We all know that Bruce Lee was a force to be reckoned with. Heck, even decades after his death, he is still revered as the ultimate martial arts master. He rivals the greatest professionals, such as Jackie Chan and Chuck Norris (whom he defeated in a fight, by the way!) So, what were some of the most memorable events in the famed fighter’s life? Well you’re about to find out.
Bruce Lee was once quoted as saying “A goal is not always meant to be reached, it often serves simply as something to aim at.” Well, whatever Bruce Lee’s goals were, he certainly smashed them. Would you believe that this guy was once jumped at the age of 13, and since then, he dedicated himself and his life to martial arts? Not only was Bruce Lee an accomplished fighter, but he taught other martial arts students, worked as an actor-filmmaker, and was full of insightful quotes. Plus, he founded Jeet Kune Do!
So give it up for the master, Bruce Lee, and relive the most unforgettable moments of his career. Not only will you fondly remember these moments, but you will be astonished all over again.
Here are the 15 most amazing things that Bruce Lee has done.
15. When He Fought in an Ice Chamber
In The Big Boss from 1971, Bruce Lee fights against a whole crew of fighters while he is just a lone master. No sweat for Bruce, because even though he is in a chilly environment, he is able to chip away at each and every enemy he faces. To make matters even more awesome, Bruce is cornered by the gang when he has no weapons, but that didn’t stop the entire crew from learning that he does not need any weapons, he has his fists! Bruce’s martial arts skills are on full display, and he even punches a guy clean through a wooden-paneled wall! At least if the guy needs to put ice on it, he’s probably in the right place!
14. When He Took Out the Mafia
This showdown was in Way of the Dragon, from 1972. In this film, there is a scene where Bruce Lee fights against an opponent with a pair of nunchucks. It may seem as though Bruce is up against a big tough guy (who insults Bruce and his “Chinese kung-fu,”) but Bruce quickly snaps back from being slapping in the face, and that is one man that you don’t want to insult. This is Bruce Lee against the Italian mafia, and the result is super impressive. Using his martial arts skills and a wooden pole, Bruce totally takes the mafia out. In a strange turn of events, he also whips out two nunchucks, which, of course, prove to be fatal weapons in his hands!
13. When He Went Through Never-Ending Opponents
The next awesome moment was in Enter the Dragon, a film from 1973 in which Bruce Lee sneaks into his opponent’s secret hideaway and ambushes him. Well, not without having to take out his goonies beforehand. No matter; Bruce Lee can handle anything, and we mean anything. He wipes out the group with his bare hands, and in this scene, we see Bruce’s muscles and brute strength in full display. He also lets out some seriously high-pitched yowls of victory. As Bruce Lee continues into the hideaway, he must face new enemies, but he also comes across new weapons, and you can better believe that anything in Bruce’s hands is a valuable weapon. Booyah!
12. When He Toppled Kareem Abdul Jabbar
This awesome Bruce Lee spectacle was featured in the 1978 film Game of Death. In this film, Bruce Lee dons the famous yellow jumpsuit and takes on a man twice his size. As the title of the film suggests, Bruce Lee does some major damage to his sparring partner in this stellar scene. The cool thing about Bruce is that he is strong, but also incredibly cunning. Lee decides to totally take the big guy out with his martial arts moves, and then uses his enemy’s own size as a weapon against him. The entire scene is dramatic and intriguing and of course, ends in a huge victory for Bruce Lee and a devastating loss for the giant.
11. When He Got Revenge on O’Hara
Enter the Dragon had another mind-blowing Bruce Lee moment, so if you haven’t already made plans to watch it then you’re about to. Our hero ends up facing one of his toughest and most intimidating opponents, O’Hara. While fighting in front of a crowd of martial arts students, Bruce Lee and O’Hara need to square off, talk about an up close lesson! By this point you better believe who is going to win this fight! First comes Bruce’s declaration that “boards don’t’ fight back,” and then he swings a huge hit to O’Hara’s face. This fight runs deep for Bruce Lee’s character because O’Hara drove Bruce’s sister to kill herself. Talk about a need for vengeance! You can bet that Bruce Lee doesn’t let anyone mess with his family.
10. When He Took Down Petrov
Fist of Fury came out in 1971, and showed one of the earliest examples of just how badass Bruce Lee really is. When some bad guys murder Bruce’s martial arts teacher, Bruce just has to get sweet, painful revenge. And the only way to get adequate revenge is to beat his Russian opponent, Petrov, to a pulp. The whole scene makes for a very interesting scenario, with a topless Bruce Lee screaming and pounding on the Petrov who is rocking a bowtie and suspenders. The fight between these two is intense and takes place in a beautiful, moonlit courtyard. Not to mention it features Bruce Lee’s signature fast-as-lightning punches and kicks. Fist of fury? More like body of fury.
9.When He Catapulted Martial Arts Movies to the Mainstream
Another scene in Fist of Fury is worth mentioning on this list. This was an iconic moment for martial arts movies, as well as for fighting with bare fists rather than weapons. The now-famous scene takes place in a martial arts studio, with Bruce Lee surrounded by loads of other masters. The problem is, Bruce is in a rival studio, and the entire class is out to get him. Bruce himself is motivated by the violence these rivals displayed against his own teacher, so he gets to work and kicks all their butts. He doesn’t even need weapons for this fight. It is scenes like this that helped make martial arts popular all over the world.
8. When He Deflected a Thrown Knife
The Big Boss featured a super-suspenseful scene in which Bruce Lee finds himself paired against the formidable man who killed off his family. In the film, Bruce had sworn that he would not kill his opponents, but blood has already been shed against his own family, so Bruce throws that rule aside and decides to seek vengeance. In an impossibly adept move, Bruce deflects his opponent’s knife throw with the sole of his foot, the knife flings back and stabs the opponent, and then Bruce pushes that knife deep into the guy’s torso. Yeah, it’s bloody, but you can’t deny those killer moves!
7. When He Fought in a Room of Mirrors
In a scene from Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee condemns an enemy for offending not only his family, but the temple they’re both in. This is one of the most well-known fights from Bruce Lee’s film career. It starts out with him receiving some facial slashes from his opponent, but if there is anything that motivates Bruce Lee, it is the sight (and taste) of his own blood. Bruce fights against Mr. Han with an almost inhuman sense of strength and prowess. The two end up transitioning into a room full of mirrors, which creates … lots of potential weapons and dangers.
6. When He Did Push-Ups on One Finger
Bruce Lee was always one to watch at martial arts tournaments. Well, he had people totally awestruck when he did push-ups on one hand. Then, he did those push-ups on one finger. Yes, one arm and one finger. He could do 50 push-ups this way and hardly break a sweat. Need more proof of his super-human strength? Bruce Lee could also hold the popular ab-crunching V-sit for a full 30 minutes. As for pull-ups, he could do those one-handed, too. If you have ever seen him wield a nunchuck or a wooden pole, then you know that the guy was totally ripped.
5. When He Punched a Guy from an Inch Away
Bruce Lee shattered the possibilities of mere humans when he performed his well-known one-inch punch. Facing an opponent, he poised his clenched fist just one inch away from the other guy’s chest. From there, Bruce Lee delivered one of the most powerful blows ever witnessed and sent the other guy flying into the chair behind him. Yes, Bruce Lee actually knocked a guy from off his feet from a static hold just one inch away. If you thought that Bruce Lee’s kicks were incredible, please do not underestimate how powerful his fists were. After all, the guy had to fill his 300-pound punching bags with metal!
4. When He Was Too Fast to be Filmed
Do yourself a favor and watch The Green Hornet. You will see that Bruce Lee looks incredibly strong and fast. Well, the directors actually noticed that they could not accurately film Bruce Lee during the fight scenes because he was just too dang fast! The film had to be filmed at 24 frames per second in order to account for how quickly Bruce’s fists, arms, and legs moved. It was fascinating! And mad props to the film crew for just slowing down the filming, rather than asking Bruce Lee to slow down. Because that was so not going to happen!
3. When He Dislocated Someone’s Shoulder with a “Light Slap”
According to Bruce Lee, it was just a “light slap” that he administered to his opponent. Yet it was that one simple move that ended up dislocating the other guy’s shoulder! Look, in Bruce Lee’s defense, his sparring partner really should have considered the very real risks of fighting against Bruce Lee. This is a dude who can’t even use standard punching bags because he punches clean through them! Can you imagine what kind of damage he could do to a regular human being? While we feel sorry for his injured sparring partner, we can’t say that he wasn’t entirely to blame!
2. When He Mastered the Art of the Chopstick
So, this move is not exactly a butt-kicking fighting maneuver, but it does show just how badass, precise, and superhuman Bruce Lee actually was. You know how Mr. Miyagi used to catch a fly with his chopsticks in The Karate Kid? Well, Bruce Lee did a thousand times better than that! He used to throw individual grains of rice in the air and catch them in mid-air with his chopsticks. Many have suspected that it was that practice that helped Bruce Lee to have such cat-like reflexes and undeniable focus and precision in his movements. Either way, it is just totally awesome.
1. When He Defeated Chuck Norris
You know the deal with Chuck Norris. Nobody can beat him, everyone is afraid of him, the earth stays in orbit because of Chuck Norris. Well, Chuck Norris, meet Bruce Lee. The two had an epic show-down in 1972’s Way of the Dragon. It is just Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee (and a kitten). In this fight, Bruce looks like an energizer bunny action figure. Even after taking him down, Bruce Lee covers his downed opponent with a white cloth and pays his respects. Now how could you argue with that? Bruce Lee is truly a superman, and Chuck Norris can’t compare.