Bruce Lee is a household name and, although he died relatively young, the legacy he left simply by being really good at punching people is astounding. Now there are many oft-repeated facts about the supposed almost superhuman abilities of Mr. Lee, and a simple Google search for his name leads to dozens of people questioning the veracity of them. So here are some tales of Bruce Lee’s superpowers, backed up with books. Knowledge is power.
10. The Dragon Flag
Bruce Lee was fanatical about fitness; according to his widow Linda Lee, there was never a moment Bruce wasn’t working out (the guy would watch TV doing full splits). Of all the muscles in the body, Lee was most concerned with building up his core, as he believed that the core (stomach area) is used in almost all movement, hence was greatly important to martial arts.
Is his quest to improve his core strength, Lee invented something now known as the Dragon Flag, in his honor. If you couldn’t guess already, it’s considered one of the most difficult core exercises out there. Because Lee didn’t mess around. Stallone may have brought the move to peoples attention in Rocky 4, but Lee took it to another level, reportedly being able to support his entire frame on the edge of a bench, with only his shoulders touching anything, all while the rest of his body remained perfectly rigid and horizontal to the ground.
Just imagine for a second that you’d been scheduled to fight Lee, and heard all of these rumors about him, only to see him floating in mid air. You’d run away from that set so fast that you’d explode through time to the premiere of the movie in which he kicks your ass.
9. Catching Rice With Chopsticks
Remember that scene in the Karate Kid where Pat Morita tries to catch a fly with chopsticks, but then Daniel (Ralph Macchio) does it? Yeah, Bruce Lee topped that. It was reported that Bruce was so keen to increase his reflexes, that he would throw rice into the air and try to catch it on the way down. Because being able to react to a small piece of rice travelling straight down is clearly the best way to prepare for large men trying to punch you. Martial arts!
Although seemingly impractical, the sheer amount of dexterity and skill required for such a feat meant that his hands had to be permanently balled into fists near women, so their hips wouldn’t detach themselves from their body, and instinctively run towards him. Probably.
8. He Was Too Strong For Regular Heavy Bags
In his time, Lee used a multitude of custom-built exercise machines that were usually created just for him by a close friend, James Lee. Some of them were made due to requests from Lee himself; others were built out of sheer necessity. Lee’s heavy bag is an example of the latter.
Coming from an unknown source, Lee’s custom heavy bag literally taunted others with its immense size. Normal heavy bags clock in at around 70 pounds, with some clocking in at a much meatier 150. Lee’s weighed THREE-HUNDRED POUNDS. And it was filled with friggin’ metal. Not because he was showing off, but because he literally couldn’t use a lighter, non-metallic one without breaking it. There are conflicted, and often confused, stories that claim Lee was able to kick a heavy bag clear through the ceiling. Though he may not have ever done that, he did give a guy whiplash by kicking one too hard. Seriously.
7. One-Fingered Pushups. One-Armed Pullups
How many push-ups could you do right now? If the answer is anything other than “so many the Earth will think I’m trying to mate with it,” you’re just not up to the standards of Bruce Lee. In his younger days, Lee reportedly liked to show off while training. And one of his favorite tricks was one-fingered push ups. It’s exactly what it sounds like, and Bruce did them for no other reason than to show that he could. What’s your party trick? Bet it seems kind of sucky now, doesn’t it?
Bruce’s immense strength wasn’t just limited to his fingers either; he was also able to do one-armed pull-ups, with some sources claiming he was able to bust out 50 like it wasn’t even a big deal. Of course, this ability wasn’t unique to Bruce, but the fact he did it simply because he could kind of makes you proud to live in a world where his biceps existed.
6. The One-Inch Punch
This is one of Lee’s more famous feats, and it’s no surprise why. Lee was able to summon so much power in his arms, that he could knock a fully grown adult male over from less than an inch away. That’s a feat so impressive that scientists poked around in martial artists’ brains, just to see how such a thing was even possible. There’s even rare footage of Lee doing the one-inch punch on a wooden board, presumably just so trees watching at home would know their place. And there are stories about him using it on inner city school kids, because Bruce valued teaching the next generation. Lesson one: don’t mess with him.
5. You Literally Couldn’t Punch Him
Bruce Lee, being a huge star who was famous for being really, really good at fighting people, naturally spent a lot of his time being challenged to street fights, because people in the ’70s were shockingly stupid.
The fights almost always ended the same way: with Bruce shrugging them off, because fighting random passers-by served no purpose. Sometimes though, the challengers just plain insisted, and thus Bruce had to get nasty. In his life, there were three verified times Lee was challenged to a fight, and none of his opponents could even land a single hit on him’ he was simply too fast. When he was challenged on the set of Enter the Dragon, Bruce took apart his opponent by deftly avoiding every blow, and by locking him against a wall. He then stood him up, and give him a lesson.
Admittedly, I fail to see the logic in teaching a guy who starts random street fights how to better beat people up. I won’t question it though, purely because I’ll be dead one day and I’ll have to justify my decision to Lee and his ghost army.
4. He Could Grab A Coin Out Of Your Hand, And Replace It With Another Coin
Lee’s speed is so legendary that most cheetahs have a photo of him on their walls, and Usain Bolt has to watch his movies in slow motion.
One of Lee’s most impressive feats of speed, was his ability to snatch a coin from your hand. The usual protocol would be Lee placing a coin in your hand, after which he’d stand a few feet away. He’d then instruct you to close your palm as soon as you saw him move.
When you saw the blur of movement that was Bruce Lee, you’d snap your hand shut and feel a round object. Your smugness would only last so long though, since your next sight would be Lee smiling while holding your coin, leaving you to open your own hand and see a different coin that Lee had placed there in less than a second. This was usually the last thing most fans saw before their heads exploded out of frustration. It’s no surprise that Lee died young; he clearly experienced time at twice the rate normal people do.
3. He Was Too Fast For Cameras Of The Time To Film
It’s an oft-repeated fact that Lee’s movements were too fast for cameras to film, so they had to slow down the footage. Well, there’s some truth to that. For some reason though, people seem to miss out the coolest part.
When this problem first arose, Lee was on the set of the Green Hornet, where he noted that all of the fight scenes simply showed him standing still while people fell over in front of him. For some reason the show’s producer didn’t like the idea of a sidekick with magical mind powers, so he asked Lee to slow down, which he did, which produced a blur instead. Lee was so fast, that he had to slow down to first be seen as a blur. This is the first time that sentence has been used about something other than an overweight person eating.
2. He Once Dislocated A Guy’s Shoulder, With A Slap
If you’re going to claim someone has superhuman powers, it makes sense to show them completely outclassing a regular person. Because this is Bruce Lee though, how about we have him outclass a highly trained martial artist instead?
As noted, Bruce required special training equipment that could cope with his power. On occasion though, he would spar and train with people stupid enough to stand within kicking distance of Bruce Lee. That distance, by the way, was also known as any country Bruce Lee was currently in.
In one such case, it’s noted that Bruce dislocated a guy’s arm during training. When confronted, Bruce became genuinely confused since according to him, “it was more of a slap than a punch.” Just read that back; Bruce was so much stronger than regular people, he could dislocate their shoulders with something he considered a light slap. Holy crap, what happened when he actually hit someone with full force? Well …
1. His Kicks Literally Sent People Flying Through The Air
For all his strength and training, Bruce Lee rarely ever showed his true power. Mainly because, as shown, he was capable of injuring people just by standing too close to them.
However, Bruce did have one trick he liked to use. One of Lee’s most treasured possessions was his training shield, which he reportedly took everywhere with him. One of his favorite “pranks” was to have people hold this shield and let him kick them. During the time he was alive, these were words that undertakers had pre-inscribed on tombstones, just in case. The amount of power he put into each kick varied, but it’s noted that he could easily lift people into the air with one of his blows.
When you’re able to make other people escape Earth’s gravity, simply by kicking them, it’s only a matter of time until God takes notice, and brings you to Heaven to serve as his personal bodyguard.