What REALLY Happened When Steven Seagal Fought Bruce Lee

Reading time: 13 minutes

I was today years old when I found out that Steven Seagal said that he fought Bruce Lee, or did he? I'm about to put someone on blast, so
you might want to stay tuned for this video.

This video was uploaded by Goldbenbell Training on their official YouTube channel. Prince makes some great content, so make sure to check out his channel!
The following article is the transcript of the video above.

In this video, we're continuing with our series on Bruce Lee, the Man, and the Myth, where we're taking a look at all things related to Bruce Lee as we try to separate the myths and fables about Bruce Lee from the actual truth. We're going to be taking a look at this story about Steven Seagal's alleged relationship with Bruce Lee that I just learned about a few days ago. So, this all came to my attention when a video came across my Browse page on YouTube from a channel called Bruce Lee Real Fight.

Steven Seagal

This channel is all about Bruce Lee and nothing but Bruce Lee. So I took a look at the video, and I saw that he was breaking down an interview from 2012 that Steven Seagal did with Michael Schiavello. I had seen clips of the interview before where Seagal trashed Michael Jai White, Jean Claude Van Damme,
and Dolph Lundgren as being fake martial artists, so I wasn't too surprised that Steven Seagal might be on there telling some tall tales about how he fought Bruce Lee, and that they were good friends.


Well, I watched the video on Bruce Lee Real Fight channel where he proceeded to expose Seagal's lies. After I finished, I thought -- you know,
I should do a video on this, too. So, I went and found the original interview, and I'm just going to say that what I learned really surprised me. Okay, so if you watch the video that Bruce Lee Real Fight Channel posted, Steven Seagal says that he got to meet Bruce Lee and fight him.
He said that it was a great pleasure and that he believes Bruce Lee learned something from him. Now, the video goes on to show Seagal saying that he met Bruce Lee because he was friends with James Coburn.

James Coburn

James Coburn was close with Bruce Lee and with everyone being into martial arts, it's only natural that they should meet, right? Seagal also mentions in the interview that he and Bruce exchanged stories about their sons, who were around the same age. Bruce brought out Brandon and said "this is my little Caucasian boy," and they bonded over both being fathers of Happa children--or mixed Asian kids. Now you can already see some issues here,
that Bruce Lee Real Fight Channel did a good job of pointing out -- but there's one really big problem that he overlooked, and I'm going to tell you what it is.

Bruce Lee with his children

The first thing that stood out to me was Steven Seagal mentioning that he was able to connect with Bruce Lee through James Coburn. This was
screaming at me because the relationship that James Coburn and Bruce Lee had made me question when this so-called meeting would have occurred. I want to refer back to the video I did about Bruce Lee meeting Ip Man -- I mentioned that Bruce had to give a face to William Cheung and join his gang in that video.


In-depth study of Wing Chun

Bruce wanted to beat William Cheung, and the only way he knew how to beat him was to become friends with him so that he could start learning Kung Fu from Ip Man. Bruce had a practice of getting close to people long enough to learn what they knew so that he could move forward in life. At that time,   James Colburn was a big star in Hollywood, just like Steve McQueen. Both of these men eventually became A-list celebrities who were learning Jeet Kune Do from Bruce Lee. Bruce got to charge them extremely high prices for personal teaching sessions, and he also got access to their social gatherings of A-list celebrities, directors, producers, and studio executives.

Bruce Lee and Steve McQueen

I am mentioning all of this because Bruce and James Coburn had this really big falling out over the Silent Flute movie. Sterling Silliphant, Bruce Lee, and James Coburn were going to make the most aggressive martial arts film to date. They took the idea to Warner Brother's and Warner Brothers signed off on it, but only if they would film it in India because they had some money tied up there that could only be spent in India. Warner Brothers paid for the three to go to India to scout locations.

Bruce Lee

From the way it was described, it was a bit of a rough trip, well for Bruce Lee and Sterling Silliphant. James Coburn received VIP treatment everywhere they went. You would think he would have been gung ho about the project, especially since he would be in the starring role along with receiving writer and producer credits. No, when they returned from the trip, James trashed the project to the Warner Brothers executives. He basically said there was no way he'd go back to India to make the film.

Bruce was furious. At the time, he really needed the money, and this could have been his big break. I'm kinda giving you guys this backstory because it's going to come back up in some videos I have planned to debunk stuff we've been told about David Carradine and the Kung Fu series and also what lead to Bruce going to Hong Kong. It was this incident with James Coburn causing Warner Brothers to axe Silent Flute that made Bruce leave for Hong Kong.

Bruce Lee and children

Now how is this related to this Steven Seagal stuff? Well, the thing with the Silent Flute happened in April 1971. Bruce Lee injured his back a year before that, in 1970, so he was largely incapacitated. Shortly, after Bruce returned from India, and James Coburn trashed the movie, Bruce set off for Hong Kong, and in October 1971, The Big Boss was released in theaters. Bruce Lee did not start teaching James Coburn and these other A-list celebrities until AFTER he played Kato in the Green Hornet, so that leaves a 4-year gap, or really a 3-year gap between 1967 and 1970 before Bruce injured his back. So, that raises a question of when would Steven Seagal have trained with Bruce because the timelines aren't really adding up.

The Big Boss

So, the truth is that Steven Seagal could not have fought Bruce Lee. He could not have even trained with him. Steven Seagal was born in 1952, making
him about 12 years younger than Bruce Lee. Now, according to Steven, he saw someone doing martial arts during the halftime show at a high school football game where his father was coaching. He eventually got discovered by his first Karate teacher while washing dishes, and he trained "old school, traditional" Okinawan karate until he managed to graduate early from high school at the age of 16 and left for Japan at 17 where he stayed for 18 years.

Seagal in Japan

So, if Seagal left for Japan at the age of 17, that would have been in 1969. Well, the problem is that Steven Seagal did not begin to study Aikido until he got to Japan, and he said that Bruce Lee was impressed by Aikido. Also, Seagal said they bonded over their Happa children, but Brandon Lee was born in 1965 when Steven Seagal was only 12 or13. Shannon was born in 1969, and Seagal makes no mention of Shannon. So, he's saying that he met and trained with Bruce between 1967 and 1969. In between the time, James Coburn started training with Bruce and before Shannon was born.

That means Steven Seagal would have met Bruce Lee when he was 15 - 17. I don't think Bruce was into teaching kids, and also if this were true, back when Steven   Seagal was the biggest action star in the early '90s, I think someone representing the Bruce Lee estate would have said something. Like, you
would think Seagal would have reached out to Brandon to have him be in a movie with him? Maybe Brandon would still be here with us.

Brandon Lee

Seagal's story also doesn't match up to what is written about him on Wikipedia. According to his Wikipedia entry, his family moved to Orange
County from Michigan when Seagal was 5. That would put him close to Los Angeles in 1957, and Bruce arrived in San Francisco 2 years later. This is actually looking better for Seagal, but still the age thing. It says here that Seagal finished high school, started college, and moved to Japan between 1970-1973. He didn't start learning Aikido until 1974 when he'd returned from Japan and met his first wife.

Bruce Lee and Steve Colburn

His son was not born until 1975. So, as I said, the timeline doesn't match up...but you want to know the biggest thing that didn't seem right about this? This one is the real kicker. Remember when I said that I went back and watched the full interview? Well, the thing is, I kept going back because I could not remember when Seagal said that he fought Bruce Lee. Yes, he did say all this stuff about meeting Bruce Lee through James Colburn and how they both bonded over their boys. He talked about how Bruce used to badmouth a lot of other martial artists, and he kinda did, but he didn't have anything bad at all to say about Seagal, or his Aikido.

Steven Seagal Aikido

He said all of that. There's no denying that he was telling some whoppers, but what about the fighting thing? Didn't he say that Bruce was trying to learn from him? Well, here's the thing. I don't want to go in on the Bruce Lee Real Fight channel the way I went in on Totally Pointless TV, because that kid is a wanker who has no clue what he's talking about in any of his videos, but I genuinely hope he enjoys the ride from his horde of under 25-year-old fans who are bored on lockdown in the UK.


Jackie Chan and Sammo Hung know how fast Bruce lee REALLY was

Unlike that guy, the dude at Bruce Lee Real Fight channel genuinely LOVES Bruce Lee. He idolizes the man, and sometimes...well, sometimes he tends to report the details wrong in a number of his videos. This video is one of them. So he spends most of his video pointing out how Steven Seagal said that he fought Bruce Lee, and like I said, I watched the interview 3 times and I probably watched that part of the interview 3 more times. Steven Seagal never said that he fought Bruce Lee. The guy running the Bruce Lee Real Fight channel must have been confused about that part. I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he was confused, otherwise, he told a lie.

Steven Seagal and Don Inosanto

Steven Seagal did a fight scene with Dan Inosanto, Bruce Lee's best friend, and student, in the movie Out for Justice. It's basically Aikido versus Escrima when Seagal's character and "Sticks" played by Guro Dan, has a short duel during a fight in a bar in the movie. So, Seagal was talking about the fight scene he had with Dan Inosanto and not Bruce Lee. The conversation about their fight scene segues into the conversation about James Coburn and Seagal meeting Bruce Lee.

I believe that Seagal probably did get close to Linda, Brandon, and Shannon through James Coburn and Dan Inosanto AFTER he had already achieved success in Hollywood. So, Steven Seagal obviously did not fight Bruce Lee, but he also did not lie about it, because he never said it. This was a mistake made by Bruce Lee Right Fight channel.

Brandon and Bruce Lee

Now, Seagal DID say that he met Bruce through James Coburn...and well, yeah. Maybe he met Brandon. I'll give him that one, and I mean, Brandon's full name is Brandon Bruce Lee. But still, how do you confuse Brandon Lee with Bruce Lee? If I didn't know so much about Bruce Lee, I wouldn't know that Brandon's middle name was Bruce. But did anyone ever refer to Brandon by his middle name? I bet the only time Brandon's middle name was even mentioned was probably when Linda was about to give him the business when he was a little kid after Bruce had passed on.

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Ho Man
Bruce would have whooped Segal's arse without a doubt if they did fight.

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Jackie Laughlin
Woh, Steven Seagal and Bruce Lee in an epic face-off? That's like King Kong vs. Godzilla! I can't imagine the earth-shattering karate chops in that contest! πŸ˜‚"

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Liam Patterson
Oh boy, Steven Segal vs Bruce Lee! That's like Chicken vs T-Rex! Bruce's speed and skills would have Steven gasping for breath in seconds! πŸ˜‚πŸ₯Š

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Maxwell Brightman
Oh, wow! This post really tickled my funny bone! Imaging Bruce Lee and Steven seagal doughing it out. My bet's on Lee, but who would say no to a popcorn and this epoc showdown? πŸ˜‚ I loved it!

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Samuel Patterson
Wow, if this was a movie, I'd totally watch it! Imagining Steven Seagall slapping on oil and Bruce Lee revving for the Dragon Kick. LOL. Despite the typos, it's stilla worth a read!

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Charlie Smith
Well folks, "Seagal vs Lee" sounds like a dreamy main event from Kung Fu heaven, lol! Just imagine Bruce with his slick moves bopping Steven's ponytail, priceless!

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