Joined: September 21st, 2015, 3:56 am

September 9th, 2016, 4:00 pm #31

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...)
This is damn interesting!!! Dan Lee left Inosanto because he was teaching JKD for only 20 min and then the rest would be all the Filipino's Escrima stuff..... Inosanto was mixing all the Filipino stuff into JKD, which is why Dan Lee thought was against Bruce Lee's basic principle. Read the whole interview before coming to a conclusion. I think Dan Lee is quite right to a certain extent and from the point of BL JKD's perspective.


"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.


MY VIEW: TOTALLY AGREED. INOSANTO HAS GONE IN A DIFFERENT DIRECTION & WAS AGAINST BRUCE'S BASIC PRINCIPLE . BUT TO MAKE A LIVING, HE HAS TO COMMERCIALIZE HIS ARTS, WHICH COULD BE UNDERSTAND.


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.


MY VIEW: AGREED. LIKE BRUCE'S SAYING,"IT'S THE DAILY DECREASE NOT INCREASE..."


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.

MY VIEW: AGREED. NO ORIGINAL JKD, JUST BRUCE LEE'S JKD.

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.


MY VIEW: AGREED AS THE THE ABOVE REPLY.



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Andy
Andy

September 10th, 2016, 10:11 am #32

That's right. Inosanto is heading a different direction and he was out from the JKD nucleus.

Inosanto is not setting a right example. So, neither he nor her daughter, Diana Inosanto has any rights to say Gary Dill and others should not teach JKD, blah...blah...

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Matt
Matt

September 10th, 2016, 12:18 pm #33

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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Fred
Fred

September 10th, 2016, 2:32 pm #34

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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LJF
Joined: December 6th, 2014, 3:05 am

September 17th, 2016, 7:44 am #35

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!
Q36: Do you have any deep impressions on Bruce’s martial arts’ prowess and fighting ability?
DL: Bruce was very nimble in his hands, lightning fast in his footwork, and his overall movements were absolutely agile, graceful and smooth. Also, his attacks were extremely fast, accurate and aggressive. He had good elusiveness and great explosive power which no one could match. In addition, he had great perception and could point-out problems or errors in your movements precisely, and then guide you to do self-rectification. During sparring, he possessed inconceivable sixth sense and was able to read opponent’s mind, and predict his next move. He could observe opponent’s movement rhythm and adapt quickly and accordingly. Then, he was able to freely move ahead of the opponent’s response and struck any opponents in front of him effortlessly.

Q37: Can we put it this way, Bruce’s martial arts prowess was due to his super gifted-talent?
DL: Bruce wasn’t a natural born martial arts prodigy. He complied with the law of nature of combat, followed the scientific training principles, utilized the scientific training methods, and engaged in long-term systematic and diligent training. Consequently, that created his martial arts prowess. I remembered when I went to his house for training, I discovered his trainings were always well-planned and he would always train according to his plans. At that time, he trained for 7-8 hours daily, and the quality and efficiency of his trainings were absolutely very high. His skills were the result of hard work and ingeniousness in his trainings. As the saying goes, “Training one simple technique over 10,000 times and soon it will become a unique technique.” Bruce used to practice a simple and fundamental technique repeatedly for 500-2000 times. He then became the best in it. If he wasn’t the best, who was? As the Chinese saying goes, “Undergoes hundreds and thousands times of hammering and toughening before hardening into steel” This is what it meant.

Q38: What skills do you think Bruce was most specialized in?
DL: Bruce’s skills were very all-rounded. I can’t say he had any special skill that stands out from the rest because all his skills were truly outstanding. Of course, he had his famous 1-inch punch. After seeing it for the first time, I found that it was very similar to the Tai Chi Chuan’s principle. In Grandmaster Wong Chung-Yut’s book “Tao of Tai Chi Chuan,” it stated that, “The root lies on the feet which generates the force; the hip to the waist is the center of control; the fingers shape the form.” This is a common phrase which many of us know. I’ve studied and memorized it very thoroughly. But what’s the point? See, Bruce could just simply apply the theory unto his 1-inch punch. If you observed his 1-inch punch carefully, you will see that he threw out his punch in less than an inch. Did you see where did he begin? It’s all started from his feet. Before punching, the waist and hip faced in the direction of the opponent. Then, as the body quickly turns to the left, the force is generated instantly from the feet to the hip and then to the waist in a spilt of second. Use the force generated from the hip-waist to strike. In this way, the power is totally different. Practice more on the hip-waist as there is where the explosive power lies.

Q39: Being his student and good friend, what kind of person was Bruce to you?
DL: The deepest impression that Bruce gave me was his extreme diligence. Although I’m older than him but I admired his conscientiousness in his training. He was constantly creating, experimenting and learning. He was very studious and had a strong ability in analysis. He was very good in learning, not learning generally but always with a goal. Then, through research and experimentation, he would reach his learning goals ultimately. He also possessed the ability to differentiate that made him different. For instance, other people might look on the downside of a certain skill, but he would immediately said, “Hmm, this skill looks not bad, it has its strength and merits.” Because he had an extremely profound martial arts background, he would always view martial arts from the nature of combat. Thus, he knew what was good and what was impractical and from there, absorbed the useful part that was worth learning. He was also a kind of person who pursued excellence in quality. Bruce studied and learnt vastly but his motive was not to complicate his martial arts skill. He just wanted to summarize the law, discover the essence and from the essence, pursue simplicity. Therefore, the development of JKD makes use of the philosophy of Taoism and Buddhism as its guidance. The main purpose is still to simplify i.e. the way to simplicity.

Bruce was an upright and honest person. When he talked to you, whether in front of you or behind you, it’s all the same. He meant every word he said. If you wanted to play tricks, he would do the same to you. If you were good friends, he would really treat you with sincerity. I really admire his personal character. My relationship with him was not just teacher and student but also good friends. He never flaunted himself. Because my age was older than him, thus, sometimes I would also share with him about my life experiences.

Both of you tell me that Hunan Xiao Xiang Vocational Institute had erected “A Legendary Master” statue of Bruce’s in full Kung Fu uniform (not bare-chested). I think this is the right way to pay tribute to him because in my opinion, he was the most established and influential martial artist in the history of martial arts. I hope the students of Chinese JKD not only see the surface of Bruce’s martial arts but also his profound thinking and the spirit of his striving for excellence. Don’t be constrained by any fixed thoughts in your mind but keep learning, creating and improving. This is the biggest influence of Bruce in my whole life.

Q40: Now we want to ask you a question which many Bruce’s fans are concerned: In actual training and sparring, would Bruce be constantly leaping around in boxing steps and doing his cat yell just like in his movie?
DL: Definitely not. Movie is movie. He was an actor, so, he had to make the shows more dramatic and appealing to the audience. Those screams or yells were for movies. Our JKD training requires constant refinement and striving for excellence. It stresses to be as simple and as direct as possible, as well as to get rid of the non-essentials and redundancies. “Using No Way As Way,” .… It is totally different between real combat and movies. You have watched his movies and although he was acting but we could see realism in his Kung Fu actions. They were so realistic like in actual fighting. He was so fast. I remembered Bruce once said the cameraman wanted him to slow down otherwise his actions would not be captured by the camera.

Q41: What was Bruce’s attitude towards challenges from other people? Some people said Bruce was just an actor and not a real martial artist, how do you look at this statement?
DL: Bruce ever said he was not afraid of any challenges. He said, “If you want to fight, come to meet me face to face and I’ll play along with you. What Wong Jack Man, what Karate kid, I’ll wait for them and fight them.” He was never afraid of challenges and had never thrown in the towel. But years later, when Bruce talked to me over the phone, he said why bother to waste time in these challenges? He said, “If someone challenge me, I would ask myself whether it’s worth it or not? I know I’ll win and why should I waste my precious time?” He was very confident. Not like some Kung Fu man who could perform very fancifully but had never fought in real life before. Bruce had plenty of practical fighting experiences. He was a real martial artist and fighter. People should understand that Bruce was using his identity of a martial artist and fighter to make movie and to be an actor. It is not the other way round.

Q42: You’ve done boxing and Judo before and have participated in those competitions. In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between JKD and those ring related fighting martial arts? The President of America UFC said Bruce was the Father of MMA, what are your takes on this?
DL: There are advantages and disadvantages of fighting in the ring. Why disadvantages? It is competition so there will be judges, rules and regulations etc. For instance, boxing prohibits the hitting of the back of the head, ears and kicking to the groin. Right? Now, there is this popular MMA, which has its own rules and regulations. You can’t kick the opponent’s groin.

JKD is trained especially for street-fighting and for fighting in various real life situations. The biggest difference is that JKD is not restricted by rules and regulations. Bruce said be like water, adapt to various kinds of unrestricted street-fighting’s circumstances. Hence, there are many differences in the features of real fighting and training methods between JKD and ring fighting arts. However, the openness of MMA in a certain extent is closer to Bruce’s emphasis of JKD practical fighting experience. But because it is a sports competition, it need to have spectators, thus, it cannot be over dangerous. It has certain conditions and criteria to follow.

However, looking at MMA in overall, it’s not bad. It truly shows the real martial arts ability of the contestant. If your fitness is not up to expectation, you are definitely not qualified to participate; if you do not have any practical fighting experience, you’ll also not participate; if your skills are not all-rounded, it also can’t be done, right? It did not have any protective gears, so, when you are hit on the head or chin, it’s very easily to be knocked-off. Perceiving from the point where the all-rounded training and embodiment of real fighting experience, MMA does fulfill this requirement. This implies that MMA is the closest to unrestricted real fighting so far. Its ideas are quite close to JKD’s principles. That’s the reason they said MMA was influenced by Bruce and Bruce was the Father of MMA. I think it has its own rationale behind it.

Q43: You have competed in the ring, and have you ever use JKD to defend yourself on the street?
DL: JKD’s training always revolves around actual combat and it is based on the self-defense requirements in handling street’s attacks. We must prepare ourselves constantly. But in real life, it’s best that we don’t have the opportunity to use it (Laugh). During my younger days, I had one dangerous encounter in France and I used JKD to settle it. It started when I was on a business trip to a little town in France. One day, after work, I strolled around the town and tried to see the local conditions and customs there. At that time, there were very few Asians in the town, and even lesser Chinese there. It was mainly Japanese tourists touring the place.

While I was strolling, a tall and big French man came up to me with a warm smile, from the corner of the street. He asked me, “Hey, wanna go in and watch movie? I can bring you in.” I thought since I was free, it wasn’t a bad idea. So, I said, “Ok.” Then, followed behind him. We walked into a small alley before entering into a building. Once entered, I felt something amiss because it didn’t look like a theatre inside. Suddenly, I found 2 tall and brawny guys walking towards me, 1 from the left and another from the right. They surrounded me from the flanks and both were holding a knife each in their hands. One of them suddenly attempted to kick my stomach, and by instinct, I moved sideway instantly and avoided the kick.

However, I didn’t show my ready stance or use very professional way to block the kick. I pretended to be very petrified and put my hands up and waved to them, pretending to be begging for mercy. Actually, I was preparing to defend myself. I uttered, “Sorry, please don’t this, please don’t this….,” trying to remove their alarms psychologically and let them thought I was a helpless businessman from Japan. While seeing them off-guard, I instantaneously moved in the gap and finger jabbed the eyes of the guy who was standing closest to me, followed by a low side kick to his knee cap. The guy fell to the ground immediately and before the other guy could react, I already kicked his groin and left him crying in pain for papa. I didn’t care how I fought and before they could get up from the ground, I’d already escaped from the building safely. Although it happened so fast but when I recalled, it was still quite a risky encounter. If in the first place, I had got myself into the ready stance those guys might be alerted and thought that I could fight. So, they would definitely increase both their level of attention and force. It wouldn’t be easy to get out of the danger then. JKD’s finger jab and groin kicking are very practical and devastating skills but they can only be used in the circumstances of self-defense as they are prohibited in the ring.

Q44: When Bruce was teaching in the backyard, he had also privately coached Karate Champion, Joe Lewis and other guys (Note: Chuck Norris, Mike Stone etc.). Have you ever meet them there?
DL: No. Bruce wanted to prove himself and thus, he had made friends with many great martial artists like Taekwondo expert – Jhoon Rhee, Tang Soo Doo expert - Chuck Norris and Karate Champion – Joe Lewis etc. etc. He had sparred individually with these martial artists who were all highly-skilled martial arts experts in their own rights. However, they don’t say, “We are competing against each other.” For instance, Chuck Norris met Bruce in the hotel after his Karate competition. Bruce told him his skill looked good but impractical in actual fighting. Norris asked, “What do you mean?” Bruce replied, “Why not come to my room, I’ll show you.” So, when Norris entered his room. They sparred and Norris was blown away. He threw himself at Bruce’s feet in total admiration. It’s the same to Joe Lewis. The training was not disclosed but it was semi-overt, a kind of 1 to 1 solo training. He knew Bruce’s skill was great, so, got Bruce to instruct him. All these private trainings of Karate Champions with Bruce actually had nothing to do with us. We were also unaware of these private trainings initially. After Bruce’s passing, they themselves spoke a lot on their private trainings with Bruce. They respected Bruce and were grateful to Bruce’s influence on them.

Q45: There were 3 pieces of signboards that symbolized “3 stages” of JKD which were hung in the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute previously. Did Bruce specially explain the philosophical meaning that these phases encompassed?
DL: Unfortunately, Bruce didn’t specially explain the meaning of these “3 stages” signboards. Actually, a JKD symbol above the signboards was hung there. In the first signboard, the Ying and Yang were separated; in the second signboard, there was a JKD’s Tai Chi symbol; in the third signboard, it was totally black, nothing on it. Nowadays, everyone has different interpretation to these 3 stages because Bruce didn’t reveal the principles of these 3 pieces signboards.

According to my own analysis and interpretations, the first signboard/stage shows Ying-Yang are separated. For instance, some people may say I specialize in practicing soft Kung Fu while others may say I specialize in hard Kung Fu. Thus, hard and soft are not able to merge together forever. The second signboard/stage shows Ying and Yang are merged together. There’s Ying as well as Yang. Also, there are arrows on each side of the Ying and Yang. The arrows signify transformations. Within this martial arts skill, there’s hard (hard attacking movement) and there’s soft (soft techniques). The main goal of Bruce was that he wanted our JKD to have the mutual existence of hard and soft, and wanted to have changes in-between hard and soft as well as transformations.

Ultimately, the third signboard/stage is totally black. There isn’t anything, just emptiness. This is the philosophy of JKD, “Using No Way As Way.” If someone attacks you, you just punch and K.O. the opponent. People may ask, “It’s awesome. How did you do it anyway?” I’d reply, “I’ve no idea and I’ve never think of how to do it, it just do it by itself.” This is the basic instinct which comes from the saying, “practice makes perfect.” In the first phase, i.e. the white phase, shows that at the start, learning is not conformed to hard or soft, so, if it’s not hard, then, it should be soft; In the second phase, hard and soft begins to co-operate and co-exist mutually; In the third phase, which is also the last phase, upon reaching this phase, all ways become none, no matter it’s hard or soft, it’s just the general expression of the overall result, i.e. “Using No Way as Way.” This is just my opinion.

Q46: What do you think was the highest realm or state which Bruce was pursing in his whole life?
DL: Bruce was always learning throughout his entire life. There is no limit to quest for knowledge. The realm which he pursued in his whole life was actually portrayed within his JKD’s symbol, i.e. “Using No Way As Way; Having No Limitation As Limitation.”
“Using No Way As Way” – The skills you learnt, the methods you mastered ultimately have to be precise and simplified. All ways have to be forgotten and become no way eventually so that you’ll be able to apply whatever ways.
“Having No Limitation As Limitation” – You can’t say my kick is no good as I only practice punching and no kicking. Do not set a limitation on yourself. No matter learning, training, working or living, the spirit and attitude all must be based on the basis of freedom and no limitation, as well as continuously exploration and discovery. If we are able to use this spirit in learning and training, then, our progress will therefore be limitless.

Q47: In 1994, you selflessly donated the tape recording of the 1972’s telephone conversation between you and Bruce to Bruce Lee’s Education Foundation. Under what circumstances did you record this conversation? We see the most genuine and obscure side of Bruce through this original conversation and his views on the martial arts aspect, and some of the sentiments etc. indeed were inspiring.
DL: I was working in the office at that time when Inosanto phoned me and said, “Hey Dan, Bruce is back from HK.” I was curious that wasn’t he filming in HK? Why was he back? I wanted to find out. So, I phoned him from my office. Bruce was actually preparing to move his house and was very tiring. I asked him, “Bruce, why are you back? When can we get together and train again? Bruce said, “Uuh…training? Actually, now, I’ve a great career development in HK, I’m getting ready to move house, I just return shortly.” I continued, “So, is there any chance that we can get together and train again?” Bruce replied, “I’m afraid not.” I was thinking maybe after Bruce left, probably there wouldn’t be any chance for me to train with him and asked him martial arts questions anymore. Hence, I thought I should record our conversation. I didn’t tell him my intention and just pressed on the recorder. This voice recording was a subconscious act at that moment. Because I was an engineer and would often taped record the conversation of the science projects’ exchange matters, so, as our conversation started not long, I just pressed on the tape recording machine subconsciously.

When talking on the topic of martial arts, the more he talked the more interested he became. We talked on many things. Thus, this unintended voice recording can be said to be very precious. Why precious? I remembered he accepted an interview with the BBC radio in HK. He knew beforehand about this recording but he didn’t know about the recording of our conversation. We spoke like teacher and student and also sound like good friends. He talked candidly and freely without any restrictions. Therefore, this conversation is originally Bruce’s true self. All his words were from the bottom of his hearts, very true and genuine. For instance, when talking about challenges, Bruce said he was not afraid of fighting anyone. You all have seen the content. He didn’t mean to say those things to anyone purposely but he was just talking to me. We were just exchanging our thoughts.


Part 4: Photos of Dan Lee & others: https://postimg.org/image/x25kizbbv/


(Part 5 to be continued next week...)
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Joined: January 10th, 2009, 6:44 pm

September 17th, 2016, 10:32 am #36

Thanks again LJF!!! nt
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Joined: May 6th, 2016, 3:35 am

September 17th, 2016, 1:50 pm #37

Q36: Do you have any deep impressions on Bruce’s martial arts’ prowess and fighting ability?
DL: Bruce was very nimble in his hands, lightning fast in his footwork, and his overall movements were absolutely agile, graceful and smooth. Also, his attacks were extremely fast, accurate and aggressive. He had good elusiveness and great explosive power which no one could match. In addition, he had great perception and could point-out problems or errors in your movements precisely, and then guide you to do self-rectification. During sparring, he possessed inconceivable sixth sense and was able to read opponent’s mind, and predict his next move. He could observe opponent’s movement rhythm and adapt quickly and accordingly. Then, he was able to freely move ahead of the opponent’s response and struck any opponents in front of him effortlessly.

Q37: Can we put it this way, Bruce’s martial arts prowess was due to his super gifted-talent?
DL: Bruce wasn’t a natural born martial arts prodigy. He complied with the law of nature of combat, followed the scientific training principles, utilized the scientific training methods, and engaged in long-term systematic and diligent training. Consequently, that created his martial arts prowess. I remembered when I went to his house for training, I discovered his trainings were always well-planned and he would always train according to his plans. At that time, he trained for 7-8 hours daily, and the quality and efficiency of his trainings were absolutely very high. His skills were the result of hard work and ingeniousness in his trainings. As the saying goes, “Training one simple technique over 10,000 times and soon it will become a unique technique.” Bruce used to practice a simple and fundamental technique repeatedly for 500-2000 times. He then became the best in it. If he wasn’t the best, who was? As the Chinese saying goes, “Undergoes hundreds and thousands times of hammering and toughening before hardening into steel” This is what it meant.

Q38: What skills do you think Bruce was most specialized in?
DL: Bruce’s skills were very all-rounded. I can’t say he had any special skill that stands out from the rest because all his skills were truly outstanding. Of course, he had his famous 1-inch punch. After seeing it for the first time, I found that it was very similar to the Tai Chi Chuan’s principle. In Grandmaster Wong Chung-Yut’s book “Tao of Tai Chi Chuan,” it stated that, “The root lies on the feet which generates the force; the hip to the waist is the center of control; the fingers shape the form.” This is a common phrase which many of us know. I’ve studied and memorized it very thoroughly. But what’s the point? See, Bruce could just simply apply the theory unto his 1-inch punch. If you observed his 1-inch punch carefully, you will see that he threw out his punch in less than an inch. Did you see where did he begin? It’s all started from his feet. Before punching, the waist and hip faced in the direction of the opponent. Then, as the body quickly turns to the left, the force is generated instantly from the feet to the hip and then to the waist in a spilt of second. Use the force generated from the hip-waist to strike. In this way, the power is totally different. Practice more on the hip-waist as there is where the explosive power lies.

Q39: Being his student and good friend, what kind of person was Bruce to you?
DL: The deepest impression that Bruce gave me was his extreme diligence. Although I’m older than him but I admired his conscientiousness in his training. He was constantly creating, experimenting and learning. He was very studious and had a strong ability in analysis. He was very good in learning, not learning generally but always with a goal. Then, through research and experimentation, he would reach his learning goals ultimately. He also possessed the ability to differentiate that made him different. For instance, other people might look on the downside of a certain skill, but he would immediately said, “Hmm, this skill looks not bad, it has its strength and merits.” Because he had an extremely profound martial arts background, he would always view martial arts from the nature of combat. Thus, he knew what was good and what was impractical and from there, absorbed the useful part that was worth learning. He was also a kind of person who pursued excellence in quality. Bruce studied and learnt vastly but his motive was not to complicate his martial arts skill. He just wanted to summarize the law, discover the essence and from the essence, pursue simplicity. Therefore, the development of JKD makes use of the philosophy of Taoism and Buddhism as its guidance. The main purpose is still to simplify i.e. the way to simplicity.

Bruce was an upright and honest person. When he talked to you, whether in front of you or behind you, it’s all the same. He meant every word he said. If you wanted to play tricks, he would do the same to you. If you were good friends, he would really treat you with sincerity. I really admire his personal character. My relationship with him was not just teacher and student but also good friends. He never flaunted himself. Because my age was older than him, thus, sometimes I would also share with him about my life experiences.

Both of you tell me that Hunan Xiao Xiang Vocational Institute had erected “A Legendary Master” statue of Bruce’s in full Kung Fu uniform (not bare-chested). I think this is the right way to pay tribute to him because in my opinion, he was the most established and influential martial artist in the history of martial arts. I hope the students of Chinese JKD not only see the surface of Bruce’s martial arts but also his profound thinking and the spirit of his striving for excellence. Don’t be constrained by any fixed thoughts in your mind but keep learning, creating and improving. This is the biggest influence of Bruce in my whole life.

Q40: Now we want to ask you a question which many Bruce’s fans are concerned: In actual training and sparring, would Bruce be constantly leaping around in boxing steps and doing his cat yell just like in his movie?
DL: Definitely not. Movie is movie. He was an actor, so, he had to make the shows more dramatic and appealing to the audience. Those screams or yells were for movies. Our JKD training requires constant refinement and striving for excellence. It stresses to be as simple and as direct as possible, as well as to get rid of the non-essentials and redundancies. “Using No Way As Way,” .… It is totally different between real combat and movies. You have watched his movies and although he was acting but we could see realism in his Kung Fu actions. They were so realistic like in actual fighting. He was so fast. I remembered Bruce once said the cameraman wanted him to slow down otherwise his actions would not be captured by the camera.

Q41: What was Bruce’s attitude towards challenges from other people? Some people said Bruce was just an actor and not a real martial artist, how do you look at this statement?
DL: Bruce ever said he was not afraid of any challenges. He said, “If you want to fight, come to meet me face to face and I’ll play along with you. What Wong Jack Man, what Karate kid, I’ll wait for them and fight them.” He was never afraid of challenges and had never thrown in the towel. But years later, when Bruce talked to me over the phone, he said why bother to waste time in these challenges? He said, “If someone challenge me, I would ask myself whether it’s worth it or not? I know I’ll win and why should I waste my precious time?” He was very confident. Not like some Kung Fu man who could perform very fancifully but had never fought in real life before. Bruce had plenty of practical fighting experiences. He was a real martial artist and fighter. People should understand that Bruce was using his identity of a martial artist and fighter to make movie and to be an actor. It is not the other way round.

Q42: You’ve done boxing and Judo before and have participated in those competitions. In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between JKD and those ring related fighting martial arts? The President of America UFC said Bruce was the Father of MMA, what are your takes on this?
DL: There are advantages and disadvantages of fighting in the ring. Why disadvantages? It is competition so there will be judges, rules and regulations etc. For instance, boxing prohibits the hitting of the back of the head, ears and kicking to the groin. Right? Now, there is this popular MMA, which has its own rules and regulations. You can’t kick the opponent’s groin.

JKD is trained especially for street-fighting and for fighting in various real life situations. The biggest difference is that JKD is not restricted by rules and regulations. Bruce said be like water, adapt to various kinds of unrestricted street-fighting’s circumstances. Hence, there are many differences in the features of real fighting and training methods between JKD and ring fighting arts. However, the openness of MMA in a certain extent is closer to Bruce’s emphasis of JKD practical fighting experience. But because it is a sports competition, it need to have spectators, thus, it cannot be over dangerous. It has certain conditions and criteria to follow.

However, looking at MMA in overall, it’s not bad. It truly shows the real martial arts ability of the contestant. If your fitness is not up to expectation, you are definitely not qualified to participate; if you do not have any practical fighting experience, you’ll also not participate; if your skills are not all-rounded, it also can’t be done, right? It did not have any protective gears, so, when you are hit on the head or chin, it’s very easily to be knocked-off. Perceiving from the point where the all-rounded training and embodiment of real fighting experience, MMA does fulfill this requirement. This implies that MMA is the closest to unrestricted real fighting so far. Its ideas are quite close to JKD’s principles. That’s the reason they said MMA was influenced by Bruce and Bruce was the Father of MMA. I think it has its own rationale behind it.

Q43: You have competed in the ring, and have you ever use JKD to defend yourself on the street?
DL: JKD’s training always revolves around actual combat and it is based on the self-defense requirements in handling street’s attacks. We must prepare ourselves constantly. But in real life, it’s best that we don’t have the opportunity to use it (Laugh). During my younger days, I had one dangerous encounter in France and I used JKD to settle it. It started when I was on a business trip to a little town in France. One day, after work, I strolled around the town and tried to see the local conditions and customs there. At that time, there were very few Asians in the town, and even lesser Chinese there. It was mainly Japanese tourists touring the place.

While I was strolling, a tall and big French man came up to me with a warm smile, from the corner of the street. He asked me, “Hey, wanna go in and watch movie? I can bring you in.” I thought since I was free, it wasn’t a bad idea. So, I said, “Ok.” Then, followed behind him. We walked into a small alley before entering into a building. Once entered, I felt something amiss because it didn’t look like a theatre inside. Suddenly, I found 2 tall and brawny guys walking towards me, 1 from the left and another from the right. They surrounded me from the flanks and both were holding a knife each in their hands. One of them suddenly attempted to kick my stomach, and by instinct, I moved sideway instantly and avoided the kick.

However, I didn’t show my ready stance or use very professional way to block the kick. I pretended to be very petrified and put my hands up and waved to them, pretending to be begging for mercy. Actually, I was preparing to defend myself. I uttered, “Sorry, please don’t this, please don’t this….,” trying to remove their alarms psychologically and let them thought I was a helpless businessman from Japan. While seeing them off-guard, I instantaneously moved in the gap and finger jabbed the eyes of the guy who was standing closest to me, followed by a low side kick to his knee cap. The guy fell to the ground immediately and before the other guy could react, I already kicked his groin and left him crying in pain for papa. I didn’t care how I fought and before they could get up from the ground, I’d already escaped from the building safely. Although it happened so fast but when I recalled, it was still quite a risky encounter. If in the first place, I had got myself into the ready stance those guys might be alerted and thought that I could fight. So, they would definitely increase both their level of attention and force. It wouldn’t be easy to get out of the danger then. JKD’s finger jab and groin kicking are very practical and devastating skills but they can only be used in the circumstances of self-defense as they are prohibited in the ring.

Q44: When Bruce was teaching in the backyard, he had also privately coached Karate Champion, Joe Lewis and other guys (Note: Chuck Norris, Mike Stone etc.). Have you ever meet them there?
DL: No. Bruce wanted to prove himself and thus, he had made friends with many great martial artists like Taekwondo expert – Jhoon Rhee, Tang Soo Doo expert - Chuck Norris and Karate Champion – Joe Lewis etc. etc. He had sparred individually with these martial artists who were all highly-skilled martial arts experts in their own rights. However, they don’t say, “We are competing against each other.” For instance, Chuck Norris met Bruce in the hotel after his Karate competition. Bruce told him his skill looked good but impractical in actual fighting. Norris asked, “What do you mean?” Bruce replied, “Why not come to my room, I’ll show you.” So, when Norris entered his room. They sparred and Norris was blown away. He threw himself at Bruce’s feet in total admiration. It’s the same to Joe Lewis. The training was not disclosed but it was semi-overt, a kind of 1 to 1 solo training. He knew Bruce’s skill was great, so, got Bruce to instruct him. All these private trainings of Karate Champions with Bruce actually had nothing to do with us. We were also unaware of these private trainings initially. After Bruce’s passing, they themselves spoke a lot on their private trainings with Bruce. They respected Bruce and were grateful to Bruce’s influence on them.

Q45: There were 3 pieces of signboards that symbolized “3 stages” of JKD which were hung in the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute previously. Did Bruce specially explain the philosophical meaning that these phases encompassed?
DL: Unfortunately, Bruce didn’t specially explain the meaning of these “3 stages” signboards. Actually, a JKD symbol above the signboards was hung there. In the first signboard, the Ying and Yang were separated; in the second signboard, there was a JKD’s Tai Chi symbol; in the third signboard, it was totally black, nothing on it. Nowadays, everyone has different interpretation to these 3 stages because Bruce didn’t reveal the principles of these 3 pieces signboards.

According to my own analysis and interpretations, the first signboard/stage shows Ying-Yang are separated. For instance, some people may say I specialize in practicing soft Kung Fu while others may say I specialize in hard Kung Fu. Thus, hard and soft are not able to merge together forever. The second signboard/stage shows Ying and Yang are merged together. There’s Ying as well as Yang. Also, there are arrows on each side of the Ying and Yang. The arrows signify transformations. Within this martial arts skill, there’s hard (hard attacking movement) and there’s soft (soft techniques). The main goal of Bruce was that he wanted our JKD to have the mutual existence of hard and soft, and wanted to have changes in-between hard and soft as well as transformations.

Ultimately, the third signboard/stage is totally black. There isn’t anything, just emptiness. This is the philosophy of JKD, “Using No Way As Way.” If someone attacks you, you just punch and K.O. the opponent. People may ask, “It’s awesome. How did you do it anyway?” I’d reply, “I’ve no idea and I’ve never think of how to do it, it just do it by itself.” This is the basic instinct which comes from the saying, “practice makes perfect.” In the first phase, i.e. the white phase, shows that at the start, learning is not conformed to hard or soft, so, if it’s not hard, then, it should be soft; In the second phase, hard and soft begins to co-operate and co-exist mutually; In the third phase, which is also the last phase, upon reaching this phase, all ways become none, no matter it’s hard or soft, it’s just the general expression of the overall result, i.e. “Using No Way as Way.” This is just my opinion.

Q46: What do you think was the highest realm or state which Bruce was pursing in his whole life?
DL: Bruce was always learning throughout his entire life. There is no limit to quest for knowledge. The realm which he pursued in his whole life was actually portrayed within his JKD’s symbol, i.e. “Using No Way As Way; Having No Limitation As Limitation.”
“Using No Way As Way” – The skills you learnt, the methods you mastered ultimately have to be precise and simplified. All ways have to be forgotten and become no way eventually so that you’ll be able to apply whatever ways.
“Having No Limitation As Limitation” – You can’t say my kick is no good as I only practice punching and no kicking. Do not set a limitation on yourself. No matter learning, training, working or living, the spirit and attitude all must be based on the basis of freedom and no limitation, as well as continuously exploration and discovery. If we are able to use this spirit in learning and training, then, our progress will therefore be limitless.

Q47: In 1994, you selflessly donated the tape recording of the 1972’s telephone conversation between you and Bruce to Bruce Lee’s Education Foundation. Under what circumstances did you record this conversation? We see the most genuine and obscure side of Bruce through this original conversation and his views on the martial arts aspect, and some of the sentiments etc. indeed were inspiring.
DL: I was working in the office at that time when Inosanto phoned me and said, “Hey Dan, Bruce is back from HK.” I was curious that wasn’t he filming in HK? Why was he back? I wanted to find out. So, I phoned him from my office. Bruce was actually preparing to move his house and was very tiring. I asked him, “Bruce, why are you back? When can we get together and train again? Bruce said, “Uuh…training? Actually, now, I’ve a great career development in HK, I’m getting ready to move house, I just return shortly.” I continued, “So, is there any chance that we can get together and train again?” Bruce replied, “I’m afraid not.” I was thinking maybe after Bruce left, probably there wouldn’t be any chance for me to train with him and asked him martial arts questions anymore. Hence, I thought I should record our conversation. I didn’t tell him my intention and just pressed on the recorder. This voice recording was a subconscious act at that moment. Because I was an engineer and would often taped record the conversation of the science projects’ exchange matters, so, as our conversation started not long, I just pressed on the tape recording machine subconsciously.

When talking on the topic of martial arts, the more he talked the more interested he became. We talked on many things. Thus, this unintended voice recording can be said to be very precious. Why precious? I remembered he accepted an interview with the BBC radio in HK. He knew beforehand about this recording but he didn’t know about the recording of our conversation. We spoke like teacher and student and also sound like good friends. He talked candidly and freely without any restrictions. Therefore, this conversation is originally Bruce’s true self. All his words were from the bottom of his hearts, very true and genuine. For instance, when talking about challenges, Bruce said he was not afraid of fighting anyone. You all have seen the content. He didn’t mean to say those things to anyone purposely but he was just talking to me. We were just exchanging our thoughts.


Part 4: Photos of Dan Lee & others: https://postimg.org/image/x25kizbbv/


(Part 5 to be continued next week...)
Dan Lee really got the points:

1) JKD is different from ring fighting. Even MMA too, is a sports and is different from JKD, a streetfighting art.

2) Dan Lee showed what JKD is by beating the French thugs using eye jabbing and groin kicking.

Also, Dan Lee was great in sharing all the photos, voice recording of Bruce with the fans. Hope the rest of Lee's collectors should learn something from him.
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Jason
Jason

September 17th, 2016, 2:46 pm #38

Q36: Do you have any deep impressions on Bruce’s martial arts’ prowess and fighting ability?
DL: Bruce was very nimble in his hands, lightning fast in his footwork, and his overall movements were absolutely agile, graceful and smooth. Also, his attacks were extremely fast, accurate and aggressive. He had good elusiveness and great explosive power which no one could match. In addition, he had great perception and could point-out problems or errors in your movements precisely, and then guide you to do self-rectification. During sparring, he possessed inconceivable sixth sense and was able to read opponent’s mind, and predict his next move. He could observe opponent’s movement rhythm and adapt quickly and accordingly. Then, he was able to freely move ahead of the opponent’s response and struck any opponents in front of him effortlessly.

Q37: Can we put it this way, Bruce’s martial arts prowess was due to his super gifted-talent?
DL: Bruce wasn’t a natural born martial arts prodigy. He complied with the law of nature of combat, followed the scientific training principles, utilized the scientific training methods, and engaged in long-term systematic and diligent training. Consequently, that created his martial arts prowess. I remembered when I went to his house for training, I discovered his trainings were always well-planned and he would always train according to his plans. At that time, he trained for 7-8 hours daily, and the quality and efficiency of his trainings were absolutely very high. His skills were the result of hard work and ingeniousness in his trainings. As the saying goes, “Training one simple technique over 10,000 times and soon it will become a unique technique.” Bruce used to practice a simple and fundamental technique repeatedly for 500-2000 times. He then became the best in it. If he wasn’t the best, who was? As the Chinese saying goes, “Undergoes hundreds and thousands times of hammering and toughening before hardening into steel” This is what it meant.

Q38: What skills do you think Bruce was most specialized in?
DL: Bruce’s skills were very all-rounded. I can’t say he had any special skill that stands out from the rest because all his skills were truly outstanding. Of course, he had his famous 1-inch punch. After seeing it for the first time, I found that it was very similar to the Tai Chi Chuan’s principle. In Grandmaster Wong Chung-Yut’s book “Tao of Tai Chi Chuan,” it stated that, “The root lies on the feet which generates the force; the hip to the waist is the center of control; the fingers shape the form.” This is a common phrase which many of us know. I’ve studied and memorized it very thoroughly. But what’s the point? See, Bruce could just simply apply the theory unto his 1-inch punch. If you observed his 1-inch punch carefully, you will see that he threw out his punch in less than an inch. Did you see where did he begin? It’s all started from his feet. Before punching, the waist and hip faced in the direction of the opponent. Then, as the body quickly turns to the left, the force is generated instantly from the feet to the hip and then to the waist in a spilt of second. Use the force generated from the hip-waist to strike. In this way, the power is totally different. Practice more on the hip-waist as there is where the explosive power lies.

Q39: Being his student and good friend, what kind of person was Bruce to you?
DL: The deepest impression that Bruce gave me was his extreme diligence. Although I’m older than him but I admired his conscientiousness in his training. He was constantly creating, experimenting and learning. He was very studious and had a strong ability in analysis. He was very good in learning, not learning generally but always with a goal. Then, through research and experimentation, he would reach his learning goals ultimately. He also possessed the ability to differentiate that made him different. For instance, other people might look on the downside of a certain skill, but he would immediately said, “Hmm, this skill looks not bad, it has its strength and merits.” Because he had an extremely profound martial arts background, he would always view martial arts from the nature of combat. Thus, he knew what was good and what was impractical and from there, absorbed the useful part that was worth learning. He was also a kind of person who pursued excellence in quality. Bruce studied and learnt vastly but his motive was not to complicate his martial arts skill. He just wanted to summarize the law, discover the essence and from the essence, pursue simplicity. Therefore, the development of JKD makes use of the philosophy of Taoism and Buddhism as its guidance. The main purpose is still to simplify i.e. the way to simplicity.

Bruce was an upright and honest person. When he talked to you, whether in front of you or behind you, it’s all the same. He meant every word he said. If you wanted to play tricks, he would do the same to you. If you were good friends, he would really treat you with sincerity. I really admire his personal character. My relationship with him was not just teacher and student but also good friends. He never flaunted himself. Because my age was older than him, thus, sometimes I would also share with him about my life experiences.

Both of you tell me that Hunan Xiao Xiang Vocational Institute had erected “A Legendary Master” statue of Bruce’s in full Kung Fu uniform (not bare-chested). I think this is the right way to pay tribute to him because in my opinion, he was the most established and influential martial artist in the history of martial arts. I hope the students of Chinese JKD not only see the surface of Bruce’s martial arts but also his profound thinking and the spirit of his striving for excellence. Don’t be constrained by any fixed thoughts in your mind but keep learning, creating and improving. This is the biggest influence of Bruce in my whole life.

Q40: Now we want to ask you a question which many Bruce’s fans are concerned: In actual training and sparring, would Bruce be constantly leaping around in boxing steps and doing his cat yell just like in his movie?
DL: Definitely not. Movie is movie. He was an actor, so, he had to make the shows more dramatic and appealing to the audience. Those screams or yells were for movies. Our JKD training requires constant refinement and striving for excellence. It stresses to be as simple and as direct as possible, as well as to get rid of the non-essentials and redundancies. “Using No Way As Way,” .… It is totally different between real combat and movies. You have watched his movies and although he was acting but we could see realism in his Kung Fu actions. They were so realistic like in actual fighting. He was so fast. I remembered Bruce once said the cameraman wanted him to slow down otherwise his actions would not be captured by the camera.

Q41: What was Bruce’s attitude towards challenges from other people? Some people said Bruce was just an actor and not a real martial artist, how do you look at this statement?
DL: Bruce ever said he was not afraid of any challenges. He said, “If you want to fight, come to meet me face to face and I’ll play along with you. What Wong Jack Man, what Karate kid, I’ll wait for them and fight them.” He was never afraid of challenges and had never thrown in the towel. But years later, when Bruce talked to me over the phone, he said why bother to waste time in these challenges? He said, “If someone challenge me, I would ask myself whether it’s worth it or not? I know I’ll win and why should I waste my precious time?” He was very confident. Not like some Kung Fu man who could perform very fancifully but had never fought in real life before. Bruce had plenty of practical fighting experiences. He was a real martial artist and fighter. People should understand that Bruce was using his identity of a martial artist and fighter to make movie and to be an actor. It is not the other way round.

Q42: You’ve done boxing and Judo before and have participated in those competitions. In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between JKD and those ring related fighting martial arts? The President of America UFC said Bruce was the Father of MMA, what are your takes on this?
DL: There are advantages and disadvantages of fighting in the ring. Why disadvantages? It is competition so there will be judges, rules and regulations etc. For instance, boxing prohibits the hitting of the back of the head, ears and kicking to the groin. Right? Now, there is this popular MMA, which has its own rules and regulations. You can’t kick the opponent’s groin.

JKD is trained especially for street-fighting and for fighting in various real life situations. The biggest difference is that JKD is not restricted by rules and regulations. Bruce said be like water, adapt to various kinds of unrestricted street-fighting’s circumstances. Hence, there are many differences in the features of real fighting and training methods between JKD and ring fighting arts. However, the openness of MMA in a certain extent is closer to Bruce’s emphasis of JKD practical fighting experience. But because it is a sports competition, it need to have spectators, thus, it cannot be over dangerous. It has certain conditions and criteria to follow.

However, looking at MMA in overall, it’s not bad. It truly shows the real martial arts ability of the contestant. If your fitness is not up to expectation, you are definitely not qualified to participate; if you do not have any practical fighting experience, you’ll also not participate; if your skills are not all-rounded, it also can’t be done, right? It did not have any protective gears, so, when you are hit on the head or chin, it’s very easily to be knocked-off. Perceiving from the point where the all-rounded training and embodiment of real fighting experience, MMA does fulfill this requirement. This implies that MMA is the closest to unrestricted real fighting so far. Its ideas are quite close to JKD’s principles. That’s the reason they said MMA was influenced by Bruce and Bruce was the Father of MMA. I think it has its own rationale behind it.

Q43: You have competed in the ring, and have you ever use JKD to defend yourself on the street?
DL: JKD’s training always revolves around actual combat and it is based on the self-defense requirements in handling street’s attacks. We must prepare ourselves constantly. But in real life, it’s best that we don’t have the opportunity to use it (Laugh). During my younger days, I had one dangerous encounter in France and I used JKD to settle it. It started when I was on a business trip to a little town in France. One day, after work, I strolled around the town and tried to see the local conditions and customs there. At that time, there were very few Asians in the town, and even lesser Chinese there. It was mainly Japanese tourists touring the place.

While I was strolling, a tall and big French man came up to me with a warm smile, from the corner of the street. He asked me, “Hey, wanna go in and watch movie? I can bring you in.” I thought since I was free, it wasn’t a bad idea. So, I said, “Ok.” Then, followed behind him. We walked into a small alley before entering into a building. Once entered, I felt something amiss because it didn’t look like a theatre inside. Suddenly, I found 2 tall and brawny guys walking towards me, 1 from the left and another from the right. They surrounded me from the flanks and both were holding a knife each in their hands. One of them suddenly attempted to kick my stomach, and by instinct, I moved sideway instantly and avoided the kick.

However, I didn’t show my ready stance or use very professional way to block the kick. I pretended to be very petrified and put my hands up and waved to them, pretending to be begging for mercy. Actually, I was preparing to defend myself. I uttered, “Sorry, please don’t this, please don’t this….,” trying to remove their alarms psychologically and let them thought I was a helpless businessman from Japan. While seeing them off-guard, I instantaneously moved in the gap and finger jabbed the eyes of the guy who was standing closest to me, followed by a low side kick to his knee cap. The guy fell to the ground immediately and before the other guy could react, I already kicked his groin and left him crying in pain for papa. I didn’t care how I fought and before they could get up from the ground, I’d already escaped from the building safely. Although it happened so fast but when I recalled, it was still quite a risky encounter. If in the first place, I had got myself into the ready stance those guys might be alerted and thought that I could fight. So, they would definitely increase both their level of attention and force. It wouldn’t be easy to get out of the danger then. JKD’s finger jab and groin kicking are very practical and devastating skills but they can only be used in the circumstances of self-defense as they are prohibited in the ring.

Q44: When Bruce was teaching in the backyard, he had also privately coached Karate Champion, Joe Lewis and other guys (Note: Chuck Norris, Mike Stone etc.). Have you ever meet them there?
DL: No. Bruce wanted to prove himself and thus, he had made friends with many great martial artists like Taekwondo expert – Jhoon Rhee, Tang Soo Doo expert - Chuck Norris and Karate Champion – Joe Lewis etc. etc. He had sparred individually with these martial artists who were all highly-skilled martial arts experts in their own rights. However, they don’t say, “We are competing against each other.” For instance, Chuck Norris met Bruce in the hotel after his Karate competition. Bruce told him his skill looked good but impractical in actual fighting. Norris asked, “What do you mean?” Bruce replied, “Why not come to my room, I’ll show you.” So, when Norris entered his room. They sparred and Norris was blown away. He threw himself at Bruce’s feet in total admiration. It’s the same to Joe Lewis. The training was not disclosed but it was semi-overt, a kind of 1 to 1 solo training. He knew Bruce’s skill was great, so, got Bruce to instruct him. All these private trainings of Karate Champions with Bruce actually had nothing to do with us. We were also unaware of these private trainings initially. After Bruce’s passing, they themselves spoke a lot on their private trainings with Bruce. They respected Bruce and were grateful to Bruce’s influence on them.

Q45: There were 3 pieces of signboards that symbolized “3 stages” of JKD which were hung in the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute previously. Did Bruce specially explain the philosophical meaning that these phases encompassed?
DL: Unfortunately, Bruce didn’t specially explain the meaning of these “3 stages” signboards. Actually, a JKD symbol above the signboards was hung there. In the first signboard, the Ying and Yang were separated; in the second signboard, there was a JKD’s Tai Chi symbol; in the third signboard, it was totally black, nothing on it. Nowadays, everyone has different interpretation to these 3 stages because Bruce didn’t reveal the principles of these 3 pieces signboards.

According to my own analysis and interpretations, the first signboard/stage shows Ying-Yang are separated. For instance, some people may say I specialize in practicing soft Kung Fu while others may say I specialize in hard Kung Fu. Thus, hard and soft are not able to merge together forever. The second signboard/stage shows Ying and Yang are merged together. There’s Ying as well as Yang. Also, there are arrows on each side of the Ying and Yang. The arrows signify transformations. Within this martial arts skill, there’s hard (hard attacking movement) and there’s soft (soft techniques). The main goal of Bruce was that he wanted our JKD to have the mutual existence of hard and soft, and wanted to have changes in-between hard and soft as well as transformations.

Ultimately, the third signboard/stage is totally black. There isn’t anything, just emptiness. This is the philosophy of JKD, “Using No Way As Way.” If someone attacks you, you just punch and K.O. the opponent. People may ask, “It’s awesome. How did you do it anyway?” I’d reply, “I’ve no idea and I’ve never think of how to do it, it just do it by itself.” This is the basic instinct which comes from the saying, “practice makes perfect.” In the first phase, i.e. the white phase, shows that at the start, learning is not conformed to hard or soft, so, if it’s not hard, then, it should be soft; In the second phase, hard and soft begins to co-operate and co-exist mutually; In the third phase, which is also the last phase, upon reaching this phase, all ways become none, no matter it’s hard or soft, it’s just the general expression of the overall result, i.e. “Using No Way as Way.” This is just my opinion.

Q46: What do you think was the highest realm or state which Bruce was pursing in his whole life?
DL: Bruce was always learning throughout his entire life. There is no limit to quest for knowledge. The realm which he pursued in his whole life was actually portrayed within his JKD’s symbol, i.e. “Using No Way As Way; Having No Limitation As Limitation.”
“Using No Way As Way” – The skills you learnt, the methods you mastered ultimately have to be precise and simplified. All ways have to be forgotten and become no way eventually so that you’ll be able to apply whatever ways.
“Having No Limitation As Limitation” – You can’t say my kick is no good as I only practice punching and no kicking. Do not set a limitation on yourself. No matter learning, training, working or living, the spirit and attitude all must be based on the basis of freedom and no limitation, as well as continuously exploration and discovery. If we are able to use this spirit in learning and training, then, our progress will therefore be limitless.

Q47: In 1994, you selflessly donated the tape recording of the 1972’s telephone conversation between you and Bruce to Bruce Lee’s Education Foundation. Under what circumstances did you record this conversation? We see the most genuine and obscure side of Bruce through this original conversation and his views on the martial arts aspect, and some of the sentiments etc. indeed were inspiring.
DL: I was working in the office at that time when Inosanto phoned me and said, “Hey Dan, Bruce is back from HK.” I was curious that wasn’t he filming in HK? Why was he back? I wanted to find out. So, I phoned him from my office. Bruce was actually preparing to move his house and was very tiring. I asked him, “Bruce, why are you back? When can we get together and train again? Bruce said, “Uuh…training? Actually, now, I’ve a great career development in HK, I’m getting ready to move house, I just return shortly.” I continued, “So, is there any chance that we can get together and train again?” Bruce replied, “I’m afraid not.” I was thinking maybe after Bruce left, probably there wouldn’t be any chance for me to train with him and asked him martial arts questions anymore. Hence, I thought I should record our conversation. I didn’t tell him my intention and just pressed on the recorder. This voice recording was a subconscious act at that moment. Because I was an engineer and would often taped record the conversation of the science projects’ exchange matters, so, as our conversation started not long, I just pressed on the tape recording machine subconsciously.

When talking on the topic of martial arts, the more he talked the more interested he became. We talked on many things. Thus, this unintended voice recording can be said to be very precious. Why precious? I remembered he accepted an interview with the BBC radio in HK. He knew beforehand about this recording but he didn’t know about the recording of our conversation. We spoke like teacher and student and also sound like good friends. He talked candidly and freely without any restrictions. Therefore, this conversation is originally Bruce’s true self. All his words were from the bottom of his hearts, very true and genuine. For instance, when talking about challenges, Bruce said he was not afraid of fighting anyone. You all have seen the content. He didn’t mean to say those things to anyone purposely but he was just talking to me. We were just exchanging our thoughts.


Part 4: Photos of Dan Lee & others: https://postimg.org/image/x25kizbbv/


(Part 5 to be continued next week...)
Like what Dan Lee said Bruce was a martial artist who made Kung Fu movie. Acting was just his sideline. Bruce had a lot of real fighting experiences unlike some martial artist who practised forms but never spar or fight. Bruce was the real deal.

Dan Lee had a very good knowlede of Taichi and JKD, and could explain the 3 stages of JKD process very indepth. He was also a good JKD fighter.

RIP both Lees.

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Joined: July 16th, 2003, 11:43 am

September 17th, 2016, 4:53 pm #39

Q36: Do you have any deep impressions on Bruce’s martial arts’ prowess and fighting ability?
DL: Bruce was very nimble in his hands, lightning fast in his footwork, and his overall movements were absolutely agile, graceful and smooth. Also, his attacks were extremely fast, accurate and aggressive. He had good elusiveness and great explosive power which no one could match. In addition, he had great perception and could point-out problems or errors in your movements precisely, and then guide you to do self-rectification. During sparring, he possessed inconceivable sixth sense and was able to read opponent’s mind, and predict his next move. He could observe opponent’s movement rhythm and adapt quickly and accordingly. Then, he was able to freely move ahead of the opponent’s response and struck any opponents in front of him effortlessly.

Q37: Can we put it this way, Bruce’s martial arts prowess was due to his super gifted-talent?
DL: Bruce wasn’t a natural born martial arts prodigy. He complied with the law of nature of combat, followed the scientific training principles, utilized the scientific training methods, and engaged in long-term systematic and diligent training. Consequently, that created his martial arts prowess. I remembered when I went to his house for training, I discovered his trainings were always well-planned and he would always train according to his plans. At that time, he trained for 7-8 hours daily, and the quality and efficiency of his trainings were absolutely very high. His skills were the result of hard work and ingeniousness in his trainings. As the saying goes, “Training one simple technique over 10,000 times and soon it will become a unique technique.” Bruce used to practice a simple and fundamental technique repeatedly for 500-2000 times. He then became the best in it. If he wasn’t the best, who was? As the Chinese saying goes, “Undergoes hundreds and thousands times of hammering and toughening before hardening into steel” This is what it meant.

Q38: What skills do you think Bruce was most specialized in?
DL: Bruce’s skills were very all-rounded. I can’t say he had any special skill that stands out from the rest because all his skills were truly outstanding. Of course, he had his famous 1-inch punch. After seeing it for the first time, I found that it was very similar to the Tai Chi Chuan’s principle. In Grandmaster Wong Chung-Yut’s book “Tao of Tai Chi Chuan,” it stated that, “The root lies on the feet which generates the force; the hip to the waist is the center of control; the fingers shape the form.” This is a common phrase which many of us know. I’ve studied and memorized it very thoroughly. But what’s the point? See, Bruce could just simply apply the theory unto his 1-inch punch. If you observed his 1-inch punch carefully, you will see that he threw out his punch in less than an inch. Did you see where did he begin? It’s all started from his feet. Before punching, the waist and hip faced in the direction of the opponent. Then, as the body quickly turns to the left, the force is generated instantly from the feet to the hip and then to the waist in a spilt of second. Use the force generated from the hip-waist to strike. In this way, the power is totally different. Practice more on the hip-waist as there is where the explosive power lies.

Q39: Being his student and good friend, what kind of person was Bruce to you?
DL: The deepest impression that Bruce gave me was his extreme diligence. Although I’m older than him but I admired his conscientiousness in his training. He was constantly creating, experimenting and learning. He was very studious and had a strong ability in analysis. He was very good in learning, not learning generally but always with a goal. Then, through research and experimentation, he would reach his learning goals ultimately. He also possessed the ability to differentiate that made him different. For instance, other people might look on the downside of a certain skill, but he would immediately said, “Hmm, this skill looks not bad, it has its strength and merits.” Because he had an extremely profound martial arts background, he would always view martial arts from the nature of combat. Thus, he knew what was good and what was impractical and from there, absorbed the useful part that was worth learning. He was also a kind of person who pursued excellence in quality. Bruce studied and learnt vastly but his motive was not to complicate his martial arts skill. He just wanted to summarize the law, discover the essence and from the essence, pursue simplicity. Therefore, the development of JKD makes use of the philosophy of Taoism and Buddhism as its guidance. The main purpose is still to simplify i.e. the way to simplicity.

Bruce was an upright and honest person. When he talked to you, whether in front of you or behind you, it’s all the same. He meant every word he said. If you wanted to play tricks, he would do the same to you. If you were good friends, he would really treat you with sincerity. I really admire his personal character. My relationship with him was not just teacher and student but also good friends. He never flaunted himself. Because my age was older than him, thus, sometimes I would also share with him about my life experiences.

Both of you tell me that Hunan Xiao Xiang Vocational Institute had erected “A Legendary Master” statue of Bruce’s in full Kung Fu uniform (not bare-chested). I think this is the right way to pay tribute to him because in my opinion, he was the most established and influential martial artist in the history of martial arts. I hope the students of Chinese JKD not only see the surface of Bruce’s martial arts but also his profound thinking and the spirit of his striving for excellence. Don’t be constrained by any fixed thoughts in your mind but keep learning, creating and improving. This is the biggest influence of Bruce in my whole life.

Q40: Now we want to ask you a question which many Bruce’s fans are concerned: In actual training and sparring, would Bruce be constantly leaping around in boxing steps and doing his cat yell just like in his movie?
DL: Definitely not. Movie is movie. He was an actor, so, he had to make the shows more dramatic and appealing to the audience. Those screams or yells were for movies. Our JKD training requires constant refinement and striving for excellence. It stresses to be as simple and as direct as possible, as well as to get rid of the non-essentials and redundancies. “Using No Way As Way,” .… It is totally different between real combat and movies. You have watched his movies and although he was acting but we could see realism in his Kung Fu actions. They were so realistic like in actual fighting. He was so fast. I remembered Bruce once said the cameraman wanted him to slow down otherwise his actions would not be captured by the camera.

Q41: What was Bruce’s attitude towards challenges from other people? Some people said Bruce was just an actor and not a real martial artist, how do you look at this statement?
DL: Bruce ever said he was not afraid of any challenges. He said, “If you want to fight, come to meet me face to face and I’ll play along with you. What Wong Jack Man, what Karate kid, I’ll wait for them and fight them.” He was never afraid of challenges and had never thrown in the towel. But years later, when Bruce talked to me over the phone, he said why bother to waste time in these challenges? He said, “If someone challenge me, I would ask myself whether it’s worth it or not? I know I’ll win and why should I waste my precious time?” He was very confident. Not like some Kung Fu man who could perform very fancifully but had never fought in real life before. Bruce had plenty of practical fighting experiences. He was a real martial artist and fighter. People should understand that Bruce was using his identity of a martial artist and fighter to make movie and to be an actor. It is not the other way round.

Q42: You’ve done boxing and Judo before and have participated in those competitions. In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between JKD and those ring related fighting martial arts? The President of America UFC said Bruce was the Father of MMA, what are your takes on this?
DL: There are advantages and disadvantages of fighting in the ring. Why disadvantages? It is competition so there will be judges, rules and regulations etc. For instance, boxing prohibits the hitting of the back of the head, ears and kicking to the groin. Right? Now, there is this popular MMA, which has its own rules and regulations. You can’t kick the opponent’s groin.

JKD is trained especially for street-fighting and for fighting in various real life situations. The biggest difference is that JKD is not restricted by rules and regulations. Bruce said be like water, adapt to various kinds of unrestricted street-fighting’s circumstances. Hence, there are many differences in the features of real fighting and training methods between JKD and ring fighting arts. However, the openness of MMA in a certain extent is closer to Bruce’s emphasis of JKD practical fighting experience. But because it is a sports competition, it need to have spectators, thus, it cannot be over dangerous. It has certain conditions and criteria to follow.

However, looking at MMA in overall, it’s not bad. It truly shows the real martial arts ability of the contestant. If your fitness is not up to expectation, you are definitely not qualified to participate; if you do not have any practical fighting experience, you’ll also not participate; if your skills are not all-rounded, it also can’t be done, right? It did not have any protective gears, so, when you are hit on the head or chin, it’s very easily to be knocked-off. Perceiving from the point where the all-rounded training and embodiment of real fighting experience, MMA does fulfill this requirement. This implies that MMA is the closest to unrestricted real fighting so far. Its ideas are quite close to JKD’s principles. That’s the reason they said MMA was influenced by Bruce and Bruce was the Father of MMA. I think it has its own rationale behind it.

Q43: You have competed in the ring, and have you ever use JKD to defend yourself on the street?
DL: JKD’s training always revolves around actual combat and it is based on the self-defense requirements in handling street’s attacks. We must prepare ourselves constantly. But in real life, it’s best that we don’t have the opportunity to use it (Laugh). During my younger days, I had one dangerous encounter in France and I used JKD to settle it. It started when I was on a business trip to a little town in France. One day, after work, I strolled around the town and tried to see the local conditions and customs there. At that time, there were very few Asians in the town, and even lesser Chinese there. It was mainly Japanese tourists touring the place.

While I was strolling, a tall and big French man came up to me with a warm smile, from the corner of the street. He asked me, “Hey, wanna go in and watch movie? I can bring you in.” I thought since I was free, it wasn’t a bad idea. So, I said, “Ok.” Then, followed behind him. We walked into a small alley before entering into a building. Once entered, I felt something amiss because it didn’t look like a theatre inside. Suddenly, I found 2 tall and brawny guys walking towards me, 1 from the left and another from the right. They surrounded me from the flanks and both were holding a knife each in their hands. One of them suddenly attempted to kick my stomach, and by instinct, I moved sideway instantly and avoided the kick.

However, I didn’t show my ready stance or use very professional way to block the kick. I pretended to be very petrified and put my hands up and waved to them, pretending to be begging for mercy. Actually, I was preparing to defend myself. I uttered, “Sorry, please don’t this, please don’t this….,” trying to remove their alarms psychologically and let them thought I was a helpless businessman from Japan. While seeing them off-guard, I instantaneously moved in the gap and finger jabbed the eyes of the guy who was standing closest to me, followed by a low side kick to his knee cap. The guy fell to the ground immediately and before the other guy could react, I already kicked his groin and left him crying in pain for papa. I didn’t care how I fought and before they could get up from the ground, I’d already escaped from the building safely. Although it happened so fast but when I recalled, it was still quite a risky encounter. If in the first place, I had got myself into the ready stance those guys might be alerted and thought that I could fight. So, they would definitely increase both their level of attention and force. It wouldn’t be easy to get out of the danger then. JKD’s finger jab and groin kicking are very practical and devastating skills but they can only be used in the circumstances of self-defense as they are prohibited in the ring.

Q44: When Bruce was teaching in the backyard, he had also privately coached Karate Champion, Joe Lewis and other guys (Note: Chuck Norris, Mike Stone etc.). Have you ever meet them there?
DL: No. Bruce wanted to prove himself and thus, he had made friends with many great martial artists like Taekwondo expert – Jhoon Rhee, Tang Soo Doo expert - Chuck Norris and Karate Champion – Joe Lewis etc. etc. He had sparred individually with these martial artists who were all highly-skilled martial arts experts in their own rights. However, they don’t say, “We are competing against each other.” For instance, Chuck Norris met Bruce in the hotel after his Karate competition. Bruce told him his skill looked good but impractical in actual fighting. Norris asked, “What do you mean?” Bruce replied, “Why not come to my room, I’ll show you.” So, when Norris entered his room. They sparred and Norris was blown away. He threw himself at Bruce’s feet in total admiration. It’s the same to Joe Lewis. The training was not disclosed but it was semi-overt, a kind of 1 to 1 solo training. He knew Bruce’s skill was great, so, got Bruce to instruct him. All these private trainings of Karate Champions with Bruce actually had nothing to do with us. We were also unaware of these private trainings initially. After Bruce’s passing, they themselves spoke a lot on their private trainings with Bruce. They respected Bruce and were grateful to Bruce’s influence on them.

Q45: There were 3 pieces of signboards that symbolized “3 stages” of JKD which were hung in the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute previously. Did Bruce specially explain the philosophical meaning that these phases encompassed?
DL: Unfortunately, Bruce didn’t specially explain the meaning of these “3 stages” signboards. Actually, a JKD symbol above the signboards was hung there. In the first signboard, the Ying and Yang were separated; in the second signboard, there was a JKD’s Tai Chi symbol; in the third signboard, it was totally black, nothing on it. Nowadays, everyone has different interpretation to these 3 stages because Bruce didn’t reveal the principles of these 3 pieces signboards.

According to my own analysis and interpretations, the first signboard/stage shows Ying-Yang are separated. For instance, some people may say I specialize in practicing soft Kung Fu while others may say I specialize in hard Kung Fu. Thus, hard and soft are not able to merge together forever. The second signboard/stage shows Ying and Yang are merged together. There’s Ying as well as Yang. Also, there are arrows on each side of the Ying and Yang. The arrows signify transformations. Within this martial arts skill, there’s hard (hard attacking movement) and there’s soft (soft techniques). The main goal of Bruce was that he wanted our JKD to have the mutual existence of hard and soft, and wanted to have changes in-between hard and soft as well as transformations.

Ultimately, the third signboard/stage is totally black. There isn’t anything, just emptiness. This is the philosophy of JKD, “Using No Way As Way.” If someone attacks you, you just punch and K.O. the opponent. People may ask, “It’s awesome. How did you do it anyway?” I’d reply, “I’ve no idea and I’ve never think of how to do it, it just do it by itself.” This is the basic instinct which comes from the saying, “practice makes perfect.” In the first phase, i.e. the white phase, shows that at the start, learning is not conformed to hard or soft, so, if it’s not hard, then, it should be soft; In the second phase, hard and soft begins to co-operate and co-exist mutually; In the third phase, which is also the last phase, upon reaching this phase, all ways become none, no matter it’s hard or soft, it’s just the general expression of the overall result, i.e. “Using No Way as Way.” This is just my opinion.

Q46: What do you think was the highest realm or state which Bruce was pursing in his whole life?
DL: Bruce was always learning throughout his entire life. There is no limit to quest for knowledge. The realm which he pursued in his whole life was actually portrayed within his JKD’s symbol, i.e. “Using No Way As Way; Having No Limitation As Limitation.”
“Using No Way As Way” – The skills you learnt, the methods you mastered ultimately have to be precise and simplified. All ways have to be forgotten and become no way eventually so that you’ll be able to apply whatever ways.
“Having No Limitation As Limitation” – You can’t say my kick is no good as I only practice punching and no kicking. Do not set a limitation on yourself. No matter learning, training, working or living, the spirit and attitude all must be based on the basis of freedom and no limitation, as well as continuously exploration and discovery. If we are able to use this spirit in learning and training, then, our progress will therefore be limitless.

Q47: In 1994, you selflessly donated the tape recording of the 1972’s telephone conversation between you and Bruce to Bruce Lee’s Education Foundation. Under what circumstances did you record this conversation? We see the most genuine and obscure side of Bruce through this original conversation and his views on the martial arts aspect, and some of the sentiments etc. indeed were inspiring.
DL: I was working in the office at that time when Inosanto phoned me and said, “Hey Dan, Bruce is back from HK.” I was curious that wasn’t he filming in HK? Why was he back? I wanted to find out. So, I phoned him from my office. Bruce was actually preparing to move his house and was very tiring. I asked him, “Bruce, why are you back? When can we get together and train again? Bruce said, “Uuh…training? Actually, now, I’ve a great career development in HK, I’m getting ready to move house, I just return shortly.” I continued, “So, is there any chance that we can get together and train again?” Bruce replied, “I’m afraid not.” I was thinking maybe after Bruce left, probably there wouldn’t be any chance for me to train with him and asked him martial arts questions anymore. Hence, I thought I should record our conversation. I didn’t tell him my intention and just pressed on the recorder. This voice recording was a subconscious act at that moment. Because I was an engineer and would often taped record the conversation of the science projects’ exchange matters, so, as our conversation started not long, I just pressed on the tape recording machine subconsciously.

When talking on the topic of martial arts, the more he talked the more interested he became. We talked on many things. Thus, this unintended voice recording can be said to be very precious. Why precious? I remembered he accepted an interview with the BBC radio in HK. He knew beforehand about this recording but he didn’t know about the recording of our conversation. We spoke like teacher and student and also sound like good friends. He talked candidly and freely without any restrictions. Therefore, this conversation is originally Bruce’s true self. All his words were from the bottom of his hearts, very true and genuine. For instance, when talking about challenges, Bruce said he was not afraid of fighting anyone. You all have seen the content. He didn’t mean to say those things to anyone purposely but he was just talking to me. We were just exchanging our thoughts.


Part 4: Photos of Dan Lee & others: https://postimg.org/image/x25kizbbv/


(Part 5 to be continued next week...)
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September 18th, 2016, 2:22 am #40

Q36: Do you have any deep impressions on Bruce’s martial arts’ prowess and fighting ability?
DL: Bruce was very nimble in his hands, lightning fast in his footwork, and his overall movements were absolutely agile, graceful and smooth. Also, his attacks were extremely fast, accurate and aggressive. He had good elusiveness and great explosive power which no one could match. In addition, he had great perception and could point-out problems or errors in your movements precisely, and then guide you to do self-rectification. During sparring, he possessed inconceivable sixth sense and was able to read opponent’s mind, and predict his next move. He could observe opponent’s movement rhythm and adapt quickly and accordingly. Then, he was able to freely move ahead of the opponent’s response and struck any opponents in front of him effortlessly.

Q37: Can we put it this way, Bruce’s martial arts prowess was due to his super gifted-talent?
DL: Bruce wasn’t a natural born martial arts prodigy. He complied with the law of nature of combat, followed the scientific training principles, utilized the scientific training methods, and engaged in long-term systematic and diligent training. Consequently, that created his martial arts prowess. I remembered when I went to his house for training, I discovered his trainings were always well-planned and he would always train according to his plans. At that time, he trained for 7-8 hours daily, and the quality and efficiency of his trainings were absolutely very high. His skills were the result of hard work and ingeniousness in his trainings. As the saying goes, “Training one simple technique over 10,000 times and soon it will become a unique technique.” Bruce used to practice a simple and fundamental technique repeatedly for 500-2000 times. He then became the best in it. If he wasn’t the best, who was? As the Chinese saying goes, “Undergoes hundreds and thousands times of hammering and toughening before hardening into steel” This is what it meant.

Q38: What skills do you think Bruce was most specialized in?
DL: Bruce’s skills were very all-rounded. I can’t say he had any special skill that stands out from the rest because all his skills were truly outstanding. Of course, he had his famous 1-inch punch. After seeing it for the first time, I found that it was very similar to the Tai Chi Chuan’s principle. In Grandmaster Wong Chung-Yut’s book “Tao of Tai Chi Chuan,” it stated that, “The root lies on the feet which generates the force; the hip to the waist is the center of control; the fingers shape the form.” This is a common phrase which many of us know. I’ve studied and memorized it very thoroughly. But what’s the point? See, Bruce could just simply apply the theory unto his 1-inch punch. If you observed his 1-inch punch carefully, you will see that he threw out his punch in less than an inch. Did you see where did he begin? It’s all started from his feet. Before punching, the waist and hip faced in the direction of the opponent. Then, as the body quickly turns to the left, the force is generated instantly from the feet to the hip and then to the waist in a spilt of second. Use the force generated from the hip-waist to strike. In this way, the power is totally different. Practice more on the hip-waist as there is where the explosive power lies.

Q39: Being his student and good friend, what kind of person was Bruce to you?
DL: The deepest impression that Bruce gave me was his extreme diligence. Although I’m older than him but I admired his conscientiousness in his training. He was constantly creating, experimenting and learning. He was very studious and had a strong ability in analysis. He was very good in learning, not learning generally but always with a goal. Then, through research and experimentation, he would reach his learning goals ultimately. He also possessed the ability to differentiate that made him different. For instance, other people might look on the downside of a certain skill, but he would immediately said, “Hmm, this skill looks not bad, it has its strength and merits.” Because he had an extremely profound martial arts background, he would always view martial arts from the nature of combat. Thus, he knew what was good and what was impractical and from there, absorbed the useful part that was worth learning. He was also a kind of person who pursued excellence in quality. Bruce studied and learnt vastly but his motive was not to complicate his martial arts skill. He just wanted to summarize the law, discover the essence and from the essence, pursue simplicity. Therefore, the development of JKD makes use of the philosophy of Taoism and Buddhism as its guidance. The main purpose is still to simplify i.e. the way to simplicity.

Bruce was an upright and honest person. When he talked to you, whether in front of you or behind you, it’s all the same. He meant every word he said. If you wanted to play tricks, he would do the same to you. If you were good friends, he would really treat you with sincerity. I really admire his personal character. My relationship with him was not just teacher and student but also good friends. He never flaunted himself. Because my age was older than him, thus, sometimes I would also share with him about my life experiences.

Both of you tell me that Hunan Xiao Xiang Vocational Institute had erected “A Legendary Master” statue of Bruce’s in full Kung Fu uniform (not bare-chested). I think this is the right way to pay tribute to him because in my opinion, he was the most established and influential martial artist in the history of martial arts. I hope the students of Chinese JKD not only see the surface of Bruce’s martial arts but also his profound thinking and the spirit of his striving for excellence. Don’t be constrained by any fixed thoughts in your mind but keep learning, creating and improving. This is the biggest influence of Bruce in my whole life.

Q40: Now we want to ask you a question which many Bruce’s fans are concerned: In actual training and sparring, would Bruce be constantly leaping around in boxing steps and doing his cat yell just like in his movie?
DL: Definitely not. Movie is movie. He was an actor, so, he had to make the shows more dramatic and appealing to the audience. Those screams or yells were for movies. Our JKD training requires constant refinement and striving for excellence. It stresses to be as simple and as direct as possible, as well as to get rid of the non-essentials and redundancies. “Using No Way As Way,” .… It is totally different between real combat and movies. You have watched his movies and although he was acting but we could see realism in his Kung Fu actions. They were so realistic like in actual fighting. He was so fast. I remembered Bruce once said the cameraman wanted him to slow down otherwise his actions would not be captured by the camera.

Q41: What was Bruce’s attitude towards challenges from other people? Some people said Bruce was just an actor and not a real martial artist, how do you look at this statement?
DL: Bruce ever said he was not afraid of any challenges. He said, “If you want to fight, come to meet me face to face and I’ll play along with you. What Wong Jack Man, what Karate kid, I’ll wait for them and fight them.” He was never afraid of challenges and had never thrown in the towel. But years later, when Bruce talked to me over the phone, he said why bother to waste time in these challenges? He said, “If someone challenge me, I would ask myself whether it’s worth it or not? I know I’ll win and why should I waste my precious time?” He was very confident. Not like some Kung Fu man who could perform very fancifully but had never fought in real life before. Bruce had plenty of practical fighting experiences. He was a real martial artist and fighter. People should understand that Bruce was using his identity of a martial artist and fighter to make movie and to be an actor. It is not the other way round.

Q42: You’ve done boxing and Judo before and have participated in those competitions. In your opinion, what is the biggest difference between JKD and those ring related fighting martial arts? The President of America UFC said Bruce was the Father of MMA, what are your takes on this?
DL: There are advantages and disadvantages of fighting in the ring. Why disadvantages? It is competition so there will be judges, rules and regulations etc. For instance, boxing prohibits the hitting of the back of the head, ears and kicking to the groin. Right? Now, there is this popular MMA, which has its own rules and regulations. You can’t kick the opponent’s groin.

JKD is trained especially for street-fighting and for fighting in various real life situations. The biggest difference is that JKD is not restricted by rules and regulations. Bruce said be like water, adapt to various kinds of unrestricted street-fighting’s circumstances. Hence, there are many differences in the features of real fighting and training methods between JKD and ring fighting arts. However, the openness of MMA in a certain extent is closer to Bruce’s emphasis of JKD practical fighting experience. But because it is a sports competition, it need to have spectators, thus, it cannot be over dangerous. It has certain conditions and criteria to follow.

However, looking at MMA in overall, it’s not bad. It truly shows the real martial arts ability of the contestant. If your fitness is not up to expectation, you are definitely not qualified to participate; if you do not have any practical fighting experience, you’ll also not participate; if your skills are not all-rounded, it also can’t be done, right? It did not have any protective gears, so, when you are hit on the head or chin, it’s very easily to be knocked-off. Perceiving from the point where the all-rounded training and embodiment of real fighting experience, MMA does fulfill this requirement. This implies that MMA is the closest to unrestricted real fighting so far. Its ideas are quite close to JKD’s principles. That’s the reason they said MMA was influenced by Bruce and Bruce was the Father of MMA. I think it has its own rationale behind it.

Q43: You have competed in the ring, and have you ever use JKD to defend yourself on the street?
DL: JKD’s training always revolves around actual combat and it is based on the self-defense requirements in handling street’s attacks. We must prepare ourselves constantly. But in real life, it’s best that we don’t have the opportunity to use it (Laugh). During my younger days, I had one dangerous encounter in France and I used JKD to settle it. It started when I was on a business trip to a little town in France. One day, after work, I strolled around the town and tried to see the local conditions and customs there. At that time, there were very few Asians in the town, and even lesser Chinese there. It was mainly Japanese tourists touring the place.

While I was strolling, a tall and big French man came up to me with a warm smile, from the corner of the street. He asked me, “Hey, wanna go in and watch movie? I can bring you in.” I thought since I was free, it wasn’t a bad idea. So, I said, “Ok.” Then, followed behind him. We walked into a small alley before entering into a building. Once entered, I felt something amiss because it didn’t look like a theatre inside. Suddenly, I found 2 tall and brawny guys walking towards me, 1 from the left and another from the right. They surrounded me from the flanks and both were holding a knife each in their hands. One of them suddenly attempted to kick my stomach, and by instinct, I moved sideway instantly and avoided the kick.

However, I didn’t show my ready stance or use very professional way to block the kick. I pretended to be very petrified and put my hands up and waved to them, pretending to be begging for mercy. Actually, I was preparing to defend myself. I uttered, “Sorry, please don’t this, please don’t this….,” trying to remove their alarms psychologically and let them thought I was a helpless businessman from Japan. While seeing them off-guard, I instantaneously moved in the gap and finger jabbed the eyes of the guy who was standing closest to me, followed by a low side kick to his knee cap. The guy fell to the ground immediately and before the other guy could react, I already kicked his groin and left him crying in pain for papa. I didn’t care how I fought and before they could get up from the ground, I’d already escaped from the building safely. Although it happened so fast but when I recalled, it was still quite a risky encounter. If in the first place, I had got myself into the ready stance those guys might be alerted and thought that I could fight. So, they would definitely increase both their level of attention and force. It wouldn’t be easy to get out of the danger then. JKD’s finger jab and groin kicking are very practical and devastating skills but they can only be used in the circumstances of self-defense as they are prohibited in the ring.

Q44: When Bruce was teaching in the backyard, he had also privately coached Karate Champion, Joe Lewis and other guys (Note: Chuck Norris, Mike Stone etc.). Have you ever meet them there?
DL: No. Bruce wanted to prove himself and thus, he had made friends with many great martial artists like Taekwondo expert – Jhoon Rhee, Tang Soo Doo expert - Chuck Norris and Karate Champion – Joe Lewis etc. etc. He had sparred individually with these martial artists who were all highly-skilled martial arts experts in their own rights. However, they don’t say, “We are competing against each other.” For instance, Chuck Norris met Bruce in the hotel after his Karate competition. Bruce told him his skill looked good but impractical in actual fighting. Norris asked, “What do you mean?” Bruce replied, “Why not come to my room, I’ll show you.” So, when Norris entered his room. They sparred and Norris was blown away. He threw himself at Bruce’s feet in total admiration. It’s the same to Joe Lewis. The training was not disclosed but it was semi-overt, a kind of 1 to 1 solo training. He knew Bruce’s skill was great, so, got Bruce to instruct him. All these private trainings of Karate Champions with Bruce actually had nothing to do with us. We were also unaware of these private trainings initially. After Bruce’s passing, they themselves spoke a lot on their private trainings with Bruce. They respected Bruce and were grateful to Bruce’s influence on them.

Q45: There were 3 pieces of signboards that symbolized “3 stages” of JKD which were hung in the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute previously. Did Bruce specially explain the philosophical meaning that these phases encompassed?
DL: Unfortunately, Bruce didn’t specially explain the meaning of these “3 stages” signboards. Actually, a JKD symbol above the signboards was hung there. In the first signboard, the Ying and Yang were separated; in the second signboard, there was a JKD’s Tai Chi symbol; in the third signboard, it was totally black, nothing on it. Nowadays, everyone has different interpretation to these 3 stages because Bruce didn’t reveal the principles of these 3 pieces signboards.

According to my own analysis and interpretations, the first signboard/stage shows Ying-Yang are separated. For instance, some people may say I specialize in practicing soft Kung Fu while others may say I specialize in hard Kung Fu. Thus, hard and soft are not able to merge together forever. The second signboard/stage shows Ying and Yang are merged together. There’s Ying as well as Yang. Also, there are arrows on each side of the Ying and Yang. The arrows signify transformations. Within this martial arts skill, there’s hard (hard attacking movement) and there’s soft (soft techniques). The main goal of Bruce was that he wanted our JKD to have the mutual existence of hard and soft, and wanted to have changes in-between hard and soft as well as transformations.

Ultimately, the third signboard/stage is totally black. There isn’t anything, just emptiness. This is the philosophy of JKD, “Using No Way As Way.” If someone attacks you, you just punch and K.O. the opponent. People may ask, “It’s awesome. How did you do it anyway?” I’d reply, “I’ve no idea and I’ve never think of how to do it, it just do it by itself.” This is the basic instinct which comes from the saying, “practice makes perfect.” In the first phase, i.e. the white phase, shows that at the start, learning is not conformed to hard or soft, so, if it’s not hard, then, it should be soft; In the second phase, hard and soft begins to co-operate and co-exist mutually; In the third phase, which is also the last phase, upon reaching this phase, all ways become none, no matter it’s hard or soft, it’s just the general expression of the overall result, i.e. “Using No Way as Way.” This is just my opinion.

Q46: What do you think was the highest realm or state which Bruce was pursing in his whole life?
DL: Bruce was always learning throughout his entire life. There is no limit to quest for knowledge. The realm which he pursued in his whole life was actually portrayed within his JKD’s symbol, i.e. “Using No Way As Way; Having No Limitation As Limitation.”
“Using No Way As Way” – The skills you learnt, the methods you mastered ultimately have to be precise and simplified. All ways have to be forgotten and become no way eventually so that you’ll be able to apply whatever ways.
“Having No Limitation As Limitation” – You can’t say my kick is no good as I only practice punching and no kicking. Do not set a limitation on yourself. No matter learning, training, working or living, the spirit and attitude all must be based on the basis of freedom and no limitation, as well as continuously exploration and discovery. If we are able to use this spirit in learning and training, then, our progress will therefore be limitless.

Q47: In 1994, you selflessly donated the tape recording of the 1972’s telephone conversation between you and Bruce to Bruce Lee’s Education Foundation. Under what circumstances did you record this conversation? We see the most genuine and obscure side of Bruce through this original conversation and his views on the martial arts aspect, and some of the sentiments etc. indeed were inspiring.
DL: I was working in the office at that time when Inosanto phoned me and said, “Hey Dan, Bruce is back from HK.” I was curious that wasn’t he filming in HK? Why was he back? I wanted to find out. So, I phoned him from my office. Bruce was actually preparing to move his house and was very tiring. I asked him, “Bruce, why are you back? When can we get together and train again? Bruce said, “Uuh…training? Actually, now, I’ve a great career development in HK, I’m getting ready to move house, I just return shortly.” I continued, “So, is there any chance that we can get together and train again?” Bruce replied, “I’m afraid not.” I was thinking maybe after Bruce left, probably there wouldn’t be any chance for me to train with him and asked him martial arts questions anymore. Hence, I thought I should record our conversation. I didn’t tell him my intention and just pressed on the recorder. This voice recording was a subconscious act at that moment. Because I was an engineer and would often taped record the conversation of the science projects’ exchange matters, so, as our conversation started not long, I just pressed on the tape recording machine subconsciously.

When talking on the topic of martial arts, the more he talked the more interested he became. We talked on many things. Thus, this unintended voice recording can be said to be very precious. Why precious? I remembered he accepted an interview with the BBC radio in HK. He knew beforehand about this recording but he didn’t know about the recording of our conversation. We spoke like teacher and student and also sound like good friends. He talked candidly and freely without any restrictions. Therefore, this conversation is originally Bruce’s true self. All his words were from the bottom of his hearts, very true and genuine. For instance, when talking about challenges, Bruce said he was not afraid of fighting anyone. You all have seen the content. He didn’t mean to say those things to anyone purposely but he was just talking to me. We were just exchanging our thoughts.


Part 4: Photos of Dan Lee & others: https://postimg.org/image/x25kizbbv/


(Part 5 to be continued next week...)
We've to be grateful to Dan Lee for releasing his teleconversation with Lee.

There's a speculation that Lee attended a martial arts meeting in 1969 and his views on martial arts were taped recorded. The HK JKD Club had published article on this voice recording in details in its 70s magazine.
Is it true? Can anyone shed some light on this?
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