It has now been nearly 44 years since Bruce Lee died at the age of only 32, yet it’s like he never went away. Pop culture still references him relentlessly—witness former Oasis lead singer Liam Gallagher proclaiming his first solo video has “Bruce Lee vibes.”
Which makes it all the more mind-blowing it’s only now we get to see Bruce in an actual fight—and yes, it is incredibly weird this video took so long to come to the world’s attention. (Presumably, the owner of the footage couldn’t be bothered to dig it out of his stacks of unpublished Shakespeare plays and lost Beatles recordings.)
The clip shows Bruce taking on a top student, Ted Wong. Both men spar in front of an audience and are heavily padded. (It’s likely the scrap happened in California and the gear was legally required.)
How does it go? Pretty much exactly as you’d expect based on Enter the Dragon although, happily for Ted, Bruce leaves out the kill move. (Hey, dead students are bad for business.)
Essentially, Bruce puts on a display of why he’s the master and poor Ted is the pupil. It’s not just that he dodges Ted’s attacks while landing kicks, punches and takedowns at will, but that Bruce makes it look so damned easy—you half want him to execute a kill move just to put Theodore out of his misery.
Take two minutes to watch and then imagine the damage Little Phoenix might have done to Steven Seagal.