THIS IS THE SECOND CHAPTER REGARDING
SKIP ELLSWORTH AND BRUCE LEE:
 

Please read "CHAPTER ONE" first, so you will understand what these two "BRUCE LEE" Chapters are all about (e.g. primarily the disconnected verbal ramblings of a feeble-minded old man).
:-)

A TAPED INTERVIEW REGARDING BRUCE LEE

AN EXCERPT FROM A TWO HOUR RECORDED INTERVIEW WITH SKIP ELLSWORTH[Skip was surrounded by is own students at the time -- hence the occasional laughter in the background.]

THIS EXCERPT IS FROM THE END OF THE "SECOND HOUR" OF THE INTERVIEW:

QUESTION:        What is the most important thing you ever learned from Bruce Lee ?

SKIP:                   Frankly, I learned so many important things from Bruce that it would be hard for me to pick the one most important thing.

QUESTION:        Well... please try to do it for us.

SKIP:                   I guess one of the most important things I learned from Bruce was how to explode. 

[A long pause… as though this was a complete answer with no need for further explanation.]

QUESTION:        Can you elaborate on that ?

SKIP:                   Yeah -- but it’s hard to explain.

Basically, Bruce taught me how to explode with bursts of speed, power, and energy that I didn’t know I had in me – and that I didn’t know I was capable of.

Bruce called the explosion “Ging.”  Later on, I think he sometimes called it “ch’i” – or “chi”.  However, I guess it doesn’t matter what it is called.  The important thing is that Bruce could summon this amazing speed, power, and energy at will, and it was always an integral part of his Gung Fu.

QUESTION:        Can you explain that in greater detail ?

SKIP:                   In greater detail ?

Man, I’m not sure I can explain it at all.

I’m afraid I would need to think about it a lot before I could come up with a good explanation.

I can give you an example of how it works though.

QUESTION:        Please do.

SKIP:                   Well, the first time I used Ging was shortly after Bruce tried to teach me the principle just by talking to me about it.  However, I hadn’t really learned how to do it – and I was still pretty confused about the concept.

                             [Pause…]

QUESTION:        So… ?

SKIP:                   It happened when I was fighting a guy in a pool hall in the Central Area of Seattle. 

The fight went to the ground, and as we were grappling, the guy tried to dig out one of my eyes.

One of his fingers actually started to go inside the corner of my left eye, and I could feel my own eye-ball being forced to one side -- and "out."  

I suddenly thought to myself, “This might be a good time to use some of that ‘Ging’ stuff that Bruce has been trying to teach me.”

[Laughter…]

At that time, when the guy’s finger was actually starting to dig out my left eye, I completely exploded.

In other words, I had an instantaneous burst of speed, power, energy, and focus that I had never experienced before.

It was like I went from a speed of 2 miles per hour to a speed of 1,000 miles per hour in a fraction of a second.

It was like I had been asleep, and then suddenly I was completely awake – totally focused – more aware -- more dynamic – stronger – faster – like I was in a different dimension – almost like I became a different person.

It was like I was dreaming.

I will never forget the tremendous focus that I experienced at that moment. 

I remember feeling that I had much more strength and speed than I had ever experienced before.

Also, it seemed like “time” had actually slowed down for me.

My opponent seemed to be moving in slow motion, and I seemed to be moving in “fast forward.”

I was amazed by what had happened to me – and the effect that it had.

The fight was over almost immediately, and the other guy was unconscious.

As soon as the fight was over, my two friends and I got out of the pool hall as fast as we could because we didn’t know how bad the guy was hurt.

When I got back to my girl-friend’s place I spent the rest of the night reflecting upon what had happened to me – the explosion that I had just experienced.

As I reflected upon that stuff, I tried to remember exactly what I had done to “make” the changes occur – the physical and mental state that I was in at the exact moment that the explosion “happened.”

In other words, I was hoping that I could remember exactly how I got into that mental state – so I would know how to make it happen again.

I even wrote a few notes to myself to help me remember how it happened – how I felt when it happened – my state of mind when it happened – my motivation – what the strength felt like – what the speed felt like – what the focus was like – and so on.

Eventually, as I continued to practice Gung Fu with Bruce, I always tried to learn “more” about how to control the “ging” process.

In fact, even at my present age of 29 [much laughter…] I can probably still summon “Ging” if I was called upon to do so. 

Unfortunately, I have never gotten to the point where I can explain the “Ging” process very well – or teach it very well.

On the other hand, I think it is important to note that some of my students told me they more or less learned the process just by talking with me about it.

Maybe all they needed was some idea regarding what they were supposed to look for (and find) in their own consciousness – and then they were able to put the rest of it together on their own.

Incidentally, I have never gotten to the point where a prolonged or extended use of Ging didn’t take a lot out of me and leave me completely “worn out."

However, it seemed to me that Bruce could summon that type of energy instantaneously – at any time – and keep it going indefinitely without ever seeming to get tired.

He seemed to revel in it – to be addicted to it.

I’m afraid my explanation doesn’t make much sense, so I should probably just stop taking about this now.

[A long pause…]

Hey, why don’t you change the subject by asking me another question ?

In fact, why don’t you ask me a few “yes or no” questions, so I  don’t have to think anymore ?

[Laughter…]

QUESTION:        Here is another question for you.  Is there anything you are afraid of now ?      

SKIP:                   Yes.

[A very long pause, as though a “yes or no” question had just been answered.]

                             [Eventual Laughter…]

QUESTION:        Ok then, will you please explain what makes you afraid ?

SKIP:                   Yes.

[Another long pause – eventually with more laughter.]

OK -- as I get older (and some people have implied that this is actually happening to me) I’m afraid that I will lose my memory.

Essentially, my fear of losing my memory, like my mom did to a large extent,  is probably the primary reason why I have started to write journals regarding my memories, my thoughts, etc.

In other words, at this time I want to write down a few of the things I can still remember – while I can still remember them

Hey… in a few more years I’ll probably be asking questions like, “What’s my name ???  Where do I live ???  What am I doing here ???”  "Why am I drooling all over myself ???"

[Laughter.]

QUESTION:        We appear to be running out of tape, so I’m going to stop the recorder for a moment or two.

SKIP:                   OK, man.  I will try to use this as an opportunity to escape. 

END OF TAPE TWO.

"BRUCE LEE'S GENEROSITY -- EXCHANGING GIFTS -- MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS GIFT FROM BRUCE LEE..." 

Bruce was always a hard guy to give a present to, because no matter what you gave him he would always try to give you something in return that was nicer and/or more expensive.

In other words, he never wanted to feel that he came out “ahead” in an exchange of gifts.  This means that if you gave him something that was worth 20 dollars, he would feel obliged to give you something back that was worth 40 dollars.  It was frustrating at times.

Anyway, my favorite gift that I ever got from Bruce is a wooden, hand-carved Chinese statue, as follows: 

For Christmas of 1961, Bruce gave me a statue of a grotesquely awesome anthropomorphic creature that is carved from a piece of bamboo.  The statue is approximately 10” in diameter (at the widest point) – and 18” tall.  The bamboo is of such a large diameter that you would never think it was bamboo until you picked it up and turned it over – at which time it immediately becomes obvious.  The creature has a man-like face, and he is draped in carved flowing robes.  The little man (perhaps the word “gremlin” would be a better English word to use ???) is looking straight ahead, and his face has a very stern countenance and demeanor.  Anyway… it is an awesome statue.  Unfortunately, I do not have any close-up photos of it.  However, within the week I will try to have my son in America take some photos of it and add them to this chapter. 

For now, I will do the best I can to share the statue with you via some relatively “long distance” photos of it – showing where the statue is displayed in my home – showing the general ambiance of the location – showing what the little man is currently looking “out” at – and showing the things that he is surrounded by.   Of course, I put the little guy in that location “on purpose” because it means he is centrally located – he is where the action is – he is where people often congregate around the electric “player” piano to play, sing, and have fun -- etc.  Here are a few photos which will explain much better:      

We like to think that the little man approves of the above location, because he has been standing there for more than 25 years.  Directly in front of him are some antique sailing ships.  The ships are approximately 125 years old, and even their sails are hand-carved from ivory -- with braided linen "ropes" for rigging.  The three metal-alloy statues are from England, China, and Africa.  The wooden box is a "Murphy-Bed-Salesman's-Sample," which means it is a miniature working model of the "Murphy-beds" that the traveling salesman was selling (via the above model which was carried in his covered wagon "store") in approximately 1860. 

The little man (?)  is standing on top of the electric "player" piano, which is an area where people often hang out and enjoy themselves.    He looks out at a large portion of the home's second living room (the "informal" living room) -- and he is very near the dining room where people almost always congretate.  In other words, he is where the "action" is, and he gets a lot of attention.

THE FOLLOWING ARE DEFINITELY "COLLECTOR'S" MAGAZINES, AND THEY ARE 
TO BE COLLECTED, AND PROTECTED FOR FUTURE GENERATIONS WHENEVER POSSIBLE: 

Literally any copy of "THE OFFICIAL NEWSLETTER OF JUN FAN JEET KUNE DO" should be regarded as a very important part of "MARTIAL ARTS HISTORY."  In my opinion, the people who really "care" about Bruce and/or martial arts should collect and protect each copy for future generations.  Here are the cover pages for the first two editions.  They were sent to Skip as a gift from Linda, Bruce's widow.

THE NEWSPAPER (DIRECTLY BELOW) SERVICES THE CHINATOWN COMMUNITY IN VANCOUVER, CANADA.  BRUCE LEE'S PICTURE IS ON THE FRONT PAGE OF THE NEWSPAPER -- AS WELL AS A LIST OF HIS FRIENDS/STUDENTS, INCLUDING SKIP ELLSWORTH:

The article is about a Gung Fu Exhibition that Bruce Lee and his students put on in Vancouver's Chinatown.  Immediately below Bruce's photo is a list of the other articipants (Bruce's friends/students) -- including the following:  Taky Kimura -- Jesse Glover -- Doug Palmer -- Skip Ellsworth -- Jim DeMile -- and LeRoy Garcia.  [Click to enlarge photo.]

THE FOLLOWING POSTERS
THOUSANDS OF THESE WERE PRINTED BY BRUCE AND HIS GANG (including Skip) -- FOR DISTRIBUTION THROUGHOUT THE CITY OF SEATTLE:

The participants are listed near the bottom of the poster, and they include the following guys:  Charles Woo [R.I.P.] -- Tak Miyabe -- Pat Hooks -- Jesse Glover -- LeRoy Garcia -- Skip Ellsworth -- Jim DeMile -- Taky Kimura -- John Jackson [R.I.P.] -- and George MacNamara [R.I.P.].

Obviously, the Gung Fu Exhibition was held on February 14, 1961.  However, most of the posters were mistakenly printed with the year 1960.  Therefore, we had to "hand-correct" hundreds of these posters by changing the "0" to a "1" (e.g. 1960 to 1961).  I still have at least 100 of these "left-over" mimeographed posters. 

Anyway... the Exhibition Hall was packed, and our Kung Fu Exhibition was well received.  As I recall, Jesse Glover's mother -- a delightful and dignified lady -- attended this Exhibition.

NEWSPAPER ARCHIVES:
HERE AT SKIP'S BEACH RESORT, I JUST FOUND TWO NEWSPAPER ARTICLES ABOUT MY GOOD FRIEND JIM DeMILE.  I AM INCLUDING THEM HERE BECAUSE I THOUGHT YOU MIGHT BE INTERESTED IN READING THEM:

 

AN ARTICLE BY JIM HALPIN:
HERE ARE EXCERPTS FROM AN ARTICLE BY JIM HALPIN.  HE ALSO WROTE AN EXCELLENT ARTICLE ABOUT BRUCE FOR THE "SEATTLE WEEKLY."  WE HIGHLY RECOMMEND ANY ARTICLE THAT WAS WRITTEN BY JIM.


 

 

 

 

 

HISTORICAL INFORMATION ABOUT BRUCE LEE -- ETC.

The following paragraphs are from written notes and mental notes that I started taking in 1959. 

They will also include some direct quotes from Bruce Lee.

Of course, the following ramblings will include a lot of my own random thoughts and recollections about Bruce, and what I perceive to be some of his various philosophies regarding Gung Fu.  Please understand that each of these thoughts and recollections are preceded by the invisible words,   “In my opinion…”;

I realize that some of Bruce’s other “friends/students” will probably have some opinions and recollections that are different than mine. 

My intent here is not to set myself up as an “expert,” or to insinuate that my viewpoint is the “correct” one. 

My intent is to simply consolidate a few of my notes and thoughts – and present my own viewpoint as I lived it -- experienced it -- and perceived it. 

I want to make it "VERY" clear that I do “NOT” profess to be an expert concerning Gung Fu -- Bruce’s life -- Bruce’s philosophies -- Bruce’s thoughts – Bruce’s fighting techniques -- or anything else.

In other words, if you disagree with anything that I say on this page, then I hereby admit that you are absolutely “right” and I am absolutely “wrong.”

J

PLEASE HELP ME EDIT THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE ABOUT BRUCE LEE:  

The following article about Bruce involved some cutting and pasting on my part.  Unfortunately (?) the article became quite lengthy, and therefore it might involve some "duplicate pasting" that has not yet been detected. 

Please let me know if you find any duplications -- or typos -- or anything else that needs to be corrected.  Thanks, pardners !!!

Perhaps the most complete and accurate history regarding Bruce will be determined in the same way that Mulligan Stew was traditionally made during the Great Depression (with each hobo bringing whatever ingredients he had – throwing the ingredients into a “common” pot -- and hoping for the best).  The ingredients contained on the following pages are simply my own contribution to the Mulligan Stew of history regarding that part of Bruce’s life that he personally shared with me.

After Bruce Lee became a famous martial artist, almost everyone in the world loved, respected, and admired him.  Everybody wanted to be his friend.  Bruce was completely aware of the shallowness and insincerity of this -- and it bothered him greatly.

However, I believe it is important that Bruce was also aware that his original friends in America loved and respected him when he was “only” a completely unknown 18 year old dishwasher at a Chinese restaurant in Seattle, Washington – with no apparent “future” at anything.

For example, when I first became friends with Bruce in 1959 he was a “nobody” in the American martial arts community.   No one in America had heard of him.  In fact, even in the Hong Kong martial arts community he was still relatively unknown. 

In 1959, no one ever dreamed that Bruce Lee would someday be the most  famous martial artist who ever lived – or that he would someday be a famous movie actor. 

If anyone had tried to tell us that Bruce would someday become a famous man we all (including Bruce) would have laughed at the idea. 

The possibility that any of us (including Bruce) would ever become famous (or even "socio-economically successful") was the furthest thing from any of our minds. 

When I first met Bruce, during the period of time which historians now call “his Seattle days”, he could be described partially as follows:

1.  Bruce was an unassuming, average looking, skinny, 18 year old Chinese boy who didn’t speak English very well. He had a heavy Chinese accent that made him difficult to understand. He talked too fast, which made it even more difficult to understand him.  He stuttered considerably when he was nervous or excited. 

2.    When he was wearing normal street-clothes (jeans and a shirt with long sleeves), he was the last person anyone would notice in a crowd.  Ironically, if anyone did notice him they might have worried about him blowing away if there was a strong wind.

3.  Bruce was not readily “employable” here in America.  As far as the "real-world" (and Bruce Lee himself)  was concerned, he had no skills that were commercially viable. 

4.   Bruce was working as a dishwasher at a Chinese Restaurant called Ruby Chow’s. The restaurant was on the ground floor of an old, dilapidated mansion on Capital Hill. 

[Unfortunately, in the historical sense, the building has since been torn down.]

5.     Bruce told me that when he first came to America he was under the impression that Ruby Chow was a friend of his family in Hong Kong – and that his family had arranged for him to live with Ruby Chow's family as a guest as he attended school in Seattle.   He did not expect that he would be required to work at the restaurant as part of the deal.  Because he was forced to work at the restaurant, he felt that he was being treated as an “indentured servant.” He was eager to free himself from this position, but he felt that he was “trapped” because he had no readily available alternative.  Therefore, he was simply trying to make the best of his situation – at least for the time being.  Bruce felt that it was demeaning for him to work in the kitchen as a dishwasher, and these feelings were definitely a negative but highly motivating factor for Bruce during that period of his life. 

6.   When Bruce worked for Ruby Chow he lived upstairs at the Restaurant in a very small room (a converted “walk-in-closet” – approximately 4’ X 10’).  A description of the room can be found elsewhere on this website (Chapter One of the Two Chapters regarding Bruce Lee). 

7.     When I first met Bruce he wasn’t “hip” at all as far as his personal appearance is concerned.  For example:

He wore thick horn-rimmed glasses that made him look like a geek.

He had peach-fuzz all over his face, and he appeared to be oblivious to it because he made no effort to shave. 

He seemed to be completely “unconscious” of his own personal self-image.

He didn’t have a clue regarding what clothes to wear (which is generally important to people who are that age).

To a casual observer, Bruce Lee appeared to be skinny and vulnerable – an easy mark.

8.  In our American culture, Bruce didn’t know how to handle himself socially in a way that would lead to his social acceptance in “polite” society.  For example, we could be in downtown Seattle, standing on a corner, waiting for a light to change, and Bruce would suddenly start to repeatedly kick a lamp-pole – with the kicks landing six feet up the pole.  He would do this 15 times in a row, and everyone else that was standing at the corner waiting for the light to change, would slowly back away from Bruce as though he was “nuts.”

9.     He didn’t know anything at all about the American culture in general, so he didn’t know how to “fit in.”

10. He didn’t know what he was going to do with his life -- educationally, professionally, or economically.

11. He was tentatively hoping that he could eventually get a college education and perhaps teach Psychology, or Sociology, or Philosophy at the high-school level.  He sometimes discussed the possibility of teaching at the college level, but he felt that this would probably never happen because it would take too much time and money to obtain a Ph.D., or even a Master’s Degree.

12. When I first met Bruce, perhaps the most ironic things about him were the following:

A)    Bruce did not realize that Gung Fu could potentially become important to him in America.

B)    He did not realize that Gung Fu could potentially open many doors for him socially in America.

C)    He did not realize that Gung Fu could be used to make money in America. 

D)    In other words, he did not realize that anyone in America would ever give a damn about Gung Fu.

E)    Bruce knew that Gung Fu would always be a very serious part of his life (perhaps as a hobby) – but he did not realize that he would someday be able to use it “commercially” -- to become “rich and famous.”

It was at that time in Bruce’s life that he became good friends with people like Jesse Glover, Ed Hart, Skip Ellsworth, LeRoy Garcia, Taky Kimura, Tak Miyabe, Charlie Woo, John Jackson, Doug Palmer, etc.

In my opinion, that period of Bruce’s life (which historians now call “The Seattle years”), is probably the last time in Bruce’s life that Gung Fu did not at least partially “get in the way” of his establishing true friendships with people. 

In other words, later on, when Bruce became a well-known martial artist, he was bothered by the fact that it was difficult (almost impossible) for him to differentiate between people who liked the “real” him -- and those who only liked his “persona” (the fact that he was a famous guy). 

 “A rich and famous man seldom knows who his true friends are. 

A rich and famous man seldom makes new friends.”

Like most rich and/or famous people, Bruce sometimes became frustrated and isolated by his own fame and notoriety.  He sometimes pondered questions such as the following;

Would all of these strangers love me if they really knew me ???” 

Would these people love me if I was still only a dishwasher at a Chinese restaurant ???” 

Whenever Bruce would verbally reflect upon these types of questions I would just laugh and say something like, “Your friends in Seattle still love you in spite of the fact that you are famous -- so it is quite possible that other people would also love you, even if they really knew you.”

When Bruce was only a dishwasher at Ruby Chow’s Restaurant, any of us would have gladly risked our lives for him.  This was because we really loved the guy.  Our love for Bruce (and our attitude towards him) did not change when he became a famous martial artist.   He was still just “our friend, Bruce.”

We loved him and respected Bruce Lee because of “the way he was” as a human being – and as a friend. 

We loved him because he was a good friend – meaning that he was honest, loyal, ethical, intelligent, perceptive, hard-working, brave, generous, and dependable. 

The fame that he later obtained through Gung Fu could not get in the way of his friendships with his Seattle friends because none of these friends placed him on a pedestal.  No one “hero-worshipped him.” No one kissed his ass (which is an American expression that might be confusing to people from other countries).

In the early Seattle years, Bruce Lee was just a good friend who could fight better than the rest of us -- and who knew more about fighting (which involves a different concept than “just being better at it”) than all the rest of us put together.   

Initially, at least some of Bruce’s Seattle friends were not “overly excited” by the fact that he could fight better than the rest of us.  In some ways, it was almost like, “So what ?”   In those days, most of us (soon to include Bruce) carried guns -- so we all knew that it didn’t really matter who could fight the best. 

Obviously, I can not speak for the rest of the group (how’s that for a way out ?) but in those days at least SOME of us were just “punk” kids, who generally came from lower socio-economic backgrounds.  Through various circumstances, we all became good friends – and our love for each other (including our love for Bruce) was not based upon anyone’s ability to fight well. 

Initially, it seemed almost “incidental” to me that Bruce was teaching us Gung Fu.  It seemed so natural that he should be doing this that I didn’t even give it much thought.   Another way to say it is… “I just took it for granted.”

When Bruce Lee was teaching us Gung Fu, he was not our Sifu (the word never came up except when he was talking about Yip Man, etc.) -- he was just our good friend.

Bruce did not teach us in exchange for money.  Also, he did not teach us in exchange for friendship – because the friendship was already there, with or without Gung Fu. 

In other words, Bruce gave us two very precious gifts.  The first (and most important) gift was his friendship.  The second gift was his Gung Fu. 

Both of Bruce’s gifts were deeply and profoundly appreciated. 

When I first met Bruce in 1959 his approach to martial arts (and life itself) was already very non-traditional.  He was always challenging traditional concepts.  He was always putting authority and tradition to the test.  He was always working hard at being innovative, creative, and adaptable. 

Later on, this resulted in Bruce creating his own approach to Gung Fu  – which in later years he tried to explain to me.

Bruce lead me to believe that he did not consider his own approach to Gung Fu to be a fighting style.  Rather, he considered it to be a “pathway” through which people can get the most out of their potential as martial artists.  He lead me to believe that he only meant for his own style to represent the pathway to creativity – and becoming free of preconceptions.

I recently thought of an analogy regarding what Bruce meant when he was trying to explain his own approach to Gung fu.  This happened as I was struggling to learn  how to deal with “computers.”  When I first got my computer, I didn’t even know how to plug it in and turn it on.  It would have taken me forever (or at least a very long time) to figure out everything on my own.  At that stage of my learning, I definitely needed “formal” instruction.  I needed to go “by the book” (almost ANY book) in order to have a foundation upon which to build whatever knowledge would later come my way. I needed to be told exactly what to do (and how to do it) at all times.  However, as I became more and more familiar with various computer programs, and more familiar with how computers work, I became adept at figuring things out on my own.  Eventually, by studying many different programs, and solving many different problems on my own, I could approach new (and totally unfamiliar) problems with confidence and success.   I could encounter a new computer system and figure out “a” solution to almost any problem that would present itself.  In many instances, my solution was NOT the only one that would work. However, it was the one that seemed most natural for my background and my personality, and my degree of experience.  In other words, my “computer moves” became almost “instinctive.”  I developed a “feeling” for how I could get the job done regarding those computers. 

Bruce later gave me the impression that he was sorry he gave his own approach to Gung Fu specific name – because a specific name implies that it is a specific style – instead of only an "approach" to solving the problems that are normally associated with fighting.”

In solving my unfamiliar “computer” problems I would use all of the accumulated knowledge that I had been taught – as well as the accumulated knowledge that I had obtained on my own.  This involved a continuous “process.”  It also involved a “state-of-the-union” as far as my own knowledge was concerned.  

In other words, should the above approach to operating a computer be considered a “process” ???  The answer is “yes.”

Will it also reflect the “current state” of my own knowledge – including knowledge of myself, of various techniques that I can draw from, of my ability to be as effective as possible when synthesizing and innovating, etc. ???  The answer is “yes.”

Can this approach be considered an amalgamation ???  The answer is “yes.”

Can we look upon this as being an approach to “problem solving” in general ???  The answer is “yes.”

Does everyone have “the-same-and-equal-ability” (based upon talent, personality type, life experiences, etc. ?) for learning the above approach to dealing with computers (or martial arts) ???  The answer is “no,” because some people have much MORE ability and some have much LESS.  

Some people need a lot of “structure” when they are trying to learn something new. They need constant guidance.  They are not comfortable if they are forced (or even encouraged) to become innovative. They are not comfortable when forced (or encouraged) to figure things out on their own.

Some people are not imaginative. They are not adaptable. They are overly afraid of making a mistake.  They are overly afraid of getting injured (in the largest sense of the term).  These types of people would probably not be good at learning how to be innovative when dealing with computers – and they would probably not be good at  incorporating Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu into their lives.  

However, these people might be exceptionally good at learning something that requires a different set of attributes. 

Regarding “innovation” and “perception” -- when some people hear the first few notes of a tune they can continue to play the entire rest of the tune for you – in any key – and they can even include counter-point, tympanis, and the entire brass band. 

In my opinion, this was how Bruce Lee related to Gung Fu.

In other words, one’s personality and natural ability obviously play an important part in the learning process. 

Bruce Lee’s situation reminded me of an excellent movie I once saw.  It was called “Short Circuit.”  It was a science-fiction comedy about a robot that got struck by lightning, and therefore developed a mind of its own.  After this happened the robot was only interested in one thing – obtaining “input.”  His life became a never-ending quest for new information.  He would rush into as many libraries as possible, and voraciously read every book he could get his hands on.  He was obsessed with obtaining knowledge.

In a similar way, Bruce was also TOTALLY ADDICTED to obtaining “input” and knowledge. 

Bruce Lee did not intentionally set out to develop an approach (a process) for learning Gung Fu  He was only seeking to become the best Martial Artist that he could possibly be – using anything and everything at his disposal.

He thought that “getting rid of pre-conceptions” was one of his most important tasks. 

His own approach to Gung Fu was only a by-product of his personal never-ending quest for knowledge -- perfection -- and freedom.

Bruce Lee was not a follower – he was a leader.  Therefore, it is ironic that so many martial artists think they can become “like” Bruce by following him.  It is a contradiction-in-terms for martial artists to think this way – because a person can not become a leader by following someone else through life.

In my opinion, this gives new meaning to the old saying “Get a life of your own.”

In other words, if martial artists want to emulate Bruce, they should not follow him -- they should only follow his example. 

If Bruce Lee were alive today, I think he would tell his students not to copy his fighting style because he does not have a fighting style per se.  He would say that “copying” is not related to his approach to Gung Fu. 

He would say that he developed his own fighting concepts (that were specifically suitable to himself) based upon many things -- including (but not necessarily limited to) the following inherited and acquired things: size, weight, strength, strength-to-weight ratio, height, speed, reflexes, natural ability, natural athletic skill, ability to take a “hit” without becoming unconscious (which is important when assessing possible courses of action), ability to withstand pain (also important when assessing possible courses of action), etc. 

As a result of his remarkable "awareness" he even considered such things as the weight of his hands, the weight of his feet, the length of his arms, the length of his legs, the length of his torso, the width of his hips, the width of his shoulders, etc.  I believe that if Bruce Lee was still alive today he would say that martial artists should consider all of the above factors when creating, accumulating, and synthesizing an “approach” to fighting that is specifically suitable to themselves.

Even if Bruce wanted people to copy his fighting style (which he didn’t), what “specifics” would he teach them to copy ???  To exaggerate the principle for the purpose of illustration, please consider this example:   If Bruce had a student that weighed 400 pounds, and was only five feet tall, he would certainly not try to teach that student to rely speed and agility.  Likewise, if he had a student that was confined to a wheel-chair, he would certainly not try to teach that student to rely primarily on “kicks.” 

Each one of us is different – with our own set of good points and bad points.  Each one of us has things “missing” (e.g. perhaps speed, agility, balance, power, guts, toughness (some guys think they are “hurt” if they get a few teeth knocked out and their nose broken), an intuition, a perception, an ability to see clearly, etc., etc.

Bruce was a man of many dimensions and facets. Therefore, almost every person who knew him could “experience” a different Bruce Lee.  This reminds me of the folk-tale about 20 blind men who were each told to feel a different part of an elephant and then describe the entire animal.  One of the blind men felt the elephant’s legs and said an elephant is similar to a tree-trunk.  Another felt the tip of its tail and said an elephant is like a broom.  Another felt the elephant’s trunk and said an elephant is like a snake.  Another felt the elephant’s tusks and said an elephant is like two pieces of wood.  To a large extent, anyone who tries to describe Bruce Lee is faced with a similar problem.

Bruce Lee was extremely adept at consciously presenting different facets of himself -- to different people -- at different times – for different reasons – to accomplish specific purposes.  He would often do this either to accomplish something for himself -- or (in fairness to Bruce) to accomplish something for a person he was trying to help. 

Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu obviously means different things to different people.  Everyone seems to have a different definition and/or interpretation of it.  This is especially true if they can make a “profit” by promoting their own viewpoint.  A potential profit could materialize in many different ways, including (but not limited to) the following: by promoting their own martial arts school -- by enhancing their own reputations as martial artists -- by getting more students -- by selling books they have written – or whatever…

Bruce once told me, “Martial artists should never accept any fighting style in it’s entirety.  Instead, they should constantly search for an approach to fighting that personally works best for them, and is best suited for their own bodies, abilities, and personalities.

Bruce often discussed with me one of the “secrets” as to why he was so fast with his hands.  He told me that his hands were so fast because they were extremely small (and light in weight) relative to the strength in his arms, shoulders, back, legs, and waist. 

In other words, his hands were extremely small, and therefore they were relatively light and easy to maneuver.  This meant that he didn’t need to overcome much inertia when he threw a punch, or when he re-positioned his fists, or when he pulled back an extended arm or punch, or when he made his hands change directions. 

To exaggerate the above principle (for the purpose of illustration) Bruce would not have been nearly as fast if each one of his hands had weighed ten pounds – or twenty pounds – or even if he had been holding a roll of nickels in each hand. 

Jesse Glover recently told me that one of his best students could “straight-punch” almost as fast and hard as Bruce Lee.  I remember thinking to myself, “Jesse’s  student probably has very small hands, broad shoulders, small hips, and does not weigh very much.” 

The size of Bruce’s hands is just one of the examples of why Bruce’s techniques would not be suitable for everyone.  For example, any martial artists who have large hands (that weigh 20 pounds each) and who also have weak shoulders, weak arms, a weak back, a weak waist, and weak legs, would be greatly disappointed if they tried to imitate Bruce’s fighting techniques.   

Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu involved a “personal adaptation to problem solving – using any suitable raw material that is available.”  This means that there can be a different answer for almost everybody.  In other words (to exaggerate for the purpose of illustration), a man who weighs 100 pounds will never be able to fight effectively using the same techniques as a man who weighs 400 pounds – and vice versa.

The above analogy amuses me, because Bruce Lee often exaggerated for the purpose of illustration.  

To be most effective, adaptations regarding the “approaches” to fighting should be specifically chosen and suitable for each specific practitioner.  Therefore, in the most technical sense, these adaptations and approaches could (perhaps “should” would be a better word) be different for almost each person.  As martial artists, we should only adapt those methods that are specifically suited to our own physical, psychological, and emotional make-up.  If we see a martial artist who has a technique that would work well for us, we should incorporate it into our own system – and then immediately continue in our search for another technique that is suitable for us.

Bruce Lee’s approach to Gung Fu reminds me of building a house – in the sense that a house must be built to satisfy the specific limiting and/or enabling needs (physical, emotional, psychological, etc.) of its owner.  For example: if the owner of a house is only 3’ tall, then he would not want to have a kitchen counter that is 5’ high.  Conversely, if the owner of a house is 8’ tall, then he obviously would not want to build a house with doorways that are only 6'8" high.  

In other words, we do not want to design our own house to fit the physical and/or psychological needs of someone else.  We do not want to blindly (without thinking) design and build our own house based upon what we see someone else do. 

In terms of tailoring:

Martial arts (and especially Bruce Lee’s approach to Gung Fu) should not be looked upon as an “off-the-rack-one-size-fits-all” suit of clothes that any person can purchase at the store (without any tailoring) and wear successfully. 

Fighting (especially regarding Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu) is a suit of clothes that should be tailor made for each particular practitioner – by the practitioner himself – hopefully with some initial help from a trusted, knowledgeable, and perceptive teacher.

Bruce once said, “Gung Fu is not a “destination” – it is a “never ending journey.” 

Forty years later, we have probably all seen the placard that says, “Martial arts is not a destination – it is a journey.”  In my opinion, this is especially true regarding Bruce Lee’s approach to Gung Fu.

Bruce once told me, “It is “ok” if my ‘moves’ while fighting are instinctive – however, it is much better if my ‘approach’ while fighting is instinctive – because then the appropriate moves will follow and they will always be there for me.” 

Regarding Bruce’s “approach” to learning Gung Fu, he told me that people should go through life as a “detective” – constantly searching for ways to develop their own best approach to Gung Fu.

Bruce Lee lead me to believe that YOUR approach to learning Gung Fu should be a search for your own truth – based upon “who” you are, “what” you are, and “how” you are.  In other words, your own study of Gung Fu should not be a quest for Bruce Lee’s personal “truth” (whatever worked best for him) -- instead it should be a quest for your own personal “truth” (whatever works best for you).    

Bruce once told me by phone (with apparent amusement);  “The term Jeet Kune Do is more like a verb than a noun.” 

[Think about it…]

The “verb-noun” concept might at first seem to be only a joke – or a play on words.  However, as I reflect upon it, I feel that there might be a large element of truth associated with it.  If I was forced to make comments about this, my comments would be as follows: 

Is JKD a noun  ???  The answer is “yes.”

Is JKD a verb ???  The answer is “yes.” 

However, in the final analysis, I believe that Bruce really felt that JKD is more of a verb than a noun. 

In my opinion, Bruce Lee’s approach to Gung Fu is not a specific physical method of fighting that can be choreographed and memorized – but rather it is a mental, intellectual, philosophical, and physical approach to fighting that is tailor made to fit a specific individual. 

Bruce Lee’s approach to Gung Fu does not involve a specific rigid fighting method.  Instead, it is a “way” of searching, innovating, creating, adding, discarding, analyzing, improving, synthesizing, etc. – based upon one’s own abilities and limitations.

Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu is not a specific “fighting method” per se.  Instead, it is a way of “approaching” the task of problem-solving as it relates to fighting... and even as it relates many facets of life.

To be technically correct, Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu is not a specific “method” of fighting (ie, “If someone tries to hit you like this, then you should put this foot here and this fist there.”).  Instead, it is an “approach” to developing the ability to do whatever it takes to win – in any situation – using any and/or all of the fighting techniques that you have at your disposal (in accordance with your own inherited and acquired abilities).

Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu has much more in common with “learning-how-to-react-in-the-most-efficient-and-effective-manner-in-terms-of-fighting” than it does with “learning-a-specific-style-of-fighting.” 

Jeet Kune Do involves learning how to “think for yourself” in terms of fighting – in a way that relates specifically to who you are (physically, emotionally, psychologically, and personally).

Bruce would be disappointed if he thought that a present-day martial artist was trying to copy his approach to Gung Fu.  In my opinion, he would admonish the “copy-cat” martial artist by saying, “I developed an “approach” and/or a “process” regarding Gung Fu, and I took it this far.  You should take it further – by being innovative and creative – and by being all that you can be as a fighter. 

He would recommend that you not put yourself in a box – that you not develop “tunnel vision” – and that you not copy anyone, NOT EVEN HIM.

As indicated elsewhere above, creating you own personal approach to Gung Fu is like cooking a stew.  It needs a little bit of this… and a little bit of that… etc.  It generally cannot be made with only one ingredient.  As a limiting factor, it must be made with whatever natural ingredients are available.  If you do not have any carrots, then you must make your stew “work” effectively without carrots.  In other words, if you are short, fat, and have poor reflexes, then you must create your own personal Gung Fu (your own personal “way” of developing your own personal fighting system) by using whatever ingredients you DO have at your disposal. 

Your own personal approach to Gung Fu must be pursued (made, done, followed, created, etc.) in accordance with your own personal attributes, abilities, needs, tastes, and the amount of time you are willing to spend

In spite of the great American myth, we are not all created equal.  Some people are taller – smarter – faster – braver -- etc.  Some martial artists are even physically disabled.  For example, if a martial artist only has one arm then he should use an approach to Gung Fu that will help him to create the best fighting system for himself. 

In my opinion, using Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu would be the best way for a one-armed man to create his own efficient and effective fighting system.  To some extent, most of us are all faced with this problem – because (as indicated elsewhere above) most of us have a few things “missing.” 

One word that is often used in conjunction with Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu it is the word “eclectic.”  However, the question remains… “Eclectic comprised of what ???” One answer that works for me is as follows… “Bruce’s style is the process of learning how to use any resource at your disposal – to accomplish your goals (when fighting) in the most efficient, and most effective way. “

Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu includes an “as-is-where-is” factor concerning the potential of your physical and mental abilities.   It involves your heredity and environment -- including height, weight, strength, age, physical condition, ability to withstand pain, ability to keep yourself from “falling apart” when you are hit, intellect, motivation, instincts, etc.

Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu often involved the ability to “synthesize” two or more concepts (that are sometimes unrelated) into a totally new concept.  Coincidentally, Bruce once told me he felt that the ability to “synthesize” a new idea from two old ideas is probably one of the main factors that determine IQ

Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu was not a “specific” fighting style.  Instead, it is a process whereby each person tries to learn how to find the most efficient and effective techniques for dealing successfully with any situation that one might encounter when fighting.”

In a way, Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu was about “learning how to learn.”

Sometimes people say that Bruce’s philosophies appear to contain contradictions.  Of course they do.  This is especially true when they are viewed in a superficial way.  People should realize that Bruce would often use contradictions intentionally when he was teaching.  In fact, he would sometimes capitalize on contradictions – play jokes with them, have fun with them.  For example, he would often instruct student “A” in a way that was completely contradictory to the way he would instruct student “B.”  For example, if student “A” was making the mistake of leaning too far forward, then Bruce might tell the student to lean much too far backward for the next 1,000 repetitions.  On the other hand, if another student (student “B”) was leaning too far backward, then he might tell that student to lean much too far forward for the next 1,000 repetitions.  Bruce’s contradictions were often used as a tool to achieve a desired finished product. 

Regarding the above paragraph, I think it is important to realize that similar contradictions would occur when Bruce was explaining a philosophy, or an ideal, an “approach,” or whatever…  This meant that a superficial observer could become confused by some of the things Bruce said. When Bruce was teaching, he would use any technique (including “contradictions”) that enabled him to get the job done as quickly, simply, and effectively as possible  – which is another example of Bruce’s Gung Fu philosophy.

Bruce was not a patient teacher.  He would show a student something once or twice, but if the student didn’t learn it almost immediately, Bruce would lose interest, and his mind (and body) would soon be elsewhere. 

Bruce was always trying to achieve a balance within his students, always fine-tuning them in accordance with their own needs and abilities, always pushing them to achieve their own highest possible degree of perfection.

I once heard someone say that Bruce was rude and conceited.  In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.  Bruce was obviously a self-absorbed man, but this was only because he took his own personal goals very seriously.  In order to achieve his goals, it was necessary for him to focus completely on himself (his own mind -- his own body).  Bruce was involved in an intense effort to become all that he could be.  Therefore, when he was practicing Gung Fu, he didn’t have much time for anything except an intense focus on himself.  When Bruce was concentrating on his fighting techniques, which was most of the time, he did not want to be interrupted by anyone.  If people interrupted Bruce when he was practicing (which often happened), his response might cause them to think that he was rude, or conceited – but in reality this was not the case.  In reality, the only rudeness that was exhibited would be on the part of the people who interrupted Bruce while he was working. 

Interrupting Bruce when he was practicing Gung Fu would be like interrupting a brain-surgeon while he was in the middle of an operation.  Under those circumstances, no one would expect the "interrupted" brain-surgeon to be warm and friendly.

ONE OF BRUCE’S MAIN APPROACHES TO BECOMING A BETTER FIGHTER IS AS FOLLOWS: 

                            Bruce Lee once told me;  “Always practice the following two things consistently: 
                                    #1) Always practice what you are best at. 
                                    #2) Always practice what you are worst at.” 
                      When we discussed this, he explained that as you practice what you are worst at, you slowly
                      become better at it -- and it will eventually no longer be what you are worst at

In other words, as you continue to practice your worst thing, and become better at it, then it will eventually no longer still be your worst thing – and you will therefore replace it with something else… etc.”  In the meantime, as you continue to practice what you are already best at, then you will constantly get even better at it.  This gives you some solid roots, that are constantly expanding.

Bruce once told me; “If you always practice what you are worst at, and what you are best at, and then everything else will take care of itself.

Regarding the above thoughts… for many years after Bruce’s death I did not publicly discuss my association with him or my friendship with him.  To me it was too personal a thing to discuss because it involved a deep friendship that changed my life forever.  After Bruce’s death my feelings were as follows:

1.      I did not want to teach people what I knew about Gung Fu – even though people would often ask me to show them some things that I had learned from Bruce.

2.      I thought Bruce should be allowed to rest in peace.

However, through my discussions with the rest of Bruce’s original students, I have accepted the fact that it is our responsibility to keep Bruce’s memory alive – and that we can best accomplish this if we tell the world about him in a truthful and accurate way. 

I have now accepted the fact that Bruce would want us to talk about him.  He would want us to tell people what we know about him and his approach to Gung Fu.  Therefore, at this time I am writing a few things about Bruce and my friendship with him.

Also, I decided to write a few things about Bruce at this time because I recently heard some lies being told about him – and I wanted to put a stop to the lies.   Specifically, some of the lies were as follows:

Lie #1.  “Bruce Lee was not a fighter – he was only a movie actor.” 

In reality, I believe that the exact opposite might be more in keeping with the truth

In fact, I would guess that the average movie critic would be amused by the above lie. 

Personally, I don’t know anything at all about acting – but I do know about fighting.  I have seen some of the best fighters in the world – and I have seen Bruce fight for “real.” Please believe me when I tell you that if Bruce Lee was alive today there is no man on earth who could beat him.  Each one of Bruce’s original students (Jesse Glover, Taky Kimura, Ed Hart [now deceased], LeRoy Garcia, Jim DeMile, etc.) would gladly verify this.  In fact, anyone who knew Bruce (or who ever saw him fight) would readily confirm that he was the best fighter in the world.

Lie #2.  “Bruce was an ego-maniac.” 

In reality, the exact opposite is true.  Obviously, Bruce was very self-absorbed – but this was only because he wanted to be the best that he could be.  He drove himself ruthlessly.  He constantly reflected upon his progress, his research, his art, his physical conditioning, and how he could improve his fighting skills.  In other words, Bruce was a busy man – and he felt that he was on an important mission.  Whenever he was working on his techniques (which was most of the time), he had no interest in “small talk.”  Trying to make “conversation” with him at that time would be analogous to trying to exchange jokes with the pilot of a 747 as he is landing in a mountain pass -- in a blinding snow storm -- with 250 passengers aboard.  Under those circumstances, a person might walk away saying, “The pilot of the 747 was obviously an ego-maniac, because he didn’t want to exchange jokes with me.  The pilot is obviously conceited.  The pilot is stuck up.  The pilot was not polite to me.  Etc.”  However, it is obvious that these would  not be fair criticisms. 

In reality, Bruce Lee was always “focused” on what he perceived to be an important mission.  He was always “focused” on what he was trying to accomplish with his life. 

Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu reminds me of my own experiences in teaching people how to build log homes (which I have been doing professionally for the past 40 years).  My students generally started out by asking me a lot of questions about log homes – regarding different techniques, different styles, different methods, etc.  Initially, it was important that I taught them about all of those things so they get a well rounded background in the basic principles of log home construction.  However, my real goal was to eventually teach my students how to THINK INDEPENDANTLY in terms of construction. Once my students can THINK in terms of construction then they soon get to a point where they do not need to ask specific questions about specific problems.  They learn how to devise the most effective and efficient solutions to their construction problems contingent upon whatever tools and materials they have on hand at any given time.

In other words, my job as a teacher of log home construction is not limited to teaching “construction.”  It also includes teaching students how to “THINK FOR THEMSELVES” in terms of construction.   To succeed as a teacher, I must teach them how to “THINK THINGS THROUGH ON THEIR OWN,” no matter how unusual or bizarre the problem. 

My point is this:  Although the above principle might seem to be simplistic, I was not aware of it at all until I met Bruce Lee.   I constantly try to pattern my teaching style after the things I learned from Bruce about teaching.  In my opinion, Bruce was one of the best teachers in the world. 

When I was teaching people how to build log homes, it was my hope that each of my students would eventually be able to rely upon their own resources to find a solution to any construction problem -- in the easiest, most efficient way. 

Another way of looking at it would be as follows:  Learning how to build log homes should not ONLY be a matter of learning a bunch of specific answers to a bunch of specific questions.  Instead, it should be a matter of learning how to “think” in terms of construction – and developing an ability to “invent” ways to take solve ANY construction problem in the most effective and most efficient way.

My favorite way of teaching the phenomenon described above is to use a teaching technique that I learned from Bruce.  I have been using this teaching technique successfully for the past 40 years.  There is more than one way to describe this technique – so I will try to describe it in at least a couple of different ways. 

The first way is as follows:

I try to let my students experience the “thrill of discovery” whenever possible.

I try to never deprive my students of the “thrill of discovery” regarding the things they are learning.

When I am trying to teach a principle, I lead people right up to it – but then I stop short of explaining it or showing it to them.  If possible, I let them “discover” the principle for themselves.

I let my students “discover” whenever possible – because then the “learning” experience would be “personal” – and it would mean more to them. 

Every time someone experiences “discovery” it enhances their ability to “learn” how to discover. 

One of my most important jobs as a teacher is to teach people how to learn to discover.  

When I was teaching, I did everything possible to enable my students to experience the thrill of discovery as many times as possible.  In this way, they get better and better at “discovering” and they become more innovative, inventive, etc. 

In other words, they learn to rely less and less upon me – or anyone else.

It sets them free from their teacher – and the teacher’s “way” of doing things. 

As they say… “The goal of a teacher is to make his job redundant.”

For a student who is just beginning to study the martial arts, a teacher’s “way” of fighting is generally better than no “way” of fighting at all.  On the other hand, both the student and the teacher should be working to set the student free from the teacher’s way – so the student can devise a “personal” way that works best for him.

I often prefaced a teaching session by saying something like this;

“Today you should be able to personally discover an important principle of log house construction (or Gung Fu, or whatever…).  I will try to “teach” all around the issue without teaching it specifically.  Please interrupt this process as soon as you think you realize what I am trying to show you.  Please keep in mind that this is not a test -- and there may be more than one answer to the problem.  We are simply going to have some fun here, by trying to teach you something in a way that will not deprive you of the thrill of discovery.

The more things that a student can discover on his own, the better he will become at doing so. In time, this process of discovery can become second-nature, and a person can become exceptionally good at it. 

This “learning how to discover” process can happen without consternation, worry, dependence, stress, or whatever… As a teacher, I am always hoping that my students can become as comfortable as possible with this “discovery” process, until it becomes an integral and intrinsic part of their lives.  In this way, I encourage my students to become independent thinkers – who are capable of synthesizing a new idea from two or more old ideas.  I encourage them to have the confidence that it takes to take care of any construction problem that they might encounter.

As a teacher, my main job was to work myself out of a job – by making it so my students did not need me any more.  In other words, it could be said (only partly in jest) that as a martial arts instructor, I have not done my job completely until my students can kick my ass.  And as a log house instructor, it could be said (again, partly in jest) that I have not done my job until my students know more than I do. 

When I was teaching people how to build log homes, I would sometimes even begin a session by telling my students that I was going to intentionally mislead them regarding at least one thing during the session.  As a game, I intentionally put myself in an "adversarial" relationship with the class, and I challenge them to catch me making a mistake concerning what I was teaching them about the ridge pole log.  I would intentionally lead my students into a trap by enabling them to easily discover a relatively ineffective (as in NOT effective) solution to the “ridge pole problem” – and I would totally LOVE it when one of them immediately (and confidently) showed me a better, faster solution. 

When my students passed the above test consistently, it was “graduation time.” 

Another way that I consistently tried to teach “innovation” is to say the following: 

“I am going to present a problem, and I would like for you to give me as many solutions to the problem as possible.  This is related to a procedure called “brain-storming” that is commonly used in business.  Brain-storming is where people make a list of every possible solution to a problem (no matter how far-fetched the solution might sound) for the purpose of examining the list at a later time.  In this process, each person is encouraged to stretch the limits of their imagination and put forth every idea they can think of, no matter how weird it might seem at the time.  There can be no criticism or censure regarding anything the students say or suggest when brainstorming.  No one is allowed to laugh at anyone else’s idea or approach.  Everything must be done in the proper spirit of trying to find new solutions to old problems. This is about “innovation” – and learning how to “discover.” 

As a teacher, it was my job to know more about the problems (and the possible solutions) than any of my students.  I was constantly saying things like, “The problem we are dealing with still has at least five possible solutions that you haven’t thought of yet.  Can you determine what those solutions are ???”

When I was trying to lead my students in a specific direction, I often provide “hints.”  I might find myself saying such things as:

“One possible solution I am thinking of involves a twelve letter word that begins with a “B.”

“Another possible solution involves doing something that might be the exact opposite of what you might expect under these circumstances.” 

The best of my students generally enjoyed this process of expanding their own consciousness regarding finding their own personal solutions to problems. 

My students would often get quite excited about this, and say, “Don’t tell me the solution, man !!!  Let me think this through on my own.  Give me a few seconds, and I’ll come up with something that will work.  WOW, I’m really learning how to THINK, man !!!”

Essentially, I learned the above-described method of teaching from Bruce Lee in 1959 – and he didn’t know anything at all about log home building. 
J

Another example of how I used Bruce’s methods in teaching LOG HOME CONSTRUCTION is as follows;  At one point in the construction process, by students would always come to me and say, “Hey Skip, now that the concrete in these huge pier blocks is hard, how do we pull the wooden concrete forms off of them ???  What can we do to make it easy ???  In response to their questions, I would always get them a 20’ chain and a Buda Jack, and say, “These are the tools that I use to solve that particular problem.”  They would then look at the chain and jack and say, “What are we supposed to do with this stuff ???”  I would simply laugh and say, “You are supposed to learn how to think,” and I would walk away.  We all laughed a lot as they struggled to “think through” this new problem, and find an efficient solution to it.  It would usually take them about twenty minutes to figure it out, and it was a far better learning experience for them than if I had simply showed them how to do it “my way.”  Also, once they got it figured out, Of course, after they figured it out, I stepped in and showed them every other way I could think of to do the same job – so they had more options to reflect upon.  [I learned this from Bruce.]

As a teacher, I did not want to try to make “clones” of myself.  Instead, I wanted to teach my students how to think for themselves, and how to arrive at their own solutions to their own problems, and how to NOT become dependent upon me.

I always began to teach my students this process by using the very simplest of problems  – and then I gradually worked with problems that were more and more complex.

Under some circumstances, I loved it when students did something the “wrong” way a few times -- before finally discovering the right way.  In other words, I loved to see my students make mistakes – so they could learn from them.  We often spent as much time talking about a solution that might be wrong for us (and learning why it would be wrong) as we did learning how to do it RIGHT. This was especially true when teaching people how to deal with bad habits that were already established. 

Some people might argue that under Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu there is sometimes no “right” way or “wrong” way – because these might be different for everyone (depending upon size, strength, weight, experience, etc.).  However, I would simply say, “If you lost, then you did it the wrong way.  If you won, then you at least did it “right enough” under the circumstances. 

In other words, if you accomplish your objective in the most efficient and effective way (considering the circumstances involved) then you did it the right way.”

Bruce was a man of many facets.  This is why so many people know a  “different” Bruce Lee.

In my opinion, Bruce Lee compartmentalized his life in many ways.  He often preferred to socialize with his friends and colleagues one at a time – so he could become a different person for each student, friend, etc.  In that sense, he was like a chameleon – fitting in – being compatible with whatever colors (moves) that were coming at him.  Bruce wanted to be all things to all people – and therefore it was easier for him if he could keep people separated in his life.  In a sense, there were many different Bruce Lees – almost a separate one for each occasion – or almost a different one for each person he would be communicating with.  He would quickly devise a “way” that would enable him to deal effectively with each situation or person – and he would often establish relationships on that basis.  Because of his generosity, he would always try to provide what each of his friends was looking for.  This was easiest to do on a one-on-one basis, which is why he almost always preferred to become involved with people in this way. 

Bruce was constantly in the process of “taking” things from people.  He constantly took their concepts, their thoughts, their techniques, their methods, etc., etc.  While he was doing this, he kept the best things and incorporated them into his own approach to Gung Fu.

He would take “INPUT” regarding Gung Fu from more sources that you would ever believe.    

Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu involved learning how to think freely – in an unrestricted manner.  It involved learning how to become liberated from pre-conceptions.  It involved becoming  adept at “thinking” in terms of a specific genre (whether it was Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu – or whether it was the art of log home building – or whatever…). 

It is common knowledge that Bruce Lee accomplished more for the martial arts than any other man who ever lived.  However, we should not forget that he accomplished even more for the Chinese people in general.  The reasons why this is true should be obvious to anyone who thinks about it. 

Bruce used analogy a lot in his teaching, and he was a master at doing so. From Bruce I learned that the use of analogy is one of the most effective ways to teach – and I used it constantly when I am teaching people how to build log cabins.

Obviously, things have changed a lot in the Martial Arts “business” since Bruce’s death.  On those rare occasions when I pick up a martial arts magazine, I am amazed, and sometimes amused, by the fact that new “systems” and new “names for systems” are seemingly being invented at the rate of 20 (?) per second.  Sometimes people tell me that they are practicing a martial art form that I never even heard of before – perhaps because it was only invented a few minutes ago.  I never say so out loud, but my initial thought whenever I hear about such things is, “It doesn’t matter what you call it, man – or what it is – because the only thing that matters is what you can personally do with it.” 

In martial arts, as in science, the important questions to a practitioner is, “Can the ability to do it be replicated, if one is given the proper set of circumstances ???  In other words, can the ability to do it be taught ???  If not, then any technique in question will only be important to you if it is your own technique -- or if it is a technique that is being used by a person you are fighting. 

Regarding the above paragraph, a simplistic example (exaggerated for the purpose of illustration) would be as follows: 

There is a fighter who is as large as a gorilla.  His skull is two inches thick, and he can withstand massive amounts of pain without becoming unconscious.  When he is fighting, he generally lets people punch him and kick him until they become too tired to move.  Then he squashes them like a bug. 

As a student of martial arts, I would have to ask myself,  “Can the gorilla teach me how to do this in the same way that he does it ?  Would I want to use that technique, even if he tried to teach it to me ??? 

Is all of this stuff absurdly simplistic ???   Perhaps so… 

However, I will none-the-less continue to write -- in the unlikely possibility that these notes might contain a small element of truth about Bruce Lee, and his approach to Gung Fu, that no one has previously considered.

Sometimes people ask me what Bruce Lee’s philosophy was.  This is an impossible question to answer, because Bruce Lee had a great many philosophies (as does any “thinking” person).  I generally reply by asking, “His philosophy about what ???”  To this they generally say, “Well… what was his philosophy about Gung Fu ???”  As a question, that one isn’t much better than the first.  I usually reply by saying something like, “In what sense ???”  At that point, the questioner usually realizes that he is in the process of flunking an IQ test – and he tries to “tighten up” the questions in such a way that they could have a meaningful answers.  To some extent, this even necessitates defining the term “philosophy” as it pertains to martial arts. 

In fact, Bruce and I used to argue (perhaps “debate” would be a better word) about the philosophy of Gung Fu.  I would often (only somewhat jokingly) ask questions such as these:  “If I want to learn philosophy, then why don’t I just by a book and study philosophy ???  Does learning how to dig out an opponent’s eyes make me a better philosopher ???  How ???  Why ???  What does fighting (and thereby possibly killing) have to do with philosophy ???

What fears do we have that are driving us to be so obsessed with learning how to defend ourselves ???  Why are we so insecure that we need this stuff ???  Is it our “fear” and “insecurity” that drives us to practice martial arts ???  All of us have read the ads that say, “Learn martial arts, and fear no man.  Gain confidence.  Become the man you always wanted to be.  Etc., ad nauseam.”  What kind of person would be interested in learning how to injure, maim, and kill other people ???  Does this kind of behavior really involve a meaningful philosophy ???  Who is kidding who ???

When a person is practicing martial arts is not about physical competition, or physical conditioning.  If that’s what it is about, then we could simply see who could throw a ball the furthest – or run the fastest – or lift the most weight – or whatever…Martial arts is primarily about fighting people and hurting them.  This means that the martial arts are also about killing people (because accidents can happen – and because fighting can sometimes escalate to the point where it becomes necessary to kill – especially if an opponent is so tough that this is the only alternative). 

Bruce often discussed with me one of the reasons why he was so fast in combat situations.  He said that he was so fast because he practiced “slowing time down” in his own mind -- regarding the moves that his opponent would make.  He also said that he practiced “speeding time up” regarding his own moves.  In this way, he said that he was able to see his opponent’s moves in “slow motion.”  In one of my last conversations with him, he said that he was frustrated by the fact that he was able to use this technique more effectively against some “styles” of Gung Fu that he was against other styles.  I can’t remember which styles were easiest for him to deal with using this technique, but I do remember that he said he was getting better and better at “controlling” his perception of time.  We discussed this phenomenon many times, and he told me that he felt it was a form of self hypnosis.  On one occasion he also told me that he could probably do it simply because he was convinced that he could do it.

One of Bruce’s favorite philosophies was this;  “Things are often the exact opposite of what they at first appear to be.”  Of all of Bruce’s philosophies, this is one of the five or six that have helped me the most – in business – in personal relationships – in determining the presence of danger – etc.

When I am teaching my students how to build log homes it is ironic that I rarely teach them anything that they don’t already know.  I simply take a bunch of things they already know, and rearrange these things so they apply to the “new” field of endeavor.  For example, everyone knows that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  Everybody knows the importance of distance, speed, range, and power.  Everybody knows about the effects of gravity.  Everybody knows that something light is easier to move than something heavy.  Everybody knows about the effects of inertia.  Everybody knows that repetitive movement facilitates learning.  Everybody knows that a leg is generally stronger than an arm.  Everybody knows about the effects of leverage.  Everybody knows that it takes more power to shear a nail if it is driven between two boards at an angle.  Everybody knows that if you can dig out your opponents eyes before he can dig out your eyes then you will almost certainly win the fight.  In other words, when I am teaching people how to build log cabins I simply take a bunch of these concepts (that my students already know) and rearrange them in such a way that they pertain to solving new problems in these new fields.  Again… this is some of the stuff that I began learning this from Bruce in 1959. 

Bruce had no fear when it came to fighting, and he once told me why he had no fear.  Bruce told me that after he had been practicing Gung Fu for two years, he actually learned to be “afraid to be afraid.”  At first, I didn’t understand what he meant by this – so he explained, as follows; 

At first, when he was a young student of Gung Fu, he was sometimes afraid of getting hit.  This was especially true when he was fighting someone who was larger and stronger.  However, he soon learned that the number of times he got hit always increased in direct proportion to the amount of fear he was experiencing at the time.  In other words, he got hit much more often when he was afraid than he did when he was not afraid.  At that time, he learned to be afraid to be afraid. 

Bruce’s fear of being afraid became the thing he needed to deal with – not his fear of the enemy. 

In a way, this relates to Winston Churchill said during WW II, “The only thing you have to fear, is fear itself.” 

If someone said to you, “You should acquire a knowledge of Gung Fu by only learning the things that work best for you,” you wouldn’t know where to begin – because you wouldn’t have the necessary frame of reference.  You wouldn’t even know what ingredients were available to you.  In other words, before you can bake a cake, you must know what “flour” is – and sugar, and salt, and eggs, and heat, and etc., etc., etc. Until you know what those things are, and know the basics of cooking, it would not be realistic for someone to tell you, “Just bake your cakes using innovation.”

Sometimes I hear people say that Bruce's approach to Gung Fu can not be “taught.”  I do not agree.  I believe that it is possible to teach it.  In analogy, this is how I see it:

A good friend of mine is an exceptionally good cook.  I am always amazed at some of the things that he can “invent” in the kitchen, with no recipe at all.  On many occasions when he has visited us, he cooked some amazing things for us by simply using left-over ingredients that he happened to find in the refrigerator.  He did this without a recipe, and without a clue as to what he would find when he opened the refrigerator door.  As we were eating, we would ask him, “How in the hell can you make up a recipe like this right off the top of your head ???  He said, “Because it isn’t a recipe at all – it is just a “way” or a “method” or a “process” of doing it.  He said if I wanted to learn how to cook, then I should use  recipes for the first year or two – and then forget about them.  From then on, I should just learn what types of things go well together (and conversely, what type of things do not go well together.).  To some extent, the final product will obviously be a matter of personal taste, cultural conditioning, etc.  However, there are certain standards regarding the  “tastes” of food that most people seem to agree with.  He suggested that I could probably learn a lot about cooking if I just made a large pot of stew (with the most commonly used ingredients) and added to it each day.  He said that when I first made the stew, I should follow a recipe – so I would have some working knowledge – or a “frame of reference.”  He said that after making the original stew, I should use my own imagination when adding to it each day – and I should not worry about a recipe.  He suggested that I start out by adding relatively “normal” ingredients, such as tomato sauce, potatoes, carrots, olives, beans, chili sauce, barbecue sauce, and various spices.  After becoming comfortable with this, I should expand my efforts to include anything I think will work, such as cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, sour cream, rice, asparagus, a can of corn, a can of soup, bread-crumbs, powdered mashed potatoes (for thickening), etc., etc.  He suggested that if I continued to add to the stew in this way, I would soon learn the combinations that went well together, and that this would be one of the best ways for me to learn about cooking – in general. I tried this method of experimentation, and eventually it almost liberated me from my collection of “recipe books.”  In analogy, I believe that my friend developed his own personal approach to cooking that was similar to Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu.  Not only did he develop it – but he also devised a unique way to teach it.

At this time, when I am cooking breakfast for my family, I can beat the eggs for an omelet before I even open the refrigerator door.  After the eggs are beaten, I can then open the refrigerator door and select from whatever ingredients happen to be available.  Using my friends methods, I simply “invent” an omelet as I go along. For example, I can start by chopping up some leftovers, adding some cheese, adding some onions, adding some soup, or whatever...  I know that I can make almost anything work – because I only select ingredients that compliment the other ingredients I have already selected.

From Bruce Lee, I learned that when one is attempting to determine the truth about any situation, one should collect as much information as possible and then fit the pieces together like a cross-word puzzle.  Ironically, I am now hoping that I can contribute a few pieces to the puzzle that will give us a more complete picture of Bruce Lee and of his own personal  approach to Gung Fu. 

I do not claim to know what Bruce Lee’s philosophy was regarding his approach to Gung Fu.  I only claim that I “think” I know what several facets of it were. 

Do the most effective job you can, with what you have, where you are.

Eventually, Bruce's approach always involved the ability to be innovative.  Unfortunately, a person’s ability to be innovative is directly related to IQ, heredity, and environment.  The ability to be innovative can be improved – but only to a limited extent.  For the most part, people either have the ability to innovate, or they don’t.  In a sense, the same is true regarding one’s skill at playing basketball – it would never be possible to turn George Foreman into a Magic Johnson.  In other words, it is easy to tell someone to be more innovative -- but is sometimes quite another thing for the person to achieve that goal. 

Innovation for it’s own sake is not necessarily a good thing.  Innovation must be “effective” in order to be “good.”

Depending upon one’s innate abilities, innovation is sometimes almost a sure road to failure.  For example, if a novice at chess is playing with a chess master, the novice will undoubtedly be more successful using one of the “tried-and-true” tactics that have been relatively perfected throughout the years.  On the average, if a novice tries to be innovative in any field it will only lead to failure. 

Being able to immediately determine the things that are most important, and keeping them in the fore-front of your consciousness, is extremely important in Gung Fu.  Bruce Lee was a master at this no matter what he was doing – attacking, defending, organizing his actions, organizing his thoughts, doing whatever it takes to win, etc. 

Bruce once said, in a joking way, “One of the most important things is to learn is how to tell the difference between what IS important and what ISN’T important.

Bruce once said, “As you go through life, one of the most important things is to learn how to tell the difference between what “IS” your business and what “ISN’T” your business. 

Bruce once said, “It is very important to learn how to “anticipate.”  One can never rely on it completely, but it can be an exceptionally valuable tool.”

Bruce once said, “To completely rely upon anticipation will lead to failure – and to completely ignore anticipation will also lead to failure.” 

Bruce once said, “The ability to anticipate can be learned and be developed.  The ability will grow only if one thinks about it constantly, and practices it constantly.”

Bruce once said, “The ability to ‘anticipate’ involves the ability to ’read’ circumstances, evaluate them, and understand them.  Of course, this only happens through experience and constant practice.” 

The ability to “anticipate” is a facet of Kung-Fu that must be mastered.  In the simplest of terms, if you are physically fighting with someone then it is easy to anticipate that they might try to punch you with either hand or kick you with either foot.  In a more complex situation, if you are fighting a man who only knows a certain fighting style, and you are familiar with his fighting style, and he is in a certain position, then you can anticipate that he might make certain specific moves that are commonly used from that position. It might seem like a simplistic thing to say, but it is quite important to always be aware of your ability to “anticipate” and use it effectively.   Concentrate on it, and learn how to develop it.

Fear can be a motivating factor, but it can get in the way of success.  If you are preoccupied with your own fear then you will not be effective as a fighter.

A man can not fight to the best of his ability if he is preoccupied with his own fear. 

Learning how to deal with your own fear is an important part of fighting.

Everything that happens when you are fighting can potentially effect the way you live the rest of your life.  If your back gets broken, you would be paralyzed for the rest of your life.  If your eyes are dug out, you would be blind for the rest of your life.  If your nose is bitten off, you would be ugly for the rest of your life.  If your testicles are ripped off, you would never be able to have children.  When you are fighting someone you know, it is often relatively easy to “assess” your risk of receiving serious injuries.  However, if you are fighting a stranger, then it is usually impossible to predetermine his skill – or to predetermine how seriously he would injure you if he has an opportunity.  

Bruce Lee once said, “You should not be magnanimous when fighting.  You should always assume that your opponent knows as much as you know, and that his skill is equal to your own.  You should assume that he will kill you if he has an opportunity.  Therefore, you must do whatever possible to win as quickly as possible.” 

Bruce Lee once said, “It is not a good idea to fight anyone unless you are prepared to kill.  Fighting and killing are always potentially related.”

Bruce Lee once said, “When you are fighting, there is no room for complacency, or over-confidence, or pity.   If you value who you are, then you must win as quickly and effectively as possible. 

Bruce Lee was preoccupied with the words “efficient” and “effective.”  I think these concepts were the tape measure by which he judged all of his fighting techniques.  This might seem simplistic, because most of us do the same thing.  Perhaps the difference is, many martial artists do this unconsciously – whereas Bruce did it in an extremely conscious manner.  It seemed to me that these concepts were always in the forefront of his consciousness. 

Bruce was an excellent teacher because he could always diagnose what each student needed, and he could prescribe something that would help each student accomplish that objective.

Bruce lee could grasp large concepts, and put them into simple words that almost anyone could understand. Sometimes it was almost like haiku.  Sometimes it was almost like a Japanese painting that captures the essence of a situation with only a few simple strokes of the brush.  He was good at doing this – and he “knew” he was good.  He enjoyed it.  He practiced it.  He knew that he was getting better and better at it.  It became a large part of his life.

Bruce felt that each person he met was a separate “problem” for him to solve on an individual basis. Once Bruce categorized each person (as they related to his own social life), it was sometimes difficult for him to be in a room full of people who he had previously befriended one at a time -- on an individual basis.  Bruce always tried to provide what each of his friends was looking for.  Therefore, it was more expedient for him to deal with one friend at a time. 

Bruce often “borrowed” things from his friends including character traits, ideas, interests, etc.) that he could use to “re-create himself.”  He was constantly creating, and re-creating himself as he took in new concepts, discarded old concepts, and developed the “way” of thinking about fighting that eventually became how own personal approach to Gung Fu.

Bruce Lee once said, “If a man is not your friend, then he is your potential enemy.”

If a man who weighs 220 pounds tries to copy Bruce Lee’s fighting style, it would be similar to an elephant trying to copy a hawk.  An elephant will always be an elephant -- and a hawk will always be a hawk. 

When I was teaching my students how to build log homes it was ironic that I rarely ever taught them anything that they don’t already know.  I simply took a bunch of things they already knew, and rearranged these things so they apply to the “new” field of endeavor.  For example, everyone knew how to drill a hole – drive a nail – put one thing down on top of another – dig a hole – etc.  Regarding Gung Fu, everyone knew that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  Everybody knew the importance of distance, speed, range, and power.  Everybody knows about the effects of gravity.  Everybody knew that something light is easier to move than something heavy.  Everybody knew about the effects of inertia.  Everybody knew that repetitive movement facilitates learning.  Everybody knew that a leg is generally stronger than an arm.  Everybody knew about the effects of leverage.  Everybody knew that it takes more power to shear a nail if it is driven at an angle.  Everybody knew that if you can dig out your opponents eyes before he can dig out your eyes then you will almost certainly win the fight.  In other words, when I was teaching people how to build log homes (or Gung Fu)  I simply took a bunch of these concepts (that my students “often” already knew) and rearrange them in such a way that they pertained to solving new problems in these new fields.  Again… this is from stuff I started learning from Bruce in 1959 – long before he ever devising his own unique approach to Gung Fu..

Regarding the above phenomenon I often try to facilitate the development of JKD by leading my students to the point of discovery -- but no further.  In other words, if I have done an effective job of teaching, I should be able to lead my students to the point where they can synthesize a new “truth” from two or more old ones.  In this way, they can learn to be more innovative, more inventive, more fluid in their thoughts and reactions, and more confident.

When I had known Bruce for only a short time, he told me that he would soon show me a way to attack an opponent in such a way that I could prevail over almost anyone I would ever need to fight on the street.  Frankly, I was somewhat skeptical when he told me this.  My skepticism was caused by the fact that I did not yet know Bruce very well.  Later on, I learned that I should never be skeptical no matter what Bruce told me.  A couple of weeks later, Bruce and I were practicing Gung Fu at my mother’s house when I reminded him that he promised to teach me how to attack in a very effective way.  Therefore, he sat me down at my mother’s dining room table and explained the process to me.  He always realized that I needed to come to grips with a “theory” or a “principle” on an intellectual basis, if possible, before approaching it physically.  He explained that he had only been practicing Wing Chun for a short time (and had not yet mastered a lot of the techniques) when he was called upon to fight a more advanced student from another clan.  Bruce said that Yip Man called him aside a couple of weeks before the fight, and told him that when he was fighting his opponent he should rush forward with as much ferocity as he could call up from inside himself – and straight punch as hard and as fast as possible (alternating between left hand, right hand, left hand, etc.) – and always with the appropriate “weight-shift.”  He was told to strike with his palms, aiming for his opponents nose – with his hands being held like a cat’s claw.  In other words his palms were striking forward with the fingers facing upward.  This meant that the fingers of each hand would be jabbing at his opponent’s eyes at the same time that the palms stuck his nose.  Bruce was to time the punches in such a way that one (or the other) of these claws was striking his opponents nose/eyes at all times.  He explained the obvious to me -- that each time he succeeded in landing a blow to his opponent’s face his opponent would be getting hit six times – once by each finger – once by the thumb – and once by the palm.  He explained that even if his palms missed his opponent’s nose, there was still an excellent possibility that his fingers or thumb would damage his opponent’s eyes.  He explained that only one or two of these blows would need to land successfully in order for him to win the fight.  He explained that if he attacked in that way fast enough, and with enough ferocity and power, he could “almost” ignore what his opponent was doing -- especially if he felt that he could successfully withstand a few of his opponent’s blows.  He explained that the success of this attack would partly depend upon how the straight punches were executed – and partly upon speed, power, and ferocity.  After Bruce explained the entire process to me we spend the rest of the day practicing it – me against him – and him against me.

Bruce told me that if I practiced that particular attack until I got extremely good (and powerful) at it I would be successful in winning most of the fights I got into on the streets.  In the context of 1959, when very few people on the street had any martial arts training, I soon learned that he was telling me the truth about this. 

Bruce later added to the effectively of my attack (as described above) by also showing me how to move instantaneously from a straight-punch to a “double-fist.”  In other words, he showed me how to incorporate the double-fist into the attack in a way that was smooth, natural, and absolutely instantaneous. 

The “double-fist” eventually proved to be one of my favorite tools, and I would use it whenever possible.  I would try to use the straight punches to move in and establish myself, and then when there was a clear shot I would do a double-fist.  If the double-fist connected solidly with my opponent then I would follow up with a second double-fist and that would generally finish it.

Bruce was always interested in helping his friends find solutions to their own specific problems involving martial arts.  He would “play off of” their questions and problems in order to stretch his own envelope, and expand his knowledge, and develop his own inventiveness. 

Bruce always wanted to get into the “psyche” of each of his students – so he could relate to how they thought and how they approached “problem solving.”  For example, if one of his students tended to be extremely and primarily physical then Bruce would concentrate on that aspect of teaching that student.  On the other hand, when he was dealing with someone like me (I would always want to “think” things to death, and I needed to take that approach when dealing with the learning process) he would readily adapt to the situation and do whatever was necessary to get the job done. 

On the other hand, if he thought a student was too “physical” in his approach then he would sometimes try to balance the student out by bringing in as many instructional techniques as possible from the other end of the spectrum. 

It is amusing to me, but sometimes the same thing happens to me when I am trying to teach people how to build log homes.  Sometimes a big guy, with football player mentality will insinuate that he just wants to move logs around with his hands -- and be “physical” with them – in a way that does not incorporate many bone-fide techniques.  At the other end of the spectrum, sometimes a “cerebral” guy, who has an approach to problem-solving that is primarily “mental,” will tell me that he wants to spend several weeks just thinking about how he should move the logs.  Obviously, one student needs to be balanced out in one direction -- and the other student needs to be balanced out in the other direction.  I learned from Bruce’s example that it is my job as a teacher to recognize these issues, and deal with them effectively.  Frankly, as simple as it might sound, I probably never would have “consciously”  thought of that on my own. 

Through his example, Bruce taught me a great deal about teaching.  Every time I teach a class in log cabin building I use many teaching techniques that I learned from Bruce.  Not only do I use them, but I am also extremely conscious that I am doing so.  Sometimes when I am teaching it is almost like Bruce is by my side -- and when I ask myself what he would do under any particular set of “teaching” circumstances, the answer suddenly becomes obvious to me and I proceed accordingly. 

On these pages I do not feel that I should make any comments about Bruce’s specific “fighting techniques.”  There are several reasons for this – including the following:  

1.      A lot of things have already been written about Bruce’s fighting techniques. 

2.      Obviously, there are many other people who know MUCH more about Bruce’s later fighting techniques than I do.

3.      There seems to be a lot of controversy about Bruce’s later fighting techniques – regarding what they specifically consisted of – what his specific philosophy was – and what the specific essence of his approach to Gung Fu is really all about.  Unfortunately, I can not say anything that would help resolve these issues.  

4.      In my opinion, it would be contrary to Bruce’s philosophy if anyone professed to be teaching his specific fighting techniques – because this might be like taking a suit of clothes that was tailor made for Bruce Lee and trying to make it fit the Jolly Green Giant.

It would probably be difficult for most people to make a list of the most important specific things they learned from their best friend.  Likewise, it is difficult for me to list the specific things that I learned from Bruce. 

A TEACHING TECHNIQUE THAT I LEARNED FROM BRUCE LEE:

When I was teaching my students how to build log homes, it is ironic that I seldom ever taught them anything that they didn’t already know.  I simply took a bunch of things they already knew, and rearranged these things so they would apply to building log homes in general. 

For example, regarding log home building… each of my students already knew how to drill a hole – drive a nail – cut wood with a hand-saw – nail two boards together --put one thing down on top of another thing – dig a hole – etc. 

Also, when I was teaching Gung Fu… each of my students already knew that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line -- everybody knew the importance of distance, speed, range, and power -- everybody knew about the effects of gravity --  everybody knew that something light is easier to move than something heavy -- everybody knew about the effects of inertia --  everybody knew that repetitive movements facilitate learning -- everybody knew that a leg is generally stronger (and longer) than an arm -- everybody knew about the effects of leverage -- everybody knew that if you could dig out your opponent’s eyes before he could dig out your eyes then you would certainly win the fight. 

In other words, when I was teaching people about either log homes  -- or Gung Fu --  I would simply take a bunch of concepts that my students already knew and rearrange them in such a way that they pertained to solving almost all of the new problems in these two new fields. 

I started to learn this concept of teaching  from Bruce Lee in 1959 – long before he ever devised his own unique approach to Gung Fu..

Regarding Bruce’s unique approach to teaching “ME” Gung Fu [I can not speak for how he taught others], I often tried to use some of Bruce’s techniques when I was teaching my own students. 

For example, when I was teaching an important principal, I would often lead my students right up to the point of discovery -- but no further.  In other words, Bruce taught me that if I had done an effective job of teaching, I should be able to lead my students to the point where they could “discover” the truth on their own – by synthesizing a new “truth” from two or more old ones that I have made obvious via teaching.  In this way, through learning the truth via their own personal discovery, they learn it BETTER.  They also learn how to be more innovative, more inventive, more fluid in their thoughts and reactions, and more confident.

BRUCE’S LEE’S METHODOLOGY REGARDING THE “STRAIGHT PUNCHING” ATTACK: 

When I had known Bruce for only a short time, he told me that he would soon show me a way to attack an opponent in such a way that I could (without knowing anything more) prevail over MANY guys that I might need to fight on the street.  Frankly, I was somewhat skeptical when he told me this.  My skepticism was caused by the fact that I did not yet know Bruce very well.  Later on, I learned that I should never be skeptical of anything that Bruce told me.  A couple of weeks later, Bruce and I were practicing Kung Fu (and having dinner) at my mother’s house when I reminded him that he promised to show me how to attack in a very effective way.  Therefore, he sat me down at the dining room table and explained the process to me.  By that time, Bruce realized that I needed to come to grips with a “theory” or a “principle” on an intellectual basis, if possible, before approaching it physically.  He explained that in the past, when he had only been practicing Wing Chun for a short time (and had not yet mastered a lot of the techniques) he was called upon to fight a more advanced student from another clan.  Bruce said that Yip Man called him aside a couple of weeks before the fight, and told him that when he was fighting his opponent he should rush forward with as much ferocity as he could call up from inside himself – and straight punch as hard and as fast as possible in a very specific way (alternating between left hand, right hand, left hand, etc.) – and always with an appropriate “weight-shift.”  In this case, Yip Man told Bruce was told to hit with his palms -- with his hands being held like a cat’s claw -- aiming for his opponents nose.  In other words his palms were striking forward with the fingers spread out and facing upward.  This meant that the fingers of each hand would be jabbing at his opponent’s eyes at the same time that the palms stuck the vicinity of his opponent’s nose.  Yip Man told Bruce to time the punches in such a way that one (or the other) of these claws was striking his opponents nose/eyes at all times.  He explained the obvious to me -- that each time he succeeded in landing a blow to his opponent’s face his opponent would be getting hit six times – once by each finger – once by the thumb – and once by the palm.  He explained that even if his palms missed his opponent’s nose, there was still an excellent possibility that his fingers or thumb would damage his opponent’s eyes.  He explained that only one or two of these blows would need to land successfully in order for him to win the fight.  He explained that if he attacked in that way fast enough – rushing forward with great ferocity and power, he could “almost” ignore what his opponent was doing -- especially if he felt that he could successfully withstand one or two of his opponent’s blows.  He explained that the success of this attack would partly depend upon such things as how the straight punches were executed – speed – power – ferocity – and the effectiveness of the all important “weight-shift.”  After Bruce explained the entire process to me we spend the rest of the day practicing it – with me attacking him – and with him attacking me.

Bruce told me that if I practiced that particular attack until I got extremely good and powerful at it, it could be enough (by itself) to insure that I would be successful in winning many of the fights I got into on the streets.  In the context of 1959, when very few people on the street had any martial arts training, I soon learned that he was telling me the truth about this. 

Bruce later added to the effectively of my attack (as described above) by showing me how to move instantaneously from a straight-punch “series” to a “double-fist.”  In other words, he showed me how to use the straight-punches to set up my opponent – and then incorporate a double-fist into the attack in a way that was smooth, natural, and instantaneous. 

The “double-fist” eventually proved to be one of my favorite tools, and I would use it a lot.  I would try to use the straight punches to establish myself, and then when there was a clear shot I would do a double-fist.  If the double-fist connected solidly with my opponent then I would follow up with a second double-fist and that would generally finish it.

Bruce was always interested in helping his friends find solutions to their own specific problems involving martial arts.  He would “play off of” their questions and problems in order to expand his own knowledge, and develop his own inventiveness. 

Bruce always wanted to get into the “psyche” of each of his students – so he could relate to how they thought and how they approached “problem solving.”  For example, if one of his students tended to be extremely and primarily physical then Bruce would concentrate on that aspect of teaching that student.  On the other hand, when he was dealing with someone like me (I would always want to “think” things to death, and I needed to take that approach when dealing with the learning process) he would readily adapt to the situation and do whatever was necessary to get the job done. 

On the other hand, if he thought a student was too physical in his approach then he would sometimes try to balance the student out by bringing in as many instructional techniques as possible from the other end of the spectrum. 

It is amusing to me now, but sometimes the same thing happened to me when I was trying to teach people how to build log homes.  Sometimes a big guy, with football player mentality would want to move huge logs with his bare hands -- in a way that did not incorporate any bone-fide techniques.  At the other end of the spectrum, sometimes a “cerebral” guy, who has an approach to problem-solving that is primarily “mental,” would spend an hour or two just thinking about how he was going to move a few huge logs.  Obviously, one of the above-mentioned students needed to be balanced out in one direction -- and the other needed to be balanced out in the other direction.  I learned from Bruce’s example that it is my job as a teacher to recognize these issues and deal with them effectively.  Frankly, I realize that the process sounds very simple – but I also realize that I probably never would have “consciously” thought of it on my own. 

Through Bruce Lee’s example, I learned a great deal about teaching.  In fact, every time I taught a class in log home building I used many teaching techniques that I learned from Bruce.  Not only did I use them, but I was also extremely conscious that I was doing so.  Sometimes when I was teaching it was almost like Bruce was by my side -- and under those circumstances whenever I asked myself what Bruce would do under any particular set of “teaching” circumstances, the answer suddenly became obvious to me and I proceed accordingly.  [Now you probably think I’m “nuts.”]

J

BRUCE LEE’S OWN “SPECIFIC APPROACH TO GUNG FU: 

On these pages I do not feel that I should make any comments about Bruce’s “specific approach to Gung Fu.”    There are several reasons for this – including the following:  

1.      A lot of things have already been written about Bruce’s fighting techniques. 

2.      Obviously, there are many other people who know MUCH more about Bruce’s later fighting techniques than I do.

3.      There seems to be a lot of controversy about Bruce’s later fighting techniques – regarding what they specifically consisted of – what his specific philosophy was – and what the specific essence of his approach to Gung Fu is really all about.  Unfortunately, I can not say anything that would help resolve these issues.  

4.      In my opinion, it would be contrary to Bruce’s philosophy if anyone professed to be teaching his specific fighting techniques – because this might be like taking a suit of clothes that was tailor made for Bruce Lee and trying to make it fit the Jolly Green Giant.

A FEW OTHER IMPORTANT THINGS I LEARNED FROM BRUCE LEE: 

It would probably be difficult for most people to make a list of the most important specific things they learned from one of their best friends.  Likewise, it is difficult for me to list some of the specific things I learned from Bruce. 

THE USE OF ANALOGY:

One of the most important things about teaching that I learned from Bruce was how to teach using analogy.  Bruce was one of the best people at using analogy that I have ever met in my life – and he used it constantly when teaching.  He could think of an analogy for almost any situation, and use it effectively as a teaching aid regarding that situation. 

THE POINT OF DISCOVERY:

Another thing that I learned from Bruce was to teach by leading people up to the “point of discovery” and then letting them discover the issue on their own – so they would learn how to “discover” – so they would always remember having discovered that issue on their own – and so they could get addicted to the “thrill of discovery.” 

THE NEAREST NEIGHBOR THEORY:

Another thing I learned from Bruce is to use the “Nearest Neighbor Theory” when teaching.  In my opinion, this technique sounds “simplistic” until after one uses it successfully a few times.  After that, it becomes easy to appreciate the simplicity. Anyway… I sometimes use this phenomenon when I am teaching – and I always give silent thanks to Bruce when I do so.   Bruce did not refer to the technique by its scientific name (which is “The Nearest Neighbor Theory”) but he used it a lot.  It is a difficult theory to explain, but I will use an analogy... as follows:  There are five boxes in a row.  You open box #1 and you find that it contains six apples.  You open box #2 and you find that it contains six apples.  You open box #3 and you find that it contains six apples.  Unfortunately, you can not reach box #4 – so you skip over it and go to box #5.  You open box #5 and you find that it contains six apples.  THEREFORE, by using one of the “tools-of-science” called The Nearest Neighbor Theory, you are relatively safe in at least “postulating” that box #4 contains six apples.  This is not about “positive proof” – it is only about having enough evidence to anticipate some conclusions and to proceed with the research.   Even though this method can not be relied upon to give a conclusive answers, it is still a useful tool to pass on to someone when trying to teach them a relatively effective process of “problem solving.” 

In other words, regarding the Nearest Neighbor Theory, Bruce would often point out to me that if I knew what certain facets of a Kung Fu SYSTEM were like, then I could more easily deduce what some of the related facets were like – even though I had never seen them or experienced them.  

THE PROCESS OF ELIMINATION:

Another principle of teaching that I learned from Bruce is this:  There are five boxes.  There is a “great truth” hiding in only one of them.  I open four of the boxes without finding the truth.  Now I know where the truth is located.  Of course, this is called the “process of elimination,” and it is an excellent way to bring students up to the “point of discovery” (as discussed elsewhere above) -- so they can discover the truth on their own. 

Obviously, the process described above is not fool-proof.  However, it is an important tool for someone to have at their disposal if they want to teach people the “process” of “problem-solving – and if they want to teach people to become better and better at it on their own. 

BRUCE LEE’S LACK OF PATIENCE WHEN TEACHING: 

For the most part, Bruce was not a patient man.  He was not patient with himself, and he was not patient with other people.  He would work extremely hard to accomplish any goal that he set for himself, but he would not do so in a patient manner.  He pushed himself ruthlessly and relentlessly.  He didn’t have an off switch.  He was “on” all the time.

BRUCE LEE LIKED TO DO MORE THAN ONE THING AT A TIME:

At least in my opinion, he did NOT like to do only one thing at a time.

It is difficult to explain, but it seems to me that Bruce would always try to have more than one reason for doing something.  If he only had one reason to go into a scenario, he would try to generalize the situation in such a way that it would have broader meaning, a broader effect, further implications, and greater opportunity.  In other words, he would try to bring in as many facets to a situation as he possibly could.   Some of this related to the fact that he was very goal oriented and always wanted to accomplish as many things as possible in a short period of time.  He didn’t want to waste any time.  Time was very valuable to him, because there were so many things that he wanted to accomplish with it.  Another reason was that he became bored very easily.  He was extremely intelligent and imaginative, and he needed to keep those aspects of himself working continuously. He felt driven to keep those things working at all times. 

For example, even when we were driving somewhere in the car, he could not just sit there and carry on a normal conversation.  Instead, he would feel the need to squeeze a hard rubber ball in each hand to develop strength – or he would be practicing hand movements – or he would be working on theories of Kung Fu – or he would be doing all of the above and asking for more.

Another very remarkable thing bout Bruce was his uncanny ability to “anticipate.”  He was able to anticipate someone’s movements better than anyone I have ever known.  He tried to encourage me to develop my ability to anticipate, and he had several ways of teaching this – which I now try to use when teaching my own students how to build log homes (more on this later).  

Bruce Lee was an absolute showman.  Barnum and Bailey could have taken lessons from this guy.  He loved to show off and be the center of attention.  The term “showing off” must be described here in more detail, so there will be no misunderstanding about it.  He would not show off in a way that would be offensive.  He would do it in a way that I will try to describe here using analogy.  I will make a sincere effort to describe this “showmanship” aspect of Bruce’s personality, because so people say (very erroneously) that he was an ego maniac in this regard.  Actually, this was not the case at all.

There were certain things that he could do extremely well.  He was proud of the fact that he could do these things, and he liked to share this with other people.  It was, to some extent, his “gift” to whoever was watching or listening.  It was a manifestation of his “total enthusiasm” for the art – for what he had accomplished with the art.  It was a performance.  

In analogy, I have a good friend named Steve Kamp who was a body builder extraordinaire.  If I recall correctly, he was chosen to be Mr. Seattle on at least two occasions.  His body looked the same as Governor Arnold's body in his prime -- if not better.  On one occasion, he stopped at my house on the way home from the gym to share with us what he had just accomplished.  He was obviously very excited, because he had just accomplished something that meant a lot to him (perhaps it involved his biceps finally getting up to a certain number of "inches in circumference.").  While he was explaining this to us, he got tired of trying to explain with words, so he pulled off his shirt and flexed his muscles in a way that apparently explained the entire thing.  He was gleeful as he made comments about how large one particular muscle was at that time.  Yes... as I recall, I think it was the size of his biceps that he was so pleasantly surprised about.  Anyway, he was bubbling over with enthusiasm that was totally honest and open.  MY POINT IS THIS:   Steve was absolutely NEVER conceited or stuck up regarding his body.  In fact, he is one of the most modest guys on the planet.  It was totally obvious to us that he was only trying to share his happiness with us because we were his good friends.  He was only sharing his enthusiasm with us concerning something that he really enjoyed doing.  He would have been terribly hurt if ANYONE had stupidly misunderstood his intentions when he flexed his muscles in that way, because he is one of the least conceited (and most humble) people in the entire world.  When he flexed in that way, it was the same as if I had just returned from hunting, with a huge Moose that had a trophy-sized rack.  In that case, I would be totally sharing my excitement with everyone in the room. 

My point being... Bruce Lee was behaving in essentially the same way when he was doing one-finger push ups -- or demonstrating his "one-inch-punch" -- or inviting people to try to hit him on the nose.   He was not bragging, he was only enthusiastically sharing his delight at what could be accomplished via determination and knowledge.

In my opinion, Bruce Lee (just like Steve) was NEVER showing off.  Instead, he was only showing his own enthusiasm for his art and what he was able to do with it. 

It would be similar to a pianist practicing for months to play a highly complicated piece of music in a certain way, and then being eager to share this with his friends.  That is NOT showing off -- or being conceited -- or bragging.    In other words, Bruce Lee did not ever show off.  Instead, he only shared his enthusiasm and his accomplishments with his friends – he tried to be an inspiration to everyone -- and he enjoyed doing so.

Another way of saying it;   Bruce Lee took great personal delight in what he could do, and he was eager to share his delight with other people.   In the process of doing this he infused each social encounter with his own fun loving (almost overwhelming) personality. 

For example, on several occasions Bruce went to fraternity parties with me at my fraternity house.  I belonged to Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.  At that time, my fraternity house was a large white three-story mansion, with large columns in front, and it was located on the east side of 19th Ave. – approximately ½ block north of 45th.  The fraternity has since moved to a different location.  The Chapter recently purchased a large brick mansion, located at the northeast corner of 47th and 17th.  At the parties, Bruce would take great delight in doing one-finger push ups in the middle of the dance floor.  He would take great delight in having people take turns trying to hit him.  He would take great delight in teaching people how to do the cha-cha.

BRUCE TEACHING THE CHA-CHA:

Bruce was the former Cha-Cha Champion of Hong Kong.  Therefore, he taught my girl-friend and I how do do that dance.  My girl friend at the time was very nice girl named Judy Anderson.  When I first met Judy I was more or less a “street-punk,” who had no discernable future.  No one (including me) thought that I would ever even finish my high school courses – not to mention graduate from a University.  Largely through Judy’s influence, I decided to go to college.  She was responsible for me eventually ending up at the University of Washington, and belonging to a fraternity.  She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, and we went to many dances together.   We loved it when Bruce taught us how to do the cha-cha.

BRUCE LEE LIKED TO "INSPIRE" PEOPLE:

Whenever Bruce was showing people what he could do, I got the feeling that he was intentionally trying to be an inspiration to those around him.  At least the inspiration factor was one of the (perhaps many) things he was trying to accomplish.  By his actions, I sometimes felt that he was saying, “You could be this good at doing something too (in your own way), if you would just get off your ass and work at it.”  I got the feeling that he might even be saying, “Obviously, I am proud of the accomplishments that I am demonstrating for you.  You could be this proud of your own accomplishments (whatever they happen to be) if you worked hard enough to accomplish something like this.”

ME AS AN ALLEGED "GENTLEMAN":

It is sometime said that I was the "GENTLEMAN JIM" of the group.  I think I got this reputation for the following reasons:  

1.  Being “polite” was always very important to me.  
2.  I generally dressed well. 3.  I was always quiet and soft spoken. 
4.  I was an actor. 
5. Even though I was brought up on an Indian Reservation, and had no education at all, if I saw someone on TV who was refined, educated, and from an upper class family, it would only take me 30 seconds to learn the entire rap.

Regarding the “Gentleman Jim” thing... my reason for bringing this up is as follows:

Bruce told me he felt that the Chinese lady he worked for was “racially prejudiced.”  Bruce told me on many occasions that she did not want him to associate with bad people.  She wanted him to associate with people who were “upwardly mobile” in the socio-economic sense (good, Chinese boys or white boys who were obviously going to get an education and make something of themselves). 

On more than one occasion, when some of us guys would go to the restaurant to get Bruce when he was through washing dishes (to practice or to just “hang out”), the guys said that the lady had been rude to them when they knocked on the door and asked if Bruce was there.  They told me that she would just say “no” and slam the door – even though everyone  knew Bruce was either still in the kitchen or upstairs in his room.   On the other hand, whenever I knocked on the door, the lady would invite me inside and actually be very nice to me.   Bruce said that she liked me because I was white, polite, well mannered, spoke well, and dressed well, and was "gentlemanly."  On more than one occasion, the other guys would wait where they could not be seen while I was the one that went to the door, knocked on it, and asked if Bruce was there.   For me, the answer was always “yes.”  For the other guys, apparently the answer was sometimes “no” -- whether he was really there or not.

Ironically, Ruby Chow would always welcome me and was actually quite nice to me.  She invited me inside the kitchen enough times so that the employees did the same thing even when she was not around.  None of the other kitchen workers spoke English, at least in such a way that I could understand them (especially with the kitchen noise) – but they were always very friendly towards me.  Sometimes I would wait in the kitchen while Bruce finished washing dishes and cleaning up.  Sometimes I would even help him wash the dishes.  The other kitchen workers seemed to be amused by seeing some white kid washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant but they were always very friendly.  It's like I was their "token-white-guy."  Sometimes Bruce would prepare plates of food for us, from whatever was “extra” in the kitchen at the time.  The food was always excellent.  

Regarding Bruce’s ability to fight, I would say this:

1.      If Bruce actually hit someone in a fight, then the fight would be over.

2.      Bruce could hit anyone at will.

3.      Bruce could stand 4’ away from an opponent and move forward with such speed that he could take out his opponents eyes at will.  He could do this repeatedly.  If he missed on the first strike, it wouldn’t matter, because he certainly would not miss on the second strike.

Because of the above facts, Bruce was essentially invincible in any real combat situation.

In my opinion, if Bruce was engaged in a combat situation that involved “rules” that would need to be adhered to (as exist in most tournament situations) the there might be people alive today that could beat him.  However, it is important to realize that in Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu were no rules. 

Correction... there was one rule – WIN !!!

As far as Bruce Lee was concerned, failure to win was not an option. 

This same philosophy also related to everything that I ever saw Bruce do in his life. 

Bruce Lee was an “intense” man.  He was wound up tight and ready to go at all times.  He was wound up tighter than anyone I have ever met.  His energy had a hair trigger, and he could release it at the speed of thought. 

As far as Bruce’s speed is concerned, I don’t think that a robber standing 5’ away from Bruce (with a pistol or a revolver pointed directly at Bruce) would have chance.  Of course, if the robber’s intent was to shoot Bruce first, and then take the money, then he might be successful.  However, if the robber’s intent was to get the money without shooting, and then make an escape, he wouldn’t have a chance.

If you are fighting someone who’s hands and feet move so fast that you can hardly see them, then it is almost impossible for you to win.

Bruce’s power was absolutely explosive.  In my opinion, his hands moved with the speed of thought.  He could think his hands somewhere and they would be their.  It was almost impossible to see them move when they went from one place to the next.  They were just suddenly there. 

It is incomprehensible to me that the Chinese people throughout the world have not yet gotten together – taken up a collection – and built for Bruce Lee the largest and best monument that the world has ever seen. 

It is fitting that they should do so – and do so immediately.

In my opinion, a monument to Bruce Lee is something that Chinese people everywhere (Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, and elsewhere throughout the entire world) should UNITE for – and they should do it NOW.

There isn’t a Chinese person anywhere in the world that wouldn’t contribute money towards a monument to Bruce.  If each Chinese person in the world only contributed one dollar – can you imagine the size of the monument that this could pay for ???

If I was the “manager” of Hong Kong I would strike first, and build the monument in Hong Kong before someone does it in Seattle (where he is buried).   The monument would do more for the tourist industry of Hong Kong than any other single thing they could do.   Hong Kong would become a “Mecca” for Bruce Lee fans from throughout the world. 

Even if Hong Kong were to pay for the monument -- twenty or thirty million dollars spent on such a monument would “come back” to Hong Kong in the first year that it was in existence – by way of tourist dollars.

Obviously, someone is going to build such a monument in the near future.

Bruce Lee was extremely confident in all of his moves.   He was a combination of ballet dancer, fencer, boxer, gymnast, and world-class athlete. 

If a big man, with large hands, is still fast with his hands, it only means that he would be even faster if his hands were smaller.

As far as Bruce was concerned, Gung Fu was not “work” at all.  Even the drudgery of “practice, practice, practice” was not work for him.  He loved it.  He would rather do Gung Fu than anything. He was consumed by the desire to do it.  He wasn’t really happy doing anything else.  He challenged himself to become the best – and failure was not an option.

I am obviously not a movie critic, so I can not make any comments about Bruce’s acting ability.  However, in my opinion, Bruce never acted in a movie in his entire life.  All he did was play “himself.” 

Bruce was not an actor any more than John Wayne was an actor.   I have read many accounts explaining that John Wayne never acted a day in his life.  All he did was to “be John Wayne” while the cameras were rolling.  He did an excellent job of playing himself, and that was enough to do the job – because that is what people loved about him. 

Another example comes to mind:  When they filmed the TV Series called Northern Exposure at my home I had many occasions to see Barry Corbin (a relatively well known movie actor) at work. Because they filmed at my home on many different occasions I had an opportunity to get to know Barry quite well.  He is a really great guy, and a “good old boy” at heart.  It became obvious that he wasn’t “acting” in those films – he was just being Barry Corbin, and it worked very well. 

In other words, the idea that Bruce Lee was “only” a movie actor (and not a fighter) is preposterous -- and I think that any serious movie critic would agree.  If Bruce was primarily “anything” he was a fighter, a thinker, and a philosopher.

In business management they have a saying; “If you want to get something done immediately then give it to your busiest man.”  In other words, your busiest man won’t have a lot of time to waste and he will want to get the job done right away so he can get on to the next job.  He will not allow the job to expand to fill the amount of time that he has to do it – because he doesn’t have any extra time. 

To some extent, the above saying reminds me of Bruce.  He was too busy learning, analyzing, synthesizing, searching for “affectivity”, that he didn’t have any time for BS.  He didn’t have any time to waste on techniques that didn’t live up to his expectations.   If you wanted to get to the “facts” as quickly as possible regarding a theory of combat, Bruce was the man to approach with the theory. 

Bruce could break things down to the “essentials” faster than anyone I have ever known. He could take an extremely complicated set of circumstances, reach into it, find the heart of the issue, pull it out and examine it, faster than anyone I have ever seen. 

I believe that even when I first met Bruce in 1959 he was looking for a way to develop an “intuition”, regarding what to do under any given circumstances in a combat situation – and that this search is what lead him away from the traditional approach (forms, etc.).  On the other hand, I think he realized that his involvement with the classic techniques (Wing Chun, etc.) gave him the foundation that he needed – and made his goal that much easier and faster to reach.   

Frankly, the only thing I don’t really know about Bruce’s fighting capabilities is how well he could take a punch.  However, having seen him fight, I realize that the possibility of him ever getting hit is so unlikely that it makes me laugh out loud. I have a smile on my face now, as I am typing this.

The thought of anyone being good enough or fast enough to ever hit Bruce Lee is preposterous to the point of being laughable. 

In an actual combat situation, the last thing in the world you would ever need to worry about is Bruce Lee getting hit by his opponent. 

One time, as I was discussing Bruce Lee’s speed with a friend of mine (a good fighter) my friend expressed some skepticism that anyone could be as fast as my description of Bruce.  Partly as a result of my friend’s skepticism, I arranged for my friend to meet Bruce, as though “by accident.  When we were together at my girl friend’s house I purposefully steered the conversation towards Bruce’s speed, how fast he could “close the distance” between himself and an opponent – and dig out the opponent’s eyes.  At my urging, Bruce agreed to demonstrate his speed for my friend.  Both men stood facing each other in the middle of Judy’s living room,  spaced approximately four feet apart.  I stood approximately eight feet away, holding a taped roll of dimes behind my back.  When they heard the roll of dimes hit the floor, Bruce was to make his move, and my friend was supposed to block it.  When the coins hit the floor, Bruce moved so quickly that he was a blur.  His right hand made a “popping” noise as it snapped to my friends eyes and back.  My friend’s hands didn’t even get above his waist before the whole thing was over.  Bruce stood there in front of my friend – obviously ready and able to do the same thing again, and again, and again...  My friend was obviously impressed beyond words, but he tried to act nonchalant about it.  He backed up immediately, and he immediately changed the subject rather than to continue the discussion of  “speed” and run the risk of having to do the experiment a second time.  However, later on, after Bruce left, my friend allowed himself to get excited about what Bruce did.  He said, “Man, his fingers touched my eye-lashes -- I couldn’t even see his hands move – there was nothing I could do – he could have done that twenty times in a row and I still couldn’t have stopped him from getting my eyes – etc.”  It was amusing to me that my friend didn’t want Bruce to know how impressed he was, and he really tried to hide it from Bruce – in spite of the fact that he got so excited about it after Bruce left.  I don’t really know what that was all about.  Maybe he just didn’t want to give Bruce the satisfaction of knowing how impressed he was. 

To Bruce Lee, the above situation was nothing, and he probably forgot about it within two minutes.  However, it is obvious that my friend will talk about that moment for the rest of his life.  I’ll bet he talks about it every time he goes to a party – or makes a new friend.  To an extent, Bruce’s entire life was like that...  People were always justifiably amazed by some of the things Bruce could do – however, to Bruce it was “nothing.”  Or perhaps it would be more correct to say that Bruce just felt it was “all in a day’s work.”

Bruce Lee was a gentleman of the first order – especially to old people, women, and children.  For example, he would always help women with their chairs when they were sitting down for dinner, he would help them with their coats, he would open doors for them, etc.

One of the most amazing things about Bruce was his self confidence.  The possibility that he could ever fail at something was beyond his comprehension.  As far as he was concerned, if he tried, then he succeeded.  If he fought, he won.  Anything else was unthinkable and unimaginable. 

Bruce had boundless amounts of energy.  Energy without limit.  Energy that just went on forever.  This vast reservoir of energy was reflected in almost everything he did.  It was obvious in the way he walked – in the spring of his step – in the way he moved – in his perceptive awareness – in his alertness.

It is said that Mohammed Ali “Floated like a butterfly, and stung like a bee.”  In analogy, I would say that Bruce Lee floated like a humming-bird, and hit like a speeding Mac truck.”

When Bruce was washing dished at Ruby Chow’s, he didn’t feel good about himself, and he didn’t feel good about his social standing in life.  I am sure that this helped motivate him (perhaps “drive him” would be more accurate) to succeed.

Perhaps an analogy would be as follows:  Forgive the “generalization,” but when I am teaching people how to build log homes, the most difficult students to teach are usually engineers.  They are often too rigid in their thinking.  In their quest for details (making sure that every “i” is dotted, and every “t” is crossed) they often fail to grasp the contents of the letter they are supposed to be reading – or they fail to grasp the “meaning” of the poem they are supposed to be reading.  They aren’t relaxed enough, or loose enough, or confident enough to “wing it.”  Their rigid professional training often gets in the way. 

On the other hand, the easiest log home building students to teach are usually people with no rigid formal training that has continued for long periods of time – such as poets, artists, writers, back yard mechanics, store clerks, hair dressers, waitresses, etc.

How would I reply if someone told me;

            “I am going to teach you Bruce Lee’s approach to Gung Fu.”

I would say;

           “You should not try to teach me Bruce Lee’s approach to Gung Fu because I am not Bruce Lee.  Obviously, I am
           taller, fatter, slower, weaker, I have a different personality, and I have a different martial arts background.”

          "To a large extent, you can not teach me “your” approach to Gung Fu for the same reasons."

          "When you are helping me to learn my own approach to Gung Fu, all you can do is act as a “guide” for me as I take my own
          journey.  You can help me plan my own pilgrimage, and make suggestions along the way – just like any good friend would
         do.  You can act as my sounding board.  You can encourage me to make the most of my own physical capabilities, mental
         capabilities, personality, limitations, strengths, weaknesses, etc.  You can make suggestions for me based upon “who I am”
         – but you can not make them based upon “who you are.”  In a sense, your role is not a “physical” thing so much as it is a
         “spiritual” thing.  This “spiritual” phenomenon becomes more and more true as I get better and better at it – and my physical
         foundation (of this thing that I am building) becomes broader and broader, and stronger and stronger.

After Bruce Lee had been teaching Jesse Glover, Ed Hart, and myself for quite some time, he wrote to Yip Man in Hong Kong and asked if he could teach three of his friends in America.  A few weeks later, I was with him at Ruby Chow’s when the reply came from Yip Man.  Bruce opened the letter in his room, handed it to me, and asked me to read it for him.  I looked at it for a second and then realized that Bruce was joking with me – because the letter was written in Chinese.  I gave the letter back to him and he read it silently to himself.  He then told me that Yip Man said he could not teach Gung Fu to any people in America.  He did not want Bruce to teach Americans any Gung Fu that they could eventually use against the Chinese.  Bruce wrinkled up the letter -- threw it down on the floor -- and said, “It’s OK... I will teach you anyway.”  I suggested that Bruce should re-consider that decision, because it seemed that it was made in haste.  He said that he had already thought about it for quite some time (anticipating Yip Man’s negative reaction), and he felt that it was his right to teach us if he wanted to do so.  He said that he only wanted to give Yip Man an opportunity to give his permission.  He said that I shouldn’t worry about it because he had thought about it enough to know that he was doing the right thing.

When I had known Bruce for only a short time, he told me that he would soon show me how  to attack in such a way that I could prevail over almost anyone I would ever need to fight on the street.  Frankly, I was somewhat skeptical when he told me this.  I later realized that my skepticism was caused ONLY by the fact that I did not yet know Bruce very well. Later, it became obvious to me that I should never be skeptical about anything that Bruce told me.  A couple of weeks later, Bruce and I were practicing Gung Fu at my mother’s house when I reminded him that he promised to teach me how to attack in a very effective way.  Therefore, he sat me down at my mother’s dining room table and explained the process to me.  He realized that I needed to come to grips with a “theory” or a “principle” on an intellectual basis (if possible) before approaching it physically.  He started his explanation by telling me a brief story about one of his own Gung Fu experiences.  He told me that he had only been practicing Wing Chun for a short time when he was called upon to fight a more advanced student from another clan.  Bruce said that Yip Man called him aside a couple of weeks before the fight, and told him that when he was fighting this opponent he should rush forward with massive amounts of resolve and massive amounts ferocity – and “straight punch” as hard and as fast as possible (alternating between left hand, right hand, left hand, etc.) – keeping both of his shoulders the same distance from his opponent at all times.  In other words, his punches (when fully extended) would be straight IN FRONT OF his own shirt buttons – with his chest facing his opponent squarely at all times – and he was using the all-important “weight-shift” to develop power.   As an option, he was told to strike either with his fists, OR with the palms of his hands (with his hands being held like a cat’s claw, with the palms down and the fingers up).  In other words his palms were striking forward and the fingers were facing upward and bent to look like a “claw.”  He was told to strike with his palms aimed primarily at his opponent’s face.  This meant that when his palms struck the nose of his opponent, his fingers would also be jamming into the eyes of his opponent.  IN OTHER WORDS, the fingers of his hands would be jabbing at his opponent’s eyes at the same time that the palms stuck his opponent’s nose.  Bruce was told that he should “time” his punches in such a way that one (or the other) of these claws was striking his opponents face/nose/eyes at all times.  He explained the obvious to me -- that each time he succeeded in landing a blow to his opponent’s face his opponent could potentially be hit six times – once by each finger – once by the thumb – and once by the palm.  He explained that even if his palms missed his opponent’s nose, there was still an excellent possibility that his fingers or thumb would damage his opponent’s eyes.  He explained that it would only be necessary for him to land one or two of these blows in order to seriously damage his opponent.  He explained that if he attacked in that way fast enough, and with enough ferocity and power, he could “almost” ignore what his opponent was doing -- especially if he felt that he could successfully withstand a few of his opponent’s blows.  He explained that the success of this attack would depend upon speed, power, ferocity, precision, balance, commitment, dedication, and (last but not least) how effectively the straight punches were executed.  After Bruce explained the process we spend the rest of the day practicing it – me attacking him – and him attacking me. 

He also showed me a good way to counter this attack – so I had a chance to practice both the offense and the defense. 

Bruce told me that if I practiced that particular attack until I got extremely good at it I would probably be successful in winning most of the fights I got into on the streets.  In the context of 1959, when very few people on the street had any martial arts training, I soon learned that he was right about this. 

Bruce later added to the AFFECTIVITY effectively of my attack (as described above) by also showing me how to move instantaneously from straight-punching to using a “double-fist.”  In other words, he showed me how to incorporate the double-fist into the attack in a way that was smooth, natural, and absolutely instantaneous. 

The double-fist eventually proved to be one of my “weapons-of-choice,” and I would use it whenever possible.  I would try to use the straight punches to move in and establish myself, and then when there was a clear shot I would do a double-fist. 

If the double-fist connected solidly with my opponent then I would follow up with a second double-fist and that would almost always finish it.

Bruce was always interested in helping his friends find solutions to their own specific problems involving martial arts.  He would “play off of” their questions and problems in order to stretch his one envelope, and expand his knowledge, and develop his own inventiveness. 

Bruce always wanted to get into the “psyche” of each of his students – so he could relate to how they thought and how they approached “problem solving.”  For example, if one of his students tended to be extremely and primarily physical then Bruce would concentrate on that aspect of training that student.  On the other hand, when he was dealing with someone like me (I had a tendency to “think” things to death, and I needed to take that approach when dealing with the learning process) he would readily adapt to the situation and do whatever was necessary as a teacher to communicate effectively with me. 

On the other hand, if he thought a student was too “physical” (or “mental”) in his approach then he would sometimes try to balance the student out by bringing in as many instructional techniques as possible from the other end of the spectrum. 

Through his example, Bruce taught me a great deal about teaching.  Every time I taught a class in log home building I used many teaching techniques that I learned from Bruce.  Not only did I use them, but I was also extremely conscious that I was doing so.  Sometimes when I was teaching it was almost like Bruce was by my side -- and when I asked myself what he would do under any particular set of “teaching” circumstances, the answer suddenly became obvious to me and I proceed accordingly. 

It would probably be difficult for most people to make a list of the most important specific things they learned from their best friend.  Likewise, it is difficult for me to name or list the specific things that I learned from Bruce. 

One of the most important things about teaching that I learned from Bruce was how to teach using analogy.  Bruce was one of the best people at using analogy that I have ever met – and he used it constantly when teaching.  He could think of an analogy for almost any situation, and use it effectively. 

Another thing that I learned from Bruce was to teach by leading people up to the “point of discovery” and then letting them discover the issue on their own.  In this way students “learn” how to discover – and they get better and better at doing it.  Also, students are much more likely to remember something that they “discovered” on their own.  Also, students can become addicted to the “thrill of discovery” (as Bruce was) and this is one of the things that can make them “driven” to continue on their own.  

For the most part, Bruce was not a patient man.  He was not patient with himself, and he was not patient with other people.  He would work extremely hard to accomplish any goal that he set for himself, but he would not do so in a patient manner.  He pushed himself ruthlessly and relentlessly.  He didn’t have an off switch.  He was “on” all the time.

He didn’t like to do only one thing at a time.

It is difficult to explain, but it seems to me that Bruce would always try to have more than one reason for doing something.  If he only had one reason to go into a scenario, he would try to generalize the situation in such a way that it would have broader meaning , a broader effect, further reaching implications, and greater opportunity.  In other words, he would try to bring in as many facets to a situation as possible.   Some of this related to the fact that he was driven to accomplish as many things as possible in a short period of time.  He didn’t want to waste any time.  Time was very valuable to him, because there was so many things that he wanted to accomplish.  Another reason was that he became bored very easily.  He was extremely intelligent and imaginative, and he needed to keep his mind working continuously.    He felt driven to keep his mind working at all times. 

For example, when we were driving somewhere in the car, he could not just sit there in the car and carry on a normal conversation.  Instead, he would feel the need to squeeze a hard rubber ball in each hand to develop the strength in his hands – or he would be practicing hand movements – or he would be working on theories of Gung Fu – or he would be doing all of the above and asking for more.

Another very remarkable thing about Bruce was his uncanny ability to “anticipate.”  He was able to anticipate someone’s movements better than anyone I have ever known.  He tried to encourage me to develop my ability to anticipate, and he had several ways of teaching this – which I now try to use when teaching my own students how to build log homes (more on this later). 

Bruce loved to communicate and share. 

It would be similar to a pianist practicing for months to play a highly complicated piece of music in a certain way, and then (having learned it to his satisfaction) being eager to share this with his friends.  It is easy to say that this is showing off. However, Bruce Lee did not ever show off.  Instead, he only shared his enthusiasm and his accomplishments with his friends – and enjoyed doing so.

Another way of saying it; Bruce Lee took great personal delight in what he could do, and he was eager to share his delight with other people.   In the process of doing this he infused each instance with his own fun loving (almost overwhelming) CHARISMATIC personality.  

For example, on several occasions Bruce went to fraternity parties with.  I belonged to Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.  At that time, my fraternity house was a large white three-story mansion, with large columns in front, and it was located on the east side of 19th Ave. – approximately ½ block north of 45th.  The fraternity has since moved to a different location.  The Chapter recently purchased a large brick mansion, located at the northeast corner of 47th and 17th.  At the parties, Bruce would take great delight in doing one-finger push-ups in the middle of the dance floor.  He would take great delight in having people take turns trying to hit him.  He would take great delight in teaching people how to do the cha-cha.

My girl friend at the time was very nice girl named Judy Anderson.  When I first met Judy I was more or less a “street-kid,” who had no discernable future.  No one (including me) thought that I would ever finish my high school courses – not to mention graduate from a University.  Largely through Judy’s influence, I decided to go to college.  She was responsible for me eventually ending up at the University of Washington, and belonging to a fraternity.  She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, and we went to many dances together.  Bruce taught Judy and I, as well as many of the members of our fraternity and sorority, how to do the cha-cha.

Whenever Bruce was demonstrating what he could do, I got the feeling that he was intentionally trying to be an inspiration to those around him.  At least the "inspiration factor" was one of the (perhaps many) things he was trying to accomplish.  By his actions, I sometimes felt that he was saying, “You could be this good at doing something too (in your own way), if you would just get off your ass and work at it.”  I got the feeling that he might even be saying, “Obviously, I am proud of the accomplishments that I am demonstrating for you.  You could be this proud of your own accomplishments (whatever they happen to be) if you worked hard enough to accomplish something like this.

Bruce’s method of teaching would often allow his students to get out of it anything they went into it looking for.

It is sometime said that I was the gentleman Jim of the group.  I think I got this reputation because being polite was always very important to me.  And because 1. I was always soft-spoken. 2.. I generally dressed well. 3. I was an actor.  Even though i was brought up on a reservation, and had no education, if I saw someone on TV who was refined, educated, from an upper class family, it would take me approximately 30 seconds to learn the entire gig.  I mention this here only because my "image" helped me to deal with the people that Bruce was working for at the restaurant -- as follows: 

Bruce told me he felt that the Chinese lady he worked for was “racially prejudiced.”  Bruce told me on many occasions that she did not want him to associate with bad people.  She wanted him to associate with people who were “upwardly mobile” in the socio-economic sense (good Chinese boys or even white boys who were obviously going to get an education and make something of themselves).

On more than one occasion, when some of us would meet at the restaurant to get Bruce (to practice or to just “hang out”) the other guys would wait until I arrived -- so I could be the one to knock on the back door of the kitchen and ask for Bruce  Some of the guys told me that the lady had been rude to them when they knocked on the door and asked if Bruce was home.  They guys told me that she would just say “no” and slam the door – even though the guys knew that Bruce was upstairs in his room.   On the other hand, whenever I knocked on the door, the lady would invite me inside and actually be very nice to me.   Bruce said that she liked me because I was white, polite, well mannered, spoke well, and dressed well.  On more than one occasion, the other guys would wait where they could not be seen while I went to the door, knocked on it, and asked if Bruce was there.   For me, the answer was always “yes.”  For the other guys, apparently the answer was often “no” -- whether he was really there or not.

Ironically, the "restaurant management" would always welcome me and was actually quite nice to me.  She invited me inside the kitchen enough times so that all of the other workers did the same thing even when "the boss" was not around.  None of the other kitchen workers spoke English, at least in such a way that I could understand them (especially with the kitchen noise) – but they were always very friendly towards me.  If I remember correctly, one of the kitchen workers was named "Fook Yung.    Sometimes I would wait in the kitchen while Bruce finished washing dishes and cleaning up.  Sometimes I would even help him wash the dishes.  The other kitchen workers seemed to be amused by seeing a white kid washing dishes in their Chinese restaurant but they were always very friendly.  Sometimes Bruce would prepare plates of food for us, from whatever was “extra” in the kitchen at the time.  The food was always excellent.  

Bruce even learned a few recipes, and shared them with me.   One of my favorite recipes in the world is one that I got from Bruce.  He cooked it for us several times (once at my mom’s house in 1963 ???), and it has been one of my favorites ever since.  I cook this almost every time my kids come to my house for dinner – and they love it.  For the lack of anything else to call it, we have always called it “Bruce Lee Chicken.”  The SECRET RECIPE goes like this:

Place chicken thighs (skin-side-down) in a frying pan with 1/4" of water in the pan.

Pour “light” soy sauce over the chicken – to a depth of 1/2” liquid in the pan.

Sprinkle LARGE amounts of garlic powder (more...  still more...) over each piece of chicken.

Put a cover on the frying pan.

Simmer on low until done -- at least one (+) hour.

Things to consider:

On a low simmer, the chicken will probably be done in one hour.  However, if you add more soy sauce and water(to your own taste) it can continue to simmer on the stove for three or four hours with almost no attention at all – which makes it especially good when you are busy entertaining guests.  It can stay “ready to serve” for a long time without being ruined.  Also, when your guests walk into your home, the aroma will knock their socks off.

 I generally turn each piece over in the pan approximately 20 minutes prior to serving, and continue to simmer with the cover “off.”

 After the chicken is cooked I usually take the cover off the frying pan and let the juice thicken as the moisture cooks away.  In the extreme, this results in carmelization of the juices – which some people really like.

I often serve this chicken with baked potatoes.  Sometimes I put the whole potatoes (with skins) in the frying pan with the chicken, so they are both ready to eat at the same time. 

For those who aren’t very particular, the juice also works as gravy.  Otherwise, I use butter on the potatoes.

      The total preparation time for the above dish (NOT including the time it cooks, or the time it stays on the
      stove) is approximately 3 minutes. 

     This chicken, with a salad, makes an excellent lunch or dinner.

     Thanks, Bruce !!!

 As far as Bruce’s speed is concerned, I don’t think that a robber standing 4’ away from Bruce (with a pistol or a revolver pointed directly at Bruce) would have chance. Of course, if the robbers intent was to shoot Bruce first, and then take the money, then he might be successful.  However, if the robbers intent was to get the money without shooting, and then make an escape, he wouldn’t have a chance.

If you are fighting someone who’s hands and feet move so fast that you can hardly see them, then it is almost impossible for you to win.

Bruce Lee had an amazing sense of humor.  He was often joking and often using irony to do so.  For example, after Bruce started wearing contact lenses, he purposefully purchased a pair of contacts that were white in color.  When he was wearing these contacts, it obviously made him look like his eyes had no pupils and he was totally blind.  Bruce’s friends from that era still laugh when we talk about how he would sometimes put on a “show” of being blind.  He would sometimes wear his white contacts, carry a cane, and tap his way down the sidewalk with his all-white eyes open wide staring straight ahead as though he was blind.  If guys were walking toward him, they would see the blind man, step aside so he could walk past, and then when Bruce was about 10’ in front of them he would snap two side kicks at something (a telephone pole, or a garbage can) with tremendous speed and power – with the kick purposefully missing the object by a fraction of an inch.  Then he would, without missing a step, proceed to tap his way down the sidewalk.  As this was happening, the rest of us would be standing 40 or 50 feet away, laughing at the spectacle.

On other occasions, Bruce would walk past a group of young men as though he was blind -- wearing his contacts and tapping his cane.  When he was 15 or 20 feet away from the men he would start doing Gung Fu forms as he was walking.  He would be punching, kicking, and doing moves that were obviously part of a “system.”  Intermittently, he would stop, stoop over, and tap the cane on the sidewalk in front of him – and then proceed to walk forward again.  Bruce could look very impressive as he walked forward doing Gung Fu forms – punching, kicking, and moving forward without missing a step, etc. This was quite a sight to see.  Again, we would be standing several yards away – watching, and laughing.

Also, in the interests of “humor” Bruce often pretended to be someone he was not.  On one occasion, Bruce and I were going to a restaurant with two girls.  I was taking a girl named Judy (my girlfriend at the time) and Bruce was with one of Judy’s friends.  That morning, before we picked up the girls we called ahead to make reservations.  Bruce had me call and he instructed me to say that the Ellsworth party would have with it the Crown Prince of Manchuria.  When I called, I asked to speak to the owner of the restaurant.  If i do say so myself, I carried it off brilliantly.  As I spoke to the owner of the restaurant I explained that the Crown Prince was here upon invitation from our government to take care of some highly important treaty issues.  I asked about security at the restaurant – the number of entrances, exits, employees, etc.  I asked if he would have any objection to having our plain-clothes agents posted outside both doors.  Needless to say, when we arrived at the restaurant we were greeted with a vast amount of dignity and respect.  I had a smile on my face the entire time we were there.  Bruce later told me that when he went to the men’s room he spoke to the manager and invited him to visit the palace in Manchuria if he was ever in the area.   

When we entered the restaurant and I told the maitre ‘d that we were the Ellsworth party he excused himself immediately and got the manager.  Other people standing in line undoubtedly wondered who we were to be treated with such dignity and respect. 

When I spoke with the owner I specifically requested that no publicity be generated.  I told him that the Crown Prince was traveling incognito, and that it was highly important from the standpoint of security that no one know he was coming.  The owner assured me that he would tell no one except his staff and that they would be sworn to secrecy., and that we could have as many plain-clothes security people as we needed. 

As we entered the restaurant Bruce acted with just the right amount of hauteur and dignity to carry it off. 

Bruce was always doing that sort of thing.  He had an extremely active imagination, and he could come up with a new “idea” faster than anyone I have ever met.

He was always pushing the limits, always testing and always enjoying it.

In all fairness I must say that Bruce never used his sense of humor to demean anyone or to put anyone down.  He didn’t mind playing a joke on someone (as per the above-mentioned restaurant scenario) as long as no one got their feelings hurt, or was hurt in any other way.

Bruce was always quite sensitive to everyone else’s feelings.

Bruce was a kind man unless he was fighting. 

After I had been practicing KF with BL for quite some time, a friend of his named Richard Leong came to S to visit him.  He said that he wanted me to meet Richard.  We met at my girl friends apartment in the University District.  Richard was slightly taller than Bruce, and he was slender, quite, reserved, and rather formal.  Bruce had previously told me that R was coming to visit and he told me something about him.  I got the distinct impression that B had a lot of respect for Richard’s skill as a fighter.  Although he was not afraid of Richard, he had a high degree of respect for him.  It was hard for me to imagine Bruce having that much respect for someone’s fighting ability or being impressed by someone else’s skill.   I got the impression that Richard was prepared to accept me as a friend (because of my relationship with Bruce) but that in general he did not like white guys.  I could understand this because of the British occupation of Hong Kong. 

After I had been practicing KF with BL for quite some time, a friend of his named Richard Leong came to S to visit him.  He said that he wanted me to meet Richard.  We met at my girl friends apartment in the University District.  Richard was slightly taller than Bruce, and he was slender, quite, reserved, and rather formal.  Bruce had previously told me that R was coming to visit and he told me something about him.  I got the distinct impression that B had a lot of respect for Richard’s skill as a fighter.  Although he was not afraid of Richard, he had a high degree of respect for him.  It was hard for me to imagine Bruce having that much respect for someone’s fighting ability or being impressed by someone else’s skill.   I got the impression that Richard was prepared to accept me as a friend (because of my relationship with Bruce) but that in general he did not like white guys.  I could understand this because of the British occupation of Hong Kong.

Regarding the above paragraph, when I get some time, I will write a description of a Gung Fu form that Richard showed us at Madison Park. 

His form was one of the most amazing forms that I have ever seen in my entire life. 

Are you still alive and well, Richard ???  If so, please send us a note via email, so we can get back in touch with you.  I often go to Hong Kong with my family, and we would love to get together with you – take you and your family to dinner – etc.  Also, you are more than welcome to stay here at Skip’s Beach Resort – of course as our guests.

Back to Bruce:   Bruce often told me, “It is one thing to know it, another thing to be able to do it, and quite another thing to be able to teach it.”

To a large extent, Bruce Lee’s greatest assets were his imagination and his drive.   He had an amazing ability to synthesize a new idea from two or three old ideas (that were seemingly unrelated). 

As someone who knew Bruce, I would say this about him.  If you needed to chose a partner to take on an almost insurmountable task, you could not beat him as a choice.  As an example, let me create a scenario for you:  1.  I am captured by the enemy  2.  The enemy wants to play a game with me.  2.  I am thrown outside in the middle of winter (in a blinding snow storm), and I am wearing only jeans and a “T” shirt.  3.  I am told that I only have a five minute head start before the enemy will send troops after me.   4.  I am told that the enemy will be well equipped, and they will guns.  5.  I am told that the enemy will kill me if they find me.   6.  Before the enemy throws me outside, I am told that I can choose one of my friends to come with me as a “partner” to help me escape.

Now you get the picture... My point is this.  Even if Bruce Lee did not know Gung Fu, he would still be the man I would choose as a partner in this survival exercise.  Of all the people I have ever known, Bruce would have been the one most likely to find a way to prevail.  He could be counted on as a survival partner.  He was innovative, intelligent, cunning, ruthless.  This assessment on my part does not even take his fighting skills into consideration.

By now, you might be wondering if I don’t have anything better to do with my life than to think up scenarios like the one above.  Well... I am just telling you about this so you will have some feeling for how Bruce’s close friends perceived him. 

Here is another scenario:  1.  I am shipwrecked on a small island in the middle of the South Pacific.  2.  There is no food or water – or any other supplies.  3.  There are a few trees, but I have no tools.  4.  I need to figure out a way to build a device for sailing to the mainland.  5.  I can choose any person on earth as a partner in this endeavor. 

Without any hesitation whatsoever, Bruce Lee would be the man I would choose to be partners with under the above described circumstances.

The point I am trying to make here is this;  Bruce Lee was remarkable to the “average” person, primarily because of his fighting ability.  However, in my opinion, he was equally remarkable because of his intelligence, his imagination, and his ability to synthesize new ideas (regarding any specific problem) from old ideas that were seemingly not even related to the problem.

Bruce would have been an amazing student from the standpoint of a formal education, if he found something that he was really interested in.  Fortunately for martial artists “everywhere”, Bruce was only interested in Gung Fu – and what he could do with it.  If it was not for this fact, it is quite possible that Bruce would have become a school teacher (psychology, sociology, philosophy, etc.), and Gung Fu would only have been a serious  “hobby” in his life.

In reflecting upon these types of things, it is important to realize that they occurred at a point in time when the average American had never heard of Karate, Gung Fu, etc.  In the American consciousness of the times, the average man-on-the-street had barely heard of Judo or Jiu Jitsu.  In the schoolyards, it was considered cowardly to “kick” while fighting.  Kicking someone when they were down was considered bad form.  Digging out your opponent’s eyes was considered to be downright un-American. 

In the past, when I was teaching my students how to build log homes, it was ironic that I rarely ever taught them anything that they don’t already know.  I simply took a bunch of things they already knew, and rearranged these things so they apply to the “new” field of endeavor.  For example, everyone knew how to drill a hole – drive a nail – put one thing down on top of another – dig a hole – etc.  Regarding Gung Fu, everyone knew that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line.  Everybody knew the importance of distance, speed, range, and power.  Everybody knew about the effects of gravity.  Everybody knew that something light is easier to move than something heavy.  Everybody knew about the effects of inertia.  Everybody knew that repetitive movement facilitates learning.  Everybody knew that a leg is generally stronger (and longer) than an arm.  Everybody knew about the effects of leverage.  Everybody knew that if you can dig out your opponent’s eyes before he can dig out your eyes then you will almost certainly win the fight.  In other words, when I was teaching people how to build log homes (or Gung Fu)  I simply took a bunch of these concepts (that my students generally already knew) and rearranged them in such a way that pertained to solving new problems in these new fields.  Again… I started to learn this concept from Bruce in 1959 – long before he ever devised his own unique approach to Gung Fu..

Regarding Bruce’s unique approach to teaching “ME” Gung Fu (e.g. I can not speak for others), I often try to use some of the same techniques.  For example, when teaching an important principal, I would often lead my students to the point of discovery -- but no further.  In other words, if I have done an effective job of teaching, I should be able to lead my students to the point where they can “discover” the truth on their own – by synthesizing a new “truth” from two or more old ones.  In this way, through their own personal discovery, they learn to be more innovative, more inventive, more fluid in their thoughts and reactions, and more confident.

When I had known Bruce for only a short time, he told me that he would soon show me a way to attack an opponent in such a way that I could prevail over MANY guys that I might need to fight on the street.  Frankly, I was somewhat skeptical when he told me this.  My skepticism was caused by the fact that I did not yet know Bruce very well.  Later on, I learned that I should never be skeptical no matter what Bruce told me.  A couple of weeks later, Bruce and I were practicing Gung Fu (and having dinner) at my mother’s house when I reminded him that he promised to teach me how to attack in a very effective way.  Therefore, he sat me down at the dining room table and explained the process to me.  By that time, Bruce realized that I needed to come to grips with a “theory” or a “principle” on an intellectual basis, if possible, before approaching it physically.  He explained that in the past, when he had only been practicing Wing Chun for a short time (and had not yet mastered a lot of the techniques) he was called upon to fight a more advanced student from another clan.  Bruce said that Yip Man called him aside a couple of weeks before the fight, and told him that when he was fighting his opponent he should rush forward with as much ferocity as he could call up from inside himself – and straight punch as hard and as fast as possible (alternating between left hand, right hand, left hand, etc.) – and always with the appropriate “weight-shift.”  He was told to hit with his palms -- aiming for his opponents nose – with his hands being held like a cat’s claw.  In other words his palms were striking forward with the fingers spread out and facing upward.  This meant that the fingers of each hand would be jabbing at his opponent’s eyes at the same time that the palms stuck the vicinity of his opponent’s nose.  Yip Man told Bruce to time the punches in such a way that one (or the other) of these claws was striking his opponents nose/eyes at all times.  He explained the obvious to me -- that each time he succeeded in landing a blow to his opponent’s face his opponent would be getting hit six times – once by each finger – once by the thumb – and once by the palm.  He explained that even if his palms missed his opponent’s nose, there was still an excellent possibility that his fingers or thumb would damage his opponent’s eyes.  He explained that only one or two of these blows would need to land successfully in order for him to win the fight.  He explained that if he attacked in that way fast enough – rushing forward with great ferocity and power, he could “almost” ignore what his opponent was doing -- especially if he felt that he could successfully withstand a one or two of his opponent’s blows.  He explained that the success of this attack would partly depend upon such things as how the straight punches were executed – speed – power – ferocity – and the effectiveness of the all important “weight-shift.”  After Bruce explained the entire process to me we spend the rest of the day practicing it – me attacking him – and him attacking me.

Bruce told me that if I practiced that particular attack until I got extremely good (and powerful) at it, it could be enough (by itself) to insure that I would be successful in winning many of the fights I got into on the streets.  In the context of 1959, when very few people on the street had any martial arts training, I soon learned that he was telling me the truth about this. 

Bruce later added to the effectively of my attack (as described above) by also showing me how to move instantaneously from a straight-punch “series” to a “double-fist.”  In other words, he showed me how to use the straight-punches to set up my opponent – and then incorporate a double-fist into the attack in a way that was smooth, natural, and instantaneous. 

The “double-fist” eventually proved to be one of my favorite tools, and I would use it whenever possible.  I would try to use the straight punches to move in and establish myself, and then when there was a clear shot I would do a double-fist.  If the double-fist connected solidly with my opponent then I would follow up with a second double-fist and that would generally finish it.

Bruce was always interested in helping his friends find solutions to their own specific problems involving martial arts.  He would “play off of” their questions and problems in order to stretch his own envelope, and expand his knowledge, and develop his own inventiveness. 

Bruce always wanted to get into the “psyche” of each of his students – so he could relate to how they thought and how they approached “problem solving.”  For example, if one of his students tended to be extremely and primarily physical then Bruce would concentrate on that aspect of teaching that student.  On the other hand, when he was dealing with someone like me (I would always want to “think” things to death, and I needed to take that approach when dealing with the learning process) he would readily adapt to the situation and do whatever was necessary to get the job done. 

On the other hand, if he thought a student was too physical in his approach then he would sometimes try to balance the student out by bringing in as many instructional techniques as possible from the other end of the spectrum. 

It is amusing to me now, but sometimes the same thing happened to me when I was trying to teach people how to build log homes.  Sometimes a big guy, with football player mentality would want to move the huge logs with his hands -- in a way that did not incorporate any bone-fide techniques.  At the other end of the spectrum, sometimes a “cerebral” guy, who has an approach to problem-solving that is primarily “mental,” would spend an hour or two just thinking about how he was going to move fifty logs.  Obviously, one of the above-mentioned students needed to be balanced out in one direction -- and the other needed to be balanced out in the other direction.  I learned from Bruce’s example that it is my job as a teacher to recognize these issues, and deal with them effectively.  Frankly, as simple as that concept might sound, I probably never would have “consciously” thought of that on my own. 

Through his example, Bruce taught me a great deal about teaching.  Every time I taught a class in log cabin building I used many teaching techniques that I learned from Bruce.  Not only did I use them, but I was also extremely conscious that I was doing so.  Sometimes when I was teaching it was almost like Bruce was by my side -- and under those circumstances whenever I asked myself what Bruce would do under any particular set of “teaching” circumstances, the answer suddenly became obvious to me and I proceed accordingly.  [Now you probably think I’m “nuts.”]
J

On these pages I do not feel that I should make any comments about Bruce’s specific “fighting techniques.”  There are several reasons for this – including the following:  

1.      A lot of things have already been written about Bruce’s fighting techniques. 

2.      Obviously, there are many other people who know MUCH more about Bruce’s later fighting techniques than I do.

3.  There seems to be a lot of controversy about Bruce’s later fighting techniques – regarding what they specifically consisted of – what his specific philosophy was – and what the specific essence of his approach to Gung Fu is really all about.  Unfortunately, I can not say anything that would help resolve these issues.  

4.   In my opinion, it would be contrary to Bruce’s philosophy if anyone professed to be teaching his specific fighting techniques – because this might be like taking a suit of clothes that was tailor made for Bruce Lee and trying to make it fit the Jolly Green Giant.

It would probably be difficult for most people to make a list of the most important specific things they learned from one of their best friends.  Likewise, it is difficult for me to list the specific things that I learned from Bruce. 

One of the most important things about teaching that I learned from Bruce was how to teach using analogy.  Bruce was one of the best people at using analogy that I have ever met in my life – and he used it constantly when teaching.  He could think of an analogy for almost any situation, and use it effectively as a teaching aid regarding that situation. 

Another thing that I learned from Bruce was to teach by leading people up to the “point of discovery” and then letting them discover the issue on their own – so they would learn how to “discover” – so they would always remember having discovered that issue on their own – and so they could get addicted to the “thrill of discovery.” 

Another thing I learned from Bruce is to use the “Nearest Neighbor Theory” when teaching.  I use this phenomenon a lot when I am teaching people how to build log homes – and I always give silent thanks to Bruce when I do so.   Bruce did not refer to the technique by its scientific name (which is “The Nearest Neighbor Theory”) but he used it a lot.  It is a difficult theory to explain, but I will use an analogy... as follows:  There are five boxes in a row.  You open box #1 and you find that it contains six apples.  You open box #2 and you find that it contains six apples.  You open box #3 and you find that it contains six apples.  Unfortunately, you can not reach box #4 – so you skip over it and go to box #5.  You open box #5 and you find that it contains six apples.  THEREFORE, by using one of the “tools-of-science” called The Nearest Neighbor Theory, you are relatively safe in at least “postulating” that box #4 contains six apples.  Even though this method can not always be relied upon to give a conclusive, foolproof, guaranteed answer, it is still a useful tool to pass on to someone when trying to teach them a relatively effective process of “problem solving.” 

In other words, regarding the Nearest Neighbor Theory, Bruce would often point out to me that if I knew what certain facets of Gung Fu were like, then I could more easily deduce what some of the related facets were like – even though I had never seen them or experienced them.  

Another principle of teaching that I learned from Bruce is this:  There are five boxes.  There is a “great truth” hiding in only one of them.  I open four of the boxes without finding the truth.  Now I know where the truth is located.  Of course, this is called the “process of elimination,”  and it is an excellent way to bring students up to the “point of discovery” (as discussed elsewhere above) -- so they can discover the truth on their own. 

Obviously, the process described above is not fool-proof.  However, it is an important tool for someone to have at their disposal if they are trying to teach people how to solve problems – and if they are trying to teach people to become better and better at it on their own. 

For the most part, Bruce was not a patient man.  He was not patient with himself, and he was not patient with other people.  He would work extremely hard to accomplish any goal that he set for himself, but he would not do so in a patient manner.  He pushed himself ruthlessly and relentlessly.  He didn’t have an off switch.  He was “on” all the time.

He hated to do only one thing at a time.

It is difficult to explain, but it seems to me that Bruce would always try to have more than one reason for doing something.  If he only had one reason to go into a scenario, he would try to generalize the situation in such a way that it would have broader meaning, a broader effect, further implications, and greater opportunity.  In other words, he would try to bring in as many facets to a situation as he possibly could.   Some of this related to the fact that he was very goal oriented and always wanted to accomplish as many things as possible in a short period of time.  He didn’t want to waste any time.  Time was very valuable to him, because there were so many things that he wanted to accomplish with it.  Another reason was that he became bored very easily.  He was extremely intelligent and imaginative, and he needed to keep those aspects of himself working continuously. He felt driven to keep those things working at all times. 

For example, even when we were driving somewhere in the car, he could not just sit there in the car and carry on a normal conversation.  Instead, he would feel the need to squeeze a hard rubber ball in each hand to develop strength – or he would be practicing hand movements – or he would be working on theories of Gung Fu – or he would be doing all of the above and asking for more.

Another very remarkable thing bout Bruce was his uncanny ability to “anticipate.”  He was able to anticipate someone’s movements better than anyone I have ever known.  He tried to encourage me to develop my ability to anticipate, and he had several ways of teaching this – which I now try to use when teaching my own students how to build log homes (more on this later). 

Bruce Lee was an absolute showman.  Barnum and Bailey could have taken lessons from this guy.  He loved to show off and be the center of attention.  The term “showing off” must be described here in more detail, so there will be no misunderstanding about it.  He would not show off in a way that would be offensive.  He would do it in a way that I will try to describe here using analogy.  I will make a sincere effort to describe this “showmanship” aspect of Bruce’s personality, because so people say (very erroneously) that he was an ego maniac in this regard.  Actually, this was not the case at all.

There were certain things that he could do extremely well.  He was proud of the fact that he could do these things, and he liked to share this with other people.  It was, to some extent, his “gift” to whoever was watching or listening.  It was a manifestation of his “total enthusiasm” for the art – for what he had accomplished with the art.  It was a performance. 

For example, on several occasions Bruce went to fraternity parties with me at my fraternity house.  I belonged to Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity.  At that time, my fraternity house was a large white three-story mansion, with large columns in front, and it was located on the east side of 19th Ave. – approximately ½ block north of 45th.  The fraternity has since moved to a different location.  The Chapter recently purchased a large brick mansion, located at the northeast corner of 47th and 17th.  At the parties, Bruce would take great delight in doing one-finger push ups in the middle of the dance floor.  He would take great delight in having people take turns trying to hit him.  He would take great delight in teaching people how to do the cha-cha.

My girl friend at the time was very nice girl named Judy Anderson.  When I first met Judy I was more or less a “street-punk,” who had no discernable future.  No one (including me) thought that I would ever finish my high school courses – not to mention graduate from a University.  Largely through Judy’s influence, I decided to go to college.  I took a test and was accepted on a “High School Deficiency.”  Amusingly, this meant that I could attend the University, but they would not graduate me until I finished my High School requirements.  Judy was responsible for me eventually ending up at the University of Washington, and belonging to a fraternity.  She was a member of Alpha Chi Omega sorority, and we went to many dances together.  Bruce taught Judy and I, how to do the cha-cha – and they always told us that we looked like a couple of PRO-fessionals.

Whenever Bruce was showing people what he could do, I got the feeling that he was intentionally trying to be an inspiration to those around him.  At least the inspiration factor was at least “one” of the (perhaps many) things he was trying to accomplish.  By his actions, I sometimes felt that he was saying, “You could be this good at doing something too (in your own way), if you would just get off your ass and work at it.”  I got the feeling that he might even be saying, “Obviously, I am proud of the accomplishments that I am demonstrating for you.  You could be this proud of your own accomplishments (whatever they happen to be) if you worked hard enough to accomplish something like this.”

It is sometime said that I was the gentleman Jim of the group.  I think I got this reputation for the following reasons:   1.  Being “polite” was always very important to me.   2.  I generally dressed well. 3.  I was always quiet and soft spoken.  4.  I was an actor.  Even though I was brought up on an Indian Reservation, and had no education, if I saw someone on TV who was refined, educated, and from an upper class family, it would only take me 30 seconds to learn the entire rol

Regarding the “Gentleman Jim” thing... my reason for bringing this up is as follows:

Bruce told me he felt that the Chinese lady he worked for was “racially prejudiced.”  Bruce told me on many occasions that she did not want him to associate with bad people.  She wanted him to associate with people who were “upwardly mobile” in the socio-economic sense (good, Chinese boys or white boys who were obviously going to get an education and make something of themselves). 

On more than one occasion, when some of us would meet at the restaurant to pick up  Bruce (to practice or to just “hang out”) the other guys would wait until I arrived -- so I could be the one to knock on the back door of the kitchen and ask for Bruce  Some of the guys told me that the lady had been rude to them when they knocked on the door and asked if Bruce was home.  They told me that she would just say “no” and slam the door – even though the guys knew Bruce was upstairs in his room.   On the other hand, whenever I knocked on the door, the lady would invite me inside and actually be very nice to me.   Bruce said that she liked me because I was white, polite, well mannered, spoke well, and dressed well.  On more than one occasion, the other guys would wait where they could not be seen while I went to the door, knocked on it, and asked if Bruce was there.   For me, the answer was always “yes.”  For the other guys, apparently the answer was sometimes “no” -- whether he was really there or not.   As for me, I am only going by what I was told. 

Ironically, Ruby Chow would always welcome me and was actually quite nice to me.  She invited me inside the kitchen enough times so that the employees did the same thing even when she was not around.  None of the other kitchen workers spoke English, at least in such a way that I could understand them (especially with the kitchen noise) – but they were always very friendly towards me.  Sometimes I would wait in the kitchen while Bruce finished washing dishes and cleaning up.  Sometimes I would even help him wash the dishes.  The other kitchen workers seemed to be amused by seeing a white kid washing dishes in a Chinese restaurant but they were always very friendly.  Sometimes Bruce would prepare plates of food for us, from whatever was “extra” in the kitchen at the time.  The food was always excellent.  

Bruce even learned a few recipes, and he shared some of them with me.   One of my favorite recipes in the world is one that I got from Bruce.  He cooked it for us at my mom’s house once (in 1961 ???), and it has been one of my favorites ever since.   I cook this almost every time my kids come to my house for dinner – and they never complain.  For the lack of anything else to call it, we have always called it “Bruce Lee Chicken.”  It goes like this:

Place chicken thighs (skin-side-down) in a frying pan that contains 1/8” of water.

Pour “light” soy sauce over the chicken – to a total depth (water and soy sauce) of 1/4” in the pan.

Sprinkle LARGE amounts of garlic powder (more...  still more...) over each piece of chicken.

Put a glass cover on the frying pan, so you can see what’s going on.

Simmer on low until done -- at least one (+) hour.

Things to consider:

1.      On a low simmer, the chicken will probably be done in one hour.  However, it can continue to cook for three or four hours – which makes it especially good for entertaining guests.  It can stay “ready to serve” for a long time without being ruined.  Small amounts of water can be added if necessary.

2.      I generally turn the chicken approximately 20 minutes
      prior to serving.

3.      After the chicken is cooked I sometimes take the cover off the frying pan and let the juice thicken as the moisture cooks away.  In the extreme, the results in carmelization of the juices – which some people really like.

4.      I often serve this chicken with baked potatoes.  Sometimes I put the whole potatoes (with skins) in the frying pan with the chicken, so they are both ready to eat at the same time. 

5.      For those who aren’t very particular, the juice also works as gravy.  Otherwise, I use butter or sour cream on the potato.

The total preparation time for the above dish (not counting the time it cooks, or the time it stays on the stove) is approximately 3 minutes. 

This chicken, with a salad, makes an excellent lunch or dinner.

Thanks, Bruce.

Regarding Bruce’s ability to fight, I would say this:

1.      If Bruce actually hit someone in a fight, then the fight would be over.

2.      Bruce could hit anyone at will.

3.      Bruce could stand 4’ away from an opponent and move forward with such speed that he could take out his opponents eyes at will.  He could do this repeatedly.  If he missed on the first strike, it wouldn’t matter, because he certainly would not miss on the second strike.

Because of the above facts, Bruce was essentially invincible in any real combat situation.

In my opinion, if Bruce was engaged in a fight that involved “rules” then there might be people alive today that could beat him.  However, it is important to realize that in Bruce’s approach to Gung Fu were no rules. 

Correction... there was one rule – WIN !!!

As far as Bruce Lee was concerned, failure to win was never an option. 

This same philosophy also related to everything that I ever saw Bruce do in his life. 

Bruce Lee was an “intense” man.  He was wound up tight and ready to go at all times.  In fact, he was wound up tighter than anyone I have ever met.  His energy had a hair trigger, and he could release it at the speed of thought. 

As far as Bruce’s speed is concerned, I don’t think that a robber standing 5’ away from Bruce (with a pistol or a revolver pointed directly at Bruce) would have chance.  Of course, if the robber’s intent was to shoot Bruce first, and then take the money, then he might be successful.  However, if the robber’s intent was to get the money without shooting, and then make an escape, he wouldn’t have a chance.

If you are fighting someone who’s hands and feet move so fast that you can hardly see them, then it is almost impossible for you to win.

Bruce’s power was absolutely explosive.  In my opinion, his hands moved with the speed of thought.  He could think his hands somewhere and they would be their.  It was almost impossible to see them move when they went from one place to the next.  They were just suddenly there – as if by magic. 

It is incomprehensible to me that the Chinese people throughout the world have not yet gotten together – taken up a collection – and built for Bruce Lee the largest and best monument that the world has ever seen. 

It is fitting that they should do so – and do so immediately.

In my opinion, a monument to Bruce Lee is something that Chinese people everywhere (Hong Kong, Taiwan, mainland China, and elsewhere throughout the entire world) should UNITE for – and they should do it NOW.

There isn’t a Chinese person anywhere in the world that wouldn’t contribute money towards a monument to Bruce.  If each Chinese person in the world only contributed one dollar – can you imagine the size of the monument that this could pay for ???

If I was the “manager” of Hong Kong I would strike first, and build the monument in Hong Kong before someone does it in Seattle (where he is buried).   The monument would do more for the tourist industry of Hong Kong than any other single thing they could do.   Hong Kong would become a “Mecca” for Bruce Lee fans from throughout the world. 

Even if Hong Kong were to pay for the monument -- twenty or thirty million dollars spent on such a monument would “come back” to Hong Kong in the first year that it was in existence – by way of tourist dollars.

Obviously, someone is going to build such a monument in the near future.

Bruce Lee was extremely confident in all of his moves.   He was a combination of ballet dancer, fencer, boxer, gymnast, and world-class athlete. 

If a big man, with large hands, is still fast with his hands, it only means that he would be even faster if his hands were smaller.

As far as Bruce was concerned, Gung Fu was not “work” at all.  Even the drudgery of “practice, practice, practice” was not work for him.  He loved it.  He would rather do Gung Fu than anything. He was consumed by the desire to do it.  He wasn’t really happy doing anything else.  He challenged himself to become the best – and failure was not an option.

I am obviously not a movie critic, so I can not make any comments about Bruce’s acting ability.  However, in my opinion, Bruce never “acted”in a movie in his entire life.  All he did was play “himself.” 

Bruce was not an actor any more than John Wayne was an actor.   I have read many accounts explaining that John Wayne never acted a day in his life.  All he did was to “be John Wayne” while the cameras were rolling.  He did an excellent job of playing himself, and that was enough to do the job – because that is what people loved about him. 

Another example comes to mind:  When they filmed the TV Series called Northern Exposure at my home I had many occasions to see Barry Corbin (a well known movie actor) at work. Because they filmed at my home on many different occasions I had an opportunity to get to know Barry quite well.  He is a really great guy, and a “good old boy” at heart.  It became obvious that he wasn’t “acting” in those films – he was just being Barry Corbin, and it worked very well for him. 

In other words, the idea that Bruce Lee was “only” a movie actor (and not a fighter) is preposterous -- and I think that any serious movie critic would agree.  If Bruce was primarily “anything” he was a fighter, a thinker, and a philosopher.

In business management they have a saying; “If you want to get something done immediately then give it to your busiest man.”  In other words, your busiest man won’t have a lot of time to waste and he will want to get the job done right away so he can get on to the next job.  He will not allow the job to expand to fill the amount of time that he has to do it – because he doesn’t have any extra time.  To some extent, the above saying reminds me of Bruce.  He was so busy learning, analyzing, synthesizing, searching for “affectivity”, that he didn’t have any time for BS.  He didn’t have any time to waste on techniques that didn’t live up to his expectations.   If you wanted to get to the “facts” as quickly as possible regarding a theory of combat, Bruce was the man to approach with the theory. 

Bruce could break things down to the “essentials” faster than anyone I have ever known. He could take an extremely complicated set of circumstances, reach into it, find the heart of the issue, pull it out and examine it, faster than anyone I have ever seen. 

I believe that even when I first met Bruce in 1959 he was looking for a way to develop an “intuition”, regarding what to do under any given circumstances in a combat situation – and that this search is what lead him away from the traditional approach (forms, etc.).  On the other hand, I think he realized that his involvement with the classic techniques (Wing Chun, etc.) gave him the foundation that he needed – and made his goal that much easier and faster to reach.   

Frankly, the only thing I don’t really know about Bruce’s fighting capabilities is how well he could take a punch.  However, having seen him fight, I realize that the possibility of him ever getting hit is so unlikely that it makes me laugh out loud. I have a smile on my face now, as I am typing this.

The thought of anyone being good enough or fast enough to ever hit Bruce Lee is preposterous to the point of being laughable. 

One time, as I was discussing Bruce Lee’s speed with a friend of mine (a good fighter) my friend expressed some skepticism that anyone could be as fast as my description of Bruce.  Partly as a result of my friend’s skepticism, I arranged for my friend to meet Bruce, as though “by accident.  When we were together at my girl friend’s house I purposefully steered the conversation towards Bruce’s speed, how fast he could “close the distance” between himself and an opponent – and dig out the opponent’s eyes.  At my urging, Bruce agreed to demonstrate his speed for my friend.  Both men stood facing each other in the middle of Judy’s living room,  spaced approximately four feet apart.  I stood approximately eight feet away, holding a taped roll of dimes behind my back.  When they heard the roll of dimes hit the floor, Bruce was to make his move, and my friend was supposed to block it.  When the coins hit the floor, Bruce moved so quickly that he was a blur.  His right hand made a “popping” noise as it snapped to my friends eyes and back.  My friend’s hands didn’t even get above his waist before the whole thing was over.  Bruce stood there in front of my friend – obviously ready and able to do the same thing again, and again, and again...  My friend was obviously impressed beyond words, but he tried to act nonchalant about it.  He backed up immediately, and he immediately changed the subject rather than to continue the discussion of  “speed” and run the risk of having to do the experiment a second time.  However, later on, after Bruce left, my friend allowed himself to get excited about what Bruce did.  He said, “Man, his fingers touched my eye-lashes -- I couldn’t even see his hands move – there was nothing I could do – he could have done that twenty times in a row and I still couldn’t have stopped him from getting my eyes – etc.”  It was amusing to me that my friend didn’t want Bruce to know how impressed he was, and he really tried to hide it from Bruce – in spite of the fact that he got so excited about it after Bruce left.  I don’t really know what that was all about.  Maybe he just didn’t want to give Bruce the satisfaction of knowing how impressed he was. 

To Bruce Lee, the above situation was nothing, and he probably forgot about it within two minutes.  However, it is obvious that my friend will talk about that moment for the rest of his life.  I’ll bet he talks about it every time he goes to a party – or makes a new friend.  To an extent, Bruce’s entire life was like that...  People were always justifiably amazed by some of the things Bruce could do – however, to Bruce it was “nothing.”  Or perhaps it would be more correct to say that Bruce just felt it was “all in a day’s work.”

Bruce Lee was a gentleman of the first order – especially to old people, women, and children.  For example, he would always help women with their chairs when they were sitting down for dinner, he would help them with their coats, he would open doors for them, etc.

One of the most amazing things about Bruce was his self confidence.  The possibility that he could ever fail at something was beyond his comprehension.  As far as he was concerned, if he tried, then he succeeded.  If he fought, he won.  Anything else was unthinkable and unimaginable. 

Bruce had boundless amounts of energy.  Energy without limit.  Energy that just went on forever.  This vast reservoir of energy was reflected in almost everything he did.  It was obvious in the way he walked – in the spring of his step – in the way he moved – in his perceptive awareness – in his alertness.

It is said that Mohammed Ali “Floated like a butterfly, and stung like a bee.”  In analogy, I would say that Bruce Lee floated like a humming-bird, and hit like a speeding Mac truck.”

When Bruce was washing dished at Ruby Chow’s, he didn’t feel good about himself, and he didn’t feel good about his social standing in life.  I am sure that this helped motivate him (perhaps “drive him” would be more accurate) to succeed

MORE OF THESE DISCONNECTED RECOLLECTIONS OF A FEEBLE-MINDED DODDERING OLD MAN (THAT'S ME) WILL BE ADDED SOON.

AGAIN… IF YOU DISAGREE WITH ANY OF THE STUFF THAT I HAVE INCLUDED HERE, THEN I HEREBY AGREE THAT YOU ARE TOTALLY RIGHT AND I AM TOTALLY WRONG.

IF YOU WANT TO ARGUE ABOUT IT, THEN I WILL SIMPLY REFER YOU TO MY EX-WIFE (WHO SPECIALIZES IN ARGUING ABOUT EVERYTHING AND ANYTHING, INCLUDING EITHER SIDE OF ANY ISSUE) AND WISH YOU LUCK. 

J

OUR THOUGHTS FOR THE DAY ARE AS FOLLOWS:

"The kind of truth that makes men free is for the most part the kind of truth which men prefer not to hear.”
Herbert Sebastien Agar

"The worst forms of tyranny are not those we recognize and fight against but those that so infiltrate themselves into the imagery of our consciousness, and the fabric of our lives, as not to be perceived as tyranny":
Michael Parenti

"Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it."
Thomas Jefferson to John Jay, 1786.

Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe."
Thomas Jefferson to Charles Yancey, 1816. ME 14:384

"In the absence of the gold standard [e.g. paper money that is backed by gold], there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation... Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the 'hidden' confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process."
Alan Greenspan

"Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them. There is almost no kind of outrage, torture, imprisonment without trial, assassination, and bombing of civilians, which does not change its moral color when it is committed by our side. The nationalist not only approves of atrocities that are committed by his own side, but he also has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them."
George Orwell

"We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the Courts -- not to overthrow the Constitution, but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution."
Abraham Lincoln

"It is also in the interests of a tyrant to keep his people poor, so that they may not be able to afford the cost of protecting themselves by arms and be so occupied with their daily tasks that they have no time for rebellion."
Aristotle regarding Politics, J. Sinclair translation, pg. 226, 1962

"Our government is a government by the corporations, for the corporations." 
Rutherford B. Hayes 19th President of the USA.

"Corporation, n. An ingenious device for obtaining individual profit without individual responsibility.'' 
Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

"Of all forms of tyranny the least attractive and the most vulgar is the tyranny of mere wealth, the tyranny of plutocracy" 
John Pierpont Morgan (one of Skip's Fraternity Brothers, and one of the masterminds behind the American Federal Reserve System).

 

Part two

Part three

Part four