Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. If you don't know anything about Bruce Lee's 1965 private no holds barred fight with Master Wong Jack-Man, do yourself a favor and google it. It's fascinating.
The fight was not recorded, but the legendmaking started immediately after the end of the fight. Depending on who you believe, between 7 and 15 people witnessed it, it lasted 3 minutes or 25 minutes, Bruce Lee won and/or Wong Jack-Man won. This isn't history buffs theorizing, this is how much disinformation is out there starting the day after the fight!
This was Lee's pivotal fight, the one that broke him off of Wing Chun and set him on the road to developing Jeet Kune Do. If you listen to Lee and his friends and family, the fight was about the right to teach martial arts to white folk. If you listen to Jack-Man it was in response to challenge and he felt Lee had disrespected the community and needed to be checked. I'm not sure if that community disrespect involved teaching white people martial arts, but Jack-Man seems to be adamant that wasn't the case.
Lee's wife recounts the fight as being over quickly, with Lee dominating... but then goes on to say that Lee was winded and this fight prompted him to change his fighting style, which doesn't sound like something that'd happen if he just stepped in and beat Jack-Man down.
Jack-Man claims he showed incredible restraint in not striking killing blows when he had the chance, despite Lee fighting dirty and that by the end of it he fought mostly defensively and wore down his opponent.
It's a Roshomon event, which is now going to the center point of a new film detailing the early days of Bruce Lee's life called Birth of the Dragon (not to be confused with Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story). We may never know the truth, but at least we'll get a highly fictionalized movie out of it since QED International and Groundswell Productions are prepping a period martial arts action movie that will make this fight its centerpiece and then, for some reason, have Bruce Lee and Master Wong Jack-Man team up to fight Chinatown gangsters.
The film will be written by Christopher Wilkinson and Stephen Rivele, who penned both Nixon and Ali.
The legendmaking continues...