Famous Wing Chun Practitioners: From Ip Man to Bruce Lee
Discover the fascinating Lives and Lasting Legacies of the most Legendary Wing Chun Kung Fu practitioners, including Yip Man and Bruce Lee, in this Captivating Article.
The two never had the chance to meet in life but they enjoyed similar levels of success in the movie industry and both are renowned as masters of their respective crafts. Still, we can't help wondering if Bruce Lee and Jet Li had the chance to face off against each other in their prime. Who would win a Bruce Lee vs Jet Li fight, and why?
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The following article is the transcript of the video above.
Who would win if they fought? When it comes to martial arts as a form of entertainment, Bruce Lee and Jet Li are undoubtedly among the top performers of all time. Both men were phenomenal athletes in their heyday, and both demonstrated jaw-dropping abilities which left many audiences stunned, as well as their on-screen enemies.
Bruce Lee was raised in hong kong where after getting involved in one too many street fights as a teenager, he began learning the art of Wing Chun under the legendary Yip Man. He also took part and won the Hong Kong schools boxing tournament in 1958 at the age of 17 knocking out the competition's previous champion, and what would be Bruce's only appearance at an official fighting tournament in 1959, after beating up the son of a feared triad family, Bruce's parents sent him to the United States where he set up his own martial arts school and would later find fame as an actor.
Jet Li was born in Beijing, China, and was brought up in poverty after his father died when Jet was just 2 years old.
When he was 8, he was noticed for his skill in the art of Wushu whilst attending a School Summer Course. He joined the Beijing Wushu team soon after and performed a display at the All China Games.
Famed coaches Li Junfeng and Wu Bin helped the young Jet Li to develop his talent and while still very young, Lee participated in the Chinese Wushu Championships, where he won 15 gold medals and one silver medal. By the age of 12, the young master was beating the competition who were more than twice his age.
In America, Bruce Lee impressed with his demonstrations at martial arts events and increased his abilities by making connections with other prominent martial artists. These included people like Taekwondo Master Jhoon Goo Rhee, National Champion Judoka and Hollywood stuntman Gene LaBelle and fellow actor / Karate Champion Chuck Norris. Through these contacts Bruce learned and incorporated different moves such as kicking and grappling into his own form of Kung Fu, which he dubbed Bruce Lee's Kung Fu. This eventually developed into Jeet Kune Do which many now refer to as the grandfather of mixed martial arts.
Jet Li was no stranger to mixing things up either. He mastered many different forms of Kung Fu, including northern long fist style, tumbling fest, drunken fest, and many others. He also became proficient in the use of Wushu weaponry, including the three section staff, broadsword, and straight sword.
Jet Li was only 10 years old when Bruce Lee passed away. Having watched him on film though, Jet Li has expressed a lot of respect and admiration for Bruce's work. In interviews, he has referred to Bruce as a great martial artist, going on to say Bruce's steps are similar to dancing and his movements are very similar to Muhammad Ali, his punching style is Wing Chun.
In a nutshell, Bruce Lee combined all the good stuff from each martial art style he used to learn and put these together to create Jeet Kune Do.
If they were to square off against each other at their peak, Bruce Lee would have a slight height advantage, standing at around 5 foot 7 to 5 foot 8, compared to Jet Li who is a little over 5 foot 5. Both men were in incredible physical condition, weighing close to 150 pounds of mostly pure muscle. Some sources suggest that Jet Li may have been the heavier of the two, by a small margin though.
Despite being shorter, in terms of stamina, well, let's just say it would probably take a while before either man gave up due to being out of breath.
Both men were capable of unleashing devastating punches and kicks, causing significant amounts of pain and suffering to any poor extra who happen to get in their way.
Some have suggested that Jet Li's attacks could have hit slightly harder, seeing as how he probably had a bit more weight behind them. However, there are plenty of people who say that Bruce's power was unbelievable, so the advantage here could go either way.
As for speed and agility, Bruce Lee was more well known for his lightning quickness and light footwork, so the edge would have to go to him.
Other factors that could play a deciding role in the fight are both fighters mentalities and their real world experience. Whereas Bruce Lee grew up fighting thugs and developed his own style of martial arts that was essentially to win, by any means most of Jet Li's performances throughout his career were heavily choreographed and only for show. He was never really tested in a no holds barred street fight scenario. Bruce Lee on the other hand was known to have accepted at least a couple of real fights held behind closed doors. He allegedly took down a karate practitioner by the name of yoichi nakachi in just 11 seconds and defeated the highly skilled Kung Fu master Long Jack Jackman in around 7 minutes.
While Jet Li would certainly be capable of putting on some decent moves, there's no substitute for experience and you have to feel that Bruce Lee would be the more clinical of the two. It seems as though he would be able to adapt quicker to random situations, and switch between styles on the fly like an MMA fighter, it would be a lot tougher for Jet Li to change his style instinctively. Despite knowing a great many of them, one thing's for sure: it would certainly be a fantastic fight. A blink and you'll miss it type affair. That's not to say that it would be over quickly, just that it would be fast-paced and action-packed. If weapons were thrown into the mix, maybe we'd give the edge to Jet Li.
However, if we're talking about a bare knuckle brawl, then the speed experience and toughness of Bruce Lee wins out six times out of ten.
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