Make no mistake—Bruce Lee is the greatest martial artist of all-time.
Born in San Francisco, Lee soon moved to Hong Kong with his parents and studied Wing Chun with one of the most legendary grandmasters (see No. 5) to ever live. But he didn't stop with Wing Chun; he evolved his passion for martial arts into other disciplines, becoming the "father of mixed-martial arts," as UFC President Dana White put it. He sharpened his body and mind on everything; he trained, read, and worked out constantly, honing his craft for audiences around the world to see.
You may have seen his movies, but how much do you really know about the greatest martial artist to ever grace the earth?
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1. Young Bruce Lee came back to America because there was a hit out on his life.
Lee destroyed an opponent with ties to organized crime in a bout. This was a problem, so his parents sent him back to the States. He also only had $100 in his pocket. That's $800 in today's dollars, but still.
2. His students included Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Steve McQueen.
11. His one-inch punch (no cocking the arm back) deposited a volunteer on the ground.
The man missed work the next day due to intense pain.
12. He also had an “unstoppable punch.”
He told USA karate champion Vic Moore it was coming, and Moore failed to block it eight times. Bruce stopped before he made impact however, otherwise he wouldn’t have landed all eight attempts.
13. He decided to start his own style of martial arts after not beating an opponent quickly enough.
The gauntlet had been laid down by a fellow teacher in San Francisco because Lee broke tradition and taught non-Chinese students. Obviously, Bruce won the fight (in three minutes), but he thought it should have been even easier if his kung fu wasn’t so restrictive. His hands got swollen due to the punches, and Lee saw this as a weakness in his method.