Chuck Norris has deservedly been called one of the all-time great martial artists, but he has admitted on several occasions that Bruce Lee was tougher, even though the two never competed in a tournament. Bruce Lee staged a fight in the 1972 film RETURN OF THE DRAGON and Norris remembered his conservation with Lee.
“I want you to be my opponent. We’ll have a fight in the Coliseum in Rome,” Bruce said with excitement. “Two gladiators in a fight to the death! Best of all, we can choreograph it ourselves. I promise you the fight will be the highlight of the film.”
“Great,”I said, “Who wins?”
“I do,” Bruce said with a laugh. “I’m the star!”
“Oh you’re going to beat up on the current world karate champion?”
“No,” said Bruce. “I’m going to kill the current world karate champion.”
I laughed and agreed to do the movie, after gaining twenty pounds at his request (he wanted me to look more formidable as his opponent)
“One time we were in New York, staying at the same hotel. As we went up in the elevator, we started sparring and kept doing so in the hallway of our rooms until 4 a.m.! I still wonder why we weren’t turned in to hotel security.”
Another time, when we both lived in Southern Calif., I was over Lee’s house. In his garage he had several mannequins set up for practicing martial arts techniques. He was particularly proud of the one with a head that bobbled.
“Do a round-house to its head,” he said with a smile.
Wearing then some pretty tight ’70s denim jeans, I told him, “Not with these pants.”
After a little more prodding by Bruce, I quickly pivoted by body around and jostled its head like a teeter-totter in fast motion.
Of course we both laughed hysterically when my jeans tore in two at the crotch and literally dropped down to my ankles.
Gracious comments from Chuck Norris.
To see this fight from THE WAY OF THE DRAGON, please go to the following URL