Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris: The Real Truth

Bruce Lee-vs-Chuck NorrisHere’s a fantastic way to start 2014; definitively answering the decades-old question, who would have won in a real fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris?

Of course, the more astute martial artists among this blog’s readers will already be certain of the correct answer. But let’s go through the reasoning nonetheless.

In order to answer this question accurately, just as with any question, we will first have to frame the issue accurately:

Framing!

Point 1: When answering any question about “who would win in a real fight between x & y”, one can only answer with a probable outcome. It’s a fact that on any given day, any fighter could in theory be defeated by any opponent, regardless of deficits in skill-level. However, we can say with some confidence that fighter “x”, with a much higher skill level, would defeat fighter “y”, the vast majority of the time. We could express this by opining that fighter “x” might win say… nine times out of ten.

As an example, we could never say that fighter “x” would win ten times out of ten and maintain any intellectual credibility, even if fighter “x” was Georges St-Pierre and fighter “y” was your eighty-year-old mum. We could say that GSP would prevail 99.9995% of the time, though. After all, even GSP could- in theory- be knocked out by a heavy handbag strike to the jawline, one time in every ten-thousand.

Point 2: We must compare like for like. There is no use comparing a young Bruce Lee to an old Chuck Norris, for instance. In the case of Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris, this is easy, as they both hit their “primes” roughly at the same time, in the late nineteen-sixties to early seventies. By this time Norris was at his most successful stage as a Karate competitor, and Lee had amassed most of his Martial Arts experience, just before his untimely death in 1973.

Fight!

Let’s get down to business and compare the two combatants’ actual records and skill levels.

- From nineteen-sixty-eight to nineteen-seventy-four, Norris was by his own declaration a “world middleweight karate champion”. This is taking Norris entirely at his word, mind you. Others have had difficulty in verifying his story on this point. But what all informed commentators agree on is the fact that Norris was competing in point karate, rather than in full-contact Karate. In other words, Norris was a champion in a style of Karate in which you could be penalised for hitting someone with full force. To my way of thinking, this is no different to being declared a champion of doing Kata; while it may be a rewarding pursuit for other reasons, say… fitness and health reasons, it tells you nothing about whether the champion in question can actually fight.

Judging by footage of Norris’ Karate fights, they appear to be ludicrously unrealistic by most standards.

A person who competes in point karate might be able to fight, or he/she might not… you- and they- will never know until they actually fight for real. I hate to skim close to perpetrating a fallacious appeal to authority, but it’s worth examining why fighters like Joe Lewis agree with me on this point:

“They called point tournaments fighting but how can you fight without contact? I’ve worked on my midsection all my life so I could take a punch or kick. Then I go to a tournament and my opponent might be 150 pounds but if he hits me in the midsection he gets a point for a killing blow. That’s nonsense.”
– Joe Lewis (link)

- To contrast this, Bruce Lee’s only commonly accepted contact with competitive fighting was in his adolescence; he was an amateur boxer. Some assert that he won a local-level Hong Kong boxing championship title at that time… but this is impossible to truly verify to a nicety, as local records for the period are scarce to non-existent. For me, it is sufficient to know that Lee probably competed in a full-contact arena, with some success, more than once. After all, a single full-contact boxing match tells you more about a person’s ability to actually fight than any number of non-contact competitions could, whether they allow kicking or not.

- Bruce Lee started training in submission grappling by 1967, with the legendary “Judo” Gene LeBell, a generally acknowledged master of Judo ne-waza and Catch Wrestling. LeBell had been taught the rapidly dying art of Catch by legendary fighters such as Lou Thesz and Karl Gotch, and had studied Judo with luminaries such as Ishikawa in Japan. LeBell was a Judo champion several times over when he first met Lee on the set of Lee’s TV Series the Green Hornet. It’s hard to imagine a more skilled and illustrious teacher than LeBell. Bruce Lee therefore had developed a knowledge of submission grappling which was quite rare in the esoteric martial arts scene at the turn of the nineteen-seventies. He included many of the moves that LeBell taught him as finishers to his on-screen fight scenes, in Enter the Dragon, Way of the Dragon (vs. Chuck Norris) and the unfinished Game of Death. Lee’s compatriot- and to many, spiritual successor- Dan Inosanto states that Lee was also particularly good at integrating his striking and grappling game, in a way that was rare at the time:

“One of the things that made him [Lee] unique was his ability to move from kicking range to punching range to trapping range to grappling range. At that time, most martial artists really shined in one particular range. If you kicked, you didn’t punch or grapple much. If you punched, you didn’t kick or grapple much. And if you grappled, you didn’t have the same skill level in striking. Sifu Bruce was way ahead of his time in how he was training himself and his students to be adept at bridging the gap between ranges.”- Dan Inosanto (link)

- To contrast, while Chuck Norris did study Judo when he was in the army, though far less intensively than he studied Tae Kwan Do, he apparently only gave serious thought to studying submission grappling in 1982, when he first encountered the Gracie family in Brazil.

- In terms of physical attributes and conditioning, reports indicate that Bruce Lee was 5’7″ and weighed as little as 135lb, whereas Norris was 5’10” and weighed 160lb during his competitive career. Norris would have enjoyed both a weight and reach advantage over his smaller adversary. However, Lee was famous for innovating new training methods and conditioning himself physically to a level associated only with top athletes. From two-finger pushups to a ridiculous degree of static strength, Lee seems to have exemplified a philosophy of training which was well ahead of its time. No similar stories concerning Norris have surfaced.

The Outcome:

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Essentially, what we have here is a fight between the following two men:

Lee, a combatant who had trained in striking styles all his life, and  had success in striking at a full-contact competitive level (albeit a small amateur level), who also studied submission grappling with one of the godfathers of the art, who had an affinity for blending his stand-up and grappling styles in a way that was ahead of his time, and had trained his body to a level commensurate with high-level athletic ability. Lee could have weighed anywhere between 135lb and 145lb (61.2kg to 65.8kg) during 1972.

Norris, a man who had- at the point at which Lee and he met- only focussed on Tae Kwon Do/Karate with a small sideline in Judo, but apparently had limited knowledge of submission grappling and had only ever competed in point karate tournaments. As far as one can tell, Norris weighed 160lb/72.5kg.

It’s hard to argue that either man was really a “competitive fighter”. Both were predominantly performers. But Bruce Lee came closer to this than Norris did. Lee was also the better rounded martial artist, and while Norris did catch up by learning submission grappling eventually, this was only in the eighties or nineties, well after his prime.

If MMA competition- especially in the early days of the UFC- taught us anything, it was that the better rounded fighter- preferably with a knowledge of full-contact striking and submission grappling- will defeat a relatively one-dimensional opponent, even when there is a disparity in weight.

On the basis of this information, I suggest that an actual fight between these two men might go very roughly the same way as the fictional fight scene they played out in the movie Way of the Dragon. I suggest that three quarters of the time, Lee would either survive or be dominant in the striking range, due to his superior speed, timing, physical conditioning and full-contact experience, and would eventually finish the fight via submission.

And the only reason I see Norris winning 2.5 times out of ten, is his greater size and reach.

Potential Counter-Arguments

Supporters of Norris have raised counter-arguments to suggestions that Lee was the better fighter in the past. Some of the most common are:

1. “But Norris was a world champ! Lee never won a championship!”

Well leaving aside Lee’s difficult to verify amateur boxing tournament, this has no relevance as Norris was only ever a champion of pretending to hit people.

2. “Norris was a full-contact Karate fighter, he would have crucified Lee with his kickboxing!”

Norris never competed in full-contact Karate, only in point Karate. Norris often refers to himself as having been a “professional fighter”. If what he was competing in wasn’t fighting (and it wasn’t), how can fighting have been a profession for him? He wasn’t a fighter at all, in fact. Merely a stylist, or a performer. Take your pick.

3. “Lee was tiny! Therefore, Chuck!”

Lee was much smaller. But whether Lee would have won depends on whether his skill and strength was in excess of Norris’ to the degree necessary to overcome that weight and reach disparity. My verdict on the available evidence is that Lee’s skill and strength would have been sufficient to that task, the majority of the time.

4. “There’s no real evidence Lee ever had any real fights!, therefore, Chuck!”

There’s no evidence that Chuck had any real fights either. Therefore the two should be assessed on their apparent skills and attributes, as I have assessed them above.

Why Have I Written This?

I admit that the topic at hand may seem somewhat childish, perhaps on the level of “which would win, a scorpion or a spider?”, and by its nature consists of a certain degree of conjecture. But in all honesty, this article was provoked only and entirely by this clip:

A clip in which Norris discusses times that he and Bruce Lee- supposedly a friend of his- worked out together, and is asked by the interviewer:

“[During these workouts you and Bruce Lee were] not fighting each other?”

And Norris responds with:

“No, you know, I was a professional fighter. Haha.”

As if to suggest that Norris was a fighter and Lee was not. Norris’ only concession to Lee’s combative skill comes straight afterwards, when he points out that- while Lee may not have been on Norris’ level as a “fighter”-;

“but he was good.”

Well, gee, thanks for the endorsement Chuck.

Chuck Norris is a pretty obnoxious person in general actually. As well as being something of a right-wing jingoiststupid conspiracy theorist, hater of the gay folk, and hyper-religious nutjob, as we can see from many interviews he constantly bigs himself up to a level that even Steven Seagal would be proud of. Norris is no more a fighter than Seagal, even though he may be more of a martial artist.

“Here’s what I really think about the theory of evolution: It’s not real. It is not the way we got here. In fact, the life you see on this planet is really just a list of creatures God has allowed to live.”
– Chuck Norris (link)

The plain fact of the matter though, is that Bruce Lee is an inspiration to millions, and his impact can be felt in the way that martial arts are practiced in a more combative and practical way these days, to the way that action is filmed in movies, to the way that Asian men and women are no longer portrayed only as dishwashers and rickshaw drivers in film. He’s won the moral battle against people like Chuck Norris, who despite the appearance of philanthropy, are actually peddling exceptionalism, nationalism, exclusionism and martial fakery to the masses.

Bruce Lee was more moral than Chuck Norris, more intelligent than Chuck Norris, had a better real fighting record than Chuck Norris (the little there was of it), and frankly could have beat Chuck Norris in a fight. My money would have been on him.

End of story.

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11 Responses to Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris: The Real Truth

  1. Mark Devaney says:

    I agree with you in the fact that Bruce Lee was the better fighter, and there is record of him defeating in a real fight another Chinese kung fu expert called Wolf Jack Man (I think that was the gentleman’s name) it is a long time ago. But Bruce Lee for sure was the superior fighter no question about it. Bruce was actually trained in Wing Chun kung fu by the great and legendary Master Yip Man who was certainly a man of great integrity and moral character. Bruce Lee went to on explore other martial arts and their applications and eventually founded the style known as Jeet Kune Do. I think that it is rather disappointing that you chose to attack Chuck Norris on the grounds of his own personal beliefs, instead of confining your comments to the actual subject which is martial arts. People’s personal beliefs should not really come into this subject at alI.

    • Many thanks for the comment.

      Actually I care less about who would have won a fight between Lee and Norris, and more about the fact that Norris was a dick about it in that interview clip I posted.

      It’s very rich for a man like Norris… who was never a professional fighter, and never competed in full contact (so was arguably never a fighter at all, professionally or unprofessionally), to act as though his point-karate tournament victories put him above a veritable colossus like Bruce Lee in *any* way.

      Chuck Norris’ personal beliefs are open to public criticism the moment he makes those beliefs a public issue. And he has!

      He’s been campaigning for the hideous right-wing Republican party in America for years. He’s been campaigning against sex education in schools; he’s been campaigning against tolerance for gay people in education and therefore public life; and he’s been campaigning for the ridiculous, supernatural, unscientific and dangerous idea of creationism for years. He’s a disgusting man, morally and intellectually speaking. People like Chuck Norris should be villified at *every* opportunity. Whenever people mention Chuck Norris as a martial artist, they should also make special mention of the fact that he is an unmitigated c*ck.

      Regarding your other points,

      – Yes, I think Lee had a good chance of beating Norris.

      – No, I don’t think his time with Yip Man would have had much to do with it; Lee phased out most of his Wing Chun stylings over time, replacing them with concepts from more effective and reality-based martial arts such as boxing, wrestling, savate, fencing, submission grappling… etc. etc. Wing Chun people like to claim Lee as one of their own when it suits them, but he really had moved beyond classical Chinese arts like Wing Chun by the time of his death.

      – No, Jeet Kune Do isn’t a “style”. It’s a philosophy. Any style can be part of the learning process of the adherent of JKD, but the goal is to discard all styles in the end. Important to remember that, if one wishes to honour Bruce Lee’s ideas and ideals.

  2. […] blog pondering the outcome of a real Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris fight at the at their peak http://withoutwriting.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/bruce-lee-vs-chuck-norris-the-real-truth/  Also Run Run Shaw of the Shaw Brothers Studio (early pioneers in kung fu cinema) recently passed […]

  3. Avenger says:

    This fight between Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee has never occured and will never take place. There are no truths, but only speculations about the outcome of this hypothetical fight.

    Let’s consider your description of the fighting skills of these two men.
    You wrote that Bruce Lee won a local-level Hong Kong boxing championship title when he was a teenager. However, how can you consider this as a fact since you’ve admitted that this info can’t be checked. How is it possible there aren’t any tracks of it.
    Moreover, watch this footage in which we can see Bruce Lee work out on the “heavy bag” :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWJx7KnTMEA
    Bruce demonstrated poor technique while working out on the bag. He looks a complete beginner. Don’t you find odd that an amateur boxing champion displays such a poor technique?

    Then you consider, despite the lack of proofs, that Bruce Lee probably competed in a full-contact arena.
    Bruce Lee performed a Gung Fu demonstration with Dan Inosanto during the Karate International Championship held in Long beach and organized by Ed Parker. Both Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto wore protective outfits and helmet:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n3q381ae0jI
    The fact that Bruce Lee wore protective outfits just for performing a demo in which his partner “attacked” him like a beginner. Don’t you find odd for a man who “probably” competed in a full contact arena?

    Let’s consider what you’ve stated about Chuck Norris :
    “Norris was a champion in a style of Karate in which you could be penalised for hitting someone with full force. To my way of thinking, this is no different to being declared a champion of doing Kata”.

    Don’t exaggerate. A kata is a sequence of codified movements performed by a karateka who is alone. Point karate in which Chuck norris competed consisted in two karatekas fighting each other.
    Those fights really happened. Watch this footage that shows a fight between Joe Lewis and Skipper Mullins :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIMaTSalZRo
    Joe Lewis hit Mullins for real and Mullins fell and experienced pain for real. That makes you think how dangerous was Joe Lewis in karate tournaments.
    Now consider the source you’ve quoted about the accurate record of Chuck Norris :

    http://karate-in-english-lewis-wallace.blogspot.co.uk/2008/03/chuck-norris-accurate-record.html

    Norris and Lewis met four times in competition. Norris won three times and lost once against Lewis! Norris was only 160lbs and Lewis was 200lbs. It takes a lot of guts to step on the mat with Lewis.
    Here’s an extract of their third encounter :
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oaa8mv_bsy8

    “Norris, a man who had- at the point at which Lee and he met- only focussed on Tae Kwon Do/Karate with a small sideline in Judo”.

    A small sideline in Judo? According to your source, Chuck Norris beats Leon Wallace, 42 years, with a judo throw, ippon seoi-nage At the beginning of 1967, during the “Tournament of Champions” organized by Henry Cho (Black Belt June 1967). Norris was a brown belt in judo at this time. The fact that Norris has been able to make a judo throw on an experienced karateka who was fighting back and trying to hit him at full speed proves that Norris was very proficient in judo.

    Norris proved his worth in combat against skilled fighters, whereas Bruce Lee showed his martial arts’ abilities in demonstrations and movies.
    You forget to mention that if Bruce Lee performed some takedown and grappling in Way of The Dragon, Chuck Norris performed some excellent judo’s throws too in this movie.

    Norris was a professional fighter, while Bruce Lee was a professional actor. Bruce Lee would have been no match for Chuck Norris in a real fight.
    Your criticism about Norris’ opinions is irrelevant to the topic.

    • Thanks for the comment. I’ll take your comment paragraph by paragraph:

      1. You reiterate what I made clear in the last section of my post: that any opinion on the victor of a hypothetical fight between the martial artist and trainer Bruce Lee and the fake “tag, you’re it!” competitor and right-wing-wingnut Chuck Norris must be based on a large amount of conjecture. I’m not sure why you felt the need to reiterate it considering its obviousness, but hey.

      2. You suggest that because Bruce Lee’s boxing experience in Hong Kong can’t be verified to a nicety it should not be taken into account… I disagree, as I find it perfectly plausible that amateur local teenage boxing records from Hong Kong would be incomplete and difficult to locate. I have no reason to disbelieve the accounts that exist. Chuck Norris’ “six years as world champion” cannot be verified to a nicety either, and that’s a damn sight more surprising, considering the prominence of a “world championship”, even if it’s a world championship in not hitting people while wearing pyjamas.

      3. You criticise Bruce Lee’s boxing skill on the basis of 29 seconds of archive footage in which it looks like he’s only focussing on drive hooks. Well done, that’s not weak and baseless at all.

      4. You once again suggest that Bruce Lee’s boxing experience should not be taken into account, yadda yadda yadda. Addressed in point 2, above.

      5 & 6. You criticise Bruce Lee’s fighting skills on the basis of footage where he and an accomplice were demonstrating sparring in protective equipment, (an approach that Lee was experimenting with at the time) in a slightly compliant fashion. On the other hand, I challenge you to find a martial arts demonstration of this type that is not compliant. Second, it’s obvious that Lee and his partner were demonstrating- in a world where stupid point-karate competitions were the norm- that you can strap on the padding and train at least semi, if not full contact. Seems perfectly valid to me. Once again, I think you fail to make any kind of cogent point.

      7 & 8. You state- without providing any evidence to support such an extraordinary claim- that point karate IS “fighting”. Drivel, sir. Only a point-karate nuthugger immune to logic would make such a claim. Compared to actual fighting, point karate is indeed virtually comparable to the practice of kata. The only difference is that in a kata, one *imagines* one or more persons that one can’t actually make contact with leaping around in front of one. In point karate, one actually *has* a real person that *one can’t make contact with* leaping around in front of one. Point karate does not prepare you for fighting, it is not fighting, it is not even the comatose second-cousin of fighting. Stop being deluded and accept the truth.

      9 & 10. You cite the dangerousness of the legendary Joe Lewis in an attempt to make point-karate seem more effective. A shameful… and slightly foolish tactic, sir, as Joe Lewis himself was famous for slagging off point-karate and pointing out that contact was *essential* for reality in fighting competition. And I mentioned this in my post above. Perhaps you missed it. http://www.taekwondotimes.com/magazine/magazine_bonus_detail.php?bns_seq_i=33

      11 & 12. You suggest because Chuck Norris won three out of four point-karate matches against Joe Lewis, and Joe Lewis is a fighter… this makes Chucky a fighter? This would be comparable to suggesting that because Chuck Norris beat Joe Lewis in a knitting contest three out of four times, and Joe Lewis is a fighter, this makes Chucky a fighter. Foolishness.

      In other words, point karate and fighting have nothing to do with each other, and if it were an actual contact match, Joe Lewis could have stuffed Chuck Norris’ head up Steven Seagal’s rectum if he had wanted to. And I wish he had wanted to.

      13 & 14. Here you claim that a record of a 27 year old Chucky successfully doing a judo throw on a 42 year old karate man in a non-contact tournament… is evidence of Chucky’s great skill in Judo. Oh do grow up mate. If I wanted to Judo throw someone, a karate man is EXACTLY who I would pick as my opponent. And if I wanted to really throw them off guard, I would pick a stupid non-contact karate tournament as my ideal setting. So there.

      15 & 16. Once again, without having provided a shred of evidence that Chucky is a “fighter”, you once again claim that he was and is a “fighter”, and a professional one, at that. I could be wrong, but I surmise the only reason you would feel the need to make such a claim is that you yourself have invested a great deal of time and effort in the idiotic non-sport of point-karate, and are desperate to maintain your self-image as a rootin’-tootin’-fightin’ point karateka!

      Sorry man, but point karate is a ridiculous waste of time and energy, and champions of point karate are merely champions of wasting their time.

      17. Once again, one of Chucky’s supporters implies that I should keep my nose out of his personal beliefs… Well answer one = “no.”, and answer two = “The whole point of this post was to expose Chuck Norris for a fool, a faker and a hyper-religious bigot. The Bruce Lee aspect was merely a catalyst or backdrop to the fact that Norris is a complete tool.” Is that clear enough?

      • Avenger says:

        You’re welcome.

        1. “You reiterate what I made clear in the last section of my post: that any opinion on the victor of a hypothetical fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris must be based on a large amount of CONJECTURE”
        If that’s so, why have you written “Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris: The Real Truth”?
        Not only you’ve acknowledged this fight will never happen, but you’ve precised that you’ve based your arguments on conjectures and not facts.
        You’ve only shared your opinion, that can’t be considered as the “real truth”.

        2. Should I remind you that the title of your article is :”Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris : The Real Truth”?
        You’ve provided a link to a blog where the fighting records of Chuck Norris has been reported.
        Then you tell us that Bruce Lee may have won a local-level Hong Kong boxing championship title.
        According to your source, Bruce Lee would have knocked out a boxer called Gary Elms.
        I haven’t found any boxing records of that Gary Elms. I’ve searched him on google. There are neither photos nor any interviews of him.

        3. You agree this footage shows Bruce Lee practicing boxing on a bag. This footage can be considered as a piece of evidence to appreciate Bruce Lee’s boxing skills. So Bruce was focussing on drive hooks? Does that mean this is the only technique he could perform? No combinations? Very poor variety of the techniques for an amateur boxing champion.
        I see you haven’t mentioned if it exists another footage. Do I have to deduce there’s only this footage showing Bruce Lee practicing boxing?
        You’e managed to strenghten that piece of evidence. Nice work.

        4. The footage suggests that Bruce Lee was a beginner in boxing. For the sake of your argument, I really hope you’ve another one piece of evidence that would prove the contrary.

        5 & 6. Half a loaf is better than no bread. I can’t find a video that shows Bruce Lee fighting for real.
        Anyway, Bruce’s performance was well praised by Black Belt November 1967 issue: “Ressembling men from Mars in weird protective outfits, gung-fu sensei Bruce and partner demonstrate this ancient Chinese fighting art”. The protective outfits introduced by Bruce Lee were never used in full contact tournaments.

        7 & 8. “You state- without providing any evidence to support such an extraordinary claim- that point karate IS “fighting”. Read the blog that relates the accurate record of Chuck Norris titled “Chuck Norris : new accurate record” you’ve quoted as one of your sources : you’ll see that the encounters in point karate tournaments were refered as “fights”.

        http://karate-in-english-lewis-wallace.blogspot.fr/2008/03/chuck-norris-accurate-record.html

        Besides, I’ve provided you a footage about the fight between Joe Lewis and Skipper Mullins that occured during a point karate tournament.
        Lewis gave a blow to Mullins who fell in pain. This is real because you can see it. There’s nothing extraordinary about it.

        9.10 The footage of the fight between Lewis and Mullins is clear : Lewis definetely made contact otherwise, Mullins wouldn’t have collapsed.
        I don’t know in which context Joe Lewis did make this assertion in the lates 60’s. If Lewis really thought that point karate’s tournaments were nonsensical, why did he continue to compete in those tournaments until 1974?

        11 & 12. “You suggest because Chuck Norris won three out of four point-karate matches against Joe Lewis, and Joe Lewis is a fighter… this makes Chucky a fighter?”
        Once again, check your source : those matches you’re talking about have been considered as FIGHTS.
        Besides, you forgot to mention that Chuck Norris got involved in tough battles. For example, during the Allen Steen In the 1968 US Championships organized by Allen Steen, in Dallas, Norris arrived in the finals and beat Fred Wren, with a broken nose, in a REAL BRAWL. Thereafter, he beat Skiper Mullins, before losing to Joe Lewis.
        Norris had his nose broken but that didn’t prevent him to continue to fight.
        You could have mentionned the fight between Delgado and Norris for the World title :”Norris sends Delgado to the canvas, with a punch, in the first round. In the second, Delgado sends his opponent to the canvas, with a kick in the mouth. The fight resumed so fierce and in the end, Chuck Norris wins by 101 to 93.”
        Here Norris fought seriously against a fighter who was ten years younger than him. Norris punched punched his opponent to the canvas. Delgado kicked Norris in the mouth and sent him to the canvas. Norris stood up, fought back in a fierce battle and emerged victorious for the world title!

        You stated that Norris was only ever a champion of pretending to hit people. Looks like your OWN SOURCE has contradicted your assertion!

        13 & 14 Chuck Norris used efficiently a judo’s throw in a combat situation, whereas Bruce Lee demonstrated his grappling moves in his movies.
        By the way, you forgot to mention that, according to your source ‘New accurate Chuck Norris’ records, that Chuck Norris trained in wrestling, judo and boxing with Gene Lebell (though the name of Gene Lebell has been mispelled Gene Bell in the english version of the blog)

        15 & 16. Ok here’s my secret : I’ve only read the article “Chuck Norris : new accurate record” you’ve quoted as your source.
        Chuck Norris is described as a karate fighter. He competed in classical karate tournaments and professional karate tournaments.
        The fight between Delgado and Norris occured during the World Professional Karate Championship. This professional karate meeting was organized by Aaron Banks on November 23th or 24th 1968.
        Let’s see what pro karate tournaments consisted in : “Chuck Norris has participated in karate tournaments or “professional teams competition”, during which blows were given without gloves, but with less control than traditional Karate. This system was established around 1968 in the USA, in order to make points karate most spectacular and effective.”
        Norris competed in pro karate tournaments, so he was a pro fighter. Simple as that.

        17. Let me remind you the topic of your article : “who would have won in a real fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris?
        Of course, the more astute martial artists among this blog’s readers will already be certain of the correct answer. But let’s go through the reasoning nonetheless.”
        In order to answer this question accurately, just as with any question, we will first have to frame the issue accurately”
        So the opinions, philosophies, morales of Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris are irrelevant to the topic.

      • 1. You ask why the post is called “”Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris: The Real Truth”, when a large part of it consists of my subjective opinion. The answer is that the *facts* stated on the post are indeed the real truth, and the *conjecture* is clearly marked as such. That answer should be simple enough even for the likes of you.

        2. This has been a long-standing issue for people like yourself, but once again, I do not find it terribly suspicious that a late 1950s local inter-school boxing tournament in Hong Kong would produce no records that we would be able to locate at this time. I have no reason to doubt the eyewitness accounts of the period from Bruce Lee’s contemporaries, such as Hawkins Cheung, who, in an interview with Inside Kung Fu magazine in 1991, confirmed that he and Lee had entered and competed in the amateur tournament we’re discussing. He gave no details as to Lee’s success or failure during that tournament, but it is sufficient to know that it probably took place.

        You quibble over whether the fabled Gary “Garung” Elms was knocked out by Lee or not, but as stated in the blog post itself, it really doesn’t matter whether Lee knocked the alleged Mr Elms out or not (there are those who say he did, and those who say the fight went the distance, and those who say Elms’ name was spelled differently, yadda yadda yadda) what matters is that Lee had experience of competing in a full contact competitive environment. Chuckster Norris never competed in a full contact tournament.

        3. You imply that the 29 seconds of archive footage of Lee piling drive hooks into a punchbag means that this was the only punch he knew how to throw. The ridiculousness of this implication should be obvious to anyone reading the comment. You could find footage of the world’s greatest ever boxers practicing one move and one move only, cut out 30 seconds of that footage and show it to Avenger here, and he would promptly claim that clearly, Muhammed Ali (for instance) only knows how to throw a left hook. Moronic.

        4. You say: “The footage suggests that Bruce Lee was a beginner in boxing. For the sake of your argument, I really hope you’ve another one piece of evidence that would prove the contrary.” Here you’re guilty of a rhetorical schoolboy error, a logical fallacy known as the “straw man”. You’ll find that in my blog post I state quite clearly: “it is sufficient to know that Lee probably competed in a full-contact arena, with some success, more than once.” At no point did I rest my argument on the idea that Bruce Lee was a great boxer. By attempting to misrepresent my argument so that you can more easily “knock the straw man down”, you have revealed your desperation. ;) Secondly, the footage shows nothing of the sort.

        5. & 6. You state that you cannot find any footage of Bruce Lee fighting for real. This is unsurprising, as no footage exists to my knowledge. However, no footage of Chuck Norris fighting for real exists either. This is because Chuckie Norris never fought for real. He was a point-karate nobody, not a fighter. You mention that the protective gear Lee and his partner were wearing in the sparring demonstration has never been used in full contact tournaments. This is irrelevant, but it’s worth pointing out that headgear, body and shin protection are indeed used in various full contact competitions, especially at an amateur level. In addition, head and shin protection are standard when training for full contact fights, even for pro fighters. Lee was a visionary in this respect as in others, apparently.

        7. & 8. You once again misguidedly cite your example of Joe Lewis actually landing a strike in a non-contact tournament as an example of how rough, tough and dangerous point-karate can be. As stated before, Joe Lewis was an actual full-contact fighter, and he was very much with me on this question, not with you. Second, actually hitting someone during a point karate tournament can lead to your disqualification, so it’s not surprising that one’s opponent might either be unusually shocked by the pain of a real strike, or play up the pain for the judges in the hope of gaining an advantage. The fact is that real fighters condition their bodies so that blows like this won’t knock them to the ground writhing in pain.

        In addition, it’s worth pointing out that not only Joe Lewis, but also Skipper Mullins are with me, rather than with you, on the Bruce Lee issue. Skipper Mullins once stated: “I truly liked and admired Bruce. I worked with him some and he helped me in my foot movement and back fist. Bruce probable weighed 135 pounds at most, but he could hit like a mule. I know, because he knocked me under Sharon Tate’s barstool at Columbia Pictures in 1968. Bruce never confronted any big men to my knowledge. There are stories out there, but none I personally know of. I will say this; I would have picked Bruce in any street situation. He had the knowledge and the attitude to carry him through anything.”

        Your point-karate idols (except the disgusting Chuck Norris) seem to agree with me, rather than with you. Strange, that.

        9. & 10. – You ask why Joe Lewis continued to compete in stupid no-contact point karate tournaments after he realised that they were nonsensical. Good question, but the obvious answer is the money, fame and prestige that went along with the burgeoning karate scene in the US at the time. Second, there were virtually no full contact kickboxing events in the US in the period we’re discussing, and literally no major events between 1971 and 1974. In fact, Joe Lewis was a pioneer in this field, competing in some of the first events. Norris never competed in early full-contact fights. If he was such a “fighter”, why not? Answer: He was a point-karate joke only.

        11. & 12. You once again assert that because people- chuck norris included- have occasionally made contact with some of their strikes during a point-karate match, this makes them “fights”. And once again, you, and all those who are like you and agree with you on this point, are incorrect. Not only is point karate a rule set in which you are not allowed to try to hurt your opponent with strikes, but you can actually be penalised for “excessive contact”, (i.e: actually hurting your opponent with a strike). Just because people might occasionally land a strike- either by accident or on purpose- during point karate matches, this does not make them “fights”, regardless of the injury that is caused by the errant blow. Because ONLY a match in which both participants are trying their best to hurt each other is an actual fight. In fact even submission grappling, which is WAY tougher, more practical and more martial than stupid point-karate tournaments, cannot be called “fighting”. So point-karate definitely can’t.

        13. & 14. The tournament Norris apparently performed a judo throw in wasn’t a fighting tournament, therefore not a “combat situation” as you state. You state that Chuck Norris also trained with LeBell. It is true that according to Bob Wall (where the website in question no doubt obtained their information) Norris went along to LeBell’s gym with his friend Bob Wall at least one time in the 1970s, but there is little to no evidence that he did so regularly, especially not during Bruce Lee’s lifetime. Lee and LeBell, on the other hand, were friends and training together regularly from 1967 at the latest, onwards. Gene LeBell, for instance, tells a story (on http://genelebell.com) that indicates that he trained Norris in the late eighties and early nineties. It’s very difficult to say with any certainty. What seems probable is that Lee was integrating submission grappling into his repertoire in the late sixties, and there’s no evidence that Norris did the same until decades later. At the time they could have fought, Lee would have been the better rounded martial artist.

        15. & 16. A large part of your point here is that because other people call point-karate “fighting”, that makes you right when *you* call it fighting. This is yet another logical fallacy, namely an “appeal to popularity”, and is a resounding fail.

        You say “Norris competed in pro karate tournaments, so he was a pro fighter. Simple as that.” Except “pro-karate” wasn’t fighting, therefore pro-karate competitors weren’t fighters. Fighting is when you’re both trying to hurt each other. The point-karate drivel you’re waxing lyrical about is not fighting, whether people accidentally take a punch or not. If you’re playing “Hungry Hungry Hippoes” and punch the player to your left in the face, does that make Hungry Hungry Hippoes a fighting sport? According to your “reasoning”, it does.

        17. Once again, you suggest that I should leave Chuck Norris’ opinions on non-martial issues out of this discussion. Once again, I say “no”. :)

        I also say that someone like Chuck Norris, who hates gay people, hates education, hates freedom and loves tyranny and ignorance… and who lies and claims to have been a fighter when he was never a fighter, attempting to place himself on a pedestal above a man like Bruce Lee, who actually DID have a brain and a soul… should be publically humiliated whenever possible. This was the whole cause for my writing the above article, and is a large part of the point of the article too.

  4. Ignore the whether you consider bruce a fighter or not he accomplished alot more than chuck. He was philoshper bring western and eastern ideas combining them to study, famous chinese actor/director breaking the negative stereotypes on screen, weight lifting expert constantly finding new ways to train his body inventing new machines, was one of the first to use protien shakes and other drinks that people use today, and just raw athletic skills from his many various feats for finger push ups, one hand pull ups, unreal speed, and sheer power record is quite a feat. Chuck was a several time sparring champion which is very impressive but was his movie and shows that propelled him to stardom. Bruce lee student fought chuck norriss and went 2-3 against so its not like bruce lee style would have been useless. The movie is a script so holds no merit, and the wiki is stupid i could write article about a martial artists down street and make it just as long, that is wiki for you. In my honest opinion I would give edge to bruce he didn’t compete but he did practice sparring and study many other martial arts that we have seen in todays world of say mma does give an advantage in a fight.

  5. John says:

    Seriously? You bring religious belief into the discussion, and then offer your fallacious opinion that Bruce Lee was “more moral” and “more intelligent” than Chuck Norris based upon Chuck’s beliefs?

    Your article would have been an interesting speculation if not for your completely unnecessary slur of Chuck Norris.

    I’m a fan of both Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris. Both were tremendous martial artists. I’m not an apologist for either one–they were both very good at their chosen profession.

    It even seems likely that Bruce Lee could have beaten Chuck Norris in a tournament, whether by point or full contact. Maybe not. It’s impossible to know at this point.

    But their religious beliefs have nothing to do with it. Religious beliefs–whether atheism, Christianity, or another–reflect neither fighting prowess nor intelligence. Your inclusion of such an argument in this case is disingenuous and dishonest.

    Frankly, the idea that an atheist can truly be moral is nothing more than a joke. Morality distinguishes between good and evil ideals. Atheists may ascribe to some moral system, but their position is weak, since any such system they adopt is just that–adopted–and has no real meaning. Good or evil for atheism is whatever the atheist chooses it to be. There is no true morality–a morality based upon universal truths–for an atheist.

    At least Christians can be truly moral, whether they are or not.

    They are the intellectually-marginalized who perpetuate the myth that atheism correlates to intelligence and morality. Neither is true, and atheism is, in fact, amoral by nature, so doesn’t correlate to morality at all, unless negatively.

    • Thank you for the comment.

      Firstly, let’s make sure that it’s fully understood: The article above notes that Bruce Lee was a more moral human being than Chuck Norris specifically in that Chuck Norris lobbies for immoral things, preaches hatred, fights against the education of the young and self-aggrandizes to a ridiculous degree… while Bruce Lee said that “under the sky, there is but one family”. Pretty obvious comparison, and nothing really to do with Lee’s atheism, except in contrast to Chuckie’s rampant creationist bulls**t.

      Secondly regarding religion it’s important to note that I respect people’s right to believe whatever they wish; whatever gives them comfort and fulfilment in a harsh, unforgiving and often random existence. Whatever works for you.

      However this blog is about finding out what is true in the martial arts and in life. It would be remiss of me therefore if I didn’t point out the glaring flaws in your reasoning on the subject of religion and morality.

      It’s worth pointing out that, yes, the vast majority of what we would call religious beliefs are simply and demonstrably wrong. There is *nothing* in this world to suggest the existence of any supernatural powers, be they deities or spirits. In ancient times we had folk-sciences; working hypotheses about the world that involved storm gods, creator gods… gods of death. We had working hypotheses about “souls”. We may have needed those ideas in the darkness of early mankind, but we have better theories now. Scientific theories. We know that the most likely right answers (by far) to our questions about the world are answers that simply do not involve the influence of supernatural beings or forces. Anyone who has had access to a basic education but still believes in gods and monsters? Well they’re simply deliberately deluding themselves, consciously or otherwise. Why are they doing this? There may be as many reasons as there are people.

      You wheeled out the tired, disproven old cliche that only religious folk (specifically Christians) are capable of being truly moral. A very self-serving, self-aggrandizing and childishly wrong-headed idea. Why do I say that? For many reasons, including the following:

      1. Religious “morality” is at least as “made up” as non-religious morality, if not more so. It merely pretends not to be.
      2. The idea of doing as little harm to other creatures as one can is as objective an idea as possible to base one’s morality on. There is nothing more objective. Certainly not self-contradicting bronze-age religious texts.
      3. Morality is innate to human beings. We have structures in our brain that allow us to empathise with other beings. No religious text is needed to tell a normal person that harming others is wrong. Their own brain will tell them this.
      4. Even religious people themselves cherry-pick moral principles from their religious texts and ignore others. They do this because bronze-age pro-genocide and pro-slavery passages in their texts don’t agree with their own innate human morality, which is the only morality.
      5. Doing the bidding of a petty supernatural being that has butchered whole races of people for no good reason and sent millions to an immortal eternity of pain and suffering solely for the sin of not pledging loyalty to it… well, that’s not morality. It’s just fear of a psycho-god’s retribution. And doing the right thing out of fear isn’t moral behaviour. Doing the right thing because you feel it’s the right thing to do is moral behaviour.

      There’s not much space to expand on those here, but you can visit

      http://atheism.about.com/od/atheismmyths/p/AtheistsMorals.htm

      for more.

      As for atheism being a reflection of intelligence… it’s a pretty irrelevant question… but it’s worth noting that studies have shown that the majority of leading scientists are indeed atheists.

      http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/news/file002.html

      Make of that what you will.

  6. There are some stupid idiots on here who claim that Bruce Lee’s heavy bag backyard video looks like “poor technique” and “amateur boxing.”

    Some of these people aren’t able of critically analyzing the situation at all and realizing that it was just a HOME video of him testing out his home video camera…. because Bruce Lee was getting himself ready for recording his JKD video courses with his students.

    Bruce was just testing the video camera to see how it looks. He had no idea he was gonna DIE and then decades later the video goes public for everyone to see. If Bruce knew he was gonna die, and he knew this video would go public, I’m sure he would’ve displayed some much more impressive talent. Such as him kicking the 300 lb bag that all the loser skeptics on the internet find so hard to believe.

    && also it just looks like Bruce Lee in that boxing video, it looks like he’s just jabs & jab combinations from his Southpaw / Bai Jong stance. What we don’t see is the JKD Hook Punch, the JKD Straight Lead, the JKD Shovel Punch, and etc… we don’t see any of that.

    Bruce was clearly just testing out some waters for the video camera, he had no idea the video would go public when he died, and if he did, we would be seeing much more impressive shit on his records.

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