you would have thought I had shot the Pope.

"Bruce Lee was a great grappler! He could tap you at will! Wally Jay said he was great at grappling! Taky was a great Judoka and he said BL was great! He could beat anyone grappling but he would rather knock you out" blah blah blah.

It was pathetic. As great an innovator as BL was, all this fantasy talk only serves to tarnish his reputation and memory.

From what I've heard and read, Bruce wasn't a great grappler...yet. He probably would've continued looking deeper into the grappling range if he hadn't died. I have no doubt that once he heard about the Gracies and their style of Jiu-Jitsu, he would've been all over that.

Well, there's not a bigger BL fan on this particular thread than me. I always try to remain objective and 'down to earth' about Bruce. I have asked the question to some of the folks that I know trained directly with Bruce. One of which had known Bruce for a long time, trained with him in Seattle and then later in LA. This person also was involved to a large extent with the Gracies, and trained in Ricksons backyard for a long time. One of my questions was "Do you think Bruce would have liked the Gracies or BJJ?" Sure, it's hard for anyone even people who knew him, but this person told me that Bruce would have LOVED the Gracies and no doubt would have explored BJJ!

I think he was too intelligent not too. At the time, it would have been hard pressed to find a better (well known) grappler than Judo Gene...and Bruce was great friend with him! He was also great friends with Hayward Nishioka, who if most of you have the footage of Rickson doing Judo at the Gracie Academy, is the Japanese guy that was sparring with Rickson. Bruce would be in his 60's today if he were still alive, and he would no doubt have grown with the times.

However, it is wrong to make the statement that Bruce advocated training in as many martial arts as possible. He also had been exposed to Muay Thai when he was in Thailand, and had a good impression from it. It was also where he got the idea to start using knees, elbows and headbutts from. I won't go into the supposed sparring match he had with a Thai fighter there...too much speculation and no evidence, but I have never heard an original BL student say that Bruce was against more combative style like MT or grappling. As far as him being unbeatable, I don't think anyone is unbeatable per say, but not everybody trained that hard or intense, and fewer still were that intense, and practically nobody had or has that kind of speed!

People could probably debate his skill level to death but I'm sure that his vision at the very least has played a role indirectly to the standards that presently exist.

BL was obviously a maverick in his time and a great martial arts innovator, (though i would argue that Kano and the Gracies have made just as big an impact on the MA world) and no one is doubting that he had great phsyical attributes ... but to go so for as many people do and put him on that invincible pedestal really does him the greatest diservice.

i've outgrown my BL worshipping and bashing phases cuz when it really came down to it i realized it had absolutely no bearing on what i do or accomplish as a martial arts athlete. i know some people will say that 'he planted the seed' and that JKD'ers (only a select opened minded few) were one of the first to start training BJJ but i just don't see how one would refuse to open their mind after watching Royce in the first UFC's and realizing that this type of training and fighting has been going on in Brazil long before BL.

As far as how he would do vs. SoAndSo and any quality opponents of his time or ours ...

"too much speculation and no evidence"

that pretty much sums it up perfect.