I promised myself I’d never write this post… I didn’t want to comment on Bruce Lee — ever — but I suddenly have a lot of thoughts about him.
On the one hand Bruce Lee was trained in Wing Chun at 13 years old, and he built his Legendary career as a martial artist and an actor, publishing 1 book while he was still alive and several posthumously from his notes, and before he became famous also had a small chain of martial arts schools open.
On the other, even though he has footage of him performing and acting unedited, he’s never been recorded in a real fight. There’s even been one story about him almost losing a fight, and trying to cover it up so he wouldn’t have to have a rematch.
Personally, I think he’s incredible, and inspiring. He’s worked hard, trained for years, and laid a LOT of groundwork in how I think about fighting… And life, in general. He wasn’t a perfect example of his own teachings, but everybody goes down a bad path sometime. Especially celebrities.
I also think it’s really hard to evaluate how well he’d actually do in a streetfight (or in the UFC) since its never been recorded I don’t think and the fact that it’s a hypothetical… I wouldn’t really expect strangers to think I’m an amazing fighter, and they usually don’t, which is sort of nice actually since I have less standards to live up to lol. Realistically I have to at least tell them about martial arts, and be able to give some demos.
And if Bruce is anything like me (obsessive at note-taking) he would’ve constantly learning, and analyzing, and re-analyzing movement in different situations and styles, and anatomy, etc… Which he has. Does that include wrestling, though? Or just grappling in general? I’m not sure.
I’ve studied at a Judo school, where I sparred personally with the instructors (which usually hasn’t happened in my other schools), practiced against a lot of guys who are bigger than me, I’ve gone up against somebody who got a top 20 placement for wrestling in my province, and I’m just naturally competent with grappling… I’ve always been a decent wrestler. The striking-type-stuff is what I needed work on. So I have been working on it (for about 2 years now… *Ahem*.)
I’d be a little surprised if Bruce hadn’t realized that you could grapple. His interceptions (he believed that your attacks are also defenses that intercept your opponents attack – the more you know) probably would’ve countered grapplers since they’d go in for a move, then he’d intercept it. He was also a streetfighter, apparently, and grappling in a streetfight isn’t your best move.
Whether Bruce Lee was for real or not is sort of a mystery, but I know he’s changed the way millions and millions of people think about fighting. Including me. And I honestly thank him for that because I express myself through martial arts… If I didn’t have this macho sport, I’d be playing soccer or something. He’s helped me become a better student, and a better teacher.
I may/may not achieve the same amount of fame and success that he had either. But I’m a few steps ahead of him, I’m still young and I have the concepts of Jeet Kune Do to work with, as well as better technology and science. He’s left a lot of clues already, so I can pick up the pieces and make my own sort of masterpiece. It’s helpful to learn from people with more experience, it saves a lot of time.
That’s about it I think. At least for now.