Articles & Notes — May 4, 2012 at 8:33 am

Turkish Bruce Lee: photos, stories and facts

I am sure there are people who heard of the “Turkish Bruce Lee”, who doesn’t really fit among other Bruce Lee clones that the fans of the “Brucexploitation” subgenre know (Dragon Lee, Bruce Lai, Bruce Lei and so on).

Since there is not much of information about Turkish Bruce Lee available to English readers, I’ve decided to compile this article, and write down some information about his martial artist, with some help from my friend Aygul, an expert on Turkey.

The man’s real name is Nihat Yigit, and he was born in 1961 in Manisa (Turkey).

He began studying martial arts in 1973 (same year real Bruce Lee died). First, Yigit started with Taek Won Do, then switched to Shaolin Kung-Fu, then Kuokshin Karate and Ashihara Karate styles.

In 1979-81 Yigit participated in martial arts tournaments in Austria, Yugoslavia, Germany, Italiy, Holland, and Belgium.

In the early 80s, Yigit made a couple of movies (IMDB lists only two in his filmography, however he did three), the most famous of which is the 1984 “Ac Kartallar” (Starving Eagles), where Yigit looks ridiculously like Bruce Lee, and fights like him too. The film itself was below mediocre level, mostly because of absolutely awful fight choreography.

Since the whole film was about martial arts, and had some real martial artists in it (including Yigit), the choreography made the Turkish athletes look like idiots. I must admit though, the film gained a somewhat cult status for its cheesiness.

Anyway, after making a few more films, Yigit fully concentrated on martial arts training and teaching. Between 1990 and 1994, Yigit (who no longer looked like Bruce Lee) spent his time in Japan, China, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, to gain experience in martial arts.

Nihat Yigit aka “Turkish Bruce Lee” in real life:– Likes to study history
– Is a vivid nationalist
– Likes horses
– Always trains hard
– Likes to train under heavy weather conditions
– Prefers listening to military music
– Likes long walks in open air.
– Has been involved with martial arts for over 30 years (2012)


All this was for purpose – as in 1999 Yigit created Sayokan Karate (turkish martial arts style), and after some time, he stopped practicing all other fighting styles, concentrating on only his own style. As Yigit explained it in one of his interviews, Sayokan is based on Japanese martial arts.

After polishing his fighting method, Yigit (get ready for this…) sent brochures and CDs which explained his martial arts style, to 120 countries (I assume he sent the brochures to martial arts organizations in those 120 countries). Talk about a promotion…

I personally was surprised to know that in 2011 Yigit visited Azerbaijan, where he met with country’s officials. I assume it was some sort of a brotherly country visit, connected with martial arts tournament or something. Below are some pictures of elder Nihat Yigit, mostly from his martial arts workshops.

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