The transcript below is from the video “Bruce Lee vs Bolo Yeung | Don’t Mess With Bruce Lee” by Goldenbell Training.
Bruce Lee versus Bolo Yeung!
It was the fight that everyone wanted to see in Enter the Dragon, but John Saxon’s character took the honors of facing Bolo in the final act of the movie. Since Bruce Lee was the hero of the movie, of course, he was going to win a fight in Enter the Dragon, but who would win if they fought for real? What if I told you that Bolo Yeung was curious about Bruce Lee, and he wanted to know why no one wanted to mess with Bruce Lee? What if they had a real fight on the set of Enter the Dragon to see who was the best between the two of them?
In Enter the Dragon, Bruce Lee and Bolo Yeung were the two most physically dominant figures in the entire movie that it seemed like it would only have made sense for Bruce Lee’s character to face off against Bolo’s “Oddjob” character before his final fight with Mr. Han.
Thematically, it would not have made sense for Lee to fight Bolo since he had a personal vendetta with Bob Wall’s “Ohara” character to avenge his sister’s death, and then he had to avenge the Shaolin Temple’s loss of face by defeating Mr. Han. Lee had no personal beef with Bolo, but still, this was the fight that audiences really wanted to see in “Enter the Dragon.” What if they really did have a fight that wasn’t part of the story in “Enter the Dragon?”
Bruce Lee was challenged several times by some of the extras on the set of Enter the Dragon while filming the courtyard scenes. As Bruce Lee quickly ascended to the top spot in the box office and became Hong Kong’s biggest star, it was a regular thing for people to challenge him in the newspapers, and even in public. One studio was even offering a starring role to anyone who could beat Bruce Lee in a fight to humble the Little Dragon. Well, it turns out that one Bruce Lee historian says that Bruce Lee and Bolo Yeung had a real fight on the set of Enter the Dragon.
According to a Bruce Lee historian, Bruce Lee and Bolo were rehearsing for a fight scene they were going to have in Enter the Dragon, but sometimes they would move around and spar together so that Bruce could get a feel for how to choreograph his fight with Bolo.
Like everyone else, Bolo was impressed by Bruce’s speed, but he felt that Bruce was probably not that strong because he’s so fast. Everyone else was impressed by Bruce’s strength, but Bolo was a champion bodybuilder, and he felt that he was probably much stronger than Bruce Lee.
One day after they wrapped for the day, Bolo asked Bruce if they could have a real sparring match so that Bolo could really test Bruce’s strength. Bolo and Bruce were agreeing on the conditions of their sparring session, but they got into a heated debate. They started to shout, and things quickly escalated to the point that things became physical between the two of them.
Bolo grabbed Bruce and put him in a bear hug, but Bruce was able to get out of it. Bruce then took a step back, lunged towards Bolo, and he hit Bolo Yeung in the chest. Bolo took a knee and waved his right hand like he was waving the flag to stop the fight. The historian believes that Bruce hit Bolo in the solar plexus with his lead jab, and it completely shell shocked Bolo Yeung. At that point, Bolo had no question about Bruce Lee’s strength and power, and that was that.
Bruce and Bolo became really good friends after their sparring match, and that’s why Bolo speaks highly of Bruce to this day in all of his interviews. Okay, so I’m gonna be honest with you guys. The Bruce Lee Historian telling that story was our good friend Beerdy from the Bruce Lee Central YouTube Channel. Beerdy’s video on this alleged incident has almost 2 million views, which surprised me because… And if you happen to be one of those people who saw the video and walked away a believer in the awesome power of Bruce Lee, well, I regret to inform you that none of this story is true. Beerdy made the entire thing up.
Now, Bruce and Bolo were really good friends before making Enter the Dragon. Bolo Yeung was named Mr. Hong Kong for winning a bodybuilding title, and he worked on several movies for The Shaws Brothers. Because Bolo was Mr. Hong Kong, he was picked to be in a cigarette commercial, and so was Bruce Lee. This is how they actually met.
Now Bruce being a dude who was into fitness, and a guy who liked to impress his friends, he invited Bolo out to his home to show him his home gym. Bolo says they worked out together a few times, so that’s cap on Beerdy’s claim that Bolo Yeung didn’t believe Bruce Lee was strong because they worked out together. Bolo had a pretty good idea of how strong Bruce Lee was. As far as challenging Bruce Lee to see who was stronger, actor, boxer, and triad boss Chan Wai Man, or Michael Chan, said that Bolo once challenged Bruce to an arm wrestling match, and Bruce won.
On top of working out together, Bolo was one of the few people Bruce spoke with about his secret fight with Lau Dai Chuen, the martial arts actor, and supposed Boxing champion, who called out Bruce Lee in the press. Bolo knew about the challenge, like everyone else, because it was in the newspapers, and it was one of those things people were talking about after Bruce’s entourage had several run-ins with Lau Dai Chuen and his crew.
Now Bolo also knew about the whole thing because he actually was in a movie with Lau Dai Chuen, probably right before the secret fight that happened out in the New Territories. Bolo was also one of the guys Bruce was planning to bring back to Hollywood with him for his planned projects that he was going to be making with Warner Brothers after Enter the Dragon. So these guys were very close before any made-up fight on the set of Enter the Dragon like Beerdy would like people to believe.
Now, there really was a challenge between Bruce Lee and Bolo, that’s in addition to their arm wrestling match. Bolo asked Bruce if he could try his Jeet Kune Do, and according to Bolo Yeung, before he could even move, Bruce Lee closed the gap, and tapped him lightly on the cheek with his foot. So that’s what really happened between Bruce Lee and Bolo Yeung. There was no argument over the rules of a sparring match, and besides if Beerdy knew anything about Bruce Lee, there wouldn’t have been a discussion about how to conduct a sparring match. Bruce would have said “okay, show me what you got,” right there on the spot. And that would have been it. It would have been go-time. If Beerdy actually knew anything about Wing Chun, or Jeet Kune Do, Bruce never would have taken a step back to lunge at Bolo, he would have just gone in and hit him. I mean, that’s the entire point of developing short range power. That’s what Bruce was talking about in the one inch punch demonstration.
So getting back to Bruce Lee versus Bolo Yeung, Bruce beat Bolo at arm wrestling, and he surprised Bolo with his speed and quickness. But if they actually had a friendly sparring match, who do you think would get the upper hand? Bruce Lee? Or Bolo Yeung?
Let me know who you think would win between the two of them in the comments below. And if you want to hear even more unbelievable stories about why you don’t want to mess with Bruce Lee, be sure to check out this video on the time a Karate teacher challenged Bruce Lee in his own dojo, or you can check out this story about Bruce Lee’s unbelievable knockout against a boxer. Thanks for watching. Keep training, remember to breathe, and I’ll see you guys on the next video.
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