Sunday, April 6, 2014

East vs West- What if a rematch occurred in real life between the two great martial arts icons?

                                                      Resemblance of Bruce Lee(Fei Long) vs   Ken Masters(Chuck Norris)

Colosseum fight scene between Lung( Bruce) and Colt( Norris) in the movie Way of the Dragon, released in 1972


Chuck Norris is known as the most dangerous man in the world. His roundhouse kicks manage to tear a supposed victim a new face. Fists come out of his beards. Furthermore, it is also a well known Chuck Norris fact that the boogeyman checks his closet for Chuck Norris, which is ironic due to the long belief that the boogeyman does the reaper's biding. However, can Chuck still be regarded as a formidable martial artist, if his well known movie status as well as jokes were stripped away from him. The answer to that is yes. According to various documentaries and web sources, Chuck has mastered various martial arts.

Here is a complete list of disciplines studied by Chuck, courtesy  the Wikipedia page on Chuck Norris:

Chuck Norris
StyleChun Kuk DoTang Soo Do,TaekwondoBrazilian Jiu-JitsuJudo
Rank     10th degree black belt Chun Kuk Do
     9th degree black belt Tang Soo Do
     8th degree black belt Taekwondo
     black belt Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
     black belt Judo

Actually, it was his prowess as a reigning Karate champion from 1964 to 1974 at the International Karate Championships, holding the record of 183-10-2, that drew the attention of the people in the filming industry, with Bruce Lee being one of the notable figures. Actually it was Chuck's first appearance in a feature film, which basically paved a path of Chuck's success as a bankable movie star. According to Linda Lee, Bruce's long time spouse before his unfortunate  death, Bruce saw great potential in Chuck and sought to improve his fighting ability. Under the guidance of Bruce, Chuck was able several championships in the International Karate Tournament. On the account of this fact, it may be reasonable to say that Chuck regarded Bruce as a respectable martial artist. However, during an interview on CNBC(‎) Chuck stated that Bruce was good at what he did which was
 martial arts, but Chuck had actual experience with fighting as he sparred, under full- contact conditions, in the Karate
tournament. Chuck proposes a good point but as a fellow practioner of martial arts myself(Tae Kwon Do to be exact)
,  a few black belts and winning bouts under a supervised area does little to convince me that he is a better fighter than Bruce Lee

Clips that display Norris's expertise and skill in martial arts:

Bruce Bruce Lee animated GIF   Chuck Norris Giovanni Ribisi animated GIF

Chuck Norris Cool animated GIF

If you are still not convinced, here is a Youtube clip on one of Chuck's sparring matches in the International Karate Tournament with Joe Lewis, another Karate/ Kickboxing champion:

Although Bruce Lee had achieved no belt rankings as a martial artist throughout his life, his skills in both combat as well as understanding a technique of one discipline 
are unmatched against Chuck's set of skills. First of all, Bruce was a born street fighter, having been in countless street fights as a gang leader of the Wing Chun clan, called the Junction Street Eight Tigers, and regularly fought over territorial disputes between the Choy Lee Fut clan during his teenage/ young adult years. 
Both gangs represented two different styles of Southern style Gung Fu , who were competing for 
dominance during 1950's city of Kowloon, Hong Kong. On one occasion which took place On April 29, 1959 , Bruce knocked out and the broke an arm of a rival 
gang member for giving him a black eye, when the gang member attempted to sucker punch him. On another occasion which took place on the set of Bruce's last movie( Enter The Dragon),
According to Bob Wall, a student under the tutelage of Chuck Norris and a co-star in two of Bruce's movies as a villain, Bruce was challenged by an extra in the film who was a fellow member of the Tong gang(a derivative of the Triad syndicate).
Bruce would receive such challenges that would question his skill in martial arts from time to time as his fame rose. When Bruce's opponents wanted to test Bruce's skills, they would tap their foot on their ground, indicating a challenge.
The inexperienced Tong member however was unaware of  Bruce's true abilities and was defeated promptly in a brutal fashion. Here is an account from Bob Wall, who witnessed the fight take place:

"This kid was good. He was no punk. He was strong and fast, and he was really trying to punch Bruce's brains in. But Bruce just methodically took him apart."

"I mean Bruce kept moving so well, this kid couldn't touch him...Then all of a sudden, Bruce got him and rammed his ass into the wall and swept him, he proceeded to drop his knee into his opponent's chest, locked his arm out straight, and nailed him in the face repeatedly."
- Bob Wall

Ironically, Bruce did not fire the extra. Instead he gave the extra advice and tips on how to improve his skills.

Besides duking with gang members, Bruce was also an accomplished Cha Cha dancer and boxer. He was a dancing instructor in the United States for his first few years and won the Hong Kong Cha Cha Championships. His dance routine could be correlated with his impeccable foot work. Also in the same year, Bruce had also won an interschool Boxing Championship by knocking out a fellow English student, utilizing his Wing Chun training instead of joining a boxing team.

Aside from Bruce's experience with actual fighting, Bruce was also a devoted martial artist and sought to understand every aspect of it. In order from Bruce to accomplish that feat, he exposed his mind to a variety of martial arts and cross trained with various martial artists, such as Judo Gene Lebell and 10th degree Tae Kwon Do master Jhoon Rhee. An example of how Bruce would cross train was when he exchanged his technique on the non-telegraphic punch for Rhee's explanation of the side kick, which would be one of Bruce's most favorite techniques to display in both his movies and against his challengers. The martial disciplines that Bruce studied but not limited to were various styles of Gung Fu(Wing Chun being his primary style), fencing, boxing, Savate( french kick boxing), Tae Kwon Do, and grappling arts- Judo and Jiu Jitsu. All though Bruce never really mastered any of these styles, he took the techniques he found effective to add to his arsenal. By doing, Bruce became more well rounded in every aspect of fighting. Bruce used his acquired knowledge and experience to create his own style called Jeet Fan Gung Fu, which revolves around his fighting method known as Jeet Kun Do. He believed that a martial artist should not be bound by one style because it limited his or her abilities to fight back since many martial arts focus on only one aspect of fighting(either striking or grappling). His art of Jeet Kun Do  put emphasis on intercepting the opponent, rather than just the traditional defend-attack method that many martial arts go by. Interception was Bruce's view as the most effective way of fighting as the practioner could react to any situation, with as fluidity as possible without being tense or unprepared. Bruce's approach on the application and practicality of martial arts were influenced by past experiences of fighting on the streets, where rules do not apply and all forms of fighting are permitted.  His philosophy still exists today and is used by mixed martial fighters who train in many forms of martial arts to adapt and overcome other opponents who may be physically bigger or more skilled.

On the account of these facts, it is evident that Bruce was skilled in martial arts if not a master. His physical feats, on the other hand, surpassed normal human achievement. Bruce;s physical gifts allow him to preform moves and stunts like no other person.

Here are a list of Bruce confirmed physical feats, courtesy of  Devine Wind , the IMBD page on Bruce Lee, Wikipedia, and Netorama:

Bruce's striking speed from 3 feet away was five hundredths of a second and and could close from 5 feet away in around eight hundredths of a second (0.08 second)..

Bruce could throw grains of rice up into the air and then catch them in mid-flight using chopsticks.

Bruce could do push ups using only 2 fingers.
Bruce Lee two-finger push-ups

Bruce could thrust his fingers through unopened cans of Coca-Cola. (This was when soft drinks cans were made of steel much thicker than today's aluminium cans)

Bruce was able to explode 100lb bags with a simple sidekick.

Bruce Lee The Chinese Connection animated GIF      Bruce's side kicks= getting hit by a car - This kick actually dislocated one of the extras who were trying to cushion Bob Wall's fall from grace after agreeing to be side kicked by Bruce as a way of conveying emotional content into the film.

Bruce Lee Gam Eof Death animated GIF His punches are just as powerful.

Bruce would ride for 45 minutes (10 Miles) on a stationary bike, when he'd finished, a huge pool of sweat was beneath him.

Bruce once caved in a protective headgear made from heavy steel rods, rods that had previously withstood several blows from a sledgehammer.

Mastered a technique called "The One-Inch Punch", in which he could deliver a devastating blow yet have his fist travel the distance of one mere inch (2.54 cm) before striking an opponent. This is real footage, not edited with any visual effects. Here is account on the Wikipedia page on exactly how much power and force Bruce was truly excreting:

At the invitation of Ed Parker, Lee appeared in the 1964 Long Beach International Karate Championships[36] and performed repetitions of two-finger push-ups (using the thumb and the index finger of one hand) with feet at approximately a shoulder-width apart. In the same Long Beach event he also performed the "One inch punch",[37] the description of which is as follows: Lee stood upright, his right foot forward with knees bent slightly, in front of a standing, stationary partner. Lee's right arm was partly extended and his right fist approximately an inch away from the partner's chest. Without retracting his right arm, Lee then forcibly delivered the punch to his partner while largely maintaining his posture, sending the partner backwards and falling into a chair said to be placed behind the partner to prevent injury, though his partner's momentum soon caused him to fall to the floor. His volunteer was Bob Baker of Stockton, California. "I told Bruce not to do this type of demonstration again", Baker recalled. "When he punched me that last time, I had to stay home from work because the pain in my chest was unbearable".[38]

His moves were too fast to be captured on the regular 24 frames per second film - so they had to film him at 32 fps, and run the film slower so you can see his moves.

The Tale Of The Take( The Second Coming) - Who would fare better in a real brawl if one were to take place?

Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris   - Gif of the Colosseum fight scene from the
Way of the Dragon movie

In the actual movie that contained the legendary fight between Chuck and Norris, Bruce managed to defeat him by breaking his neck after putting a disabled Chuck in a guillotine hold. However, many martial artists and fans alike speculate whether or not Bruce would have really have won. My opinion on the question is that there it is impossible to determine a definite winner of this bout because it never occurred according to Chuck himself and it never will because of Bruce's demise at the age of 32 years old.  However, I believe that a predication can be made based off of the abilities of both artists and experience.

The actual outcome of the fight would be interesting because both men processed great attributes during their prime. Bruce has the physical aspect of fighting to his favor, if you take account of his physical feats. Chuck, however, has trained under many renowned masters for many years, obtaining a total of five black belts. This amount is considered to be a lot since the average time of getting a black belt is four years. Multiply that by five and you get twenty years of experience, which could have been invested in something else. But when a fight breaks down, prestige and status do not have any significance on who would be more dominant.

Break Down of the Fight:
In the actual movie, the Way of the Dragon, Bruce and Chuck fought using stand-up for most of the fight scene, accept for the shoulder throw initiated by Chuck and the guillotine hold pulled by Bruce at the end. If both men were to fight each other for the second time, Chuck could attempt to go for a knock out but Bruce would most likely out strike and overwhelm Chuck with his combination of kicks, punches, and Wing Chun blocks. One of Chuck's advatagesuse his reach to his advantage and proceed to unleash his kicks on Bruce. Bruce would counter those blows and try to get a few shots off of Chuck himself. Chuck's endurance and stamina would definitely wear down after a few minutes into the fight and Bruce would use that to his advantage by using his reflexes and his footwork to deceive Chuck. Chuck's best bet of actually wining the bout would be to engage Bruce in grappling. Chuck trained under the Machado brothers, who taught the submission based grappling art developed by the Gracie family called Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and Gene Lebell, an expert on Judo, Jiu Jitsu, and catch wrestling. Bruce also had experience in grappling, studying under Gene Lebell and Jesse Glover, another Judoka (Judo practitioner). Bruce had no formal training in grappling, let alone mastered the basics of a fighting style. Instead, he cross trained with such practitioners such as Gene and obtained whatever techniques he saw fit that would complement his style. If Chuck were to take the fight to the ground, Bruce would have a really hard time trying to escape from all of the chokes and positions that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo have to offer. However, in Bruce's own philosophy adaptation is crucial so Bruce would most likely use any method to defeat his opponent, even if it means he has to resort to dirty fighting techniques, such as biting to break away from a submission. Ultimately, I believe that Bruce, with additional training in grappling from the Gracies and Gene Lebell, has the odds of winning the bout in his favor. On the street, he would most likely demolish Chuck as fights on the street contain no rules or limitations.

Many questions arose after Bruce Lee's death and this bout that could have potentially happened was one of them. If Bruce could have lived just a bit longer, opportunities to prove his worth would have been increased as the Gracie family broke through all martial conventions during the late 20th century. It is still disputed whether Bruce or Chuck would win, but everyone knows that it will never happen. Maybe just maybe the fight was never meant to happen between the two skill artists as they both saw each other as friends and colleagues.

Well, here is a clip of the fight scene that did occur between Chuck and Bruce:

So, who do you think would win after reading this post? The Dragon Warrior- Bruce Lee or The Bearded Beast- Chuck Norris. Please comment below with your predication/ vote and voice your opinion or challenge my verdict.

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