The Jerry Beasley biography thread

A

Aikia

Guest
Hey guys,
Saw the thread. I stop in every now and then.
I am not a JKD instructor but you may have heard my name associated with JKD. I am a martial arts teacher true but my connection to JKD has been as a writer and promoter. I published the first article on Larry Hartsell's Charlotte NC JKD club for Official Karate back in 1983 and the first book on Danny Inosanto's JKD concepts method back in 1988. I introduced the JKD: The Next Generation column for Karate International magazine that same year to promote the JKD concepts method. In the column I introduced Dan, Larry, Timmy Tacket, Lamar Davis, Gary Dill, Chris Kent and quite a few of the household JKD names. I found that many of my readers were interested in the Bruce Lee material rather than the FMA info so in 1989 I coined the term "Original JKD" to distinguish the Bruce Lee method from the concepts. Seemed harmless enough at the time. But as I found out later it closed all doors to me from the concepts group. Some are still mad! In fact all sorts of stories were made up about me taping material. Never happened. I am a college professor and researcher by trade. I was able to use those tools to write my own definition about the various catchy JKD phrases like "using no way as way" and "to float in totality". In fact a lot of JKDers use my "Matrix" idea to explain JKD. You can find some of the articles at www.mawn.net and www.aikia.net.
As you may recall 1993 was a pivotal year in JKD. The Dragon/Bruce Lee Story was out and JKD was the most popular martial art of the day. Taky Kimura, Ted Wong and Howard Williams agreed to work for me at the first "Original JKD" summer camp in '93. Because of the widespread attention to the original JKD art the battel grouns were drawn. From that year on it's been Original versus the JKD 'Concept". They say the pen is mightier than the sword and in this case it proved very true. I tried to write articles to convince readers that JKD concepts and original JKD are the same. Didn't work. Some West Coast groups countered with still another new "Jun Fan jeet kune do" saying that jun fan was the "Original" version of JKD. Good stuff.
Here's my opinion. Bruce Lee, like all instructors taught different things to different students based on their ability to absorb the instruction. To the fighters he taught fighting, to the teachers he taught teaching and to the beginners he taught a basic art. No wonder many of Bruce's students ended up claiming that their version of what Bruce taught them was the correct method. And each one of them is right. JKD is for some an art, for others a philosophy. It can be both.
Unfortunately we have many versions of JKD and that is the precise reason that everyone gets to pick their own favorites. Enjoy each one. They all have something to offer. If someone tells you that they have the only "real" version and everyone else is wrong then you may want to stay away from that group/individual. Other than that have fun. When you discover what JKD means to you then you are on the path to self discovery...and that is what Bruce wanted you to do.
I know the question always comes up "how do I learn JKD?" Best bet is to go to an instructor or to JKD seminars. Videos are fine for checking your progress. If you are doing something that looks like what they are doing on the tape go for it. If you are alone get a buddy, you can't do this alone, and invest in some quality boxing gloves, head gear and mouth peice and learn to spar. JKD is in the mobility, the foot work and the strategy. David Cheng has a great book out on JKD Basics (Tuttle) let that be your guide. Get in shape and spar ( I prefer the term spar rather than the macho "fight").
Good luck. Be safe.
JB
 

Cruentus

Grandmaster
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
7,161
Reaction score
129
Location
At an OP in view of your house...
Dr. Beasley,

A little off topic, but could you tell me more about your time with Wally Jay? Is your 9th degree from him an honorary rank, or did you spend time in small-circle Jujitsu?

Yours,

Paul Janulis
 
OP
A

Aikia

Guest
Paul,
I sent you a PM. I didn't start this thread. I am hardly worthy of a personal thread, especially on a JKD forum. As you know my comment was that "Jerome" Beasley is a successful professional football player. Now when you Google his name this thread will show up! That's funny.
Anyway to answer your question I have worked with Prof. Jay as an instructor at several Michael DePasquale seminars both in NY and VA. Prof. Jay's signature along with Michael DePasquale Sr and JR appears on the certificate I was awarded by the IFOJJ. Bill Wallace was promoted at the same ceremony. As I shook Prof. Jay's hand he told me "Well deserved". It was an honor.
I can tell you from experience now, I would rather be a 40 year old 7th dan than a 50 year old 9th dan. But, we don't get to make that choice. Dan rank is only important to you on the way up. Prof. Jay has retired. I would like to have that oppurtunity to train in his class again. He is an icon.
Jerry Beasley
 

Cruentus

Grandmaster
Joined
Apr 17, 2002
Messages
7,161
Reaction score
129
Location
At an OP in view of your house...
Sorry sir...

I had asked the question in the "Instructors?" thread because I was curious; I am not sure who split it into it's own thread, but it must have been another staff member.

Anyways, I was just curious because I spent time with Prof. Remy Presas, and small circle JJ is a big component of Modern Arnis. I am pretty isolated here in Michigan, so I haven't had the opportunity to meet Prof. Jay myself, but one could say I am a distant admirer. I saw that you had high marks from him in your bio, so I was just wondering what your experiences with him were.

Thanks for answering. :)

Yours,

Paul
 
OP
A

Aikia

Guest
Prof. Jay is most likely the first person to introduce Bruce Lee to the concept of training outside of your style to better learn how to fight opponents from other arts. A Karate International interview with Prof. Jay indicates that in 1962 Lee became so impressed with Prof. Jay's ability to coach his judo team to victory, in spite of the fact that Prof. Jay was a jujutsu stylist, that he took the idea as a platform for the future development of jeet kune do. At every camp I taught at that included Prof. Jay I noticed that the Prof. was treated like roalty. Even Joe Lewis who seems to appreciate only the champion level fighters would take time to actually bow to Prof. Jay.
 
OP
A

Aikia

Guest
Info from the JKD Brotherhood site.Dan Inosanto states that Although he met Bruce at the 1964 internationals it was not until December of 1966 that Bruce started a training program in the LA area. Dan says that they were taught JunFan Gung Fu. Jun Fan is the Bruce Lee modified/interpretation of wing chun. It wasn't until 1968 that JKD was formalized..this according to the interview with Dan in the 1974/75 issues of Best of Bruce Lee by Black Belt magazine. So JKD as an art was being taught from 1968 until Bruce Left for Hong Kong in 1970. When Bruce returned in 1971 he closed the school and disbanned the teaching of JKD. JKD as an art with student ranks for a few was only available for maybe 2 years?

The student ranks included the student rank of level 3 for Dan Inosanto and the studen rank of level 2 for Ted Wong. Taky Kimura ,James Lee and Dan Inosanto were all teaching assistants ( only Dan was teaching assistant for JKD) that lead class when Bruce was not available. No one received a certificate for Instructor level in Jeet Kune Do.
Sometimes we tend to forget the facts and rewrite history by claiming that this person was certified, that person only had 10 lessons etc. Each person that studied with Bruce can only offer their account of what was taught to them.
What is so interesting is that jeet kune do as an art form taught by Bruce Lee was apparently only available for two years.
 

James Kovacich

Senior Master
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Dec 4, 2002
Messages
2,900
Reaction score
51
Location
San Jose, Ca.
Aikia said:
Info from the JKD Brotherhood site.Dan Inosanto states that Although he met Bruce at the 1964 internationals it was not until December of 1966 that Bruce started a training program in the LA area. Dan says that they were taught JunFan Gung Fu. Jun Fan is the Bruce Lee modified/interpretation of wing chun. It wasn't until 1968 that JKD was formalized..this according to the interview with Dan in the 1974/75 issues of Best of Bruce Lee by Black Belt magazine. So JKD as an art was being taught from 1968 until Bruce Left for Hong Kong in 1970. When Bruce returned in 1971 he closed the school and disbanned the teaching of JKD. JKD as an art with student ranks for a few was only available for maybe 2 years?

The student ranks included the student rank of level 3 for Dan Inosanto and the studen rank of level 2 for Ted Wong. Taky Kimura ,James Lee and Dan Inosanto were all teaching assistants ( only Dan was teaching assistant for JKD) that lead class when Bruce was not available. No one received a certificate for Instructor level in Jeet Kune Do.
Sometimes we tend to forget the facts and rewrite history by claiming that this person was certified, that person only had 10 lessons etc. Each person that studied with Bruce can only offer their account of what was taught to them.
What is so interesting is that jeet kune do as an art form taught by Bruce Lee was apparently only available for two years.
Yup, they were ALL students ranks and the public is mislead on who is and isn't certified "by Bruce."

Fortunately Sigung was smarter than that and today has his own tree "without the label."
 
OP
A

Aikia

Guest
One of my students is currently going through stacks of old Inside Kung Fu and Black Belt magazines completing a paper on the origins of JKD. I thought the info about JunFan Gung Fu and how it evolved into jeet kune do was interesting. If the information is true, and the article quoted Dan Inosanto so we can assume that he was reporting facts as he knew them in 1974/75, then there is no Jun Fan jeet kune do. You either practice Jun Fan gung Fu or you practice the art of Jeet Kune Do (68-71) or you persue the JKD philosophy that Bruce used after he closed his school in 1971. It may be that this JKD philosophy is what Dan has labeled JKD Concepts. If so it would have been a good idea for him to have been more clear. It would have ended a lot of arguments.
 
OP
A

Aikia

Guest
Flatlander

O.K. will do. This was not suppose to be an individual thread as you can read in my comments. I did not open the thread. Since it was opened I decided to participate and encourage discussion. What exactly do you interpret as "political"?
 

Flatlander

Grandmaster
Joined
May 17, 2004
Messages
6,785
Reaction score
65
Location
The Canuckistan Plains
Cool, I understand that. I spun the beginning of this thread off of the "Instructors" thread so as not to clutter it up with discussion that was not specific to its original intent. Perhaps I should have clarified that from the onset.

Regarding what I view as your political issues, that would be anything in reference the Inosantos, given the history there. :asian:
 
OP
A

Aikia

Guest
I am clear on that subject. For the record, I have written much in support and admiration for Mr.Inosanto's considerable talents. I do also question one man's authority to lead JKD at the exclusion of others. The idea of some rewriting the history of JKD has already taken place. More than anything I would like to know the truth about Dan's position with Bruce. Some of Bruce's students have commented to me that Dan was a willing helper and not a designated inheritor. He became leader by convience. However I am at this time, of the opinion that, just maybe Dan did have the correct view of JKD and the only difference could be that Dan used the term JKD Concept and Bruce used the term JKD Philosophy. As far as I know Bruce never referred to his art as the JKD concept. At the same time I question the reason for promoting the idea that Jun Fan gung fu is jeet kune do.
When all is said and done I think most will agree that I favor no side in the issue.
I know people tend to add-to the stories concerning those in JKD. I was at the 1985 Great Smokey JKD/Kali/Thai camp in Brasstown NC when Master Chai took his hand, while talking, and swatted a June Bug. No big deal. The June bug is a large, slow, green, harmless bug. You see them everywhere in the South. I read in an interview where Dan claims that Master Chai completed a "down elbow" on a hornet. From a June bug to a hornet. Quite a change. I know, from talking to Bruce Lee's personal friends that Bruce in no way "willed" or designated Dan as inheritor of jeet kune do. Yet you hear these tales all the time. So, I am sure you will agree there is a lot of misinformation out there.
My comments tend to be honest. And since I am not a JKD instructor, only because I agree with Bruce that to become JKD is to abandon an attatchment to JKD, I don't think I have a political agenda.
Flatlander, I do like the way you police the forum and will stay away from "political" comments.
 
Top