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#135789 - 11/29/04 07:27 PM Joe Lewis
mrhubbs Offline
Member

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 418
Loc: Carmel, NY 10512
Hi Dr. Beasley,

I hope no one feels like I am misusing the Jeet Kune Do Forum, but I wasn't sure if you perused the others.

My father/instructor is a product of the sixties tournament scene (early Kyokushinkai stylist before knockdown and leg kicks became the norm) and often talks about some of the noteworthy personalities/fighters of the day. He always praised Joe Lewis as a nice guy who was a "holy terror" on the tournament floor...a whole other league of competitor.

I wonder if you have any interesting anecdotes to share about training/sparring with Mr. Lewis, his curriculum, influences, etc. Any favorite stories?

(By the way, as a traditional Japanese stylist with some Muay Thai/boxing influences, I am surprised by how much I enjoy reading the JKD forums. When people aren't deifying Bruce Lee, there are some really great conversations happening here.)

Thanks,

David

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#135790 - 11/30/04 08:32 AM Re: Joe Lewis
Anonymous
Unregistered


David,
You are a lucky guy to have a Dad that came up through the ranks of 1960's karate. He has proabably told you that the "use what works" regardless of style attitude was developed by tournament fighters like Chuck Norris and Joe Lewis in the 60's. Today most people attribute the mixed-style format to Bruce Lee. Like you that is why I find the posts on the JKD forum more interesting than the posts on the karate forum.
While many people still identify karate as a traditional Japanese art we know that American karate's roots were being planted along with JKD. In fact Joe Lewis began teaching the two dozen or so fighting principles ( see his web site) gathered from his work with Bruce Lee to tournament fighters as early as 1968.
Bruce had ask Joe to tell others that he was a student under Bruce and that Joe was in the art of jeet kune do/non-classical gung fu. Unfortunately no self respecting karate champ in the 60's would claim to be studying "kung fu". So Joe would always list his art as karate. This made Bruce upset. But when Joe would win the tournament he would ask Bruce to stand as his instructor ( they did things differently then). In fact you have proabably seen the photo from 1969(?) of Joe ,Bruce and Jhoon Rhee at the tournament in DC.
After Bruce died Joe would seldom talk about his study with Bruce until the late 1980's when I managed to talk him into interviews and eventualy JKD camps/seminars etc.
Today Joe has his own Joe Lewis Fighting Systems association in which JKD is not an issue.

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#135791 - 11/30/04 05:55 PM Re: Joe Lewis
mrhubbs Offline
Member

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 418
Loc: Carmel, NY 10512
Thanks for the reply!

I was always under the impression that the sessions that Mr. Lewis and Bruce Lee had together were more of a mutual exchange of ideas than a teacher/student relationship. Am I correct on this?

I also always thought it was a bit sad that individuals constantly felt the need to ask him about his time with Bruce Lee as if that was the most interesting thing that a fighter of his calibre had to discuss. (I did not mean that as a shot at you, sir. This is a legitimately interesting period in his career and worth discussing. Kudos to you for encouraging him to share this info. I just hate to see it come up in EVERY interview I read. I feel the same way about interviews with Chuck Norris that I read. If I read one more question about that Coliseum fight scene!)

I wonder if you remember the Black Belt Mag story where Mr.Lewis was asked how he would have fought Bruce Lee. (Heck, you may have conducted the interview.) I remember he was very candid about the fact that he would have scooped the Dragon up and dropped him on his head - a byproduct of Lee's diminuitive size rather than an insult to his skill. I remember, also, the very heated responses that this produced from Black Belt readers! People have had a difficult time viewing Bruce Lee as an actual person capable of defeat...but that's a different story.

Personally, I would like to know more about Mr. Lewis's early training, how he developed that side kick, what other techniques he enjoyed, his boxing training, etc. As someone who was such an intimidating presence in the ring, I also wonder who scared him (if just a bit) or whose skill he has been awed by. These are just some of the things I'd discuss if I ever had the chance to sit down with him.

Recently, there have been a small crop of documentaries released that focus on the Golden era of karate. I have found them fascinating! I hope to see some Joe Lewis footage crop up. Perhaps this will satisfy some of my curiosity.

Dr. Beasley, thank you again for your response. Also, welcome to the forum. It's a pleasure to have you.

David

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#135792 - 11/30/04 08:33 PM Re: Joe Lewis
Anonymous
Unregistered


David,
Joe was an actual student under Bruce. As I understand it they would have a lesson then whatch boxing films, go out to eat or just talk. Joe tells a funny story about going out to eat with Bruce and Lou Alcindor (Kareem Abdul Jabar). Bruce made them sit in the kitchen at a Chinese resteraunt so Bruce could make sure the cooks made his food right. Joe was good looking so I am sure Linda had no objections to Joe hanging around the house every Wednesday. Bruce only listed his paying students in his log book so Joe's name appeared only for the first few lessons. Bruce learned much from Joe since Bruce did not sparr with just anyone or at tournaments. In fact Bruce did not sparr with Joe. Joe has all of this info in his new book about training with Bruce from www.bruceleebooks.com or www.joelewiskarate.com. Joe has one of the best books out on Bruce Lee with interviews from Chuck Norris, Mike Stone, Dan Inosanto and a bunch more.
I trained at seminars with Dan and other students of Bruce Lee. Each had something very valuable to offer. I was so impressed with Joe Lewis and his knowledge of fighting that I stayed with Joe. He gives seminars across the US and at age 60 he is as fast as ever. Good luck in your training.
JB

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#135793 - 11/30/04 08:41 PM Re: Joe Lewis
mrhubbs Offline
Member

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 418
Loc: Carmel, NY 10512
It seems that I have underestimated how much the early pioneers felt Bruce Lee had to offer. Thanks for clarifying!

David

Oh, and I'll be sure to check out Mr. Lewis' book. Perhaps it will go on the Christmas list [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG].

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#135794 - 12/04/04 01:17 PM Re: Joe Lewis
Anonymous
Unregistered


One of the first seminars I ever went to was conducted by Joe Lewis. It was in '87 or '88. He talked quite a bit about Bruce Lee's teachings that day. I noticed above that someone talked about how nice Mr. Lewis was. The day I met him he seamed somewhat indifferent and I know several people who consider him a total jerk for his attitude towards them at seminars. The only reason I bring this up is because that's how he is known in my area and I found it interesting that someone had such a positive experience with him. As I said, when I met him he just seemed to be doing his job and I know he is an intense individual but I keep hearing these negatives about him. Aside from this, I would attend another seminar he taught. The thing about him that I liked was watching the way he moved and he really didn't teach on footwork or movement; but that is what impressed me and I still remember most of all from that day.

A p.s. to Aikia,
Check the thread on the TKD post about "'Merican TKD, 'Merican Karate, and 'Merican Gung Fu" I brough you up in this discussion because I consider you one of the foremost authorities on the American Karate movement.

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#135795 - 12/05/04 03:41 PM Re: Joe Lewis
Anonymous
Unregistered


SilvertigerTKD1,
Thanks for the plug. I agree with you on the Joe Lewis footwork. First time I saw him fight in 1982 he looked like he was gliding. He and Bruce worked on footwork but Joe had a few extra decades to perfect it.

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#135796 - 12/06/04 11:17 AM Re: Joe Lewis
Anonymous
Unregistered


I had to think about it alittle bit but I remember what Joe Lewis was teaching on when I attended that seminar in the late "80's. He was talking about Bruce Lee's teaching the concept of 'closest weapon strikes first'. What this did for me personally was help me develop a non-telegraphing jab and backfist. Both very effective in competitive and street fighting; therefore I owe it to Mr. Lewis for conveying the concept to me and allowing me to develop what works from it. True JKD if you ask me.

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#135797 - 12/06/04 04:31 PM Re: Joe Lewis
mrhubbs Offline
Member

Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 418
Loc: Carmel, NY 10512
The day I met him he seamed somewhat indifferent and I know several people who consider him a total jerk for his attitude towards them at seminars.

Interesting. My comment on Mr. Lewis was based exclusively on my father's experience with him on the tournament floor. Apparently he was willing to talk technique and offer advice, but this was when Lewis was in his twenties. Sounds like he's an excellent teacher. I hope he remains humble and pleasant as well. Maybe he was having a bad day [IMG]http://www.fightingarts.com/forums/ubb/smile.gif[/IMG].

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#135798 - 12/06/04 06:08 PM Re: Joe Lewis
Anonymous
Unregistered


Mrhubbs,
My experience with Mr. Lewis as I said was very business like. I was there to learn and he to teach. I didn't follow him around like some starstruck people did that evening. I just got in line and did what he said. Overall it was good. The negative things I've heard come from my friends who live and train near me. Their experiences came at later seminars that I did not attend, so I only know of them second hand but have heard enough to believe. I personally came away with constructive material from Mr. Lewis and I hate to think a martial artist of his caliber would be the jerk I've been told he was but I don't think these people ever intend to ask him back to do another seminar no matter what he knows which I believe is unfortunate. This may have been a bad day for him or a missunderstanding on another's part but as I stated what your father had to say about him contradicted all I've heard in the past few years and it just struck an odd chord in me. I threw this info out fishing for similar stories or to see if this may have been some isolated incident.

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