Bruce was very instrumental in bringing awareness to martial arts but Helio Gracie demonstrated what worked in a real setting. Bruce popularized martial arts but had fight scenes with him defeating 10+ guys at a time. Both legends but Helio is responsible for the creation of the UFC that revolutionized the martials arts the most since Bruce.
Here's an interview about his philosophy:
Pierre: One of your students, James Coburn , played in a movie called "Our Man Flint", in which he used Karate. Was that what he learned from you?
Bruce Lee: He started training with me after the film. Not...
Pierre: So he learned after he played in "Our Man Flint".
Bruce Lee: Right. Right. You see, actually, I do not teach, you know, Karate, because I do not believe in styles anymore. I mean I do not believe that there is such thing as, like, a Chinese way of fighting or a Japanese way of fighting...or whatever way of fighting, because unless a human being has three arms and four legs, there can be no different form of fighting. But, basically, we only have two hands and two feet. So styles tend to, not only separate man because they have their own doctrines and the doctrine became the gospel truth that you cannot change! But, if you do not have styles, if you just say, "here I am as a human being, how can I express myself totally and completely?" ...now that way, you won't create a style because style is a crystallization. That way is a process of continuing growth.
Pierre: You talk about Chinese boxing....how does it defer, from, say, our kind of boxing? (western)
Bruce Lee: Well, first we use the foot.
Pierre: Uh-huh, that's a start.
Bruce Lee: And then we use the elbow.
Pierre: Do you use the thumb too?
Bruce Lee: You name it man, we use it!
Pierre: You use it all?
Bruce Lee: You have to, you see, because that is the expression of the human body. I mean, everything, not just the hand! When you are talking about combat, well, if it is a sport..well now your talking about something else, with regulations, and rules..but if you're talking about fighting...
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