An age-old debate still exists over the most controversial brawl since 1964 - the Bruce Lee vs. Wong Jack Man fight.
Undoubtedly, Bruce Lee is known for his strong martial arts prowess. Moreover, he also introduced Kung Fu to the English language and dictionary. Needless to say, he is the ultimate patron saint representing martial arts.
On the other hand, is Wong Jack Man. Unlike Bruce Lee, who has a wide range of achievements, Wong is known for the infamous Bruce Lee vs. Wong Jack Man brawl. However, he was also a master of Chinese martial arts.
So, how did the Bruce Lee vs. Wong Jack Man fight break out? And what happened during the fight? Unfortunately, some of the answers remain a mystery to this day. However, the conflict and all the events that occurred around it made it a legend.
About Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee (also known as Bruce Jun Fan Lee) was born in a small town in San Francisco. However, he was brought up in Hong Kong, where he took up Chinese Gung Fu. When he was 13, he understood that confidence was the main value of mastering martial arts.
During this time of intense training, he also uncovered his other interests, including acting and dancing. Thanks to the elegant movements he learned via martial arts. His love for theatrical arts soon got him signed for 20 movies during his stay in Hong Kong.
However, in 1959, Lee decided to move back to his home in San Francisco with just $100 in his pocket. Years later, he majored in college and supported himself as a Gung Fu teacher and a dance instructor.
This led him to open his school of martial arts on the West Coast!
About Wong Jack Man
Wong Jack Man was a martial arts expert born in China but later moved to San Francisco to kickstart his martial arts teaching career.
For almost five decades, Wong worked as an instructor in California before finally signing out in 2005. After this, he started to work at the Fort Mason Center as a teacher in San Francisco.
Like Bruce Lee, Wong Jack Man was also a master of traditional martial arts native to China. Therefore, he is considered to be a Grandmaster at Taijiquan, Northern Shaolin, and Xingyiquan.
However, Wong's style of teaching the arts revolved around the traditional manner. Therefore, he put more emphasis on the internal and technical aspects of the arts.
This made his internal power and form extremely strong. Therefore, his classes were only available for his advanced students and professional teachers who wished to reach more incredible milestones.
The Reason Behind The Brutal Bruce Lee Vs. Wong Jack Man Brawl
By now, you may have understood that both Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man had started their own martial arts studio in the Bay Area. Bruce Lee ran Jun Fan martial arts studio, where Wong Jack Man owned Jun Fan Gung Institute.
The presence of both professionals in the Bay Area made this a magnet for martial arts fanatics. However, it was not until 1964 when Lee and Wong noticed they were both on the opposing ends.
Some say that the two Grandmasters had disagreements over Lee's martial studio because it attracted several non-Chinese students. Wong, on the other hand, was more focused on teaching his skills to local white people.
Therefore, Wong proposed a fight with Bruce Lee and set a deal to shut down his studio if Lee were to lose the fight.
However, others claim that Lee was the one who called Wong for the Bruce Lee vs. Wong Jack Man fight claiming that he would be able to overpower any expert martial artist in town. As a response to his boasting, Wong requested a fight.
And while Wong asked for a public battle, Lee challenged him to a private hand with only a handful of eyewitnesses.
What Happened At The Bruce Lee Vs. Wong Jack Man Beatdown
As mentioned earlier, the Bruce Lee vs. Wong Jack Man fight happened within the confines of the walls. Hence, there were only a handful of people to witness the actual brawl, and this included Linda (Bruce Lee's wife), James Lee (the studio associate), and William Chen (local Tai Chi instructor).
And one of the main reasons this Bruce Lee vs. Wong Jack Man fight is hugely controversial to date is that the three eyewitnesses have three versions of how the fight unfolded.
According to Linda, Bruce Less won the fight in just under 5 minutes. She says both the fighters came out and bowed formally before the fight.
Once the fighting began, Wong used his classic postures, whereas Bruce used his Wing Chun style and started to deliver straight, strong punches. In just a minute, Wong's crew appeared on the scene and tried to stop the fight while Bruce was just starting to warm up.
However, his men could not stop them as James Lee had given the green light for a continued Bruce Lee vs. Wong Jack Man fight.
A few seconds later, Bruce was still coming strong with these punches, and Wong started to backup. She even claims that at one point, he turned and ran for his life! However, Bruce took this opportunity to spring him to the ground and beat him beyond his senses.
"Is this enough?" Bruce asks his adversary. Wong begged, saying, "Yes, that's enough!". However, Bruce commanded him for a second response to make sure Wong understood the fact that Bruce was the winner.
According to Wong himself, Bruce Lee acted somewhat like a wild bull. He also knew that if Bruce were to overpower him, he would kill him. Therefore, instead of throwing punches, Wong opted for a defensive style of fighting.
Unlike Linda, Wong said that the fight went on for 20 minutes. It eventually ended as Lee was huffing and puffing for air, instead of either of them ending it with a complete knock-out.
This is why William Chen considers this battle to be a tie. This version of the Bruce Lee vs. Wong Jack Man fight was more in line with Wong's version as he too said Lee had an aggressive style of fighting. Wong, on the other hand, used a restrained manner.
He also claimed that the Bruce Lee vs. Wong Jack Man fight went on for at least 20 to 25 minutes. However, he said that it did not end with Wong begging for sweet relief.
Who Actually Won The Bruce Lee Vs. Wong Jack Man Fight?
Due to the controversial statements of the eyewitnesses, there is no clear winner to the Bruce Lee vs. Wong Jack Man fight. However, one thing is clear. After this fight, Bruce Lee's style of fighting had changed.
He realized that the Wing Chun style of fighting was too aggressive on both him and the opponent. Therefore, he soon developed his own style of fighting. This was more practical and combined all the elements of taekwondo, Wing Chun, fencing, wrestling, and even a bit of western boxing!
Even if the Bruce Lee vs. Wong Jack Man battle royale has no clear winner, it still served as an essential catalyst for Lee to reform his fighting style for the rest of his days.