Bruce Lee vs. Helio Gracie: What If These Grandmasters Fought?

Jonathan R.R. ClarkeContributor IIIJanuary 14, 2011

Bruce didn't know of Helio's flying ability when he signed to fight him.
Bruce didn't know of Helio's flying ability when he signed to fight him.

Okay, by this point you are probably thinking that my articles are getting absurd. I mean, come on, Bruce Lee has been dead for nearly 40 years now. But I’m going to put this one out there—see what you UFC freaks think. What if...we put Bruce Lee into a street with Helio Gracie...sprinkled a bit of "old skool" no rules on the fight...and sat back with some peanut butter and jelly and watched?

Jeet Kune Do—the brainchild of Bruce Lee. Practicality, flexibility, speed and efficiency are all words which would suffice to describe what this 20th century martial art is about. "The style of no style" (as Bruce himself put it) sees the traditional martial arts techniques thrown out of the window, due to them being "too formalistic" with their "rigidity."

Bruce was sensationally quick. By the standards of a Bugatti Veyron or an F-16 fighter jet, Bruce was quick. But would his speed blind the abilities of another 20th century developed martial art—Gracie Jiu Jitsu?

Helio Gracie. The Grandmaster of Gracie Jiu Jitsu. Sixth Dan Black Belt in Judo. America’s got Oprah Winfrey...Brazil’s got Helio Gracie (he IS that good!).

But seriously, this diminutive genius of martial arts redefined the whole meaning behind "Jiu Jitsu." So much so that Jiu Jitsu is as much referred to as being Brazilian as it is being Japanese (the original country of origin).

He created a formula, based on technique and leverage, which would enable the smaller man to defeat much larger opponents. It was when he took over a class, which should have been conducted by Carlos Gracie (his brother), that he began to form the foundations of a revolutionary take on the ancient art of Jiu Jitsu.

Ever since, his children, grandchildren and (most likely) their children have passed the torch of what is a very effective form of fighting. But is it so effective that it would defeat the late great Bruce Lee? (Chuck Norris certainly hopes so!)

Two Grandmasters fight for supremacy then...

Based on a street fight, because both of these martial arts were developed with street fighting in mind, here is your favourite part sports freaks...let’s take it to the breakdown...


The Breakdown

  • Helio looks so small next to Bruce—and Bruce is not even a big guy. But nevertheless, the fight gets underway.
  • Helio probes for the takedown, but Bruce is ever so nimble on his feet and bides his time.
  • Helio tries to move in, but gets caught with a stiff jab. He took it better than Chuck Norris did though.
  • Bruce tries a number of lethal-looking kicks, of which Helio retreats and prevents any from doing real harm.
  • Helio closes the distance between them by using a front kick to the knee of Bruce and swiftly sweeping in...double leg takedown...Bruce is in uncharted waters now.
  • The early storm of Lee's strikes seems to have been weathered, as Helio subdues him on the ground.
  • Helio by no means has an easy time of it though, as Bruce shrugs off a number of submissions.
  • BUT FINALLY IT’S THERE! Helio slaps on a crucifying armbar, which Lee reluctantly taps out to. Helio submits Bruce Lee. 

Controversial? Leave me a comment and let me know how YOU think the fight would end.

Thanks for reading.