A true renaissance man, Bruce Lee was a talented artist,
poet, philosopher, writer and actor, apart from being a formidable fighter.
Bruce Lee can be considered a prophet in some ways. He combined boxing
punches, grappling, low and high kicks in a unique style that was criticised
vastly by most traditional martial artists at the time. Today all mixed
martial artists are training in a similar way. The difference is that he was
brilliant enough to do so more than 35 years ago. If you don’t believe me,
watch the opening scene of “Enter the Dragon”. That was a true free fight
Back in Lee’s era, no training equipment was available. He had to invent it.
His focus gloves and his fighting gloves are very similar to the ones that
are used in MMA training today. If you see some techniques in his books (and
his films), you will find out that his style can still be used in a ring
effectively. The techniques used in his movies are a bit flashier but full
of martial arts wisdom. Guess what? He finished most of his opponents with
grappling. In "Way of the Dragon " he finishes Chuck Norris with a neck
break. In "Game of Death" he beat Kareem Abdul-Jabbar with a headlock. In
“The Big Boss” the final fight ends with a mount.
Bruce always seemed so far ahead of his era. The techniques that are used
today in JKD schools are (in my opinion, and I don't mean it as an insult)
too influenced by Wing Tsun, Kali and Fillipino martial arts. I mean, I
haven't seen a JKD guy that can really kick. Come on guys, Bruce was a great
Bruce proved to everyone that it is not how much you train, but how smart
you train. Many people have said a lot of bad things about Bruce. Some claim
that his physique was too skinny to withstand a powerful blow. Others say
that although he embodied the use of free weights in his training, he could
not lift as much as today’s champions do. Others say that he was not really
ring proven. I have seen all his movies and studied them very carefully and
I must say that I learned more by watching his movies alone than I ever
learned in any seminar or by watching any training tape. The techniques used
in his books are the most inspiring I have ever seen. There are many books
out there but every book has a technique or two that are useless. His books
Bruce Lee joined tradition and common sense for the very
first time in modern martial arts. He could have just accepted that he was a
student of one of the last martial arts Masters,
Yip Man, could have just
been a representative of Wing Tsun kung fu in the US and just made money.
But Bruce Lee had a restless spirit. Sooner or later he found out the main
weakness of Wing Tsun: its attacks are not strong enough. Some people will
just not go down with a few punches. Today we see in mixed martial arts
events that some fighters can take several good blows in the head and still
be able to grab you and take you down.
Bruce created a unique style of fighting which is very effective in the way
he used it. Here are some strong points:
1.He used kicks to the head. If he did not use them (like
some people claim) he would not train for them. Kicks to the head CAN be
very effective, especially roundhouse kicks. I have seen hundreds of fights.
I haven’t seen anyone take a good roundhouse kick to the head and not go
down. Even a tough fighter like Don Frye could not survive against a good
roundhouse kick thrown to him by Jerome Le Banner.
2. He was one of the first to use boxing training methods and protective
equipment in sparring.
3. He explained why a technique is effective before he taught it. Back then,
in other martial arts, you either accepted tradition or you were out of the
4. He trained his punches and kicks against live targets (like focus gloves)
or against the fearsome body bag. The noise of a snapping gi was not enough
for him. He had to know that his attacks were effective.
5. He was the first martial arts master that stressed the importance of a
cardiovascular workout. He was really tired of seeing big-bellied masters
that would not last a single round against a boxer in a ring. For Bruce, the
best kind of endurance and cardiovascular training was running.
6. Most martial arts make a common mistake in their training. They train
their students against attacks that are used in a stiff and robot-like
manner. No enemy ever attacks like that. And you can be sure that most
attackers will not attack you with a reverse punch or using a traditional
martial arts move. Bruce trained his students against boxing punches and tae
kwon do kicks.
The list can go on forever. Bruce Lee contributed a lot to
martial arts. Some can argue that he was just a man but in the end isn’t
everyone? He will be in our hearts forever. Bruce Lee is considered by our
website the greatest martial artist of the 20th century and no one can
change our minds.