Well we now know where and how the Chuck Norris facts started and what he thinks about them. That really leaves only one more question to be answered. Was Chuck Norris as good as Bruce Lee?
That has been a question that has been circulating ever since Chuck Norris hit the big time. So who was the best? Did Bruce Lee really beat Chuck Norris?
The answer to the second part of that question is yes, Bruce Lee did beat Chuck Norris in a fight. But there is a catch. The two men only ever fought each other once, and it was on film, a carefully choreographed piece of theatre. The confrontation was in the 1972 film Way of the Dragon. Bruce Lee convinced Chuck Norris, who was actually his student to appear on film. The fight ended with Lee winning the battle. This film is credited with launching Chuck Norris’ career.
The question of who was best is open to vigorous discussion. Chuck Norris was a professional fighter and even held the Professional Middleweight Karate champion title for a total of six consecutive years. He was also the first westerner in the documented history of Tae Kwon Do to be given the rank of 8th Degree Black Belt Grand Master. Given that Norris was a student of Lee’s the reality is that they probably would never have ever faced each other in a real fight.
Bruce Lee on the other hand was never a professional fighter. He was a performer. In saying that he had at least one fight with Wong Jack Man, a leader in the Chinese community in California and a direct student of Ma Kin Fung known for his mastery of Xingyiquan, Northern Shaolin, and T’ai chi ch’uan. According to Lee, the Chinese leaders insisted that he stop teaching non Chinese martial arts. When he refused they challenged him to a fight. If he lost he would have to stop, but if he won he could continue to teach non Chinese. The accounts of the fight differ from both sides. Lees side recount the fight lasting 3 minutes, while Wong’s side said it lasted 20 to 25 minutes. Both sides agreed that it was a decisive win for Lee.
Additionally, Lees speed and skill surpass that of many before, and since his time. Many times during filming they had to film him in slow motion because he moved too fast. He could also play ping pong with nunchucks, and even light matches thrown at him with them too. Sadly Lee’s life was cut short by an acute cerebral edema that may have been due to a reaction to medication. He died at the far too early age of 32. Chuck Norris also recounted that he thought Bruce Lee would have been the undisputed world champion if he ever fought professionally.