What We Know

November 3 2017 at 4:14 AM
PhilC  (Login Murtagh21)

Response to Re: Fighting

There are two separate issues at play. In Lee's era, only Jim Harrison can hold a candle to Bruce Lee in regards to martial artists with street fighting experience. Lee's nickname in high school was "King Gorilla," and Yip Man called Bruce "fighting crazy." In his last street fight in Hong Kong, Bruce broke both of his opponents arms and his shin bone. This led to law enforcement knocking at his parent's door and was a factor in Bruce being put on a boat bound for the United States.

Bruce continued his street fighting ways in Seattle which included several fights with student Skip Ellsworth in tow. Bruce then destroyed 2nd degree black belt Yoichi Nakachi in 11 seconds at a local YMCA handball court. Students Jesse Glover and Ed Hart were present for that destruction. Lee's pattern of not backing down from a real world challenge continued for the rest of his life as evidenced by his fistic schooling of an extra/triad member on the set of Enter The Dragon.

The other issue will always contain conjecture, but there are indications that he would have done pretty well in the ring. Without any training in boxing, Bruce defeated 3 time high school boxing champ Gary Elms. Students James DeMile, Leo Fong, and Dan Lee were accomplished amateur boxers and they influenced Bruce into designating boxing as being one of JKD's 3 main arts. In 1969, professional boxer Joey Orbillo watched Bruce hitting the speed and slip bag at a gym in Los Angeles. Orbillo commented to a friend, "Give me a year, and I could make that guy a lightweight contender."

Bruce then began to hit the heavy bag and Orbillo stated, "Give me a year, and I could make him the lightweight champion." A year later, Orbillo began to prepare Joe Lewis for full contact fighting by training him in the Sweet Science. Does this prove that Bruce Lee would have been a successful boxer or kickboxer? No, but it speaks to the fact that he had the tools to succeed in the ring and according to anyone who trained with him, he was a fierce competitor and possibly the best conditioned athlete on the planet.

A few interesting tidbits regarding the Bruce Lee/Muhammad Ali comparison. Bruce told both Yang Sze and student Bob Bremer that Ali would "kill" him in the ring. When asked by Bremer how he would cope with Ali in a street fight, Bruce stated "since I could use the eye jab, I would kick his ***."

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  • What We Know - Herolung on Nov 3, 2017, 5:27 AM
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