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Bruce Lee vs Chuck Norris: Did They Actually Fight In Real Life?

Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris had a legendary showdown in Way of the Dragon, but did they fight in real life (and how did they first meet)?

What’s the story behind Bruce Lee’s friendship with Chuck Norris, and did the two fight in real life? Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris are both icons in the martial arts world but are completely different in terms of their fighting styles. Norris is a world champion in karate, while Lee is an expert in kung fu who trained in Wing Chun and formed his own style, Jeet Kune Do, in the 1960s.

Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris engaged in a legendary showdown in Golden Harvest’s Way of the Dragon, which served as the third movie in Lee’s martial arts career and Norris’ first credited appearance on the big screen. Norris received second billing, despite having very few speaking lines and only appearing near the film’s conclusion. Chuck Norris’ Colt was a fighter sent to face off against Bruce Lee’s character in an epic, one-on-one fight at the Colosseum in Rome. Their nearly ten-minute battle, which showed Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris making actual contact with several of their punches, is considered one of the most intense and well-choreographed fight scenes in the history of the martial arts genre. Since Chuck Norris’ Colt was the antagonist, the fight ended with Lee getting the win.


Related: What Happened When An Enter The Dragon Extra Challenged Bruce Lee

The popularity of the Chuck Norris versus Bruce Lee fight and the reputation of both actors has often led fans to wonder if they had ever fought each other in real life, as well as who won. This is also a question that Chuck Norris is frequently asked in interviews about his relationship with Lee. The two met in 1968 at a karate tournament and became friends. For a period of about two years, Lee and Norris trained and worked out together in Norris’ backyard. According to Norris, their training together never involved an actual fight, but he has admitted in the past that some “sparring” did occur in their training.

Did Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris Fight

The Walker, Texas Ranger star Norris has avoided elaborating on what occurred during these sparring sessions, claiming that it didn’t go far enough to be called a real fight. What little Norris has said is that fighting wasn’t something that either martial artist wanted while filming Way of the Dragon. There have long been rumors that Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris actually did have a secret match in a hallway somewhere, but this likely never happened based on what Norris has said. Regardless, these rumors have persisted and continue to go unverified to this day.

Could Chuck Norris Beat Bruce Lee

Because of their Way of the Dragon fight and the skills of both actors, fans to this day continue to debate the winner of a hypothetical Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris match. Many feel that Lee’s speed – which Norris himself has repeatedly praised – would be enough to overwhelm Norris, while others feel that the karate champion’s strength and size would prevail against the kung fu legend. While it is clear who won in Way of the Dragon, any fight between Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris would likely have been a close affair at their respective physical peaks, with each man’s skillset counterbalancing the other. Norris remains coy to this day on whether the pair fought in real life (and who won if they did), meaning the hypothetical debate surrounding Bruce Lee vs. Chuck Norris still rages on some 40 years after the pair clashed on-screen.

More: How Bruce Lee Got His Role In The Big Boss Explained

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