I started martial arts in 1973 when I was 12 years old, I started with Jiu-Jitsu at the local gym under a fourth degree black belt who was extremely good in it. At that time the world of martial arts was revolutionized by the famous of Bruce Lee and there was an influx of students into the local martial arts clubs all around the globe. Everyone was amazed by the moves of the great master and was wondering what exactly that he was doing. In those days Jeet Kune Do was only a far from home concept, but every month you could find some articles of Bruce’s JKD in several Martial Arts magazines and also the upcoming of American kickboxing didn’t go unnoticed. My training interrupted when I went to the army and became a paratrooper in the Belgian army in 1979. A few years later I restarted and trained in Jiu-Jitsu for my first degree black belt.
While being in the army I started English boxing and Kickboxing for personnel reasons and because I felt Jiu-Jitsu for myself was rather limited. After that I started my own martial arts gym in 1993, where we trained in Free Fight or MMA, which includes Kickboxing, grappling techniques, take downs and ground fighting. The first real contact with Jeet Kune Do was when I met Dan Inosanto in Paris, the capital of France in 1996 and I began for several years JKD concepts and Kali in the group of Salem Assli who was an instructor under Dan Inosanto. In fact that was the start of my JKD training, of course I trained already JKD concepts as far as I could learn something from books and other stuff like videotapes and dvd’s.
Some years later the Bruce Lee Educational Foundation came to Europe, the Netherlands in 2001 and a lot of Bruce Lee’s original students were present at the seminar. That’s where I met my original JKD mentor Tim Tackett for the first time together with Bob Bremer. The friendship between these two guys was so great that you could feel it in the air, as a mater of speaking, yes they knew each other for a very long time and were strongly connected. Since that day I’d got a whole different picture on what original JKD really was and still is, I saw and experienced details on a totally different and higher level.
After several sessions with Tim Tackett I was privileged to became a member of the Wednesday Night Group and he allowed me officially to use the name Jeet Kune Do for my school in Belgium. By Tim I had the opportunity to meet Bob and his wife Sharon again in 2008 at his home in California. Ever since that day I teach JKD to my students and all members are motivated to train on the highly sophisticated techniques, after all it is like Tim says, JKD is simple but difficult to learn. Members often spend hours of training on just one single technique, satisfaction is even greater when they can master it and feel the effectiveness of it.
For myself Jeet Kune Do is a pad to self knowledge, and most important of JKD are the hard core basics from where self expression starts already. The path to self knowledge is extremely important for development of drills and exercises by all JKD followers and instructors. For all that the expression, hack away the unessential and add what is actually your own should be constantly in our minds. Since a few years I’m a Full Instructor under the Wednesday Night Group for which I’m very grateful, not only for the recognition but also and in the first place for the brotherhood and the friendship that we have when we meet again and train together. It was Tim and Bob who laid the foundation for the Wednesday Night Group and build on it until today. Official Instructors as well as Affiliated Instructors and students of the group support each other like it was a real family business, in that case the WNG is unique in his kind and all that in my opinion is thanks to Tim, our main mentor in original JKD and for some of us even something like a second father.
For the whole WNG family, our mentor Tim and in the spirit of Jeet Kune Do, let’s walk on.
"Jeet Kune Do is freedom and self expression"
- Hans De Burchgraeve