Bruce Lee would trade secret moves for training equipment


Bruce Lee is oft considered one of the physically fittest human beings to have ever lived, a level of athleticism he achieved via a strict, almost inhumanly punishing exercise regiment that necessitated the use of custom-made training equipment that he traded for special fighting moves he developed in secret. 

For anyone curious why Bruce Lee would need custom-made training equipment the main reason is that he was simply too strong to the equipment made for lesser, mortal men. For example, we’ve mentioned before that Lee had to training using a heavy bag filled with metal shavings that weighed in excess of 300 kilos that he had to use because he’d kick smaller, lighter bags straight through the fucking ceiling. As you might imagine given this, Lee was largely unable to train with other people for the same reason.

In fact, Lee was so strong that he had to have prospective training partners hold a comically large, custom-made kicking shield when sparring with him because people holding smaller ones would walk away with broken ribs. 

Artist’s impression.

The other, less hilarious reason Lee needed custom-made exercise equipment is because the stuff available on the market at the time wasn’t, shall we say, specific enough. For example, Lee had several pieces of equipment made that would replicate being punched or kicked or move around at random so they’d be harder to hit. Which is kind of ironic given that one of Lee’s most famous quotes is that “boards don’t hit back” and he went out of his way to make boards that didn’t just hit back, but aimed for your weak-points and major extremities.

Now most, if not all, of this equipment was made for Lee by his friend George Lee (no relation) who made the equipment according to Lee’s exacting specifications. Usually having to refine the devices several times, usually after it didn’t prove sturdy enough to stand up to a full frontal assault from a man with a chest wider than a car door.

While you’d assume George Lee would charge a premium for such a service, according to him he never asked Bruce for a thin cent, doing it purely as a favour for a friend. A favour Lee returned by occasionally inviting George to his home and teaching him moves he’d developed in secret and hadn’t taught to anyone else. A fact that only adds to the mythos of Lee because it makes him sound like an optional boss in a fucking RPG you have to beat to learn your character’s ultimate technique.