The truth is Lee was a formidable opponent with a chiseled physique and technique. I totally enjoyed sparring and just spending time with him. He was as charismatic and friendly in the ring and at home as he was on film. His confidence and wit were dazzling and sometimes even debilitating to others -- saying things to others, such as: "A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard."
Lee was lightning fast, very agile and incredibly strong for his size. He was also a master marketer -- a fact demonstrated by his ability to talk the world karate champion at the time (me) into being defeated on-screen!
However, many today don't realize he never competed professionally. If he had, I believe he would have been a world champion. Rather, his fame was crowned with "The Green Hornet" television series. Then he was immortalized with such movies as "Enter the Dragon" and "Return of the Dragon," in which Lee and I fought in the now-famous sequence inside the Roman Colosseum.
I enjoy speaking about my friendship with Bruce. It is something about which many don't know. As I travel the world, it seems that younger people identify me merely with some of the folklore in the "Church Norris Facts" -- those hyperbolic sayings that elevate my abilities beyond my capabilities. Others view me in light of the character I played in "Walker, Texas Ranger" or in one of my 20 tough-guy films. But not everyone realizes that before my film and television career, I was the six-time world champion. From 1964 to 1968, I won many state, national and international amateur karate titles. In 1968, I fought and won the world middleweight karate championship by defeating the world's top fighters. I then held that title until 1974, when I retired undefeated.
It's strange to look back on those days. They seem so near yet so far away. It's difficult to believe that it has been 35 years since Bruce left this earth. I miss my friend. I know many of you do, too. I hope all the endeavors to memorialize his greatness are successful.
Enough stalling! As in my new fighting federation, the World Combat League -- which we are hoping will be seen in 100 countries during this second season -- there are penalties for passivity.
So, would I have beaten Bruce Lee in a real competition or not? You'll forgive me for answering with another Bruce-ism: "Showing off is the fool's idea of glory."
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