jamesf24 asked in SportsMartial Arts · 1 decade ago

Challenging Bruce Lee's greatness?

Many people have recently begun to challenge the greatness of Bruce Lee.

Some say he never fought. Some say that guys like Anderson Silva or GSP would destroy Lee if they were both in their primes.

Some say Jeet Kune Do is Crap Kune Do.

I think people who make such claims don't know anything and are just running their mouths.

Check out this video:


Youtube thumbnail

Sure, the man is mortal, and this does not translate to a fighting skill, but he was truly a master of masters. In my mind, the greatest of all time.

Where do you rank Bruce in terms of all time greats?


21 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    I do not put Lee on a pedestal. However, I do agree that he was ahead of his time. I consider him a real martial artist. Not just fighter trying to get paid using bits and pieces of martial arts. He alone was the inspiration for me to learn martial arts.

    Fighting in the MMA under strict rules and guidelines doesn't make you a great fighter that everyone else should be compared. Without the legacy of Bruce there would be no MMA or UFC. He single handily introduced the world to martial arts. That being said he has done more far martial arts than anyone else in history. That alone makes him the greatest martial artist. Yet he is still a man. I don't agree with all of his philosophies, but I don't have to agree. That doesn't take away from what he accomplished in his short lifetime.

    Source(s): Martial Arts since 1982 Black Belt in Shorin Ryu Black Belt in Jujitsu Brown Belt in Judo
  • 1 decade ago


    I do like Lee a lot. He was quite amazing. Here is the thing though. I did some research on the Nokia commercial and it is a fake. Many fans think that it is possible, I how ever find it very unlikely. If you look at :29 or so of the video he swinging the nunchaku upward diagonally and the ping pong ball has an effect that is not correct a trajectory of that movement.

    Now on his fighting skills. A lot of people like to say he did not believe in fighting pro because the rules made you a weaker martial artist. How ever this goes against what he actually did do. He fought in boxing which has many many rules and he fought in them as an amateur which has even more rules. Do I think he was a good fighter. Yes indeed he was.

    Now as to where I think he stands on the stand point of "master". I think he was a great master and truly innovative. I do not how ever believe in a greatest master. I think that masters are just like martial arts themselves. Each has some thing to give and and all have a set of cons or things that take away from martial arts as a whole.

    Source(s): Gym is closed for Thanksiving weak so I have a little to much time on my hands
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Bruce Lee did so much to get exposure for Martial Arts in his short life, that he will always be respected. His training techniques were outstanding for his time as well as today. He brought martial arts movies into the American mainstream and his "there is no style" approach is the basis for MMA.

    Who cares if modern MMA champions like Silva and St. Pierre could knock Bruce out? They have had all of his greatness and contributions that their professional athletic careers popular and possible. Just because Barry Bonds could probably bat .500 against Cy Young and Babe Ruth probably couldn't hit a home run off of a modern pitcher to save his life - it certainly doesn't mean that Babe Ruth was not an all time great.

    Martial arts evolves the same way. However, if Bruce were alive and in his prime in 2008, he would be shaking up with the best of the lightweights and featherweights the WEC has.

    Besides, mixed martial arts is an athletic competition, not indicative of the whole martial science experience. I highly doubt that Anderson Silva could choreograph a martial arts film as good as Bruce could and I'd be shocked if GSP could perform the weapons forms with the grace and power that Bruce did.

    Source(s): Bruce Lee fan
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I liked the video but knew about it already and it is fake.

    Bruce Lee was a great philosopher of martial arts. Jeet Kune Do was based on his ideas but not practical knowledge. In its day it was a unique and fascinating idea and one easier for westerners to grab a hold of since it did not require years of training to get recognized as an expert. This was by far the greatest and worse thing Lee ever did.

    All the McDojo are from Lee's ideas that one does not have to spend countless hours perfecting their techniques but rather be able to simply use them (and even at that it is questionable). In terms of forward thinking Lee is responsible for some great scientific research that took martial arts power development beyond a new stage. In terms of a figure head for martial arts in the 1960-70's Lee brought it to mainstream audiences and enticed an entire generation to join up and learn them.

    One sad fact is that Lee was never a master of any martial art but rather a packrat or mutt of them. He would study with anyone who could teach him something but yet he was no master in any legitimate system. I personally love his movies and books and have studied Jeet Kune Do since 1986 but I do not prefer it. Jeet Kune Do was never meant to be a system at all but rather a manner to supplement one's own training. It is a shame where it has gone and where it will go.

    I feel Lee is one of the greatest proponents of martial arts in this time line but he was no master of them. He does not deserve to be included with real masters like Gichin Funakoshi or even Yip Man. The hardest part for people to take is that Lee's way of thinking excelled people in to taking an easier route to "claiming" mastery of a martial art. This is the only reason why I do not feel he was that important to martial arts in its history.

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  • 1 decade ago

    He's the most famous martial artist in history so far. His JKD principles are solid. He was an incredible athlete and by all accounts a very good instructor.

    However, aside from winning an amateur boxing tournament and sparring with people in his back yard, he DIDN'T actually fight. Obviously he had the tools to be a great fighter, but the true quality of a fighter is judged by his opposition. Since he didn't beat anyone of note, we can't call him a great fighter. And yes, that means that guys who have actually be proven in fights, plus have a wider range of skill set (Lee studied grappling, but wasn't much of a grappler) would be the odds-on favorite in a fight.

    More than anyone else, he'll probably be associated with the martial arts in popular culture. Because he's synonymous with martial arts, you have to rank him at #1 because of his influence. He's one of my three main influences in the martial arts. But nobody can say for certain how good a fighter he was, 'cause he never actually fought.

  • 1 decade ago

    Funny...but Gene "Judo" Lebell destroyed Segal a few years ago. Lebell is in 80's? and can still toss "kids" around.

    I would say that these following men are tough to beat: All these Men are all World Class and REAL Martial Artists.

    1. Chuck Norris.

    2. Gary J. Clyman

    3. Larry Tatum

    4. Gene Lebell

    5. Waysun Liao

    6. Jeff Speakman

    Source(s): CF 9 Years studying and teaching Kodokan Judo Black Belt Level Lehigh Valley, PA
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Bruce Lee is definitely one of the masters but his questionable ties to the criminal underworld and Bruce

    took natural steroids written by a nurse over the counter.Like many action stars of the 1960's he was trying to improve themselves.

  • KJ288
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I think your just running your mouth. If you don't bleed and put your well being at stake in a ring against other professionals you have no right to be called a pro-fighter let alone "the greatest fighter of all time" as many fans of Bruce Lee like to say. For so many decades Bruce Lees hype and mystique has just mad people think he is the greatest of all time , but now that we see true fighters like Anderson Silva , and GSP, we see what a great fighter really looks and preforms like.

    I am a huge fan of Bruce Lee's movies , and philosophies , but I would not be interested in watching him fight because only has street fights and unsanctioned bouts on his record, that made him look good , hey that kinda reminds me of that other guy whats his name? Kimbo?

    Edit: By the way man , the guy in that video was not Bruce Lee. That was used for a commercial.

  • 4 years ago

    Clark Kent-Superman.

  • 1 decade ago

    I don't know what's so difficult to understand, there is a difference between a prizefighter and a martial artist, Bruce was a martial artist, the greatest ever.

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