The sport of Mixed Martial Arts as we know it today has become the fastest growing sport in the world in just less than two decades. It spans across 130 countries, and you’re almost certain to find a fight on television any time of the day or night.
Where did this evolving new sport come from, and who do we credit for bringing it to us?
The answer to that question varies, as many people have played an integral role in its development over the years. However, there is one man who is unarguably considered the pioneer of the concept of MMA; the godfather, if you will.
Bruce Lee was known by many people as many different things. He was a loving husband, a father of two children, an actor, but first and foremost, he was a martial artist.
Lee was born the fourth of five children in Chinatown, San Francisco in 1940 and returned with his family to Hong Kong when he was three years old.
At the age of 13, Lee began training in the form of Wing Chun Kung Fu under master Yip Man at the request of his parents and after being bullied by several gang members.
Yip man regularly encouraged his students to fight each other in competition rather than engage in gang fights outside of the school. Being as that Lee’s mother was half German, many of the students refused to train with him, leaving Lee no choice but to test his skills on the streets of Hong Kong.
After severely beating the son of a Triad gang member, Lee’s father thought it best for him to leave Hong Kong and pursue an education in the U.S.
Lee eventually married and had two children, Brandon and Shannon Lee.
In 1967, Lee developed a martial arts style of his own and called it, Jeet Kune Do or “Way of the Intercepting Fist," after allowing a fight with Wong Jack Man, to last too long. Lee felt he had failed to properly use his Wing Chun techniques to finish the fight quickly.
The emphasis of Jeet Kune Do, also known as "JKD" was practicality, flexibility, speed and efficiency and was often referred to as “the style of no style” by Lee.
JKD dispels the impractical forms and movements of traditional martial arts and instead combines an array of different martial arts to create one unique system; much like today’s MMA.
In this Bleacher Report video slideshow, we will feature the 15 best videos of Bruce Lee online so you can see for yourself why he’s considered by most to be the “Godfather of MMA.”