Monday, January 20, 2014

Bruce Lee

The impact Bruce Lee had on my life is somewhat tangential to events.

I first heard of him in University while he was co-starring on the ‘Green Hornet. The Speech Department had a Graduate Student who had studied with him at the University of Seattle, and he showed us some of his training. This was prior to my having martial interests.

Then on my 2nd date with Maureen we went to the drive in at Rehoboth Beach and “Enter the Dragon” was playing. Later that year we married. Yes, this was after Bruce’s death. The next year I started studying Isshinryu. Whenever a new kung fu movie opened it did bring in new students, though this was not my motivation. Kung Fu was sweeping the country as an interest. Even my instructors remarked on this.
I read much about him, remember some programs making claims they were teaching his art (always false). And tried to determine if there was any relevance to my own Isshinryu studies (I found none for myself). The one thing that stuck with me was the size of his personal library. It seems he studied everything that could even remotely affect his practice.

I guess I sort of did the same. In my early years there was little published. Yes, there were the magazines, which the best that could be said in those days served the special interest groups of the publishers interests (Money or National Interests), the author’s interests, and special groups who pushed hardest. It became a hunt to garner books of interest. A few stores (new and used book stores, a (very few martial arts book stores, and sometimes friends). But over 40 years the collection grows.

Many of my books now are ones I seldom look at. I’ve destroyed my thousands of magazines (finally ran out of space and I no longer looked at them). This was before Ebay. And even tossed ½ of my books (how many Bruce Tenger books does one need after all?).

Still it gave perspective to what I thought and learned. Much was less worth, but there are kernels of sound martial knowledge at times. These days I’m most interested in the books published in Japan in the 20’s and 30’s, But there are gems everywhere, and a lot of less relevant books, too.

Some of this began with Bruce, and how not could I not have a Bruce Lee post!

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