Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris were friends and some of the most popular martial artists in the world…
It is common knowledge that Bruce helped Chuck break into Hollywood and make movies, their friendship has been well documented. There backgrounds and path to worldwide martial arts fame were different though. Bruce’s path was that of practitioner and philosopher while Chuck’s path was that of a fighter.
On November 24, 1968, Chuck Norris was fighting in New York for the Karate middleweight world title against Louis Delgado. In attendance was Bruce Lee, who at the time was working on the television series The Green Hornet. Chuck defeated Delgado and won the title and afterward was introduced to Bruce. The two hit it off and became friends and worked out for several years together.
Bruce Lee eventually ended up inviting Chuck to be part of his 1972 movie Way of the Dragon. In the movie, Bruce’s character beats Chuck’s character and ends up killing him after he doesn’t surrender. One of the questions that always comes from this is who would win a fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris in real life.
It seems friendship always kept suck from coming out and saying what he really felt.
Anytime Chuck Norris was asked about Bruce Lee in interviews he always answers in a very respectful and professional manner. There is no reason for him not to. The two were friends and Bruce helped him start his career in film, which made Chuck a martial arts superstar. We have had glimpses or what Chuck really thinks about the two fighting for real. In this interview, he gives probably one of his most direct answers when it comes to him fighting Bruce Lee in a real fight.
“I was a professional fighter,” said Chuck. “He was good, he was good.”
The interviewer then implies that Chuck could have beaten Bruce Lee and Chuck replies:
“I don’t even know. I didn’t want to go there and Bruce didn’t want to go there. Bruce didn’t want to go there and I didn’t want to go there.”
Doesn’t seem too bad right? But when you watch the video, Chuck’s reaction when asked the question is to laugh when he says he was a professional fighter. Almost as to imply how dumb that question is because you are talking about the Karate world champion of the world vs someone who doesn’t fight professionally and is just a practitioner.
Their friendship evolved because of martial arts.
It seems that Chuck realized how that sounded during the interview and quickly responded with the saying that neither of them ever wanted to take it there. Which doesn’t surprise me because he has always tried to make sure everyone knew there was never any type of beef between he and Bruce.
Despite Chuck always trying to maintain professionalism and friendship in every answer you have to imagine how annoying it had to be to not be able to say what he really thought. I find it very hard to believe that he did not feel he could beat Bruce in a real fight. He was a legitimate Karate champion and I have never met any pro fighter that wasn’t confident in his ability.
We will never know who would have one unless there is some secret unreleased video that shows the two fighting against each other while sparring. If that does exist until it surfaces we can only speculate.