Bruce Lee really is a legendary actor and martial artist. He inspired entire generations to train and become professional fighters, despite the fact that he never was one. However, the legend of Bruce Lee is slightly bigger than his actual history. For example, have you ever seen a video of him playing Ping-Pong with a nunchuk? Did you also think that video was real?
We could talk for hours about various myths surrounding Lee’s personality and skillset. For example, people believe that he was a great fighter. And he really was a good martial artist and an actor. However, he was not a fighter. He has never won a real fight, because he has never participated in one. There are some stories, but none of them can be reliably confirmed. Some people speculate that he would be doing great in UFC if he was in his prime today. Some even go as far as to say that he could beat Conor McGregor himself. However, they would’ve never met inside of an octagon simply because Lee was too small. Bruce Lee weighed around 60 kilograms. For comparison, dehydrated McGregor weighs in at 70.3 kg after cutting a lot of weight.
But Lee never pretended to be a fighter – it was his fans that created this false label. He was just a martial artist and an actor. And he was great with nunchuks too – he just couldn’t play table tennis with them.
That one very famous video of NOT Bruce Lee
But how could it be? We saw Lee playing table tennis with nunchuks in a seemingly old video. They didn’t have technology to fake it before Lee’s death in 1973, did they? Well, they didn’t, but the video was made in 2008 as a commercial for Nokia N96 Limited Edition. The creators of the clip, J. Walter Thompson company, never intended it to be taken so literally. But the commercial became much more popular than the phone and people believed the video to be authentic. Interestingly enough, no one even said that it is Bruce Lee- his name was not mentioned.
In actual reality, it was a similar-looking actor who was also good with nunchuks. He was doing various tricks while his colleague on the other side of the table was answering with a Ping-Pong paddle. The ball itself was added later using some special effects techniques.
But why so many people believed it was true? Well, the video looked old and kind of unprofessional. It looked like someone was filming for himself. Also, it was well done – the ball physics look realistic and actors are doing their job pretty well. But probably the main reason is that people wanted to believe. The myth of Bruce Lee is so strong, people want to see him as a hero he was in those old-school movies.