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Wednesday, 04/04/2012, 12:46 pm

VIDEO | The Bruce Lee Influence on Modern MMA


Roots of Fight revisits Bruce Lee’s impact on the evolution of mixed martial arts with a new mini documentary featuring rare footage of Lee and a capsule collection. This mini-doc Features commentary from some of MMA’s finest, including Paul Lazenby, Eddie Bravo, and Ralek Gracie.

The film examines the evolution of Lee’s style from Wing Chun to his opening Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute, to his ultimate realization that the best fighter, the most complete fighter has no style at all.

“I do not teach karate because I do not believe in style,” said Lee. “When you don’t have style, you can say, here I am as a human being, how can I express myself totally and completely.”

Lee went on to develop Jeet Kune Do (the way of the intercepting fist) a form of Gung Fu that he believed to be a philosophy rather than a style.

“The attitude that you build your own style using whatever works for you,” says Paul Lazenby, “That very thought is the cornerstone of modern mixed martial arts.”

Roots of Fight releases this mini documentary of Bruce Lee describing the essence of mixed martial arts along with a Bruce Lee inspired line of apparel as a tribute to his first Jun Fan Gung Fu institute that opened in Seattle, Washington in 1961.

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18 Comments to VIDEO | The Bruce Lee Influence on Modern MMA

  1. Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

    I’m tired of these constant rehashes of what we already know about Bruce Lee. Tell me about his sparring match between him and Trovador Ramos and things we don’t know. I want the quirky little details.

    • James says:

      This is some silly pr marketing crap. No disrespect to the legend of Bruce, but he has nothing in common with mma save for being open minded.

      • West says:

        Not to sound like a dick James , but no disrespect to you, but it seems you know little of the legend of bruce lee or the background philosophy of Jeet Kune Do and its stages of combat and involving many forms taken from different aspects of Martial Arts…….a MIX if you.

        • James says:

          I know that, but Bruce’s fighting system had little to no impact on the development of mma as a sport. This is just a marketing ploy to get tma fans to watch ufc because a lot of them don’t like it. If they really wanted to show the origims of mma they would make a movie on vale tudo and the Gracie lineage but it’s not like they are gonna win over Brazil any more than they already have. I would like to see Bruce vs Aldo though.

        • West says:

          Okay, I can agree that Bruce Lees fighting system has little to do with creating the sport as we know it today, his philosophy of martial arts was ahead of its time. Art Jimmerson fighting Royce Gracie in UFC always comes to mind. I credit the Gracie family with the creation of the competition we see today ,

  2. jbeamazing says:

    linking bruce lee to mma is good for people that don’t know mma but for real bj penn would own bruce as much as I love Mr. Lee

    • no way says:

      bruce lee would have whooped Bj.

      • Jujitsu Player says:

        lol….If you really believe Bruce Lee could have taken BJ Penn then you’re crazy. Pretty much every UFC fighter today would destroy him. I’m not trying to take anything away from him but just believe the MMA athletes of today and broad range of skill sets would dominate him. People forget he was a martial artist and actor, not a fighter.

        On the broader subject of his influence on modern MMA, i think it’s massive but only in terms of him being the reason a lot of modern day fighters got interested in martial arts in the first place people like GSP, Silva, Jones, even Liddell.

        In terms of early MMA pioneers I think Gene LeBell and Helio Gracie have legitimate claims to being involved in true MMA fights against boxing and Judo respectively…

        • Bruce Lee Actually did a lot of street fights. In fact, a street fight against three martial artists is a HUGE part in Jeet Kun Do, because it took to long to defeat them. So he created it to cover those holes and to win as fast as possible. The Bruce lee back then may not win against to the fighters now, but if Bruce was alive in this generation and had what fighters now had to train with, Im sure he could probably beat Many of them. Bruce Was a real Fighter. Chuck Norris on the other hand, was just a martial artist.

        • Jujitsu Player says:

          I guess its all very subjective so I respect your opinion, who’s to say how he would do today, I’m just basing it on the fact that he was never a professional fighter. I’ve seen many documentaries about his life so I know he had more than his share of street fights.

          I wouldn’t be so dismissive of Norris though as he has a phenomenal fighting record and is a legit 8th Dan Black Belt.

  3. James says:

    Bruce was definitely ahead of his time and a true master of his art. He was not however the first ma to look beyond their own style. There have been quite a few forward thinking, open minded masters throughout time. One in particular who comes to mind is Musashi. He was known to preach that “one should know the ways of all the arts”. No one can deny the legend ability of Bruce, but to see this as anything other than Dana and Zuffa trying to milk money and fans out of the legacy of this man is foolish.

    • Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

      I’m glad you mentioned Miyamoto Musashi. He’s one of my childhood heroes.

      • James says:

        Musashi was the messiah of martial philosophy. They should make a movie about him. Dude would have murked Bruce Lee lol.

        • Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

          Yeah LOL, I love Bruce but…

          Musashi > Bruce Lee

          He has tons of movies, the Samurai trilogy are probably the best.

        • James says:

          No recent ones though. I would like to see a modern accurate attempt at a biography. If people today realized what he accomplished when he did they would be staggered. Also Book of 5 Rings is like the ultimate guide for success in anything.

        • Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

          He is such a mysterious figure that any biography would have to stretch the truth. We know more about Jack the Ripper than we do Musashi. I have a biography on him and its pretty good, I think there were 3 different Musashi’s at the same time. No one knows exactly when he was born, if he actually taught himself martial arts (possible his dad taught him) or was actually undefeated like he said. Its been forever since I read book of the five rings. I should read it with adult eyes.

          History channel actually had a biography a couple years ago on Musashi hosted by the Iron Chef guy… I forgot his name but it was mediocre, very watered down compared to my book.

          If they made a modern movie about him I would have John Woo direct because Red Cliff was pretty badass. Idk if there is an actor alive who could fill those shoes besides Toshiro Mifune but he’s too old to reprise this role.

  4. James says:

    Have you read the Lone Samurai? That was the biography I read and found it to be fairly informative and honest. They did a really good job of being informative while drawing the line between what we know and what is myth. It also did say that his dad was a highly respected ma but the young Musashi was disagreeable and would criticize his technique. So after getting into it with his father one day he up and left to become a ronin. Did you ever play the squaresoft game brave fencer Musashi?

    • Ninja Oreo Dollop says:

      Yeah, I read the lone samurai like 4 years ago. That book was the best biography on Musashi I have read or seen. The details are all a little fuzzy. I think his dad was a retainer for a lord or something… He may have taught Musashi how to use the truncheon.

      I get all of my details mixed up with the fictional version of his life. I think he was sent to live with his uncle and saw a poster for a match in his village. He ended up brutally killing this dude who was a grown man and he was probably 13 years old.

      Nah, I never played I owned a SNES and a N64 it never came out on those systems.

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