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Reflecting on anniversaries and the true meaning of JKD

I kept looking at the calendar this morning wondering why April 22 seemed to have some significance.

I checked the calendar that I write "to do's" and reminders, but nothing...then I saw this FB memory.

21 years ago years do go by, don't they?

I know it may seem strange to some people that I put significance on a martial arts test date, but it still means a lot to me.

"If you know, you know."

Below is something I wrote four years ago on this date during the quarantine. I don't think I could say it any better today.

Thank you Burton Richardson, you've been an amazing blessing in my life, and in many more ways than just martial arts.

Blessings & Aloha,


(Heads up. This is a long one.)

Re: Jun Fan Gung Fu/JKD Anniversary

[From April 22, 2020]

I was just thinking, I don’t know if everyone celebrates or recognizes a martial arts test date, and I have other dates and martial arts certificates that are of significance, but this one is extra special to me.

 In 1974 when I was 12 years old (yep, I’m that old), my stepfather took my brother and I to a theater to see a little movie called “Enter the Dragon”.

I think I watched most of the movie with my mouth wide open. All I could think was “I wanna do THAT!”.

 I started martial arts shortly after that and have been hooked ever since.

In all that time I’ve had some amazing instructors in various arts, read everything I could by, or about Bruce Lee, and applied it to martial arts (and in many cases, to life) ...but I always wanted to learn Bruce Lee’s actual original system.

 In late 1999 I met a man named Burton Richardson. I knew who Burton was from magazines and videos, but what I didn’t know at the time was that this man was about to become one of my best friends, my instructor, and would end up having a significant influence on my life.

(In case you don’t know who Burton is, google him. He is a world-renown renown JKD instructor, Black Belt Hall of Fame inductee, and Black Belt Magazine’s 2015 Self Defense Instructor of the year).

 I became Burton's private student and one of his sparring partners, training with him 2-3 days a week for the better part of 10 years.

 Even more importantly, He was instrumental in encouraging me to change my (very toxic) lifestyle and to start teaching martial arts again, which has become one of the great joys of my life.

 Seventeen years ago today I was certified by Burton Richardson in Bruce Lee’s original Art of Jun Fan Gung Fu/Jeet Kune Do.

 Jun Fan Gung Fu certification has become kind of rare these days. It denotes a fundamental understanding of the material, concepts, principles, and philosophy of the core material trained and taught by Bruce Lee himself.

 For myself and my JKD students this includes induction into the lineage of Burton Richardson -> Dan Inosanto -> Bruce Lee...and if you want to take it back further, to Ip Man, and all the way back to the Shaolin nun, Ng Mui, who, according to legend developed the art of Wing Chun (Bruce Lee’s base art).

 To be part of such an amazing legacy is something I consider both an honor and a responsibility, is something I’ve never taken lightly, and something I am deeply appreciative of.

 Thank you Burton for sharing your knowledge so generously with me...but thank you even more for the years of encouragement and friendship! You are an amazing instructor, and amazing friend, and an amazing human being!

 As I wrap this up I still find myself wondering why this has such significance to me and why I take the time to comment on this every year. I have other certifications and accomplishments in martial arts, so why is this one in particular so special to me?

 Some of it is probably because it’s directly related to what got me started in the martial arts in the first place. To say that Bruce Lee, and his philosophy were a big influence on me would be a massive understatement.

But I think there’s more to it than that...

 Then I realized this isn’t really about martial arts, in fact it’s not about martial arts at all.

 It’s about passion and keeping the things that give you great joy in your life IN your life.

 Those things that give us joy and that we have a passion for, whatever they are, it doesn’t necessarily have to be martial arts, it could be music, painting, gardening, or whatever. The point is, I think that God put those passions in us for a reason, and we’re supposed to keep those things active in our lives.

 The entire human race is on a forced “reset” right now. What a great time to re-evaluate our lives, our priorities, and the world around us. As we go forward I think it’s important to keep some of our “Art”, whatever that may be, in our lives. It’s good for the soul.

 And that...that is pure JKD.

 It’s not just about the fighting, it’s about life.

Stay joyful my friends.

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