While in the U.S.A.F., my family and I were stationed in Taiwan for almost three years. While I was there I studied Kuo Shu [Kung-Fu]. My wife was working as a teacher in the Taipei American School during the day and I was working in the evening at the Shu Lin Kuo Air Force Station. Since I had my days free I was looking for something to occupy my time. One of my friends recommended that I take up martial arts. I ended up learning six hours a day for six days a week. While in Taiwan I learned two types of Hsing-i, Tai Chi, Northern and Southern Shaolin, White Crane, and Monkey boxing. After my discharge from the air force, I continued work on my college degree. Since I had a wife and two children to support, I opened up a full time Kung Fu school in Redlands, California while starting as a junior at the University of California, Riverside campus in 1966.
In 1967 I saw Bruce Lee demonstrate JKD at Ed Parker’s tournament in Long Beach, Ca and wanted to start studying with him right on the spot, but I soon realized that I would not have enough time until after I finished college. In 1968, I started a Master of Fine Arts program at UCR and no longer had time to teach martial arts full time. So I closed down my school and rented a hall in Redlands two nights a week where I taught what I called Chinese karate as hardly anyone had heard of kung fu let alone Kuo Shu.
In 1970 I received my M.F.A. and started teaching drama in high school. Soon after this my first student, Bob Chapman, and I, on the recommendation of Dan Lee, sought out Dan Inosanto. Dan who had opened up a backyard Jeet Kune Do school after Bruce Lee had closed his L.A. Chinatown school shortly before moving to Hong Kong to star in The Big Boss. We both felt privileged to be accepted in Dan Inosanto’s backyard class. The class consisted of about 10 students. I got to meet for the first time such JKD luminaries as; Bob Bremer, Dan Lee, Richard Bustillo, Jerry Poteet, and Pete Jacobs. Later Chris Kent, Ted Lucay Lucay, and Jeff Imada joined a second class.
In 1973, Dan Inosanto honored me with the rank of Senior First and I was given permission to have a small Jeet Kune Do group. In Dan’s backyard school it was always stressed that JKD was something special. There were certain techniques that Bruce Lee did not want given out outside of what we all felt were a small and special group. Dan told us that Bruce said, "If knowledge is power then why pass it out indiscriminately."
After Bruce’s untimely passing, Dan opened up, with Richard Bustillo, the Filipino Kali Academy to promote Filipino martial arts as well as JKD. Since Dan made a promise to Bruce not to teach JKD publicly, he created a curriculum with four phases of Jun Fan Gung Fu which is what Bruce called his art before he named it Jeet Kune Do. His backyard Jeet Kune Do became a closed private class at the Kali Academy.
At the same time I was teaching the principles of JKD and using them as tools to examine the martial arts I had learned up until that time. I found that much of what I had been teaching was not very efficient. For my own personal experience I kept some hsing-I and all of my tai chi for myself, but I had no desire to teach anything but Jeet Kune Do. Since I didn’t want to teach JKD openly I closed the school and moved the senior group to my garage where we’ve been ever since.
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