Why Bruce Lee may have been as good as some say he was.

Joined: December 19th, 2017, 9:38 pm

July 21st, 2018, 11:54 pm #1

When you look at how people spar and fight, you can see that there are a few things that even the best do not do very well. Some of these things might be a type of predictability. Some may be a type of rhythm.

In general, good, athletic fighters have very similar attributes, such as initiation speed, reaction time, and tempo.

When you see two people spar/fight sometimes they seem to be almost 'taking turns'. One guy throws a kick the other guy throws a kick. Very rarely you see some kind of advanced tempo change or broken rhythm, but it's not common. The guy who often wins the striking game is someone who has more endurance, more skill in finding opening and similar things.

But consider, what if someone were really, really good at instinctively understanding tempo and timing such that it was almost more natural to do a broken rhythm attack, in-between the 'give and take'. What if they were able to sense the opponent's timing such that they were slightly better at timing an insertion move in-between the opponent's pacing, reactions or timing. Wouldn't they be on another level?

It would not involve attributes, such as strength or speed and in a way it might even seen supernatural. They would not look like a normal fighter, in that just when the opponent was about to throw an attack they would be there hitting -into- their timing and thus would hit even harder just due to momentum.

If -this- is what Bruce Lee was capable of doing then in a sense it would not matter if the person was bigger, stronger, or other basic attributes. As Ali used to say, 'Even a baby can (unexpectedly) stick their finger in your eye'.

Now having said this, remember what Bruce Lee's art was called. JKD. The art of interception. What if he really had a near supernatural method of intercepting your intent (which we've heard from several people who worked with him) and a very good ability to blend in and get there first as you were moving in and on the beginning of your move when we know people are vulnerable.

So, before we say 'he was just an actor' you have to look closely at what fighters actually do in the 'big picture' of things, and what ways there are almost 'compliant' things that happen (like 'taking turns') in fights that we sometimes gloss over. These things matter.

One of the best examples of this is the sudden KO of Jose Aldo by Conor Macgregor. He stepped in and just as Aldo went for a big punch he landed a strike 'in between' his motions.

One quote I've always remembered is Bruce saying 'Would that we could strike with the eyes...'. If you take a person with 0.08 seconds reaction time from 5 feet, a fast close and hand speed, and an understanding, and not just that but an instinctive ability to fight in a 'broken rhythm', and then one who through his own ability to use 'non-intention' and 'non-telegraphic moves (two separate and complementary things) to know in advance in a way, what the opponent was going to do, it would be as though he could 'slow down time' at will.

Add to that the way people talk about time slowing down in emergency states (which some say he could call up) it's not out of the question, and indeed provides a basis in fact for him really being able to toy with even world class martial artists.

Something to think about because we can only guess and listen to what people were saying back then.
FWIW.
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Joined: July 25th, 2015, 1:24 pm

July 22nd, 2018, 12:38 am #2

I was going through Joe Lewis book on Bruce lee fighting method and in one chapter he says, 'Bruce lee was a master of Broken rhythm'. pg 122
I am just curious, how would he know that if it was not a result of them doing VERY alive drills with each other (at the very least) ?
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Joined: July 5th, 2018, 10:03 pm

July 22nd, 2018, 2:24 am #3

Believing that Bruce Lee was just an actor is the same thing as believing Keanu Reeves is a fighter. Bruce Lee is not the most famous actor in the world, Bruce Lee is the world's most famous martial artist and so he is so hated by racist junk.
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Joined: December 27th, 2012, 8:01 pm

July 22nd, 2018, 1:23 pm #4

In Birmingham, in 1990, I remember John Saxon saying Bruce had an extraordinary nervous system.
That to me summs Bruce up.
The man was on a supernatural level when it came to reading an appointment, and had GOD given attributes, even though he worked incredibly hard at them too.
He used to do three things at once, reading a book, leg raises and talking.
When he was focused solely on something, his concentration levels must have been laser like.
I remember Dan saying that and I've no reason to doubt him.
Regards
Tony
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Joined: December 19th, 2017, 9:38 pm

July 22nd, 2018, 1:31 pm #5

[quote="a1z1"]
I was going through Joe Lewis book on Bruce lee fighting method and in one chapter he says, 'Bruce lee was a master of Broken rhythm'. pg 122
I am just curious, how would he know that if it was not a result of them doing VERY alive drills with each other (at the very least) ?
[/quote]

One of the most famous examples of BL's timing and broken rhythm, again skillfully played by Bob Wall who really let Lee kick him, is in the sequence out in the fields in Return of the Dragon, here at about 0:15 in this clip. I don't know how many takes it took to get this right and it's done at a pretty good film angle. But if BL and Joe just did a few 'one step' type moves like this, which is quite 'alive' (perhaps Joe didn't know what to expect?), then I can see Joe drawing that conclusion.

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Joined: December 19th, 2017, 9:38 pm

July 22nd, 2018, 1:36 pm #6

Sorry, forgot to add, that in my opinion this set of moves against Wall is just as good or better than the Coliseum scene against Norris. It shows true brilliance in timing and tactics, and is more of a showcase of 'the art of interception). He fights Wall; he spars with Norris.
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Joined: July 25th, 2015, 1:24 pm

July 22nd, 2018, 2:37 pm #7

[quote="badger01j"]
Sorry, forgot to add, that in my opinion this set of moves against Wall is just as good or better than the Coliseum scene against Norris. It shows true brilliance in timing and tactics, and is more of a showcase of 'the art of interception). He fights Wall; he spars with Norris.
[/quote]

I doubt if a "simple" drill like that convinced Lewis , I think the drills were more elaborate but I could be wrong
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Joined: July 5th, 2018, 10:03 pm

July 22nd, 2018, 4:16 pm #8

[quote="a1z1"]
[quote="badger01j"]
Sorry, forgot to add, that in my opinion this set of moves against Wall is just as good or better than the Coliseum scene against Norris. It shows true brilliance in timing and tactics, and is more of a showcase of 'the art of interception). He fights Wall; he spars with Norris.
[/quote]

I doubt if a "simple" drill like that convinced Lewis , I think the drills were more elaborate but I could be wrong
[/quote]

In Joe Lewis's Jaguar movie he copied that kick that BL uses in Bob Wall, he also copied the distracting moves of the BL and fought with kali sticks. Joe Lewis really was very influenced by BL, as much as he criticized BL in the press he could not hide it.




See that in 1:19:05 he does exactly as BL did against Bob Wall.
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Joined: December 19th, 2017, 9:38 pm

July 22nd, 2018, 4:59 pm #9

[quote="a1z1"]
[quote="badger01j"]
Sorry, forgot to add, that in my opinion this set of moves against Wall is just as good or better than the Coliseum scene against Norris. It shows true brilliance in timing and tactics, and is more of a showcase of 'the art of interception). He fights Wall; he spars with Norris.
[/quote]

I doubt if a "simple" drill like that convinced Lewis , I think the drills were more elaborate but I could be wrong
[/quote]

Well, to me the key thing is that Lewis, who is on record saying he didn't have much respect for kung-fu guys, stated he thought BL was a master of broken rhythm. Lewis was very egotistical and did not like giving credit or respect to anyone. The fact that he said this is against type so it must have made a big impression on him.

One odd thing about Lewis is that when you look at how he taught martial arts and the fast and sudden close, it is vastly different from the way he fought in semi-contact. He would back away and back away and try to wait for a chance to counter-attack. It was almost frustrating to watch since you knew he could do a fast attack but often spent most of the fight backing away. (not saying this is wrong, just different from the way he taught).

If you watch his teaching and seminar videos, he is very good at the 'sudden move' and has internalized that. But he never shows this in sparring.

----
To the other responder. I watched the Jaguar clip and I have to disagree. The kick Lewis throws is not a side kick and it's not a broken rhythm attack. He throws a front leg roundhouse, stepping up with his back leg then throwing the kick. The (actor) opponent does little but make a forearm sweep block. This is vastly different from an interrupting sidekick was you see in RotD against Wall. Not trying to dispute you just saying that it's different.

As to Lewis use of the sticks it's not done like BL did his double sticks, it's done in a Japanese style of hitting one after the other. It's not Filipino style, either.

It's too bad Lewis turned down the role of "Colt" in 'Return...'. He would have made a name for himself even though he might have gotten beat by 'Tang Lung' (BL's character). It's another example of his ego getting in the way.
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Joined: December 19th, 2017, 9:38 pm

July 22nd, 2018, 5:05 pm #10

Oh, hah, I didn't realize it at first but Lewis' opponent in Jaguar is none other than the very well-respected martial artist and stuntman who appeared in the Highlander: The Series (Duende S05E15), Anthony DeLongis (playing Bret Barrett). 
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