Jackie Chan vs. Bruce Lee: Karate or Kung Fu?

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Difference between Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee

Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee revolutionized the way action movies were made. They designed their own fighting styles using karate and kung fu – two types of martial arts. Action scenes became more exciting and thrilling for the audiences who filled up the cinemas. Some people even started to take martial arts lessons fascinated by the moves seen in motion pictures.

Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee are also viewed as cultural icons for their contribution to the promotion of martial arts – an important component of Asian culture - in the world. Consequently, their movies have influenced many people to learn more about Hong Kong and China.

Jackie Chan
Bruce Lee

General facts

Jackie Chan was born on April 7th,1954 in Hong Kong. He is a famous actor, action choreographer, filmmaker, producer, screenwriter and singer. His career began in the 1960s resulting in his appearance in about 100 movies. In the beginning, Jackie Chan starred as a stuntman in the famous Bruce Lee movies: “Fist of Fury” from 1972 and “Enter the Dragon” from 1973.

Bruce Lee was born on November 27th, 1940 in San Francisco and he died at the age of 32 in Hong Kong. He played in several acclaimed action movies like “The Big Boss”, “Fist of Fury”, “Way of the Dragon”, “Enter the Dragon” and “The Game of Death” which made martial arts very popular in the 1970s.


Jackie Chan’s style innovations include acrobatic fighting using kung fu techniques, improvised weapons, creative stunts and comic interventions. “Drunken Master” was the movie which first showcased this new concept of fighting which had great success on the Asian markets. More productions followed between 1980 and 1987 establishing Jackie Chan as the promoter of action comedy movies.

Bruce Lee created his own martial arts style called Jeet Kune Do – The Way of the Intercepting Fist. Combining concepts of practicality, flexibility, speed and efficiency, he used his own unique style in his movies attracting large audiences and growing groups of fans.


For his contribution to the film industry Jackie Chan has received a star on the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars and one on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Jackie has been nominated for 22 Hong Kong Film Awards including Best Actor, Best Action Choreography, Best Film, Best Director, and Best Original Song.

Bruce Lee received a star on the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars and was named as one of the most influential people of the 20th century by TIME magazine. For his sixty-fifth birthday, a bronze statue was unveiled in Hong Kong. A Bruce Lee themed park will be built in Shunde, China to honor his memory.

Similarities and Differences

  • Jackie Chan started his career as a stuntman in Bruce Lee movies. Bruce Lee played in several acclaimed movies in the 1970s.
  • Jackie Chan brought the action comedy genre to the silver screen mixing acrobatic kung fu techniques with comic interventions. Bruce Lee created his own karate style called Jeet Kune Do based on the concepts of practicality, flexibility, speed and efficiency.
  • Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee were honored with a star on the Hong Kong Avenue of Stars. Jackie also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
  • Jackie Chan has been in 106 movies as of 2010. With The Karate Kid released this year and Kung Fu Panda 2 to be released in 2011.

Who's the better fighter?
  • Jackie Chan
  • Bruce Lee

Discuss It: comments 2

  • Guest
  • Boywonder wrote on September 2012

Bruce lee,I can't even go on and express how one sided I am on this issue.Bruce lee single handedly put kung fu,karate,etc.on the map for our western culture.Yes Kung fu and karate are different in thier origins and things,but most americans can't tell the difference.Asain culture wouldn't even be in our Pop culture without Bruce lee.Not to mention his commitment to his craft of fighting,it was his lifestyle not just his job.

  • Guest
  • marcia jarman wrote on October 2019

Bruce Lee is gone too soon, or there would be a whammy turn in the movie industry between him and Jacki Chan

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