I had that story in an earlier draft. It was cut for space. Why? My editor felt I already had at least a dozen different stories of Bruce winning challenge matches or fighting extras on the sets of his movies and we didn't need another one to prove that Bruce was a legit badass. From my research, Bruce fought at least 3 different stuntmen while filming Enter the Dragon. Dave Friedman's photo book of Enter the Dragon even has a shot of Bruce in the middle of one of these fights. It hurt me to cut that story. I had quotes from Bob Wall and Andre Morgan who both witnessed it, but a writer can't win every fight with his editor. I was able to keep a lot of other things my editor wanted to delete.
You should post your story here!
It's a real sin that the editor would cut a rare fight story!
Here is the version of the challenge match story that got cut. It originally ran in the Playboy article I wrote in 2013 about the making of "Enter the Dragon." It was entitled "Chasing the Dragon."
Like an Old West gunslinger, Lee was often challenged by young upstarts to see if he really had the fastest hands and feet in the East. He usually ignored the offers, smartly realizing there was no upside. If he lost it would be front-page news. If he won it would be front-page news that he’d bullied a hapless extra. But while filming the climactic final battle scene on Han’s Island, with its tiers of stone walls, Lee grew tired of the extras, who had been recruited from local street gangs, taunting him as a fake, a movie star martial artist. “These guys were sitting up on the wall, bored out of their gourds, waiting for their turn to shoot. They were like, ‘This asshole Lee needs 15 takes to do one roundhouse kick?’” Morgan recounts. “There was a lot of testosterone flying around, and Bruce was not afraid of people when it came to his martial arts skills. He was the real deal. The kids were shooting off their mouths, not realizing that Bruce had very good hearing. Bruce said, ‘Oh, you think you’re so good? Come on down.’”
As witnesses later recalled, the kid came after Lee hard and fast, really looking to hurt. But Lee, the older master, methodically took him apart. Lee turned the duel into a private lesson, at one point correcting the kid’s stance. Afterward, the kid bowed to Lee and said, “You really are a master of the martial arts.”