Trumping boxing as the most watched full-contact sport in the world, Mixed Martial Arts is a combat sport that utilizes striking and grappling techniques. While undoubtedly brutal, the sport’s origins are not entirely clear but one name comes to mind, Bruce Lee.
The Hong Kong martial artist Bruce Lee is widely acknowledged as one of the most influential martial artists of all time. While his career did take many different roles, he is often praised for his acting in action films.
Bruce Lee founded the fighting style Jeet Kune Do which is similar to the modern practice of Mixed Martial Arts. Due to this, many consider Jeet Kune Do to be the forerunner for the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.
Watching the video of Bruce Lee in action, his talent is undeniable and his work is still idolized by many today. Today, Mixed Martial Arts is most popular in form of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC president Dana White has considered Bruce to be the ‘father of mixed martial arts’.
In an interview, Bruce once stated, ‘You know how I think of myself? As a human being… under the sky, under the heavens there is but one family.’ Known for being a philosopher, Jeet Kune Do has been thought of as less of an actual style but more as a state of mind.
His daughter who helped produce a documentary on her father mentioned, ‘While there may have been people prior to him who thought about mixing one or two forms, it was really my father who took it to a public level.’ She discusses how Bruce was a complete fighter and not only taught the art but attached a philosophy to it.
While it’s impossible to pinpoint exactly who started Mixed Martial Arts for sure, it is clear that Bruce Lee was indeed the father of MMA by how he brought the art to the public and brought it with incredible knowledge and spirit.