Not as great as the hype, but Bruce Lee was definitely a great martial artist.
Bruce Lee haters usually cite something like “Bruce Lee never fought in professional competitions etc he’s only an actor etc”
But nothing could be further from the truth. Bruce Lee was a philosopher not just a martial artist, he wrote books (read Bruce Lee’s fighting method for example) on best practices with fighting. The thing is Bruce Lee never did any professional competitions because it didn’t mean anything. In a REAL street fight, which is what Bruce fought in, there’s no rules, there’s no points scored or any of that.
His fighting style Jeet Kune Do was built around a technique that borrowed from other techniques. Whether it be Karate, Judo, Boxing, Kung Fu (Wing Chun especially), Muay Thai, Taekwondo, etc Jeet Kune Do borrowed the best parts of each fighting style to make a fighting style that had no rules. That’s why people consider him the grandfather of MMA.
This was the best for street fighting because in an actual fight you use whatever you can to beat the opponent. That was Bruce’s philosophy and why he didn’t like to participate in actual professional fights.
However, that doesn’t mean he was weak. Ask Chuck Norris or any of the other “professional” fighters that sparred with him – Bruce Lee was legit. Now he’s not a superhuman like some of the hype says – but he was definitely more than the average human. He had an intense strict training regiment and believed in a healthy diet way before any Americans even knew what ingredients they were eating.