Joined: January 10th, 2009, 6:44 pm

August 30th, 2016, 7:25 pm #21

Its from this doc The Way of the Little Dragon.

They show interviews with Jim Kelly, Bob Baker and John Saxon from "Tracking the Dragon".

The part with Bob Baker is great, they show clips of FOF and him talking about the movie, fightscenes, etc. its about 8-10 min...
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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

September 2nd, 2016, 9:38 am #22

This is believed to be the last interview of Sifu Dan Lee conducted in late 2014. The interview was published in the “Chinese Wushu” magazine on 5 separate issues i.e. 2014 Sept, Oct, 2015 Jan, Apr and May. The interviewers were Hao Gang and Zhu Jianhua, 2 mainland Chinese JKD students of Dan Lee he officially accepted in 2009. This over 2-hours overseas telephone interview was conducted for the “Chinese Wushu” magazine’s special, titled, “I Am The Only Mainland Chinese Who Trained With Bruce Lee.” Unfortunately, Dan Lee passed away in Dec 2015, few months after the last issue was released.

These 5 parts interviews of Dan Lee will be posted on “Bruce Lee Lives! Forum” each per week. In his last interview, Dan Lee spoke candidly in details about his life, martial arts learning, Bruce Lee, JKD and the preservation of Lee’s legacy. It covers a wide scope of the following topics:

- his humble beginning in Shanghai (incl. boxing learning & fighting with the Russian kid)

- his German & Chinese boxing coaches & study of Joe Louis B & W boxing footage

- his winning of the China’s National Boxing Championship title in 1948 + film/voice recording of the match by his father

- his victory in the Taiwan Provincial Boxing Competition in 1950

- his learning of Judo, Kenpo Karate, Tai Chi in the U.S. (mid 50s – mid 60s)

- his reasons for leaving Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate

- his meeting with Bruce Lee & learning of JKD in LA school (1967) & Bruce’s backyard (1969), & being the first permanent member no. 0101 of LA school

- his views on Bruce Lee’s straight lead punch development after Bruce chased & hit WJM’s head in Oakland school

- his sparring with Bruce Lee & the “permanent souvenir” Bruce left him

- his views on the various training apparatus created by Bruce Lee

- his story on the Bruce’s photo with his LA class & Black Belt photo-taking session in 1967

- his views on JKD being the pioneer of full protective gear in no holds barred fighting

- his views on martial arts certificates, rankings and real fighting ability

- his Tai Chi demo filmed by Bruce Lee

- his takes on the taped telephone conversation with Bruce Lee in Jan 1972

- his view on the real Bruce Lee’s JKD, Original JKD and mixed JKD

- his views on Bruce’s real fighting ability as a martial artist and his movies’ fighting actions

- his views on JKD & MMA, & their relationships with street-fighting

- his reasons for departing Inosanto’s backyard training & training in his own backyard

- his street-fighting encounter in France

- his views on JKD’s concepts, principles & philosophy etc.

- his correction on JKD’s Ying-Yang symbol & his Chinese calligraphy characters of JKD

- his comparison of JKD with Tai Chi (Hard & Soft Kung Fu) & story of Bruce’s wishes to study in-depth / learning of Tai Chi at older age

- his preservation of Bruce Lee’s JKD legacy --- overseas JKD’s seminar/ trainings/ worldwide’s flourishing

- etc. etc. etc.

Stay tune for this exclusive 5-parts series of Dan Lee’s interview on this forum!
Q9: When did you meet Bruce?
DL: In 1964, Ed Parker organized the Long Beach International Karate Tournament. I heard from Ed that he had invited a young but highly-skilled Chinese martial artist from Washington as the guest-of-honor. His name was Bruce Lee and he would be performing in the tournament. So, out of curiosity, I went there with some other Ed’s students to watch Bruce’s performance. We looked down from the upper floor in the hall and saw Bruce, in his cool black Kung Fu suit. He was explaining to the audience about Wing Chun and Gung Fu theories with full confidence. Upon his explanation, I only realized that there were scientific reasons behind these skills. Bruce also demonstrated Blind Chi Sau with his assistant, Taky Kimura. Bruce was exceptionally agile and I have never seen someone practice Blind Chi Sau before. It was truly amazing. A thought struck my mind at that moment, i.e. I hoped to learn from him. But Bruce was living in Seattle, Washington. It was impossible at that time for me to go there as my career and home was in LA. That time, the team leader in our Karate group was Danny Inosanto who had already learnt many kinds of martial arts but he too, was interested in Bruce’s skills.

In 1966, I heard there was a Chinese Tai Chi master who came from HK. His name was Tung Hu-Ling. Previously, my teacher, Chow in Shanghai had advised me to pick up Tai Chi when I grew older. I was already in my mid 30s then, so, I thought it’s time for me to start learning Tai Chi. Hence, I joined Sifu Tung’s Tai Chi demonstration event. When Sifu Tung asked, “Who can help me to translate?” I volunteered to help him. So, during the first day of his demonstration, I became his English translator. Sifu Tung liked me very much and I followed him to learn Tai Chi from that day onwards.

Actually, by that time, I’d already obtained my Karate Black Belt. In fact, Ed Parker had trained about 7-8 of them to become black belt Karatekas so that they could become his assistant coaches in the future. But I told him, “Ed, I’m Chinese, I want to learn some Chinese martial arts. I’d like to apply leave for half a year to learn Tai Chi Chuan.” Ed Parker was very disgruntled and said to me, “Alright, go ahead! See you half a year later!” After I picked up Tai Chi for 6 months, I became very fond in it. So, I phoned Ed and told him, “Ed, I want to carry on learning Tai Chi, so, I need to extend my leave a bit longer.” Ed Parker then became very angry and told me, “Ok then, I don’t want to see you anymore!” That’s why I stopped doing Karate and continued to learn the Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan.

Q10: When did you learn JKD from Bruce Lee?
DL: In 1967, Danny Inosanto phoned me and said, “Dan, Bruce Lee will be coming to LA from Oakland and he would be opening a school here. Are you interested to join the school? I immediately replied, “Of course!” I didn’t know what were reported on the newspapers but when Bruce opened his school in LA on the first day, it was fully packed with crowd. Bruce said, “Gosh! Too many people, but since all are here, then, all are welcome to enroll.” I was one of the earliest to enroll into Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute. At that time, about 5 of us (all Karate Black Belt) left Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate School and crossed over to join Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute. There’s a photo of us taken with Bruce that was published in many magazines over the years. That was a shot to commemorate the day we joined Bruce Lee’s school. From then onwards, we had never resumed learning Kenpo Karate.

Q11: Jun Fan’s salute/ greeting stance is very similar to Kenpo Karate. Are they related in terms of origins?
DL: No, definitely not. They look alike but are not related to each other. Kenpo’s greeting stance includes slapping the knee caps with both hands, shaking legs and other movement etc. Bruce’s greeting movements were developed gradually as the school operated along the way. When class commences and after class ends, there’ll be JKD rites, ready commands follow by greeting stance.

Q12: Can you tell us about how the teaching was conducted in LA Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute? Were the students taught JKD directly or Jun Fan Kung Fu?
DL: In the beginning it wasn’t JKD, it was called Bruce Lee’s Martial Arts. I need to elaborate more about why I stopped learning Kenpo Karate. I actually found problems after learning Ed Parker’s skill. What we learnt in the practical applications and demonstrations were actually one strike after another, a sequence of strikes/ blocks. For instance, when the opponent hits you with a right punch, you have to block this way then that way... So, when all various strikes/ blocks are demonstrated, they indeed look really fanciful. Altogether, there are about 6-7 sets. However, the requirement is that the opponent shouldn’t move while you strike. In the end, when it come to real fighting, it didn’t work at all because the opponent would be moving all over the place and he’s a mobile not static target. This kind of Karate learning is actually a form of handicapped in actual combat.

When Bruce taught, he emphasized on 3 things. Firstly, fitness; secondly, practice and fine tune straight lead punch; thirdly, practical experience. Why? Later, I realized that in 1964, he had a fight with SF martial artist, Wong Jack Man. Not many people witnessed this fight. After the fight, Bruce self-reflected that though his fitness was ok but it still wasn’t good enough. Thus, he worked extremely hard on his physical fitness conditioning. Secondly, it’s a “MUST” to develop effective straight lead so that when the opponent run, you’d be able to catch up, stop and “hunt down” the target effectively. Bruce learnt this lesson because when he fought with Wong Jack Man, Wong turned and ran. Bruce chased him from behind and put forth effort to punch him but exerted himself. The punches landed on Wong’s back but didn’t cause much damage to him. Thus, it is a “MUST” to develop straight lead punch extensively in order to go for a kill; Thirdly, must possess practical experience in fighting otherwise it would be like swimming in dry pool. These were the reasons why Bruce enhanced his fitness, techniques and ways of imparting his skills later on.

We didn’t learn much Wing Chun stuff and not even Siu Nam Tau. However, practical Wing Chun center line, straight punch etc. are originated from Wing Chun. Also,our hand techniques are mainly Wing Chun terms such as Chung Chuie, Bong Sau, Chi Sau, Jik Tek, Juk Tek etc. The technical terms in JKD basically are Cantonese pronunciation. In the beginning, there were a lot of students. Bruce saw that and said fitness is number one. During the 2-3 hours of training, the first hour was spent on doing all sorts of physical conditioning exercises like rope-skipping, expanding exercise, leg stretching and kicking etc. After that, we began to practice the basic drills followed by sparring. 1-2 months later, some students were disappointed. They came here to learn Bruce’s skills but couldn’t understand why they kept doing these physical fitness exercises. Many students gave up and never returned after then. Bruce used this method to eliminate a group of students who had no perseverance in learning martial arts.

We had not even heard about Jun Fan Kung Fu back then. Only in 1967, when we were training in the school, we then heard the term, “Jeet Kune Do.” The name JKD is influenced by Western Fencing. In fencing, there is a term called “Stop-hit,” i.e. once intercepted, stab immediately. Bruce said, “When we throw a punch out, it must intercept the opponent’s punch and at the same time hit the opponent.” Also, right lead is placed at the front. Boxing is opposite, left lead is placed at the front instead. Thus, I was a bit unused to it in the beginning. Why this way? Bruce said, “The distance is closer to the opponent if the right hand is in front. Also, our right hand is more agile, so, it will be more advantageous to place it in front. Using right hand to train also feels better because right punch is more powerful than left punch. We followed Bruce’s instructions and trained diligently. It was very tough then. We even wore leather glove to train.

Q13: What is the general training procedure in Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute? What are its training requirements?
DL: Every lesson began with a 30-40 minutes physical warm-up session before we entered into actual training. When Bruce taught, he would sometimes interweave with theories on Chinese Yin-Yang, Taoism and philosophy etc. He liked to talk on these. Then, it’s practical experience. We followed his methods and trained accordingly.
In practical training, sometimes we would fight from one end of the wall to the other end. One guy would retreat while the other guy would chase from behind and then resumed his previous position. If the opponent escaped, one would gain experience as to whether there wasn’t any chase-hit skill, or training wasn’t enough, or the methods were incorrect. During training, everyone was required to fully concentrate as well as paid attention to the lectures because Sifu was very authoritative and particularly strict. After lesson, everyone could laugh and joke around. But during lessons, everyone must be serious. Once, we were training with full concentration. Suddenly, Sifu Bruce said, “Stop for a while!” But everyone didn’t hear him and continued training, “pop, pop, pop...” “Stop for a while~” Bruce repeated. Yet none heard it. The third time, Bruce shouted, “Stop!” Everyone jeered and only then we all heard Bruce’s shouting and finally paused our training. It showed how focus and serious we were. At that time, the demand for training was very stringent, the students must listened to Bruce’s teaching methods and commands.

Q14: During the practical lessons that time, besides 1 to 1, was there 1 to 2 or 1 against even more opponents?
DL: We all wore glove in 1 to 1 sparring. Of course there was 1 against 2 as well. At one point of time, we fully concentrated on practicing 1 to 2. The method was to pay attention to the footwork of the opponents. You shouldn’t stand at one side and fight against 2 guys. It must be like a dog’s fighting, i.e. bite 1 dog and then run away. When the rest of the dogs chase from behind, see which dog is the nearest, then, turn back and bite it. Thus, for 1 to 2, ought to maintain the agility of the footwork. Most of my memory was that everyone was sparring with the boxing gloves. After the sparring, we would summarize and from there keep on improving.

Q15: Were there many students in Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute? Generally, what time did the training take place?
DL: In the beginning, there were about 50-60 people. Later, many of them were being eliminated and eventually only 20-30 students remained. Generally, the training began in the afternoon at 2pm. The little glass door was painted in red with no name. Once the clock reached 2pm, the door would be closed. If you were late, you had to use special way to knock on the door and only then, the door would be opened for you. Generally, nobody from outside knew there were people doing martial arts training inside.

Q16: How did Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute enroll students and how were the tuition fees being charged and collected?
DL: For enrollment at that time, it was purely through words of mouth. Those who were interested in martial arts heard that Bruce wanted to teach martial arts in LA Chinese Community, they would pass the words around. News travelled very quickly. Many who heard the news came to register. I’ve forgotten about how the tuition fees were being charged and collected. It was Inosanto who collected the payment. He was liked a small team leader who was in-charged of the opening and closing of the school’s door, collecting the tuition fees etc. If Bruce was not able to make it for the lessons, he would write down his teaching plans on what stuff the students needed to train for that day. Inosanto would then follow Bruce’s instructions and led us to proceed with the training. Sometimes, if Inosanto was away from trips, then Bruce would get me to act as his representative.

Q17: Was the training conducted based on various levels’ requirements? Were there special tests for ranking and certification?
DL: There were no fixed methods. Every time Bruce came in, there would always be new training methods. He was constantly thinking and evolving. Hence, there was no clear ranking on the rate of student’s progress. In other words, there’s no specific ranking system. Bruce said ranking would affect our training mindset. However, for convenience sake, Bruce himself still designed and classified JKD into 8 ranks. He also awarded certificates to us. Moreover, there were no tests liked other schools. But he would observe, studied and verified to see what rank we have reached and then awarded the certificate. I did not participate in any test. I got a 3rd rank as verified and awarded by Bruce. Actually, our class was not fully aware of this ranking system. We wore the same T-shirt and there was no obvious difference or whatsoever.

Why? He said for instance, if people looked at the ranking sign on your T-shirt, they would immediately knew that you belonged to the intermediate level and thus, would be wary of you; or say, if you were in the advanced level, you might think too highly of yourself and then refused or dare not sparred with the elementary level. Therefore, there’s no clear ranking system or classification but in your mind, you knew very well who was stronger and who was weaker. When Bruce awarded me the membership certificate, only then I realized that I had become the number one permanent member and my serial number was 0101. I was surprised because I wasn’t the first to enroll into the school. Probably when Bruce was writing the certificate and serial number, he thought of me and thus, put me on the first page and thus, I became the first member of the school.

Q18: This may reflect your special relationship with Bruce?
DL: I do find that there was a special bond between Bruce and me. I was his first student who possessed a complex background, i.e. mainland China, Taiwan and the U.S. I’m bilingual in Mandarin and English and had martial arts experience in Karate, Judo and boxing etc. However, I did not mention to Bruce about the feats of my Boxing Champ as that was already a “past-tense” and there’s no need to bring it up again. Bruce might be thinking that Dan Lee’s martial art wasn’t too bad. Furthermore, he’s an electrical engineer and his spirit was commendable. He might have appreciated me in that way. Bruce spoke English and of course he was very fluent in his Cantonese. He was brought up in HK and wasn’t too good in his Mandarin. Sometimes, he would ask me how to say or pronounce certain words in Mandarin. Like Bruce, most of the overseas Chinese who grow up in the U.S. can speak English, maybe some Cantonese but not Mandarin. I feel proud when I knew I’m the one and only mainland Chinese who had an opportunity to learn martial arts from the legendary master.

Q19: Do you still keep the certificate that Bruce awarded you?
DL: I do. But I don’t really pay too much attention to it normally. It may be in my old album. I’ve no idea about its whereabouts for the time being and have to look for it before sharing it with you guys. I remembered besides the 3rd rank certificate, there’s also an enrollment certificate. That time, there was a system in the member’s certificate which consisted of 8 ranks. There’s a box in front of every rank. Bruce would put his signature and stamp-chop inside the box. But Kung Fu does not solely rely on certificate or whatsoever. After all, if you’ve the Kung Fu skill, you have it. If you don’t, it’s no use to even brag about it the whole day.

Q20: We do agree with your point of view. Only possess real Kung Fu then will make the certificate more meaningful. Your preservation of your certificate witnessed the JKD’s history and it can be considered a valuable historical relic. Don’t you think so?
DL: Talking about preservation and witnessing of history. I’ve some deep feelings and short stories to share. Back then, I was only conscientious in learning martial arts and never thought I have a chance to really take photos to preserve history. Coincidentally, at that time I bought a new Japanese brand camera and was so happy that I would put it in my car and carried it along whenever I went. One day, Bruce’s mother – Grace Lee, Linda, Brandon and Peter Lee visited our school and watched us trained. We paused our training and welcome them. Then, I said, “It’s a rare occasion, why not let us take a photo together?” Everyone agreed and then we took a shot. There was another time when the big Jabbar came, the one who played NBA. He was also Bruce’s student. I said, “Wow, he was as tall as a giant!” My camera was with me so it captured another precious moment of our group. However, when I look back now, it’s a shame that there’re only few photos of Bruce being taken together with his LA students.

Q21: So, those few valuable photos were taken by your camera?
DL: Yes, they were taken by my camera. After Bruce’s death, I was so sad. When Black Belt magazine intended to publish a commemorative article about Bruce, the editor looked for me and wanted these photos. I said, “OK, take the photo negatives and develop them.” But after they printed the article and photos, they didn’t return the negatives to me (Haha...). I think, these photos got a chance to be shown over the magazine have their meanings in history and there’s no need to say who took these photos but at least I have helped the JKD world to preserve a few meaningful historical moments.

Part 2: Photos of Dan Lee & others: https://postimg.org/image/ttz4801dh/


(Part 3 to be continued next week...)
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Joined: September 21st, 2015, 3:56 am

September 2nd, 2016, 6:22 pm #23



"Secondly, it’s a “MUST” to develop effective straight lead so that when the opponent run, you’d be able to catch up, stop and “hunt down” the target effectively. Bruce learnt this lesson because when he fought with Wong Jack Man, Wong turned and ran. Bruce chased him from behind and put forth effort to punch him but exerted himself. The punches landed on Wong’s back but didn’t cause much damage to him. Thus, it is a “MUST” to develop straight lead punch extensively in order to go for a kill"



WJM indeed ran while Bruce chased and hit him on his back. Bruce repeated the same thing to Black Belt and his students. He wanted to develop effective straight lead against any runner and take him down before he can run any further.
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Joined: December 13th, 2012, 7:02 pm

September 2nd, 2016, 6:47 pm #24

Bruce Lee was probably so mad that he chased the guy and hit him in back of the head and hurt his hands, when all he had to do was kick one of his feet and trip him or just push him in the back and make him fall under his own weight, then pound him on the ground.
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Anonymous
Anonymous

September 3rd, 2016, 1:10 am #25

Not easy to trip WJM as he is good in Northern Kung Fu which specialized in legs skill, so, would have avoided the tripping.
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blackpanther
blackpanther

September 3rd, 2016, 2:10 am #26

Q9: When did you meet Bruce?
DL: In 1964, Ed Parker organized the Long Beach International Karate Tournament. I heard from Ed that he had invited a young but highly-skilled Chinese martial artist from Washington as the guest-of-honor. His name was Bruce Lee and he would be performing in the tournament. So, out of curiosity, I went there with some other Ed’s students to watch Bruce’s performance. We looked down from the upper floor in the hall and saw Bruce, in his cool black Kung Fu suit. He was explaining to the audience about Wing Chun and Gung Fu theories with full confidence. Upon his explanation, I only realized that there were scientific reasons behind these skills. Bruce also demonstrated Blind Chi Sau with his assistant, Taky Kimura. Bruce was exceptionally agile and I have never seen someone practice Blind Chi Sau before. It was truly amazing. A thought struck my mind at that moment, i.e. I hoped to learn from him. But Bruce was living in Seattle, Washington. It was impossible at that time for me to go there as my career and home was in LA. That time, the team leader in our Karate group was Danny Inosanto who had already learnt many kinds of martial arts but he too, was interested in Bruce’s skills.

In 1966, I heard there was a Chinese Tai Chi master who came from HK. His name was Tung Hu-Ling. Previously, my teacher, Chow in Shanghai had advised me to pick up Tai Chi when I grew older. I was already in my mid 30s then, so, I thought it’s time for me to start learning Tai Chi. Hence, I joined Sifu Tung’s Tai Chi demonstration event. When Sifu Tung asked, “Who can help me to translate?” I volunteered to help him. So, during the first day of his demonstration, I became his English translator. Sifu Tung liked me very much and I followed him to learn Tai Chi from that day onwards.

Actually, by that time, I’d already obtained my Karate Black Belt. In fact, Ed Parker had trained about 7-8 of them to become black belt Karatekas so that they could become his assistant coaches in the future. But I told him, “Ed, I’m Chinese, I want to learn some Chinese martial arts. I’d like to apply leave for half a year to learn Tai Chi Chuan.” Ed Parker was very disgruntled and said to me, “Alright, go ahead! See you half a year later!” After I picked up Tai Chi for 6 months, I became very fond in it. So, I phoned Ed and told him, “Ed, I want to carry on learning Tai Chi, so, I need to extend my leave a bit longer.” Ed Parker then became very angry and told me, “Ok then, I don’t want to see you anymore!” That’s why I stopped doing Karate and continued to learn the Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan.

Q10: When did you learn JKD from Bruce Lee?
DL: In 1967, Danny Inosanto phoned me and said, “Dan, Bruce Lee will be coming to LA from Oakland and he would be opening a school here. Are you interested to join the school? I immediately replied, “Of course!” I didn’t know what were reported on the newspapers but when Bruce opened his school in LA on the first day, it was fully packed with crowd. Bruce said, “Gosh! Too many people, but since all are here, then, all are welcome to enroll.” I was one of the earliest to enroll into Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute. At that time, about 5 of us (all Karate Black Belt) left Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate School and crossed over to join Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute. There’s a photo of us taken with Bruce that was published in many magazines over the years. That was a shot to commemorate the day we joined Bruce Lee’s school. From then onwards, we had never resumed learning Kenpo Karate.

Q11: Jun Fan’s salute/ greeting stance is very similar to Kenpo Karate. Are they related in terms of origins?
DL: No, definitely not. They look alike but are not related to each other. Kenpo’s greeting stance includes slapping the knee caps with both hands, shaking legs and other movement etc. Bruce’s greeting movements were developed gradually as the school operated along the way. When class commences and after class ends, there’ll be JKD rites, ready commands follow by greeting stance.

Q12: Can you tell us about how the teaching was conducted in LA Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute? Were the students taught JKD directly or Jun Fan Kung Fu?
DL: In the beginning it wasn’t JKD, it was called Bruce Lee’s Martial Arts. I need to elaborate more about why I stopped learning Kenpo Karate. I actually found problems after learning Ed Parker’s skill. What we learnt in the practical applications and demonstrations were actually one strike after another, a sequence of strikes/ blocks. For instance, when the opponent hits you with a right punch, you have to block this way then that way... So, when all various strikes/ blocks are demonstrated, they indeed look really fanciful. Altogether, there are about 6-7 sets. However, the requirement is that the opponent shouldn’t move while you strike. In the end, when it come to real fighting, it didn’t work at all because the opponent would be moving all over the place and he’s a mobile not static target. This kind of Karate learning is actually a form of handicapped in actual combat.

When Bruce taught, he emphasized on 3 things. Firstly, fitness; secondly, practice and fine tune straight lead punch; thirdly, practical experience. Why? Later, I realized that in 1964, he had a fight with SF martial artist, Wong Jack Man. Not many people witnessed this fight. After the fight, Bruce self-reflected that though his fitness was ok but it still wasn’t good enough. Thus, he worked extremely hard on his physical fitness conditioning. Secondly, it’s a “MUST” to develop effective straight lead so that when the opponent run, you’d be able to catch up, stop and “hunt down” the target effectively. Bruce learnt this lesson because when he fought with Wong Jack Man, Wong turned and ran. Bruce chased him from behind and put forth effort to punch him but exerted himself. The punches landed on Wong’s back but didn’t cause much damage to him. Thus, it is a “MUST” to develop straight lead punch extensively in order to go for a kill; Thirdly, must possess practical experience in fighting otherwise it would be like swimming in dry pool. These were the reasons why Bruce enhanced his fitness, techniques and ways of imparting his skills later on.

We didn’t learn much Wing Chun stuff and not even Siu Nam Tau. However, practical Wing Chun center line, straight punch etc. are originated from Wing Chun. Also,our hand techniques are mainly Wing Chun terms such as Chung Chuie, Bong Sau, Chi Sau, Jik Tek, Juk Tek etc. The technical terms in JKD basically are Cantonese pronunciation. In the beginning, there were a lot of students. Bruce saw that and said fitness is number one. During the 2-3 hours of training, the first hour was spent on doing all sorts of physical conditioning exercises like rope-skipping, expanding exercise, leg stretching and kicking etc. After that, we began to practice the basic drills followed by sparring. 1-2 months later, some students were disappointed. They came here to learn Bruce’s skills but couldn’t understand why they kept doing these physical fitness exercises. Many students gave up and never returned after then. Bruce used this method to eliminate a group of students who had no perseverance in learning martial arts.

We had not even heard about Jun Fan Kung Fu back then. Only in 1967, when we were training in the school, we then heard the term, “Jeet Kune Do.” The name JKD is influenced by Western Fencing. In fencing, there is a term called “Stop-hit,” i.e. once intercepted, stab immediately. Bruce said, “When we throw a punch out, it must intercept the opponent’s punch and at the same time hit the opponent.” Also, right lead is placed at the front. Boxing is opposite, left lead is placed at the front instead. Thus, I was a bit unused to it in the beginning. Why this way? Bruce said, “The distance is closer to the opponent if the right hand is in front. Also, our right hand is more agile, so, it will be more advantageous to place it in front. Using right hand to train also feels better because right punch is more powerful than left punch. We followed Bruce’s instructions and trained diligently. It was very tough then. We even wore leather glove to train.

Q13: What is the general training procedure in Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute? What are its training requirements?
DL: Every lesson began with a 30-40 minutes physical warm-up session before we entered into actual training. When Bruce taught, he would sometimes interweave with theories on Chinese Yin-Yang, Taoism and philosophy etc. He liked to talk on these. Then, it’s practical experience. We followed his methods and trained accordingly.
In practical training, sometimes we would fight from one end of the wall to the other end. One guy would retreat while the other guy would chase from behind and then resumed his previous position. If the opponent escaped, one would gain experience as to whether there wasn’t any chase-hit skill, or training wasn’t enough, or the methods were incorrect. During training, everyone was required to fully concentrate as well as paid attention to the lectures because Sifu was very authoritative and particularly strict. After lesson, everyone could laugh and joke around. But during lessons, everyone must be serious. Once, we were training with full concentration. Suddenly, Sifu Bruce said, “Stop for a while!” But everyone didn’t hear him and continued training, “pop, pop, pop...” “Stop for a while~” Bruce repeated. Yet none heard it. The third time, Bruce shouted, “Stop!” Everyone jeered and only then we all heard Bruce’s shouting and finally paused our training. It showed how focus and serious we were. At that time, the demand for training was very stringent, the students must listened to Bruce’s teaching methods and commands.

Q14: During the practical lessons that time, besides 1 to 1, was there 1 to 2 or 1 against even more opponents?
DL: We all wore glove in 1 to 1 sparring. Of course there was 1 against 2 as well. At one point of time, we fully concentrated on practicing 1 to 2. The method was to pay attention to the footwork of the opponents. You shouldn’t stand at one side and fight against 2 guys. It must be like a dog’s fighting, i.e. bite 1 dog and then run away. When the rest of the dogs chase from behind, see which dog is the nearest, then, turn back and bite it. Thus, for 1 to 2, ought to maintain the agility of the footwork. Most of my memory was that everyone was sparring with the boxing gloves. After the sparring, we would summarize and from there keep on improving.

Q15: Were there many students in Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute? Generally, what time did the training take place?
DL: In the beginning, there were about 50-60 people. Later, many of them were being eliminated and eventually only 20-30 students remained. Generally, the training began in the afternoon at 2pm. The little glass door was painted in red with no name. Once the clock reached 2pm, the door would be closed. If you were late, you had to use special way to knock on the door and only then, the door would be opened for you. Generally, nobody from outside knew there were people doing martial arts training inside.

Q16: How did Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute enroll students and how were the tuition fees being charged and collected?
DL: For enrollment at that time, it was purely through words of mouth. Those who were interested in martial arts heard that Bruce wanted to teach martial arts in LA Chinese Community, they would pass the words around. News travelled very quickly. Many who heard the news came to register. I’ve forgotten about how the tuition fees were being charged and collected. It was Inosanto who collected the payment. He was liked a small team leader who was in-charged of the opening and closing of the school’s door, collecting the tuition fees etc. If Bruce was not able to make it for the lessons, he would write down his teaching plans on what stuff the students needed to train for that day. Inosanto would then follow Bruce’s instructions and led us to proceed with the training. Sometimes, if Inosanto was away from trips, then Bruce would get me to act as his representative.

Q17: Was the training conducted based on various levels’ requirements? Were there special tests for ranking and certification?
DL: There were no fixed methods. Every time Bruce came in, there would always be new training methods. He was constantly thinking and evolving. Hence, there was no clear ranking on the rate of student’s progress. In other words, there’s no specific ranking system. Bruce said ranking would affect our training mindset. However, for convenience sake, Bruce himself still designed and classified JKD into 8 ranks. He also awarded certificates to us. Moreover, there were no tests liked other schools. But he would observe, studied and verified to see what rank we have reached and then awarded the certificate. I did not participate in any test. I got a 3rd rank as verified and awarded by Bruce. Actually, our class was not fully aware of this ranking system. We wore the same T-shirt and there was no obvious difference or whatsoever.

Why? He said for instance, if people looked at the ranking sign on your T-shirt, they would immediately knew that you belonged to the intermediate level and thus, would be wary of you; or say, if you were in the advanced level, you might think too highly of yourself and then refused or dare not sparred with the elementary level. Therefore, there’s no clear ranking system or classification but in your mind, you knew very well who was stronger and who was weaker. When Bruce awarded me the membership certificate, only then I realized that I had become the number one permanent member and my serial number was 0101. I was surprised because I wasn’t the first to enroll into the school. Probably when Bruce was writing the certificate and serial number, he thought of me and thus, put me on the first page and thus, I became the first member of the school.

Q18: This may reflect your special relationship with Bruce?
DL: I do find that there was a special bond between Bruce and me. I was his first student who possessed a complex background, i.e. mainland China, Taiwan and the U.S. I’m bilingual in Mandarin and English and had martial arts experience in Karate, Judo and boxing etc. However, I did not mention to Bruce about the feats of my Boxing Champ as that was already a “past-tense” and there’s no need to bring it up again. Bruce might be thinking that Dan Lee’s martial art wasn’t too bad. Furthermore, he’s an electrical engineer and his spirit was commendable. He might have appreciated me in that way. Bruce spoke English and of course he was very fluent in his Cantonese. He was brought up in HK and wasn’t too good in his Mandarin. Sometimes, he would ask me how to say or pronounce certain words in Mandarin. Like Bruce, most of the overseas Chinese who grow up in the U.S. can speak English, maybe some Cantonese but not Mandarin. I feel proud when I knew I’m the one and only mainland Chinese who had an opportunity to learn martial arts from the legendary master.

Q19: Do you still keep the certificate that Bruce awarded you?
DL: I do. But I don’t really pay too much attention to it normally. It may be in my old album. I’ve no idea about its whereabouts for the time being and have to look for it before sharing it with you guys. I remembered besides the 3rd rank certificate, there’s also an enrollment certificate. That time, there was a system in the member’s certificate which consisted of 8 ranks. There’s a box in front of every rank. Bruce would put his signature and stamp-chop inside the box. But Kung Fu does not solely rely on certificate or whatsoever. After all, if you’ve the Kung Fu skill, you have it. If you don’t, it’s no use to even brag about it the whole day.

Q20: We do agree with your point of view. Only possess real Kung Fu then will make the certificate more meaningful. Your preservation of your certificate witnessed the JKD’s history and it can be considered a valuable historical relic. Don’t you think so?
DL: Talking about preservation and witnessing of history. I’ve some deep feelings and short stories to share. Back then, I was only conscientious in learning martial arts and never thought I have a chance to really take photos to preserve history. Coincidentally, at that time I bought a new Japanese brand camera and was so happy that I would put it in my car and carried it along whenever I went. One day, Bruce’s mother – Grace Lee, Linda, Brandon and Peter Lee visited our school and watched us trained. We paused our training and welcome them. Then, I said, “It’s a rare occasion, why not let us take a photo together?” Everyone agreed and then we took a shot. There was another time when the big Jabbar came, the one who played NBA. He was also Bruce’s student. I said, “Wow, he was as tall as a giant!” My camera was with me so it captured another precious moment of our group. However, when I look back now, it’s a shame that there’re only few photos of Bruce being taken together with his LA students.

Q21: So, those few valuable photos were taken by your camera?
DL: Yes, they were taken by my camera. After Bruce’s death, I was so sad. When Black Belt magazine intended to publish a commemorative article about Bruce, the editor looked for me and wanted these photos. I said, “OK, take the photo negatives and develop them.” But after they printed the article and photos, they didn’t return the negatives to me (Haha...). I think, these photos got a chance to be shown over the magazine have their meanings in history and there’s no need to say who took these photos but at least I have helped the JKD world to preserve a few meaningful historical moments.

Part 2: Photos of Dan Lee & others: https://postimg.org/image/ttz4801dh/


(Part 3 to be continued next week...)
Dan Lee made the right choice by leaving Kenpo Karate which only does fanciful forms like the classical mess.

Being Chinese and with good martial arts background, I think he understood BL's philosophy much better than other non-Chinese students.

He fought on the street and in the ring and was also a disciplined student,that might be why BL chose him as his backyard training partner.

R.I.P. Dan Lee.
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Philip Callahan
Philip Callahan

September 7th, 2016, 8:52 pm #27

In several interviews, Chinatown student Bob Bremer stated that Ed Parker was upset with Bruce for "stealing" several of his students. Sans Dan Inosanto, Parker called his now ex-students "The Turncoats." The turncoats consisted of Bremer, Dan Lee, Steve Golden, Jerry Poteet, Larry Hartsell and Pete Jacobs.
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Joined: December 13th, 2012, 7:02 pm

September 8th, 2016, 12:05 am #28

Hey not to Knock Kenpo, I took it myself, but they knew a good thing when they saw it.
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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

September 9th, 2016, 7:28 am #29

This is believed to be the last interview of Sifu Dan Lee conducted in late 2014. The interview was published in the “Chinese Wushu” magazine on 5 separate issues i.e. 2014 Sept, Oct, 2015 Jan, Apr and May. The interviewers were Hao Gang and Zhu Jianhua, 2 mainland Chinese JKD students of Dan Lee he officially accepted in 2009. This over 2-hours overseas telephone interview was conducted for the “Chinese Wushu” magazine’s special, titled, “I Am The Only Mainland Chinese Who Trained With Bruce Lee.” Unfortunately, Dan Lee passed away in Dec 2015, few months after the last issue was released.

These 5 parts interviews of Dan Lee will be posted on “Bruce Lee Lives! Forum” each per week. In his last interview, Dan Lee spoke candidly in details about his life, martial arts learning, Bruce Lee, JKD and the preservation of Lee’s legacy. It covers a wide scope of the following topics:

- his humble beginning in Shanghai (incl. boxing learning & fighting with the Russian kid)

- his German & Chinese boxing coaches & study of Joe Louis B & W boxing footage

- his winning of the China’s National Boxing Championship title in 1948 + film/voice recording of the match by his father

- his victory in the Taiwan Provincial Boxing Competition in 1950

- his learning of Judo, Kenpo Karate, Tai Chi in the U.S. (mid 50s – mid 60s)

- his reasons for leaving Ed Parker’s Kenpo Karate

- his meeting with Bruce Lee & learning of JKD in LA school (1967) & Bruce’s backyard (1969), & being the first permanent member no. 0101 of LA school

- his views on Bruce Lee’s straight lead punch development after Bruce chased & hit WJM’s head in Oakland school

- his sparring with Bruce Lee & the “permanent souvenir” Bruce left him

- his views on the various training apparatus created by Bruce Lee

- his story on the Bruce’s photo with his LA class & Black Belt photo-taking session in 1967

- his views on JKD being the pioneer of full protective gear in no holds barred fighting

- his views on martial arts certificates, rankings and real fighting ability

- his Tai Chi demo filmed by Bruce Lee

- his takes on the taped telephone conversation with Bruce Lee in Jan 1972

- his view on the real Bruce Lee’s JKD, Original JKD and mixed JKD

- his views on Bruce’s real fighting ability as a martial artist and his movies’ fighting actions

- his views on JKD & MMA, & their relationships with street-fighting

- his reasons for departing Inosanto’s backyard training & training in his own backyard

- his street-fighting encounter in France

- his views on JKD’s concepts, principles & philosophy etc.

- his correction on JKD’s Ying-Yang symbol & his Chinese calligraphy characters of JKD

- his comparison of JKD with Tai Chi (Hard & Soft Kung Fu) & story of Bruce’s wishes to study in-depth / learning of Tai Chi at older age

- his preservation of Bruce Lee’s JKD legacy --- overseas JKD’s seminar/ trainings/ worldwide’s flourishing

- etc. etc. etc.

Stay tune for this exclusive 5-parts series of Dan Lee’s interview on this forum!
Q22: In the photo shoot session for 1967 Black Belt magazine, we saw you wearing full set of protective gear and demonstrated JKD with Bruce. Were those protective gears being used in your daily training in Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute?
DL: Right. These sparring protective gears like the fingered glove was unavailable in the market then. We used the baseball hand glove to create the fingered glove. As for the head gear, it was recreated using the Western Boxing head gear used by the U.S. Navy. It was very hard. Also, there’s a chest guard that used to protect the chest. It was reconstructed using the Japanese Kendo’s chest guard. It was too hard as well. Later, Bruce personally designed the various supplementary training apparatuses and equipments. Coincidentally that Bruce had 2 Oakland students, i.e. George Lee and James Y. Lee who were capable enough to help Bruce completed these training equipments’ designs and productions. Especially the designs of kicking shield, head gear, chest guard and the groin guard which would bounce back when the opponent kicks with his instep etc. So, during our practical sessions, we chose our own self-designed and self-constructed apparatuses for training.

Q23: In an interview with the Black Belt magazine, Bruce officially announced to the public about his “Jeet Kune Do.” This was a significant milestone in the development history of JKD and how were you being involved?
DL: That time we were training in the Chinatown. After training, Bruce told me, “Dan, don’t go, please stay.” I replied, “Ok, is there anything else, Sifu?” Bruce said, “The Black Belt magazine will be coming a while later for an interview and take photos as well, you stay and help me with some demonstrations.” I said, “Ok.” Hence, after the lesson, Bruce and I did some demonstrations in our school and the Black Belt magazine’s photographer shot a series of photos on our demos.

Q24: When were you picked as Bruce’s backyard training partner?
DL: I can’t remember the specific date. It was about 2 years after Bruce moved his house. Probably in 1969, he said our training were insufficient. He was particularly interested in teaching martial arts then. Since he had only few cameo appearances in movie and TV series, so, he had a lot of free time. Besides his private teaching, he had found himself few students who he thought were agile and good in sparring to train with him in his backyard. Our weekend training in the Chinatown kwoon was closed-door and then we assembled at his house on every Wednesday afternoon for the backyard training. When he was available, he would say to me, “Please come for training on Wednesday.”

Q25: What did Bruce train you guys in the backyard? What was the training mainly about?
DL: There were fewer people in the backyard training, just a few of us who trained with Bruce. The training mainly focused on the speed of our punches and kicks, timing, distance, rhythm, elusiveness and reflexes etc. Bruce thought that punches and kicks are the most basic tools everyone would use in actual combat, thus, we must constantly strengthen them, refine them, be proficient in them and let them become part of our fighting’s instinctive reactions and movements so that they could simply and directly be exploited effectively in actual combats. Bruce didn’t teach us too many skills. Most of the time, we repeated the same old training drills on those frequently used yet practical, effective and simple skills. However, these drills stressed a lot on individual’s skills proficiency and competency.

For instance, in a clapping exercise, one person holds his palms in front of his body. The palms faced each other but are apart at a distance of around 6 inches. Then, another person would use his finger jab to poke through the 6 inches gap of the palms and then retreat straight away. This is to see your instinctive response. You have to response very quick by catching his finger jab through clapping. Things to note in this training: Firstly, the guy who is going to jab and hit mustn’t have any pre-movement. He has to act fast yet not tense. His goal is to practice how to secretly hit and retrieve fast; secondly, the other guy who is going to clap hands must train his reflexes and see whether the opponent has any small predictive movement. Once you move your body, he will clap immediately. Through this training, our movements and reflexes will enhance and become very fast. Generally, I did very well in hitting as I practiced very often in school and at home.

Also, there were all sorts of basic kicking drills like practiced various types of kicking with our groin guards on. There was a period of time where we did many kicking of sandbags. For instance, there’s a huge heavy bag at Bruce’s backyard which we trained our kicking. It allowed us to leap 3 big steps at a distance before thrusting our kicks. The focus target was to train our ability in basic movements, reflexes, adaptability etc. Relatively speaking, there were lesser pair exercises in the training.

Q26: What were some of the main footwork drills?
DL: They were actually the drills of the most basic JKD’s footwork. For instance, moving forward and backward; shifting to the left and dodge to the right; proceed to the front and retreat to the back; retreat to the back and then move forward again; rear leg drives, front leg leaps etc. etc. All were very much alive. When training alone, try to act as if there is enemy in-front, and then use various methods to train different types of footwork. The drills of traditional Karate were all mechanical movements though the demonstrations were usually very fanciful and eye-catching.

In JKD, we have to act flexibly, adapt and adjust to the changing conditions of the opponents. We are not demonstrating forms or katas, but we are training as close to the actual combat’s situation as possible. Sometimes, Bruce would play music to facilitate our footwork drill. On one hand, adjusting flexibly, controlling the fighting distance mutually, on the other hand, learn to feel and adapt to the rhythm of the opponent, and catch his movements’ beats sharply. Balance, distance, rhythm’s flexibility were all very significant areas in JKD footwork drills which we really paid attention to. All the footwork had to work in coordination with JKD’s basic punching and kicking. Punch firmly and at the same time, the irregular footwork, under the circumstances of irregular rhythms, must maintain the body’s stability and the swift changes to the center of the body weight. Much emphasis was placed in this area too.

Q27: Sifu, did you often have opportunities to spar with Bruce in the kwoon or at the backyard training?
DL: Hard to come by. In my impressions, there weren’t many times that I sparred with Bruce. But during the trainings, there were plenty of chances in sparring between the students. Bruce would watch us sparred and observed our skills and awareness, as well as guided us with various types of practical fighting methods in sparring. For instance, the method of full contact sparring using a combination of both hands and legs is different from the method of boxing solely with hands. Because the control of distance in boxing is different from the distance in applying leg kicking, and the method of hitting is also different. You not only need to control a safe distance in the sparring, avoid the opponent’s kick in perfect timing but you also need to counterattack quickly. Furthermore, you must be able to combine both your hands and legs, and close the gap instantly. It is just like the shadow, gripping the instantaneous beat of the retrieval of the opponent’s leg before dashing in and finishing him off with a strike! Back then, we trained very industriously just like we did in the class. If there’s nothing special, we would just head for home after training. I was very delighted that Bruce had a good impression on me and invited me for the backyard training.

Q28: You once let us touched your chin and we saw there was an old scar there. You said this was a “souvenir” left by Bruce. Could you please elaborate on the cause of this scar?
DL: One day after the backyard training, we put back on our casual attires and were in a discussion among ourselves in Bruce’s study room. Then, Bruce said, “I just got 2 sets of brand new 16 ounces boxing glove. Let me show them to you! See, they are beautiful.” Suddenly, Bruce turned to me and said, “Dan, didn’t you box?” I have never told him that I did boxing before, how did he know? Bruce continued, “Let’s have a try.” I was puzzled why out of a sudden he wanted to have a try with me? I found it too impolite to reject so agreed to his request to try out the size and the touch of the new boxing gloves.

We got into fighting stance. Bruce initiated the attack by throwing a punch at me. My natural response was to dodge and at the same time strike back. This is very common in boxing. I can’t remember what exactly happened in the end. However, another student and Inosanto were present at the scene. After the sparring, I asked him. He briefly described to me about what happened in the sparring between Bruce and me. I counterattacked and hit Bruce’s face lightly. Bruce was surprised and said, “ahh..your skills are pretty good.” Then we continued sparring and again, I hit him from another angle. Bruce said, “Ooh.” But these 2 hits might have really agitated him. He became serious and got back at me “Pop!…Pop!…Pop!…” with numerous punches continuously. I thought to myself this wasn’t formal training, we were just trying out these boxing gloves, why was he throwing heavy punches at me? As I respect my teacher so, I kept retreating, retreating, retreating until to the side of the desk in the study room. Both my hands then moved backwards automatically and held on to the edge of the desk. By right, the fight should have stopped by then but Bruce didn’t stop, “Pop!” a punch landed on my left chin. After this punch, he halted finally and I felt a sharp pain in my chin but I didn’t move. The whole sparring ended.

Later on, Bruce seemed like remembered something and asked Inosanto, “Today, were Dan and I very serious?” Insanto replied, “Of course, you were serious, too serious!” The next day, I was at home and when I yawned, I suddenly discovered my mouth was wide-opened and couldn’t close it. What’s wrong!? I used my hand to shake my chin, and then my mouth shut up. I thought, “Wow, Bruce’s punch was powerful and it has hit and hurt my gum inside, I’m injured.” Later, when the X-ray was out, I saw a tiny part of the gum inside was missing. When I opened my mouth, I could hear a “lok..lok” sound. You can also feel the missing part. This is the permanent memorabilia left by Bruce. Haha.. When I look back now, this was actually no big deal.

Q29: When Bruce returned to HK to pursue his movie career, he closed down his 3 Jun Fan Gung Fu Institutes. Did you know what the reasons were?
DL: It happened in 1970. That time, Bruce was lacking interest in running the schools and teaching too. He said his martial arts skill was for personal training and not for teaching. Hence, in 1970, he told Inosanto to close down the school and stopped teaching anymore. But there were still people coming forward to learn, so all of them went to Inosanto’s backyard to attend the JKD training. I couldn’t bear but the school was closed down eventually. Bruce later returned to HK to make Kung Fu movies, like The Big Boss, Fist of Fury etc. and became a superstar. Between 1970 and 1974, we trained in a comparatively bigger gym at Inosanto’s backyard.

Q30: After the closure of Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute, can you tell us who were those that trained at Inosanto’s backyard?
DL: There were quite a number of them learning at Inosanto’s backyard but I couldn’t remember their names very clearly but all were old students. That time, Inosanto was living very far, in the southern part of LA. It took me 45 minutes to drive there. There were several students who also drove there to attend the training. From 1972 onwards, we were together for around 2 years. Later, in 1974, Inosanto opened his own martial arts school. He wanted to develop his own martial arts. So, the JKD training became a bit different and incorrect. I remembered he himself was also practicing and training along with few Filipinos’ Escrima experts. So, when we trained, we would practice JKD for a while, and these Escrima guys would say they wanted to share some martial arts skills of Inosanto.

At that time, Inosanto’s Filipino Martial Arts Academy was teaching about 10 various kinds of courses. I couldn’t differentiate the courses’ names. Actually, there were about 8-9 schools of Filipinos’ Escrima Arts. Inosanto learnt from every Escrima teachers and blended with his own skills. Those Filipinos teachers were not very pleased with him because he also mixed Bruce’s stuff in the Escrima Arts. When we went to train with Inosanto, his style changed and seemed inappropriate. After practicing JKD for 20 minutes, it was followed by the Escrima stick. After he established his martial arts school in 1974, I was thinking, it wasn’t right because I drove from a very far distance but my main training was no longer JKD, they were all those Filipinos’ stuff. I couldn’t care much since he is a Filipino. So, I told Inosanto, “It’s really far from my house. I think I’ll practice at my house in the future.” I wasn’t interested in Escrima stick. I just wanted to focus on learning the real essence in JKD and to continue training in this area. Hence, after 1974, we departed and have never been training together.

Q31: When did you begin your JKD training with some of the previous backyard JKD students in your own backyard?
DL: After I left Inosanto’s backyard training in 1974, I thought I still need to carry on practicing JKD. Thus, my house’s backyard, if you two could still remember, there is a big shed which I made. That’s where we had our trainings. I also taught Tai Chi separately from JKD on different occasions. In fact, I had been teaching Tai Chi for many years since 1969 and until 1992. For those Tai Chi students who were more interested in JKD, I would teach them. I never advertised and eventually, I counted, there were over 20 students training JKD at my backyard from 1976 until 1984. I taught JKD at the backyard for about 8 years.

Q32: After your retirement, besides backyard teaching, did you go abroad and give JKD seminars for a period of time?
DL: Yes. I was invited by Spain, U.K and various JKD schools in the U.S. to teach short-term JKD courses. Every time, the focus was to teach Bruce’s skills as well as interweaved with the Chinese Tai Chi’s Yin-Yang philosophy. At that time, I got to know many international JKD friends.

Q33: Nowadays, many people think that if they mixed and practiced their favorite martial arts skills together, it is called JKD. Could you tell us did you mix Wing Chun, Tai Chi and other forms of martial arts when you taught or practice JKD?
DL: No. I only specialized in teaching and practicing Bruce’s JKD and there’re no other additives. The essence of Chinese Taoist’s philosophy is the Tao of Simplicity. JKD’s philosophy is also the same. The martial arts wisdom of JKD embodies not in increasing but in decreasing. It incarnates in quality not quantity. Therefore, if we could use the most precise, simplified and direct way to defeat our opponents, then why waste time and energy to use complex methods? When we practice JKD, it has to be like what Bruce’s had emphasized, i.e. to achieve the maximum result with the minimum effort.

To put various types of martial arts together in JKD training, you know, Bruce had never taught in that way. In his book, “Bruce Lee’s Fighting Methods,” is there any teaching of Taekwondo, Thai Boxing, Filipinos’ Escrima? No. Mixing of all various types and forms of martial arts together are only embellishments. It couldn’t show the quintessence of JKD. Instead, it would disrupt its proper development. If we are bound by too many forms of skills, we’ll not be able to adapt to the ever-changing circumstances in real combat. Thus, the quintessence of JKD lies in its martial arts principles, i.e. simplicity, directness and non classical. In addition, it also includes the simple, scientific and overall combat strategy’s structure as well as the practical combat-oriented cum highly efficient training methods.

I’ve said before, JKD doesn’t rely on the blending of various techniques and skills in defeating the opponents but it stresses on the rhythm of the actual combat, the insight of the distance and timing, as well as adapting to the opponents and then knock the opponents down. We must be simple, direct and bring our innate potentials and instincts into full play. Therefore, I think it’s inappropriate on the act of mixing various kinds of martial skills in JKD. This goes against Bruce’s principle which he had repeatedly told us about the highest state of JKD’s goal. The direction in the first place is incorrect. JKD ain’t anything beyond but it’s anything within.

Q34: As early as 1996, we saw someone in the U.S. called the JKD which Bruce taught as “ORIGINAL JKD.” What are your views on this?
DL: Someone indeed dubbed Bruce’s JKD as “ORIGINAL JKD” but there is problem in its English name and Chinese interpretation. JEET KUNE DO is JEET KUNE DO, where the heck is there ORIGINAL or NOT ORIGINAL? Furthermore, I dislike the term “ORIGINAL.” ‘ORIGINAL” means the most ancient, the most fundamental. It’s better not to use this term anymore.

Q35: In your opinion, what is JKD?
DL: JKD is JKD as I said just now. JKD is what Bruce taught, said and wrote while he was alive. So, the real JKD is the method what Bruce taught us and the direction he pointed out. That is JKD. The 90% & above genuine JKD students or Bruce’s students were those that stress on the things they learnt from Bruce. The things that directly imparted from the founder, Bruce Lee were his martial arts ideas, fighting methods and training methods. However, JKD shouldn’t be absolutized or set an absolute norm for personal future development. Bruce hated boundary and learning martial arts shouldn’t have boundaries. Actually he was evolving all the time. He actually had developed the norms of basic JKD training, such as, the basic ready stance, skills in punching, kicking, footwork and bodywork etc. There is also sparring in the training as well. All these are good indeed. Bruce also said, “You cannot say this is JKD, that isn’t. If so, then cancel the name, “JKD” for it’s just a name.” So, for JKD, Bruce had developed the basic drills’ lesson topics and set their directions. This is good enough. At the end of the training, the JKD’s techniques of each individual may be different due to each individual’s development. I was largely influenced by Tai Chi. Hence, the direction of my personal development is the mutually co-existence of Ying-Yang in JKD, just like the JKD’s symbol. Whether JKD can continue to grow on the basis of Bruce’s JKD or not, it really all depends on individual’s hard work and effort.

Part 3: Photos of Dan Lee & others: https://postimg.org/image/fdkmonm43/

Inosanto’s Backyard Group: https://postimg.org/image/dfhbaxlvp/


(Part 4 to be continued next week...)
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Joined: September 25th, 2015, 5:34 am

September 9th, 2016, 1:52 pm #30

Great interview.

Very detailed explanation about backyard training, creative training equipments, JKD trainings and techniques etc.

Dan Lee really knew a lot of stuff from inside out. Very interesting indeed!
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