The Reason Some Martial Artists Refused To Train Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee has the type of fame that could only be rivaled by Chuck Norris. Lee was an actor, a martial artist, and an author. In the martial arts world, his speed was something that was rarely matched. He was so fast, cameras could barely capture his movements when filming any of his numerous Kung Fu classics. Anytime you watch a Bruce Lee film, you might think they put in special effects to make him seem superhero-level fast, but you'd be wrong, as Fact Fiend reports. That's all Lee. As a martial arts instructor, Lee took lessons and philosophies learned from an array of martial arts, gracefully crammed them together, and produced a wicked style of his own, known as Jeet Kune Do.

Lee's road to bona fide butt-kicker wasn't easy. Students in Honk Kong didn't like to work with Lee. Instructors wanted nothing to do with him. It's surprising he ever became as accomplished as he did. Their reasoning had to make it all the tougher on Lee.

Bruce Lee wasn't entirely Chinese

Lee had some European ancestry in his blood that most people probably didn't know about, and had he managed to keep it a secret, his martial arts training may have not have had the hiccups that it did. What European nationality was in Lee's heritage? It depends on which source you're consulting. The biography Bruce Lee: Fighting Spirit claims that Lee was one-quarter German on his mother's father's side, where Vice claims his mother told U.S. immigration officials that her father was English. Regardless, Lee's European DNA caused issues with his training.

Lee's primary martial arts study was under legendary master Ip Man in the art of Wing Chun. Man trained Lee when other instructors refused because of Lee's European heritage. Lee had European blood and instructors weren't about to give their combat secrets away to a foreigner, especially while the echos of the Boxer Rebellion still rang for many of the older martial arts masters. When Ip Man's students found out about Lee's ancestry, they tried to get Man to kick him out of the school. Man refused, but after the students started boycotting his classes, Lee thought it better if he left. Eventually, Lee's hardships would go on to shape his more progressive and inclusive martial arts instruction style. From there, a legend was made.