Rare footage has been unearthed showing Bruce Lee in what his is only “real fight” (what, are you telling me the others weren’t real?).
The martial arts expert became a global icon in the 1970s with performances in legendary films such as Enter the Dragon and Fist of Fury, but there remains very little recorded footage of his non-choreographed fighting work.
That all changed this week, as a YouTube user known only as Beerdy, uploaded a fully restored video clip of Bruce Lee sparring with an opponent.
The video caption reads: “This is the only recording of Bruce Lee in a real MMA fight. He’s fighting Ted Wong here, one of his top students. If not for those rules I can guarantee you that Bruce would have fought bare-knuckled.”
Showing both men in full protective gear, the footage shows Lee take on Tom Wong, one of his students at the Bruce Lee’s Jeet Kune Do school.
Bruce Lee was known for his criticisms of traditional martial arts, dubbing many of the practices “organised despair", citing the robotic teaching styles that gave students very little real-world fighting knowledge.
Or has he put it, "artificial techniques … ritualistically practiced to simulate actual combat."
It is from this that Lee created the style Jeet Kune Do, or ‘the Way of the Intercepting Fist’. From Beerdy’s footage above, you can see Bruce Lee’s mastery of the fighting form, regularly landing blows on Tom Wong from the smallest of opportunities.
Wong, who was only instructed by Lee, went on to teach a “pure” version of Jeet Kune Do. He is a 2006 inductee of Black Belt magazine’s Hall of Fame.
(Feature image via Enter the Dragon / Warner Bros. Pictures)