Saw the SPIKE TV documentary on Bruce Lee last night. Most of it was stuff I already knew, having read a bunch and seen a shitload of stuff on him from before he was famous. Actually saw him do a demo at Parker's Internationals back in the sixties, his one-inch punch. I went to his L.A. school in Chinatown around 1967 or so, but he wasn't there, Danny Inosanto was teaching, as I recall.
Lee's picture on the cover of a magazine still sells copies, and back in the day, he was the man.
He was fast and in terrific shape, maxing out at about 140 pounds at his peak. He died at age 32; I'd have been interested in seeing what moves he came up with had he lived to be an old man. If you watch him, you can see how skilled, fit, fast, and flexible he was, but you can't really teach that. The JKD he was doing just before he died? You needed to have four hours a day to train to make it work like Lee did, plus really good genetics ...
The documentary is notable for some of the folks interviewed who knew Lee best, and there were a couple things I hadn't heard before. And some stuff they didn't speak to, but which had been hinted at along the way. A lot of what was bandied about at the time was pure rumor–the Dim Mak death touch stuff, the OD on drugs. But the official version has almost certainly been sanitized at least a little for public consumption. He died in the apartment of a young Chinese actress, Betty Ting-Pei, and the studio hushed that up. When it came out, it made the official story suspect. Supposedly, Lee and Betty were going over the script for Game of Death, but that doesn't sound like what they were doing.
Some good archival footage is included, too, mostly B&W home movies stuff not always available even on YouTube.
I particularly like Judo Gene LeBell's comments, especially about Lee being the father of mixed-martial arts, and who'd have won if Chuck Norris and Bruce Lee had fought. (He'd put his money on Chuck, LeBell said, and he'd have reason to know: He counted both Norris and Lee as his students when they wanted to learn grappling.)
For the MMA record, Gene fought boxer Milo Savage in 1963, choking him out in the fourth round. He's also credited with choking out Stevan Seagal, and was considered one of the toughest guys around. He did a bunch of movies, and he still looks like a bulldog you wouldn't want to mess with.
Check it out when it repeats if you missed it, it's an hour and a half and worth seeing.