Chuck Norris: “I taught Bruce Lee how to kick”
According to martial arts icon Chuck Norris, he had an influential role in teaching the legendary Bruce Lee how to kick at a crucial stage in his career.
Norris first met Lee after winning the All American Karate Open Championships at Madison Square Garden in 1967.
Lee, who was starring in the ‘Green Hornet’ show at the time, had given a demonstration at the MSG event, and on the way back to their hotel the two martial arts experts began an in-depth discussion on their fighting philosophies that led to them working out together in the hallway until 4 am in the morning!
The two agreed to meet up and train together back home in Los Angeles after that, and for the next two years, they did so in Lee’s backyard workout area before he left to pursue his acting career in Hong Kong.
During that period Norris claims that he started to change the way Lee approached his kicking technique.
”Bruce had different philosophies at that time than I did,” Norris recalls. “He said, ‘I believe in only kicking below the waist. I believe you shouldn’t go any higher than the waist.’
”I said, ‘Well that’s good and it’s bad, Bruce. You should be able to have the ability to kick anywhere. And that way, if you only want to go high, that’s fine, but if there’s an opening high then you should be able to take advantage of that.’”
According to Norris, Lee agreed and he showed him different high kicks like spinning heel kicks and jumping spinning round kicks.
”He really fell in love with them, and within six months he became so good he could do them just about as well as I could.”
It’s worth stressing at this point that Lee was no novice when it came to high kicks, as he can be seen delivering a variety of different high kicks on film prior to ever meeting Norris.
However, it’s only natural that a true student of martial arts like Lee would seek out the expertise of other masters of their craft, and he’s sure to have picked up some useful pointers along the way, and vice-versa.
Lee respected Norris enough that a couple of years later he called his old training partner up out-of-the-blue and invited him to appear in a famous fight-scene opposite him in the classic movie, ‘Way Of The Dragon.’