Over the course of his life and especially later on after he founded Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee said many a times that martial arts aren’t necessarily for fighting, but for a better, healthier lifestyle. In a way, he said that when one begins practicing any type of martial art, one changes himself from the core.
Maybe this is also the reason why he seems such a legendary character. Many of things were said about him and about his philosophy, many of things that seem to be unreal for us, the rest of the world. Especially if we pair all these so-called legends with his official biography (which can be found anywhere), we still end up in the same place: he was a legend.
That’s why, when seeing some of his clips (such as the one in which he auditions for The Green Hornet), we fail to believe that he was too fast for the camera. We are used to powerful pieces of technology that could capture the motion of a humming bird’s wings, let alone the kick of a martial artist.
Maybe that is also a reason why we fail to comprehend the fact that Bruce Lee’s hand moved 3 feet in 1/500 of a second. Even nowadays, such speed would make some lesser modern cameras take blurry pictures. Furthermore, if you would transform 3 feet per 1/500 of a second you would get a speed that would be mind-boggling – go ahead, do this.
If you pair this speed with what the great Chuck Norris said (that pound for pound Bruce Lee is still one of the strongest man in the world), you could understand how the martial artist could make 100lb training bags explode with just one kick.
But of course, you still couldn’t get behind this idea and actually believe it. The logic works when adding the numbers, but you still wouldn’t believe. How could a simple man break a solid-steel protective headgear that resisted the blows of a sledgehammer?
Furthermore, if we were to look into his biography, we would see that he had such a training schedule and such training exercises that no man would actually resist them. As a matter of fact, Bruce Lee injured himself severely (after his good morning exercise): he placed 100lb of weight on his shoulders and bent without doing any warm-up.
After the doctors told him that his fourth sacral nerve was all but destroyed and that he would be lucky if he would lead a normal life from then on, Bruce Lee spent the next 6 months with a new working routine – after 6 months he walked on his own feet out of the hospital and became faster and stronger than ever before.
What else could be said? That he is the only one that beat Chuck Norris in his prime? That Jackie Chan was happy to be kicked in the face with a bo staff by the already legendary martial artist?
As a conclusion: did you see how fast 3 feet per 1/500 of a second actually is?