In Oakland, California in 1964 at Chinatown, Lee had a controversial private match with Wong Jack Man, a direct student of Ma Kin Fung known for his mastery of Xingyiquan, Northern Shaolin, and T'ai chi ch'uan. According to Lee, the Chinese community issued an ultimatum to him to stop teaching non-Chinese. When he refused to comply, he was challenged to a combat match with Wong. The arrangement was that if Lee lost, he would have to shut down his school; while if he won, then Lee would be free to teach Caucasians or anyone else. Wong denied this, stating that he requested to fight Lee after Lee issued an open challenge during one of Lee's demonstrations at a Chinatown theatre, and that Wong himself did not discriminate against Caucasians or other non-Chinese. Lee commented, "That paper had all the names of the sifu from Chinatown, but they don't scare me". Individuals known to have witnessed the match included Cadwell, James Lee (Bruce Lee's associate, no relation), and William Chen, a teacher of T'ai chi ch'uan. Wong and witness William Chen stated that the fight lasted an unusually long 20–25 minutes. According to Bruce Lee, Linda Lee Cadwell, and James Yimm Lee, the fight lasted 3 minutes with a decisive victory for Lee. "The fight ensued, it was a no-holds-barred fight, it took three minutes. Bruce got this guy down to the ground and said 'do you give up?' and the man said he gave up" – Linda Lee Cadwell. Wong Jack Man published his own account of the battle in the Chinese Pacific Weekly, a Chinese-language newspaper in San Francisco, which contained another challenge to Lee for a public rematch. Lee had no reciprocation to Wong's article, nor were there any further public announcements by either, but Lee had continued to teach Caucasians.
What ultimately happened as a result is the birth of Jeet Kune Do. Bruce who originally had a background in Wing Chun found that there was several things during the fight he felt was not acceptable. He finished the fight, exhausted, tired, and frustrated. He felt the fight should have ended much sooner. Although he won the fight, the battle only started for Bruce. Bruce took the time to start to really condition his body. Although he was already in great shape he began a course of cardio training and body building. He deeply admired Arnold Schwarznigger. He investegated on new ways to physically train, and eat. He started to look at isometric training, electro shock theraphy for his muscles. Bruce's training methods for his body are still published today in Muscle and Fitness magazines. He was extremely ahead of his game. With Bruce's conditioning he also researched other martial arts. He took each one and broke them apart. What was good about them, what was bad.
How could each one be beat. He was starting to develop the ultimate fighting style and the ultimate Bruce.
Whatever is the real truth behind the Wong Jack Man fight we may never know. There are many variations. What we do know is that the birth of Jeet Kune Do was the result.
Wong Jack Man Fight