What Was The Speed of Bruce Lee’s Punch?


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Bruce Lee is a legend in the martial arts and action movie sector, and the legends around his prowess, strength, and speed have increased since his death. While much of his fame came through his fight scenes on the big screen, Bruce Lee was, without a doubt, incredibly fast and strong. How fast was Bruce Lee’s punch, and did the 1-inch punch really pack a lot of power?

The speed of Bruce Lee’s 1-inch punch was a staggering 118mph or 190kph and delivered with enough power to knock a 200-pound or 90kg, man back 16-feet or 5-meters. The incredible speed came from his dedication to a strict training program that focused on speed, power, and endurance.

Since much of Bruce Lee’s fame came from movie fight scenes, many skeptics discredit his martial arts accomplishments as showmanship and movie hype. Bruce Lee was a dedicated man who put effort and time into perfecting his fighting skills, which many onlookers failed to see and appreciate. We will examine his punch speed to see why it causes much debate.

How Fast Was Bruce Lee’s Punch?

The fitness and strength of Bruce Lee were a product of hours of discipline and training which he dedicated himself to every day of the week. When a person invests this much effort into developing their skills, they will inevitably stand above the crowd in their achievements.

Many onlookers were amazed at his speed and power and could not believe what they were seeing. Skeptics said there must be some form of trickery in his displays since no other martial artist had the same power and speed in their punches.

Bruce Lee’s relatively small stature was part of the disbelief of the onlookers who could not believe such power could come from such a small frame.

A testament to the man’s speed comes from his acting career, where on more than one occasion, he had to slow down his punches so they would appear on the film. When he punched at full speed, it looked like a blur on the camera because the camera’s speed was unable to keep up with his hands.

Bruce Lee’s famous 1-inch punch was the fastest of all his punches due to the short distance the punch had to travel. His 1-inch punch was clocked at an impressive 118mph or 190kph and capable of knocking a 200-pound or 90kg man back 16-feet or 5-meters.

How Strong were Bruce Lee’s Punches ?

As we have mentioned, Bruce Lee’s 1-inch punch could knock a 200-pound man back 16-feet, which demonstrated significant power in the punch.

Bruce Lee could punch with a force of 350-pounds, which is the same force exhibited by boxing champion Muhammed Ali. The impressiveness of this feat is that Bruce Lee only weighed 130-pounds, whereas Muhammed Ali tipped the scales at 260-pounds.

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How Did Bruce Lee Do One-Inch Punch?

Many people disbelieve the power of the one-inch punch signature move of Bruce Lee. However, the film footage of Bruce Lee demonstrating the punch at a karate competition is irrefutable.

Full Contact Karate champion Joe Lewis was invited to punch a volunteer and was able to cause the man to move back a few feet. However, when Bruce Lee demonstrated the technique of the 1-inch punch, the man was propelled back 16-feet.

Bruce Lee performed the 1-inch punch by placing his hand in front of the target with his extended fingers touching the target. Then, without moving his hand away, he closed his hand to form a fist and punched the target from that distance, about 1-inch.

Bruce could pack so much power into the punch due to training, timing, brainpower, and using his entire body to add force to the punch.

Martial arts techniques teach the use of the entire body in a punch, extending power from the legs, hip rotation, abdominals, and shoulders. Tensing muscles at the right time also adds power to the punch. 

The brainpower aspect comes in by repeating body movements that train the brain to trigger all these muscles and movements with lightning speed without consciously performing each motion.

This translated to increased power and speed and allowed Bruce Lee to exhibit impressive power and speed in the punch. This is another example of the dedication of Bruce Lee to his training regimen to perfect his art.

How Fast Was Bruce Lee?

Bruce Lee’s overall speed and reflexes were legendary and impressed many other martial arts champions like Chuck Norris.

From a distance of 3-feet, Bruce could throw a punch in 0.05-seconds; that’s five-hundredths of a second!

Bruce Lee often had to slow his movements and reaction speed down during fight scenes in his movies to give fellow-actors time to react realistically and believably to his punches.

How Did Bruce Lee Kick So Fast?

Bruce Lee’s kicking speed was as blindingly fast as his punching ability. He could deliver 6 kicks per second, which is another result of his strenuous and strict training program.

Bruce would practice his kicks and punches with weights on his wrists and ankles and worked at increasing speed in his training while wearing these extra weights.

The effect this training has is that removing the weights in a normal fight scene results in lightning-fast reflexes and punch and kick speeds.

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Did Bruce Lee do two finger pushups?

Bruce Lee’s physical prowess is legendary and is due to his commitment to training his body on a daily basis.

Bruce Lee performed 200 pushups without pause, using only two fingers to make contact with the floor. He was able to do 1500 normal pushups with both hands on the floor and up to 400 pushups consecutively, only using one hand!

Bruce Lee’s two finger pushup record remains undefeated and may never be broken.

How Heavy Was Bruce Lee’s Punching Bag?

Bruce Lee used a punching bag known as a heavy bag to improve his kicking and punching power. His training equipment included a standard heavy bag, which typically weighs 70-pounds or 31kg.

Bob Wall, a friend, co-actor, and martial artist, gifted Bruce Lee with a custom-made 300-pound or 136kg heavy bag, which Bruce then used as part of his training.

How Many Days Per Week Did Bruce Lee Work Out?

Bruce Lee trained 7 days a week which is a discipline that not many other athletes maintain. Even when he was not formally training, he would perform some sort of exercise throughout the day.

Bruce would use other aspects of life to multi-task and continuously train his body. While he was watching television, he would perform wrist curls so that the time was not wasted.

This dedication to training and fitness set Bruce above his peers and laid the foundation for his incredible physical feats that seemed unbelievable to most people.

Why Do People Think Bruce Lee Would Not Do Well In UFC?

Most people agree that Bruce Lee would not perform well in UFC because of his philosophy regarding martial arts.

Bruce Lee’s martial arts and fighting philosophy did not adhere to the traditions and rules of original martial arts styles, and likewise, he would have had difficulty fighting with the rules dictated by the UFC.

Bruce Lee’s fighting technique was to adapt and win at all costs. In this kind of fighting mindset, rules do not have a part to play.

There is no doubt that Bruce Lee would have had the physical ability to fight in the UFC, but the limitation of the rules in this type of fighting leads people to believe that he would not have done well in this arena.

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Final Thoughts

Bruce Lee was ahead of his time regarding his philosophy regarding martial arts and his dedication to training and physical improvement of the body.

His commitment and strict training gave him the impressive speed and power in his punches and kicks that still enthrall people to this day!

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