Bruce Lee became a legend that transcended his own time and still persists today as the model for many in the way of martial arts. He was the pinnacle of health, challenging his body and mastering strength in a way that nobody before (or after) him could replicate. So why was he denied a chance to fight for the military?

A myth among men

Today, Lee is known as one of the most influential martial artists of all time. Born in Chinatown, San Francisco and raised in Hong Kong, he started out early as a child actor and student of kung fu and went on to create Hong Kong and Hollywood-produced films that sparked a frenzy of interest in martial arts.

He became a pop culture icon and even founded Jeet Kune Do, a wushu or kung fu style of martial arts.

A spectacular specimen

Lee’s ambition matched his discipline, and he became as strong as possible given his 5 ft 8 in, 141 lb frame. He trained to increase muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility and body movement speed. Lee balanced this with an intense diet regiment and both mental and spiritual conditioning to become an unstoppable force.

This lead to perhaps his most popular achievement, the “one-inch punch,” in which Bruce Lee could stand in very close proximity to his opponent and deliver insane force, knocking the other person to the ground. It is something many others have tried to replicate and was quite the model of his physical prowess and mastery of martial arts.

The ridiculous rejection

If Bruce Lee was such an impressively strong and mentally balanced individual, then why was he rejected from fighting in the Vietnam War? Despite rigorous daily training and an intense diet plan, Lee failed the Army physical because of an undescended testicle!

That and a tinge of poor eyesight caused him to be rejected from the draft and miss out on joining the fight in Vietnam. While he missed out on the opportunity to utilize his martial arts training in battle, the public certainly gained from more epic shows and movies added to his riveting repertoire during the war.