No announcement yet.

Bruce Lee vs. Joe Lewis

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Bruce Lee vs. Joe Lewis

    In several interviews, Joe Lewis vehemently states that Bruce Lee was not a REAL fighter, but an actor... In one such interview, Black Belt Magazine, Lewis even suggests that he was a better fighter. Now it’s hard to believe that a fighter would go train under an actor, let alone one he could beat up...

    Lewis seems to be still sulking after his missed opportunity in “Way of the Dragon,” in which he was chosen to play Bruce’s adversary, but due to his pride or supposed illness, skipped out. Chuck Norris took the part and the rest is history.

    Was Bruce Lee a legitimate fighter? He was certainly a legitimate street fighter and that’s what JKD is based on... For a guy who has trained world champions, I’d say Bruce Lee was legitimate. Even Bob Wall, Chuck Norris among others have admitted that had Bruce Lee wanted, he could have easily been the top tournament fighter... But tournament fighting was useless to Bruce... It did nothing for him except contradict his ideas.

    Many of Bruce Lee’s stunt men were professional fighters and all acknowledge that Bruce would have taken anyone... Ed Parker once mentioned that Bruce challenged the entire world, but no one responded, but for that reason, he was training for the ultimate fight. People who knew Bruce Lee say that the only thing Bruce feared was a bigger version of himself.

    According to Bruce’s notes, he sparred in realistic fashion with the likes of Mike Stone, Chuck Norris and Joe Lewis all the time... If Joe felt that he was better, why did he continue under Bruce Lee’s tutelage? There’s really no credibility to Joe’s statements, after the fact...

  • #2


    • #3
      That post was really intresting Great Sage. Its a shame that Joe Lewis would talk about his teacher like that.

      Who wouldn't fear a bigger version of your own self? That would be the ultimate challenge though, possibly a positive use for cloning? Just kidding!


      • #4
        Sounds liek sour grapes on Joes behalf. I think Bruce could have taken almost anyone, his fighting style was so unique, he was in great physical form as well.


        • #5
          Norris has some stories about him training with Lee, in his book "The Secret Power Within". If we believe in Norris' judgement, Lee was an expert but not God like some fans believe.


          • #6
            Joe Lewis Curriculum is JKD

            I heard it differantly! I heard from an interview of Joe Lewis that he credited Bruce Lee for changing his martial arts as a "whole" and that he dropped what he learned in Okinawa and followed Bruces teachings. This was an interview in Black Belt Magazine if I'm not mistaking. Could of been another publication but it went something like that.

            Heres an interesting link for you all to enjoy!!!!!
            It seems amongst all the "supposed" bad mouthing from Joe Lewis, heres proof positive that "Joe Lewis Fighting System" is 100% without a doubt Jeet Kune Do!!!!!!


            Click on the links, if you read through it, its as if you were reading one of the JKD manuals that are on the market of the OJKD!!

            Heres his site too.

            Last edited by akja; 01-30-2003, 11:28 AM.


            • #7
              Obviously, the guys that grew away from Bruce Lee: Mike Stone, Joe Lewis and Chuck Norris have mixed emotions about the “Dragon.” However, those that remained close to him acknowledge that he was the “greateast.”

              For instance, Joe Lewis comments that Bruce Lee used a 300 lb. bag which was ludirous... What he fails to mention is that he and Bob made that bag for Bruce and no one could move it except Bruce. It’s ironic that Joe Lewis’ techniques and philosophy are identical to JKD, yet he makes the following statements in an interview with “Temple of the Unknown.”

              Joe Lewis qoutes:
              * On K1- The JKD guys would get SLAUGHTERED if they competed even on a lower K1 level,such as the elimination K1 fights.What the K1 fighters do,especially their 'cut kicking' skills,what you may call inside/outside leg kicks would totally dominate what is done in 'classical JKD'.

              * Were his skills as good as they've been written - NO.You must understand that people writing about somebody they didn't know makes it difficult to write with absolute truth.You're speaking from someone else's observations rather than first hand experience.certain writers tend to embelish and sensationalize. On his personal expression of JKD-he was constantly changing his definition of JKD.I used to go up in front of the audience after I'd won a tournament,and BL had written out this little speech about JKD,and I could never get it right.I didn't have a clue on how to make sense on to understand what he had written for me to say.Simply put,the only definition I remember clearly is one day I went to his house and BL said 'Ah!You know what JKD means?It means the 'thusness' of the techniques.How do you like that?'Like I'm supposed to know what thusness means.I guess that's sort of a Zen quote.

              * On BL's personal JKD- What he did personally is a contradiction of what he taught.For example-he wouldn't give credit to his instructors,but he would demand credit for the knowledge he was giving you. He was taught not to teach the secrets that he'd learned,especially to Caucasians,yet he'd make a point teach us.He asked me not to teach anybody what he was showing me,but at the same time, he wanted me to practice what I was beingtaught.The only for me to practice is to show a sparring partner what I'm doing.I was supposed to go out and brag about BL being my instructor to add stature to his name,but he never asked my permission to use my name,since I was a world champion before I met him,to enhance his credentials as an instructor.My point is there's alot of double standards in JKD,and alot of contradictions in BL's practices.He would practice for example on a physical level going out to jog,just like a boxer.he would hit the hevy bag(using the JKD punches) just as a boxer would and he would do the side kick and various other kicks against the heavy bag just as a karate person would.And he would work with a very loose double end bag,which I don't agree with,I think it should be tight.So in other words,he attempted to make JKD appear to be above the bar in terms of comparing it to other martial arts,but he seemingly practiced the same things that other martial artists were doing.

              * On what we practiced-I stuff I worked with him on strictly for combat purposes,and definitely on a black belt level or above.I was being tutored to be the best fighter in the world,so obviously I wouldn't be working with beginning level maneuvers.

              * On JKD for novices-Of course. You can benefit from the knowledge factor,just the acqiusition of new information.Secondly,in terms of the dynamics of the mechanical executions,of course most aren't going to match his quicknes,or his pound for pound power,but you can definitely improve past the level you're at currently.

              A good interview with Bob Wall is at — Bob acknowledges that Bruce Lee was the real deal and he kicked serious ass. One of Bruce Lee’s most feared students, Gene LeBell says similar things.


              • #8
                Great Interview

                Great Sage,

                Thanks for posting the link to that Bob Wall interview.

                I highly enjoyed!!



                • #9
                  If Joe Lewis really stated that crap, then he is a fool. I dont care what anyone says... the martial arts world would not be what it is without the kick in the ass Lee gave it, with his JKD philosphy.


                  • #10
                    To give a better idea about what Norris says about Lee, here's an excerpt from his book "The Secret Power Within". The book was published in 1996 and there are several stories about his BJJ training with Machados, so I guess these opinions are still quite fresh and not something Norris thought two decades ago...

                    People who see Bruce only as a movie star miss the real man, for he was also an author and scholar: The walls of his living room and bedroom were lined with shelves of martial arts books, many of them in Chinese, and many of them about Zen. Bruce was always busy, appearing on television shows and teaching in his school in L.A.; but all the while, he was dedicated most of all to working out his personal philosophy. He was open to any new ideas, and that openness was contagious.
                    I learned various kung fu techniques from him, and I taught him high kicks, meaning kicks above the waist. The only formal martial arts training he'd had was under Yip Man, in Hong Kong, who'd taught him wing chun, a form of Chinese boxing that emphasized hand rather than foot techniques - most kicks were quick and delivered low, to the opponents shin or knee. It didn't take long for me to convince Bruce that kicks could be effectively delivered to any area of the body, and he taught me many of the techniques of wing chun.
                    In those days, as now, my favorite technique was a spinning heel kick delivered with speed and force at my opponent, a skill I had learned in Korea and used to great advantage when I was competing in martial arts tournaments.
                    One day during a workout at Bruce's home, I scored on him constantly, despite his attempts to block my kicks. When we ended the workout he went into the house and came back carrying some oranges. We sat on the grass underneath a tree and peeled the oranges. I noticed that most of the bark was missing from one side of the tree and commented on that fact. Bruce laughed. 'The tree is my target for kicks and punches,' he said.
                    Bruce took off his T-shirt, and I marveled again as I always did every time I saw his physique; he had muscles on muscles.
                    As I sat and enjoyed the peace and quiet in the yard, Bruce counted off one-hand push-ups. After about fifty, he stopped and turned his attention to me. 'No matter how much I tried, I was unable to block your kicks,' he said. 'What am I doing wrong?'
                    'You tried to speed your blocks up,' I said. 'And your timing was off. Like when I practice sticky hands with you. When I try to go faster, you score on me repeatedly. If I am getting better, it's because I've slowed down, and that's what I'm suggesting to you. Pace yourself, attend to everything in its own sweet time, and you'll accomplish more than if you go all out at every opportunity. Slow down and you'll go faster.'
                    'That's a real Zen riddle,' Bruce said: Slow down to go faster. I like it.


                    • #11
                      nice post kirves... thanks.

                      "slow down and you'll go faster" i like that alot
                      Last edited by Kingston; 02-05-2003, 09:34 AM.


                      • #12
                        I met Chuck Norris in Texas when I was only 13... He did a demonstrative sparring match and used his famous spinning heel kick.

                        If I would have met Bruce Lee years ago, I would have told him to step right into the kick: Left inside for a Right Spin and vice versa... As a Tang Soo Do and Ji Do Kwan practitioner for over 15 years, I can tell you that spinning kicks are almost useless in the streets as you are left off balance with little visual.

                        They are however, very powerful and good for finishing moves... But keep in mind that while spinning, an opponent can close the gap in an instant...

                        I noticed that Bruce Lee discovered this in "Way of the Dragon." Each time Norris used a spin kick, Bruce moved to the opposite side... Although it was choreographed, the concept is there... At the time, I don't think even Chuck Norris knew this idea... It's a relatively new idea, whereas traditional Tang Soo Do teaches one to block all kicks and punches.


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Great Sage
                          At the time, I don't think even Chuck Norris knew this idea... It's a relatively new idea, whereas traditional Tang Soo Do teaches one to block all kicks and punches.
                          Of course, all this kind of things, must be kept in the context. We as a martial arts world, know a whole lot more now than was available back then. Remember, these were times when studying techniques from outside your main style was considered unorthodox back then, now it's the norm. Some of it thanks to these guys in question. How would Lee or Norris of the 60s do against the tournament fighters of today? Who knows, but does that even matter? No it doesn't. Both of them continued to study everything they got their hands on and that shows that they're good examples of how this thing is done properly.


                          • #14

                            I did not intend to sound pessimistic towards your post... I just found it interesting that Bruce was trying to block a spin kick when one can easily avoid it.

                            I understand that the martial arts is much different today, however, that it is better — arguable... Back then, full contact karate was full contact... I don't doubt that Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris would be great today in their prime... perhaps the best of the best.

                            Best regards.


                            • #15
                              Joe Lewis talks crap, Think he is over rated also as a fighter and Bruce Lee was far superior and Bruce Lee did not like Karate and thought it was trash and to obvious compared to chinese martial arts like WING CHUN. Bruce would easily kick Joe Lewis ass without to much effort and Joe Lewis could only beat average fighters and lesser opponents.