Richard Lee and Bok Fu

Discussion in 'Kenpo / Kempo - General' started by thesensei, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. thesensei

    thesensei Green Belt

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    Recently I have been training with a Kenpoist who does Bok Fu from Richard Lee. I haven't been able to find much on it, and I'm just wondering what you all know about it? From what I can tell, Richard Lee is a 10th? degree under Al Tracy, and has formulated "Bok Fu" from Kenpo/CMA/TKD/... Anyone have more detailed knowledge about him?

    Salute
     
  2. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    I believe Bok Fu is a Tracys derived system, but I don't know much about them. Check Tracys website, they list everyone who has rank registered with them. Personally, I doubt this guy is 10th degree, at least not issued by Tracys.
     
  3. thesensei

    thesensei Green Belt

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    Well, I thought about checking tracy's right after I posted - and he is! One of three - Al Tracy, Ray Arquilla, and Richard Lee...interesting - I'd never heard of him before! Yes, from what I gather, it seems to be Tracy derived, but the fellow i'm working with claims quite exotic Chinese origins...but I want people who know from outside his system - loyalty makes you not check up on your history as critically!
     
  4. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    well, what do ya know. It's been a while since I've poked around on Tracys website. So there it is.

    I have met a couple people who have trained Bok Fu. They seemed to like it but I don't have any direct experience to comment further than that.

    How much of the curriculum remains identical to Tracys and how much has been changed is something that I do not know.
     
  5. Sigung LaBounty

    Sigung LaBounty White Belt

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    To add a short historical note to the discussion: Richard Lee Couvelier, was an original student of the Tracy's San Jose school in the sixties. I know because I helped open that school when I was with Al and Jim.
    Later on, I was competing in the Calif. State Championships and we met again, where upon he invited me to his school in Castro Valley.
    My school in Fresno was failing and I had begun training with the SGM in Pasadena, so Richard bought my school and I was removed as head instructor. I was so into the physical and martial part of Kenpo so truth be known, I was a lousy businessman, therefore no harm no foul.
    His system is Tracy's origin, but he has added some Chinese influences to it. He also developed a team of fighters and took them to China to compete where they did pretty well. These were full contact (or as close as it could be then) and his team was a bit larger and more in tune, from what I hear.
    I trained a few of his Black Belts in those years who were pretty good and who went on to open their own clubs.
    For the most part they all are still doing Tracy's as far as I know, and oddly enough I ran into Couvelier at an event where we had a very nice talk.
    If you want "more of the story" you'll have to buy me lunch... and not a cheap one either!
    Sketchy I know, but maybe a bit more light on the "Bok Fu", which is the name that replaced "Kenpo" but the techniques did not for the most part.
    In spirit,
    S. LaBounty

    _____________________________________________________________


    What's the hurry? There is no finish line!!
     
  6. Flying Crane

    Flying Crane Sr. Grandmaster

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    Thank you for that informative post.
     
  7. thesensei

    thesensei Green Belt

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    Thank you sir! That is precisely the type of information I was looking for. If it's so similar to Tracy's, why the name change? What I've seen so far of it - well, it looks like Kenpo to me!

    Salute,
    JB
     
  8. KENPOJOE

    KENPOJOE Brown Belt

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    Hi folks!
    I first met Richard Lee at "The gathering of the eagles" in Las Vegas. His style is indeed a combination of Tracy's Kenpo and the Chinese Martial Arts. He had his students do a demonstration where they demonstrated kung fu/kuoshu empty hand and weapon sets. If you get to see his website,he has one of the most beautiful studios I've ever seen!
    BTW, don't confuse his studios [that use a letter "L" surrounded by a dragon [based on the tracy "T" w/dragon] with the "West Wind-Bok Fu" studios in California. Many style are now adding the "white Tiger" motif to their styles, but the only one i've seen that can be listed as a "traditional" White Tiger style is Wai Fung Doo's Bak Fu Pai.
    I hope that I was of some service,
    KENPOJOE
     
  9. gsteinusa

    gsteinusa White Belt

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    Hi all, a bit more information…

    BokFuDo, as taught at Richard Lee's East West school in Alamo, CA, does have origins in Tracy's Kenpo as mentioned in other posts here, but that only represents a part of what this system is all about. BokFuDo also derives from Shotokan Karate, Ju-Jitsu, TKD and Kung Fu. BokFuDo incorporates many more kicking techniques than other kenpo styles. There's also a lot of content from various styles of Kung Fu, especially as you move up to the upper ranks.

    This school has produced some exceptional black-belts over the years, and starting with the world tournament in China in 1975 has competed on an international level regularly, performing very well indeed.

    I'm one of the instructors at the Alamo school. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me directly.

    Regards,
    Gene Stein

     
  10. gsteinusa

    gsteinusa White Belt

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    Hi all,

    This is kind of going to revive an older topic, but I've see a lot of either negative or at best neutral comments about Bok-Fu-Do and/or Grandmaster Richard Lee, and I just want to set the record straight.

    Just to be clear so you know where this is comming from, I'm one of the instructors at the East-West School in Alamo, CA.

    First, West-Wind, have a very limited connection to East-West, and is not at all affiliated with our school. West Wind and some other schools that teach a Bok-Fu-Do like system were started by people whom at one time or another studied at East-West, and then decided to go into business for themselves and start their own school. Richard Lee's East-West Kung-Fu (Bok-Fu-Do) school in Alamo, CA is not associated with any of these other schools in any way, except for 1: KO Kung Fu in San Jose, CA. KO Kung Fu is owned by Master John Ozuna, one of Grandmaster Lee's blackbelts.

    Now, on Grandmaster Richard Lee's behalf, I'll post a summary of his bio. below to hopefully clarify our schools lineage and shed some more light on where Bok-Fu-Do comes from.

    Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact me directly.
    -----------------------

    GRAND MASTER RICHARD LEE and THE BOK FU DO SYSTEM



    Grand Master Richard Lee remains largely under the radar in martial arts in the United States. But outside the US, you might find his name is synonymous with Chinese Martial Arts in America. In fact, in some circles, he is simply referred to as ‘the American.’ He became widely known in the Orient in the early 1970’s when a Chinese magazine called ‘New Martial Arts Heroes with Bruce Lee on the cover, featured a four page spread featuring the American Lee along with Suai Jaio (Chinese Grappling) King Shang, Bong-Shen and Qi Gon Master Liu, Mu-Shen.

    Lee started his training in boxing in 1946. Seven years later, in 1953, he started his training in oriental martial arts. So needless to say, he had a strong background in Martial Arts before his first trip to the Republic of China in 1972. During his stay, he was informed of plans for the government of the Republic of China to host the first ever world (Kuoshu) Kung Fu championships to e held in 1975. There were 52 countries invited, 36 showed up, and Lee was the coach of the United States team, which placed first in the foreign team division. There were stories stating that when China put out the call for the very best in Chinese Martial Arts to gather in the Republic of China, Richard Lee from the United States responded.

    CREDITS
    • Coach for the United States World Kuoshu King Fu Championships
      • 1975 1st World Kuoshu Tournament, Republic of China
      • 1992, 7th World Kuoshu Tournament, Republic of China
      • 1996, 8th World Kuoshu Tournament, Republic of China
    • Tenth degree black belt in Chinese Kenpo, presented by Grand Master Al Tracy, 1994.
    • Eighth degree black sash, Chinese Kuoshu Federation, Republic of China, 2001.
    • Tenth degree black sash from the World Kuoshu Federation, 2003.
    • Inducted into the prestigious Chinese Kuoshu Hall of Fame, 2001.
    • Founder and Grand Master of the Bok Fu Do System and East West Kung Fu.
    • Vice-President of the World Kuoshu Federation.
    • Senior Vice-President – U.S.C.K.F.
    • ‘Inside King Fu’ Magazine Hall of Fame Instructor of the Year, 2005.
     
  11. arnisador

    arnisador Sr. Grandmaster

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  12. autodoson

    autodoson White Belt

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    concerning the individual who trained with the martial artist that practices kenpo and also richard lee's bok fu. I can personally attest to the fact that this bok fu does contain kenpo techniques.

    I studied in 1992 at the Karate Kung Fu school in sunnyvale, ca. I have my certificates to prove this.

    I currently reside in Fernley Nevada located 30 miles east of Reno, Nevada. I would surely like to be contacted by anyone who can steer to a bok fu inclined school/

    as for the positive results of the techniques i learned from the teachers during the year i trained i must state i been very satisfied. while in training in the system and after becoming proficient; each level attained is reflected in various ways. mentally, physically, and spiritually.

    So to the concerned individual, Mr. Salute, you are a pretty lucky person.

    Autodoson
     
  13. kenpotopher

    kenpotopher White Belt

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    Some of the history seems a little off. From what I remember the Kenpo family tree started with James Mitose and went down the line from him to William Chow, to Ed Parker and Adriano Emperado and so on. At that point I believe, that Richard Couvelier/Lee studied from Al and his brother Jim Tracy while they were studying from Ed Parker. Just keep in mind that there continues to be a great deal of debate regarding who learned what from who, who signed whose black belt certificates, who promoted themselves, and the exact lineages of the various branches of the Kenpo tree. All this confusion, in part, is attributed to Ed Parkers untimely death.

    To clarify the connection that East West has to West Wind is that the founder of West Wind, Ron Lescoschek/Lee was a former student of Richard Lee. Both of these guys changed their last name to Lee for ease of pronounciation for their students and to sound more chinese, basically a sales tactic. Ron ended up buying one of the East West franchises from Richard, renaming it West Wind, and then breaking off from East West. What caused the break I dont know. They both claim to have coined the name Bok Fu. Who knows who had it first. West Wind uses Bok Fu and East West uses Bok Fu Do. Sounds to me like a student following in his teachers footsteps the whole way.

    I was a teacher at West Wind and we had quite a few East West students transfere in; to tell the truth I did not see that much of a difference from the two schools. Just little variations here and there. Both students were comparibly good. I will tell you that West Wind is not what it used to be. They went from having 7 schools, working on opening the 8th, to only 2 now. This is in part do to new ownership/managment. Ron Lee no longer owns or is affiliated with West Wind. West Winds biggest down fall was the loss of Ron Lee and the Cheif Instructor Alan Hubbard. Now Alan Hubbard has opened up Eastern Ways in Sacramento, teaching Choy Li Fut, and is quite successfull.

    My question is, does East West have as many techniques as Tracy's? Cuz Tracy's has 30 techniques per belt. West Wind only had 20.
     
  14. suicide

    suicide Black Belt

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    History of Bok-Fu-Do:


    Bok-Fu-Do, meaning “the System of the White Tiger” was developed and founded by Grandmaster Richard Lee in 1967. It is a Chinese system of martial arts that is composed of many different fighting arts from around the world. It is one of the few systems of martial arts founded and developed in the west that is truly internationally recognized because of its consistent success in world competition.
    Richard Lee began his martial arts training in pugilism in 1946. In 1953, seven years into his boxing training, Lee began studying jujitsu and later that year, shotokan. In the early 1960’s, Lee began studying Chinese Kenpo with Al Tracy. Lee went on to become one of Tracy’s first five black belts and went professional at the school with Al shortly thereafter.

    http://www.bokfudo.com/BokFuDoHistory.aspx
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 3, 2009
  15. kungfuspinner

    kungfuspinner White Belt

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    Boh fu do is an american made martial art founded by Grandmaster Lee in 1960s
     

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