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    Bruce Lee - Was he a Black Belt in Judo ?!

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    Cichorei Kano

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    Bruce Lee - Was he a Black Belt in Judo ?!

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:05 am



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    DrJudo

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    Re: Bruce Lee - Was he a Black Belt in Judo ?!

    Post by DrJudo on Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:26 am

    I don't know if there is any evidence anywhere that Mr. Lee was Judo black belt, but it does appear that he knew some judo techniques, particularly ashi waza techniques. Whether he had a judo rank, that's another story. If that's so, that would be a great benefit for judo marketing
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    finarashi

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    Re: Bruce Lee - Was he a Black Belt in Judo ?!

    Post by finarashi on Mon Sep 30, 2013 2:18 am

    In the biography of Gene LeBell; The Toughest Man Alive : True and incredible story of a sadistic bastard by LeBell Gene Ivan (1932 - ) and Calhoun, Bob ; Foon, George, Enfield, Middx, United Kingdom, Health 'N' Life Publishing, 2003, 256p, HB, ISBN 0953176673
    there is a part (pp. 166-167) where Gene's involvement in The Green Hornet was described. According to Gene he then proceeded to work with Bruce at times for about a year (mostly at Bruce Lee's dojo). According his words Bruce liked grappling, but thought that it was not flashy enough to show in movies.
    Even believing Gene one year of training on and off does not Judoka make.


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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Bruce Lee - Was he a Black Belt in Judo ?!

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Mon Sep 30, 2013 3:27 am

    DrJudo wrote:I don't know if there is any evidence anywhere that Mr. Lee was Judo black belt, but it does appear that he knew some judo techniques, particularly ashi waza techniques. Whether he had a judo rank, that's another story. If that's so, that would be a great benefit for judo marketing
    There is virtually no way to know. As far as I know, there is no such evidence "in the public domain", but that does not mean it does not exist or has not "exist-ed". Clearly, there is no obligation of any person, or after his death of his next on kin to put such evidence on the Internet or to hold a press conference. With someone as famous as Bruce Lee, who focused on entirely different martial arts and whose skills were brought in the open on numerous occasions, there would be no purpose for anyone to release such information or documents. Are there even documents of any other martial arts ranks or training in the open, like his kungfu experience ? As I have said many times before, the whole rank certificate and other stuff is primarily an American and Anglosaxon obsession that has never existed in most countries until the late 1980s. Even then, it is not considered as the kind of 'legal' document one has to show for anything. In many countries, the legal document of rank is a license or judo passport. While in most countries dan-rank exams require an exam before a national committee of examiners this isn't so in the US, where individuals can grade people to black belts, making it even more difficult to research if no requirement to register this at a national office exist. If it is even longer ago in time it is even more difficult to assess. Bruce Lee was 32 years old when he died in 1972, thus he was born in 1940. Given his level of skills and trained body, for him obtaining a black belt in judo would have been very easy and something he would have obtained likely at very young age. In the 1950s except for the Kôdôkan, grading boards for jûdô typically did not exist, and black belts were given by a senior Japanese (or maybe Korean or Chinese) sensei. There were no central registers of dan-ranks. When dan-registers or databases were created, they were typically created on the information received from people who were members then. In other words, if at the time the dan-rank register was created or the federation was created (many people held black belts that predated the creation of a national federation) one was no longer in the country, or one never became a member of the new federation (or the latter split or merged federation that evolved into the national federation) there will be no official record of such dan-rank in any organization's possession. Obviously that does not mean that the person did not or does not hold a legitimate black belt. Usually, but not always, his teacher might remember, but after some decades further that teacher will have likely passed away, limiting the sources of information even more If later the individual, holder of the rank, dies too, it will be even more difficult to assess or verify such information. In such case, the only proper conclusion is "verification impossible, without prejudice". In case, the person is alive then such a question is usually asked with regard to future rank promotion or privileges and skill and skill testing may be the only way to move forward; but even that may be of limited use, in particular since due to advancing age, illness, or simply because the person at that time has ceased training, his skill may be no where near where it used to be at the time he obtained his rank.. But if the person is dead such question has no practical use and is only of historic interest. Skill testing is no longer possible, but in the case of Lee there is extensive footage of his skills.

    When looking at Lee's judo skills exhibited in his movies, they are nowhere near his kungfu and karate-like skills. To some extent his judo skills remind me of those of president Putin. For example, there are movies where Lee performs seoi-nage. Although obviously his opponent flies, the seoi-nage hardly looks proficient. There is lack of coordination, gaps in contact, no kuzushi, and his body position is far from optimal. The seoi-nage is effected as a result of his exceptional body skills such as speed and what looks like extraordinary power for such a small body. There is footage where he performs armbars. They too are not performed with optimal coordination and efficiency, and are compensated by using quite a bit of force. In other words, based on what exists in recorded images publicly available, Lee's judo skills are not at the level of his kungfu skills. However, looking at timing, choice of technique, choice of moment, strategically one would argue that those insights certainly reflect black belt level. Only such argument is flawed, because the question is in how far you can really talk about strategy in a movie, since everything is scripted and in a scenario and the result of cutting and pasting and retakes. Then again, he probably choreographed most of his own fighting, and while at time raw, they are characterised by a naturalness and spontaneity that is absent in most other kungfu movies by others. One doesn't have to be an expert to see that Lee is not merely an actor. The kind of body he has, his body position, the use of his body are the result of obsessive training, no doubt. Judo-wise though, it's more a trove of techniques from which he picks one or two that fit in his strategy, and the lack of proficiency in terms of smoothness or coordination is easily compensated by his exceptional skill in kungfu. In other words, even though you may lack optimal kuzushi skill, his expertise in applying atemi for kuzushi is extraordinary. It useful to point out that even in judo not all kuzushi is the consequence of pulling and pushing. Whilst happô-no-kuzushi serves as the basis for nage-waza as performed in randori, jûdô kata clearly show that Kanô retained primarily from Tenjin Shin'yô-ryû, but also from Kitô-ryû the tool of atemi to produce kuzushi. Even in Koshiki-no-kata taken over straight from Kitô-ryû there are some clear incidences that show that atemi is the tool of kuzushi.


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    Tai-Jutsu

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    Re: Bruce Lee - Was he a Black Belt in Judo ?!

    Post by Tai-Jutsu on Mon Sep 30, 2013 9:14 am

    There are films of him sparring and training, those are the best filmed representation of his actual fighting prowess and what sort of techniques he tended to use (Not a whole lot really, he was more about stripping things down than collecting techniques.) and some Judo-like throws are used but he also was into wrestling, there are throws in many Gung Fu styles and Judo has no monopoly on throws.

    I do think he was also friends with Haward Nishoika and Wally Jay, so between Gene LeBell, them and maybe where ever that clip was from, he was worthy of a shodan? Maybe he beat a few shodans in Randori at that dojo and they gave it to him? Even if not a shodan his atributes and skills would make him a handfull and can help him to victory if his skils work in the ruleset.

    CK's sexcellent points leave out that in some elements of Lee's screen fights, he wanted less than optimal teachnique sometimes as that's what happens in fights. You see him do it with some punches and kicks as well.

    Was a huge fan of his growing up and then I read about (and read) Draeger and other impressive people who also walked that path became more apparent.

    Lee deserves a place in the story for sure though.
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    judoratt

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    Re: Bruce Lee - Was he a Black Belt in Judo ?!

    Post by judoratt on Mon Sep 30, 2013 1:02 pm

    Bruce Lee spent his late teen and early 20's in Seattle where he met and married his wife and opened his first dojo. The discussions about his involvement in judo was that he never trained in any of the local dojo's but he would have judoka come and train with him at his dojos.
    If one looks at the pose/picture it is not uchimata or hanigoshi and looks more like a balancing act than a judo throw. JMHO
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    Ben Reinhardt

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    Re: Bruce Lee - Was he a Black Belt in Judo ?!

    Post by Ben Reinhardt on Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:03 am

    Tai-Jutsu wrote: There are films of him sparring and training, those are the best filmed representation of his actual fighting prowess and what sort of techniques he tended to use (Not a whole lot really, he was more about stripping things down than collecting techniques.) and some Judo-like throws are used but he also was into wrestling, there are throws in many Gung Fu styles and Judo has no monopoly on throws.

    I do think he was also friends with Haward Nishoika and Wally Jay, so between Gene LeBell, them and maybe where ever that clip was from, he was worthy of a shodan? Maybe he beat a few shodans in Randori at that dojo and they gave it to him? Even if not a shodan his atributes and skills would make him a handfull and can help him to victory if his skils work in the ruleset.

     CK's sexcellent points leave out that in some elements of Lee's screen fights, he wanted less than optimal teachnique sometimes as that's what happens in fights. You see him do it with some punches and kicks as well.

    Was a huge fan of his growing up and then I read about (and read) Draeger and other impressive people who also walked that path became more apparent.

    Lee deserves a place in the story for sure though.
    Nice post, hilarious typo...
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Bruce Lee - Was he a Black Belt in Judo ?!

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Thu Oct 03, 2013 8:11 am

    Ben Reinhardt wrote:
    Tai-Jutsu wrote: There are films of him sparring and training, those are the best filmed representation of his actual fighting prowess and what sort of techniques he tended to use (Not a whole lot really, he was more about stripping things down than collecting techniques.) and some Judo-like throws are used but he also was into wrestling, there are throws in many Gung Fu styles and Judo has no monopoly on throws.

    I do think he was also friends with Haward Nishoika and Wally Jay, so between Gene LeBell, them and maybe where ever that clip was from, he was worthy of a shodan? Maybe he beat a few shodans in Randori at that dojo and they gave it to him? Even if not a shodan his atributes and skills would make him a handfull and can help him to victory if his skils work in the ruleset.

     CK's sexcellent points leave out that in some elements of Lee's screen fights, he wanted less than optimal teachnique sometimes as that's what happens in fights. You see him do it with some punches and kicks as well.

    Was a huge fan of his growing up and then I read about (and read) Draeger and other impressive people who also walked that path became more apparent.

    Lee deserves a place in the story for sure though.
    Nice post, hilarious typo...
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    Tai-Jutsu

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    Re: Bruce Lee - Was he a Black Belt in Judo ?!

    Post by Tai-Jutsu on Thu Oct 03, 2013 9:33 am

    lol!  I'm great for those. My spellcheck does not work on this site either, that adds to the mix of horrible grammer and possable undiagnosed Dyslexia.

    But it was a sexcellent post!

    Hmmmm, maybe I should change the screen name to Sexcellent?
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    Cichorei Kano

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    Re: Bruce Lee - Was he a Black Belt in Judo ?!

    Post by Cichorei Kano on Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:05 am

    Tai-Jutsu wrote:lol!  I'm great for those. My spellcheck does not work on this site either, that adds to the mix of horrible grammer and possable undiagnosed Dyslexia.

    But it was a sexcellent post!

    Hmmmm, maybe I should change the screen name to Sexcellent?

    Sure, flights to JudoForumGitmo leave on Thursdays.


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