Tandem Car Park wrote:
Walter Wong wrote:If you can keep distance, it becomes very difficult for your opponent to close in to hit or grab you. If you can't keep distance then it'll appear like the Muay Thai, MMA and the like bouts.
Why do you think Bruce Lee then gravitated to boxing-like footwork similar to what is seen in kickboxing and MMA matches?
One reason is that when he came to the U.S., he was towered over by teenagers. His first students were just the guys he hung around with, and they were large bodied street fighters. Bruce at 5'6" and 130-ish pounds was a gorilla in Hong Kong, but a twerp in America.
Bruce realized he had to end a fight instantly, because he would have no chance of winning if he engaged in trading blows with people who outweighed him by 80 or 100 pounds; he didn't have the frame to absorb it. And if he got dragged down to the ground, it was lights out.
The Wong Jack Man fight further reinforced in his mind that he needed to be able to end a fight very quickly, not have it drag out into a long affair. If taking the punch of a skilled 200 pounder was possible for a few seconds on a frame like his, it wouldn't be easy and would require superb conditioning. But taking several minutes worth of them was out of the question.
So Bruce studied films of Ali and other boxers and started opening up his footwork. He also turned perhaps the primary emphasis of his own personal fighting style to a lightning fast close and strike with the leading limb, taking a page from the fencing lunge in this regard. Bruce practiced quick closes from distance endlessly. Jesse Glover and other key students have noted that his ability to cover ground quickly was amazing even from a good distance, and Jesse says the quick close, straight punch, and backfist were his favored techniques.
So elusive and aggressive footwork were survival skills for a small man in a land of giants. It was also key to inducing and taking advantage of mistakes in rhythm and timing, which was a great help in intercepting attacks, which also became a big part of Lee's personal style.