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Bruce Lee - Was he the best or overrated?

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Bruce Lee - Was he the best or overrated?

Post by Winston » February 16th, 2009, 6:09 pm

There's no question that Bruce Lee was a really good martial artist. He was strong and fast and lived and breathed the martial arts, developing his own style even, and had a lot of innovative ideas. But he has been legendized as the best or one of the best. That has been debated in martial arts circles. Some say he is way overrated and that there is no proof that he was one of the best and that he was untested since he didn't fight in tournaments or against the best to prove himself.

What do you think?

Here's what I heard.

Critics argue that Bruce Lee's record in fighting for real is based mostly on anecdotal evidence from those who saw him fight in street brawls. In his junior years, he got into a few amateur boxing matches (none of which was taped), but after that he never entered any tournaments. Lee's explanation is that tournaments had too many rules, such as no jabbing in the eyes or kicking in the crotch, which made them unrealistic. Critics say that was a total copout.

I admit that that's a bit odd. Why would he want to hit eyes and crotches in a tournament? I thought he was really into Chinese philosophy that taught peace and balance? Why can't he enter a tournament and play by the rules and win that way?

Maybe what Bruce said was taken out of context? I don't know.

There is also a rumor among Bruce Lee's fans that he was able to close 10 feet on an opponent in 1/4 of a second. Critics charge that this claim has never been caught on camera. The explanation is because he was so fast that the camera could not catch his speed. However, there is no reason why he couldn't demonstrate it on camera by simply moving from point A to point B in 1/4 of a second to at least try. I mean if he was too fast for the camera, you might not be able to see him moving in transition, but at least you could see the beginning and end points.

One thing in Bruce Lee's favor is that allegedly, the top martial artists in the US said he was the best they had ever seen and none of them think they could have beaten him. For example, Chuck Norris, Bill Wallace, supposedly made comments attesting to that. But I'm not sure if they are just trying to be nice to someone who died tragically young, or if they really meant that. Or if they said that before he died or not.

What do you think?
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