Bruce Lee: The First Advocate Of MMA.
It is arguable, and most people accept, that Bruce Lee was the best martial artist in the entire world. He has performed such feats as the one inch punch, and his punching speed was five hundredths of a second.
Bruce began his training in Wing Chun kung fu under Sifu Yip Man from the ages of 13 to 18. Along with his Kung Fu training, Bruce Lee was also taught Western fencing by his brother, Peter Lee, and boxing where he went on to defeat 3 time champion Gary Elms.
With this array of knowledge, Bruce began to take these martial arts and change them and improve on them, starting with his own style that he called Jun Fan Gung Fu.
In 1965, Bruce felt that martial arts were too riddled with tradition to be of any use in a real fight. Taking a step back, and looking at fighting from a purely scientific point of view, he developed what is now called Jeet Kune Do.
With this new found idea, Bruce Lee fought many times not following any style, but he was fighting for what he felt were the most effective moves. These same techniques are seen today in MMA rings around the world.
Dana White has said that Bruce Lee was the father of Mixed Martial Arts in 2004.
In a couple of fights, Lee has been said to actually have performed a ground and pound, like in his controversial match against Wong Jack Man. Lee also did takedowns, like when he fought an extra on the set of Enter the Dragon where he swept his opponent off of his feet and then delivering devastating knees and punches to his opponents face.
Lee later developed the theory that there was no real style to fighting, that styles hinder a fighters true ability, and renounced his own style of Jeet Kune Do. Lee felt that to be a good fighter, a person had to know what was most effective for themselves.
Lee's view on fighting prompted him to change the way people competed in martial arts. During the 1960's, the main martial art that people were practicing was Karate, and the international tournaments were nothing more than games of shadow sparring.
Lee detested this form of competition. He felt that this was keeping a fighter from showing his true potential, and he went and developed sparring gear that protected the body, including the face, for full contact sparring.
Lee took his sparring gear to several Karate events to show case full contact matches. Lee advocated that matches should be representations of real fights, and that the victor in a match would also be the victor in a real fight.
Unfortunately, Bruce Lee died before his time, but if he was still living today, I am sure that he would have developed the first ever MMA organization.
Lee would not showcase a superior style like the Gracie's, but to show that only the best fighters were those that knew how to fight to the best of their capabilities.
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