Joe Lewis Q&A
The following was taken place in the Temple Discussion on 12/21/00 between regular vistitors of this site (Jt, Kevin T, Chris M, Andreas M, Jimmy, Doug, Nick C, Frans J, Davis M, David W, Steve K, Little Saint, Ian Marshall, Hector M, Ken M and John O) and the legendary Joe Lewis.
Temple of the Unknown: Hello, and Welcome to Mr. Joe Lewis. Thank you for being willing to join us here in the Temple of Discussion. I know that this will be to our benefit and growth in knowledge. Thanks also to George Tan for bringing you here. I hope this is a pleasant visit for your and that this won't be your last. - Jt Cobra, Temple Keeper
Joe Lewis: I hope this rare oppotunity benefits everyone.Thanks for having me.
Temple of the Unknown: How to control the adrenaline rush when fighting. I was curious on how to overcome the adrenaline rush that seems to accompany me when I spare. I have had few real life fight situations so I am sure it is much worse in real life as opposed to sparring. When sparring I tend to throw things out and not "think." Of course hindsight being what it, is I can pinpoint my problems after the fact.
Joe Lewis: Relax and don't fight it. Learn to accept it. Distinguish between the excitement to engage and anxiety. They both feel the same. Learn to go back to basics. Work from a strong with a single technique. Focus on establishing a simple game plan such as using an 'educated' jab to keep your opponent off balance. You don't control your adrenaline, you learn to control your focusing.
Temple of the Unknown: Joe, with the Joe Lewis Fighting Systems going strong, and with the recent reunion you had, will there be any plans in the future to hold a training camp for the public to attend and learn from you and these top fighters?
Joe Lewis: I average three seminars per week year round. Anybody interested in attending should go to www.aikia.net for a schedule of appearances. We will have a future web site of seminar/camp listings under joelewisfightingsystems.com.
Temple of the Unknown: Hi Joe, who is the top JKD fighter you have seen???
Joe Lewis: I never seen one but I'm sure someone is on the rise.
Temple of the Unknown: What standard did Lee have in accepting students?
Joe Lewis: Hi Jimmy, I want to thank you for posting my articles. You've got more of then than I do! George says you're alright.Bruce had 2 motives-1-to get in movies. He worked with big name directors,producers,writers and actors2-to build his stature as a kung fu instructor by working with world champs like myself,Mike Stone and Chuck Norris.That was a smart move cuz it paid off.This all paid off. He became the most iconic Asian actor of all time.
Temple of the Unknown: It's a great pleasure to have this opportunity of asking you a few questions about your experiences with Bruce Lee. My first is as follows:
Bruce and yourself were masters at bridging the gap. How much importance did Bruce emphasize in training on footwork to achieve this? Old saying 'The Art of Fighting is the Art of Moving' and we all know that Bruce really respected Muhammad Ali who proved that this was the case. Any comments please about the improtance of mastering footwork and how much time did yourself & Bruce spend on footwork training in your private sessions?
Joe Lewis: Footwork is the pinacle in all sports.Many boxing coaches send their fighters to dance school for this purpose.In Okinawa and with BL 90% of all my training was dedicated to footwork drills.You can only punch, kick or defend as fsat as you can effectively move on your feet.Fast fightrs, more importantly quick fighters are determined not by the fastest of their techniques,but by the quickness,the explosiveness and the emotional definition of their footwork.
Temple of the Unknown: Thanks for your time and glad to talk to you. You don't seem to ride on the name "JKD". You once mentioned in a video tape that Bruce Lee's JKD is Jiddu Krishnamurti's philosophy from a philosophical point of view to an athletic point of view to a martial arts point of view. Can you describe more detailed what you meant? I don't think that many stand-up fighters can match with today's professional K 1-fighters. Comparing to this, is JKD out of date? As you sparred and trained with him - how was Bruce as a fighter and a martial artist - were his skills as good as it has been written? His personal expression of JKD was difficult if not impossible to teach, as he mentioned in the early 70s to one of his earlier Wing Chun seniors that he wasn't happy with JKD because his students didn't pick it up very well. What did Bruce personally do, had it something to do with today's JKD? If there's a something to teach, is it working for the average guy? What kind of martial artist can benefit mostly from JKD? Who is on the rise in JKD? I know these are much questions so I'm sorry if there are any misconceptions and a bad english because I come from Germany. (In Germany there is not much authentic information on JKD and especially Bruce, as he is the base for any projections the people create, from being a pure Wing Chun guy as well as just an actor and showman.) It's of course up to you to answer just what you like. Thank you very much and glad to talk to you!
Joe Lewis: When BL was attempting to add substance and intellectual essense to his art,he constantly quoted Krishnamurti(JK).He never used the name JK in front of me, but all you have to do is read a few of his(JK's) numerous books and you can easily detect not only similarities,but exact wordings.There's no harm in that.I do the same thing.He was trying to give JKD an intellectual stature or framework to seperate it from other martial arts.What I'm saying is-you go into a typical karate school,they show you techniques.They know very little about the body,they know very little psychology,they know nothing about philosophy.BL majored in philosophy, and he saw this need to include this higher learning in his program.
* On K1- The JKD guys would get SLAUGHTERED if they competed even on a lower K1 level,such as the elimination K1 fights.What the K1 fighters do,especially their 'cut kicking' skills,what you may call inside/outside leg kicks would totally dominate what is done in 'classical JKD'.
* Were his skills as good as they've been written - NO.You must understand that people writing about somebody they didn't know makes it difficult to write with absolute truth.You're speaking from someone else's observations rather than first hand experience.certain writers tend to embelish and sensationalize. On his personal expression of JKD-he was constantly changing his definition of JKD.I used to go up in front of the audience after I'd won a tournament,and BL had written out this little speech about JKD,and I could never get it right.I didn't have a clue on how to make sense on to understand what he had written for me to say.Simply put,the only definition I remember clearly is one day I went to his house and BL said 'Ah!You know what JKD means?It means the 'thusness' of the techniques.How do you like that?'Like I'm supposed to know what thusness means.I guess that's sort of a Zen quote.
* On BL's personal JKD- What he did personally is a contradiction of what he taught.For example-he wouldn't give credit to his instructors,but he would demand credit for the knowledge he was giving you. He was taught not to teach the secrets that he'd learned,especially to Caucasians,yet he'd make a point teach us.He asked me not to teach anybody what he was showing me,but at the same time, he wanted me to practice what I was being taught.The only for me to practice is to show a sparring partner what I'm doing.I was supposed to go out and brag about BL being my instructor to add stature to his name,but he never asked my permission to use my name,since I was a world champion before I met him,to enhance his credentials as an instructor.My point is there's alot of double standards in JKD,and alot of contradictions in BL's practices.He would practice for example on a physical level going out to jog,just like a boxer.he would hit the hevy bag(using the JKD punches) just as a boxer would and he would do the side kick and various other kicks against the heavy bag just as a karate person would.And he would work with a very loose double end bag,which I don't agree with,I think it should be tight.So in other words,he attempted to make JKD appear to be above the bar in terms of comparing it to other martial arts,but he seemingly practiced the same things that other martial artists were doing.
* On what we practiced-I stuff I worked with him on strictly for combat purposes,and definitely on a black belt level or above.I was being tutored to be the best fighter in the world,so obviously I wouldn't be working with beginning level maneuvers.
* On JKD for novices-Of course. You can benefit from the knowledge factor,just the acqiusition of new information.Secondly,in terms of the dynamics of the mechanical executions,of course most aren't going to match his quicknes,or his pound for pound power,but you can definitely improve past the level you're at currently.
Temple of the Unknown: Who has been your hardest to beat opponent???
Joe Lewis: My sparring partners were always better than my opponents.9 of my sparring partners became world champs.A difficult opponent is someone who keeps me from getting set,Establish areach advantage and knows how to follow thru after a quick initial move.You need combo's against me-one kick or punch at a time won't work.I taught my sparring partners how to beat me.This calls to constantly raise my bar/I considered it a complment when my sparring partner told people they knew how to beat me.I think all instructors hould follow this same philosophy.
Temple of the Unknown: Did you ever take a Side Kick from Bruce and what was it like?
Joe Lewis: No.But he did catch me with a punch.He hit real hard for his size.All the kicking and punching were staged,in other words posing to accomodate his incoming strike.It was never done beyond a pre-arranged,anticipated context.
Temple of the Unknown: Could you tell us all what techniques and methods Bruce Lee and yourself learnt from each other?.
Joe Lewis: If you look at Bruce Lee's stance in his movies,that's the same stance I brought over from Okinawa.That side straddle stance.Van Damme also used it in his movies. I'll take credit for that. BL was not that interested in my techniques,and if he was he never openly commented on it.He would study my fight films behind my back and implement from that premise.He did that with everybody.He was more interested directly with my muscles-how I built certain muscles on my body.And of course every technique he showed me I had done in Okinawa- forward hand strike and the side kick.He showed me how to make them much better.
Temple of the Unknown: Thank you so much for taking the time to join us here. I know practically everything about you (and Norris as well), but I'm hoping you can elaborate more on your experiences with Bruce (as far as training with him). Can you give us a better understanding of just how good he was (as far as boxing & defense wise). Also, have you sparred with him regularly (or just once or twice, and was it based in his backyard)....Thank you so much Mr.Lewis & God Bless......
Joe Lewis: I never sparred with BL.We did limitation sparring drills.He had the speed and the power to be a world class boxer.I do not know what he did to prove he could do 10 or 12 rounds or what test he endured to show he could take a punch.thirdly.to make it in the fight game,no promoter is going to back unless he knows you have a strong will to continue at all costs.For example what would you do if you got 3 ribs broken.If you're a grappler,what would you do if your shoulder was dislocated.These questions need to be answered. Unfortunately in Bruce's case they never were.I never stood in front of another human who was a quick as him.He not only had the quickness but he had the inner confidence to muster the conviction to do so.I've seen other who had the speed but lack conviction,or vice versa.he was like ali,he had both.I stood before both of these men,so I know.
Temple of the Unknown: I know you're on the road quite a bit with intense seminar training sessions, what do you do personally to keep in the phenomenal shape you're in? And what do think about aerobic fitness and weight training?
Joe Lewis: With weights I suggest performance lifting.not power or bodybuilding.You need cardio as a must.In my opinion most of the aerbic workouts are garbage.It does little to shape/strengthen your muscles,increase bone minerl density or provide any useful skills.I believe there's nothing better than hitting the heavy bag for power and striking skills and theadvantages of the resistance training.For speed there's nothing better than a pre double end bag for speed timing footwork and transistin fotwork and to back it up with broken field or distance running and on occasion strength training is a must Nothig shapes muscles better or quicker than weight training.Lift weights and kick box to lok and feel good..Our motto is 'The best workout on the planet' is out trademarked logo!
Temple of the Unknown: Mr.Lewis ,a question about JKD and Wing Chun. What do you think about the sort of JKD and Wing Chun that it thaught in the schools today? Will it be any good in real combat? And is it the way bruce meant it to be? thanks, Frans from the Netherlands.
Joe Lewis: In the real world a true military will constantly upgrade their weapons.If not you will become weak.Has BL continued to develop JKd in the last 27 years I'm sire his innovations would exceed your wildest imagination.A fighting style like WC that was from 100's of years ago reminds me of somebody trying to perfect the bow and arrow.If the style becomes too formalized,the greatest tactic in warfare called surprise attack would dominate your style regardless of youe preparation.I remind you,your body comes first. The man makes the style,not vice versa.
Temple of the Unknown: How well would Bruce Lee have done in competition? Would he have been a tough opponent for you? Please be sincere. Many Thanks!
Joe Lewis: Asking me about this or what he could have been is like asking how good an actor Tyson could be.ETD remains the highest grossing in history.That's accolades to last 10 lifetimes.Don't make him more immortal than he was.He's the leading candidate for being the greatest martial artist of all time.That doesn't make you a fighter.If you want to fight then you fight some amateur fights,then somebody like Angelo Dundee will invite you to his camp.Being a martial artist doesn't automatically make you an actor,and vice versa.
Temple of the Unknown: Bruce advocated "Strong Side Forward" ?? Joe.. what are your feelings after all these years of fighting and training - of Bruce approaching opponents with his strong side forward... I still fight that way most of the time even though my friend and Sensei for almost 10 years Bob Mauro, a champion kickboxer himself and trainer of 5 world champions, never felt the way bruce did...
Joe Lewis: I don't believe in this concept.I can k.o. with either hand or foot.power side forward implies one side is weak.Your lead side is for speed and to blind your foe.you can use it to locate the target as well.The military finds the target then annihilates it.the rear hand/leg are primary power weapons/if the power side really worked than why hasn't a top fighter or trainer endorsed this .Reason is if you practice these theories,you realize they don't work.You can't drop the atom without locating your target or or preventing the foe from detecting your approach.So the rule of thumb is to locate,blind then you hit.Smart fighters can't be hit first. They're too quick and sharp.
Temple of the Unknown: Joe, did you really turn down the role of Colt in Way of the Dragon? ... If so, do you regret it looking at the doors it opened for Chuck Norris? Also, how many films have you been in (as there are only 3 listed on the Internet Movie Database - see below), what do you think of them when you look back and are you still active in the film industry in some capacity?
Thanks for visiting the forum, perhaps JT will collate this Q&A and add it to the front end of his site for all to enjoy and get the most out of it. Will now sit on the sidelines. let everyone else have a chance to ask you some questions and watch this unfold. Kind regards,and all the best for 2001.
Joe Lewis: I don't have any regrets.Word got back to me that he wanted me to be in the film,and I sent word back that I wasn't interested in getting beat up on screen by him.He used to tell me his agenda when we were traing about how he wanted to show the world that the Oriental was the superior fighter.He always used the term 'by beating the Caucasian',and asked if I wanted to be in a movie with him.I said no then,as I did later on for way of the dragon.He then would laugh and say he'd get Chuck instead and how he'd enjoy beating the hell out of him. I had 5 lead roles.The 3 you mention, plus Mr. X,and The Cut Off.
I have to go for now..... by Joe Lewis I'm late for a sparring class here in Wilmington.I will answer your questions sometime tomorrow.I didn't expect such a response,as this was my first time on a chat room forum.Thank you for your time and questions.You can look at the posts tomorrow for any unanswered questions.
Temple of the Unknown: Ok, thank you for joining us Mr. Lewis see you tomorrow.
Temple of the Unknown: Mr Lewis, There have been various interviews published in the past which stated that you never sparred with Bruce Lee. I was wondering then exactly what your workouts with him entailed. If you never touched his hands, then what was it that made him of interest to you? Some of articles recently reposted on this forum, talk about how you and he would watch boxing films and have discussions. Would you "work out" by yourself and Bruce would watch and make comments back to you? Were the workout sessions then you hitting the bag, shadow boxing etc. and Bruce giving you feedback or what? What I am trying to understand is what role Bruce Lee played in your training during the time you worked with him. Did you do a move against the bag or air, and then Bruce would do the same? Did you two never cross hands EVER? If so, then what made Bruce interesting for you? How did you decide he would have something to offer you over any other martial artist at the time?
Joe Lewis: Any ambitious instructor,including myself,enjoys running into that gifted student.A person who maybe doesn't have skills,but tremendous talent.Talent means they have the psychological make up,the tenacious mental attributes,as well as the physical stature to become a great athlete in any field,not just fighting.I was that specimen.Any instructor would have smiled from ear to ear at me with my mind,my body,and my psychological preparation to have me walk into their school and say 'Teach me how to fight'.So of course BL was intrested in me.He pursued me adamantly, I didn't pursue him.My reputation preceded me.And any of my sparring partners or anybody who witnessed my training habits,or stood toe to toe with me in any match can tell you what an awesome specimen I was to confront. BL and I did touch hands.We did alot of that chi-sao type drills.We did alot of speed,timing,awareness,focusing and zen drills.What I'm talking about is standing toe to toe somtimes at 'firing' range,sometime at what I call 'fighting' range,which is a 3-4 inch difference between the two,and try to unload punches or kicks at each other,to try to gauge the others reaction speed. These are drills I still work with today,and it made up the bulk of drills of what BL and I worked on.
* On what I saw in him- Mike Stone convinced me that BL had something to offer.It's very difficult to influence me in any direction about any aspect of fighting or combat.I'm a hard sell,so before I went to BL,I was pretty much in agreement with Stone on what he had told,and it was more than one conversation before I was convinced he had something to offer.
Temple of the Unknown: Joe, In an earlier post you mention K1 and Kyokushinkai as being some of the top fighters. That is certainly true in K1 fights, but what about NHB? Where does Brazillian Jujutsu, Sombo, Wrestling and Boxing come into it? It appears the top NHB fighters today train BJJ, Wrestling, Boxing and Muay Thai. And that they are not based in Karate at all. Have you been crosstraining in any groundfighting systems for submissions/Vale Tudo stuff?
Joe Lewis: I started my training as a wrestler.I came into martial arts from the wrestling/weight lifting world.As a child I wanted to be a proffesional wrestler.That has always been my base.I have always been a better grappler than a kickboxer or karate fighter.I'm quick,strong,and I have hands that are like pliers.I love to grab,head butt and bite.Those are my 3 favorite maneuvers.I just don't talk about them publically. If you notice the mixed martial artists today and compare them with what the Gracie's started in '91,when they hand picked opponents,the grappling was working well until about '96. Once the Russians,Brazilians,and even japanese guys started demonstrating that a 'cut kick' to the leg,or a shin kick to the neck,or a straight right hand to the head were much quicker than a grappling finish hold,they started implementing them into competition.Now what you see in the last couple years in that everybody knows how to punch and kick to a degree.the punching in particular is starting to become the dominant technique.I agree that everybody should look into the possibilty of being into mixed martial arts.It's really in this country that people seem to focus on one particular skill.Either solely nothing other the judo TKD or karate,etc.In okinawa all the karate black belts were black belts in judo as teenagers-all of them.I like the fact that mixed martial arts became a dominant force in the '90's because it was a wake up call for these lazy instructors out there.
Temple of the Unknown: Hello Joe , could I pick your brains...First let me say your reputation speaks for itself and you are without doubt a modern Martial Arts Legend, now I'm not trying to sound like a snivelling little snotbag,but your history speaks for itself and You along with Mr Wallace and Mr Urquidez were a great influence to me and many of my fellow practitioners back in the '70's in good old Great Britain( makes me feel old ha ha ). Anyway like most of us here I have a million and one things I'd like to ask you, but I'll just ask a few if you don't mind. I train fighters ( Kickboxing)and have had quite a few win Titles over the years and get continually frustrated with the lack of help in pushing these from so called associations, believe it or not the WKA being the main culprit. Now I don't expect you to get involved in a political Q & A, but one example is a fighter I have by the name of Chris Wootton. Now Chris has won many Titles over the years, some small and also some including WKA and similar associations, and has a fight record of 39 fights,38 wins with one loss which was redeemed in a rematch against a French opponent in a European Title fight. But it seems I've come to a brick wall that won't budge, in that I can seem to get him a World Title fight against a World Class opponent and associations such as the WKA tell me that I have to find a promoter to put the fight on, which surely they should be helping with, so do you have any contacts in the States that I could get in touch with.I have a website for my gym, please take a look at www.essexkickboxing.co.uk, thanks. The second question I would like to ask is, when was the last time you saw Bruce and what were his ( shall I say) latest ideas with his art, as we all know he was forever evolving and last question, what do you think he would be into today Martial Arts wise. Thank you for taking the time to read this and I hope you didn't fall asleep reading it. Cheers Steve p.s. A friend of mine took his Black Belt with you, his name is John Lawson - Thanks
Joe Lewis: You can try the Fairtex gym in San Fransisco,as well as the W.K.A.- they've got 4 divisions-the leg kick,non leg kick,Muay Thai and kickboxing.That's run out of England by Paul Ingram.Then there's WAKO,which is in Milan italy,run by a guy named Falcone.You can find them on the internet.
Bruce's evolution - I don't think JKD changed after about '70, maybe as early as '''''69.BL was getting real fed up with Hollywood,and I can see his real focus in life shifting from martial arts and digging deeper into pursuing an acting career.He told me that ultimately he wanted to do comedy. think about that now.Kind of like what Jackie chan ended up doing.BL,in my opinion was taking JKd and turning it into what we see today as kickboxing. He was rolling the hips when he fired his kicks,which he didn't do in his earlier life.Learning to hit with the ankle bone instead of the foot,as we do in kick boxing.Getting away from that trapping nonsense that those outdated kung fu style do.He was getting more and more into getting his footwork and overall body movements look like those of international boxers,and if you take those individual aspects which I have pointed out there,you can see an overall change not only in the mechanics and dynamics of his movements,but also in the essense of his executions.And I don't know of any school of JKD that embraces that demeanor in a functional way.
Temple of the Unknown: I know you are always evolving and growing in the martial arts field. What sort of new things have piqued your interest/what's the newest things you are working on?
Joe Lewis: The thing that interests me most today is becoming and maintaining being a brilliant instructor. That seems to be where my ego and ambitions lie.All great fighters go down hill sooner or later. A champion today is nobody tomorrow.An instructor,unlike fighters,get better with age.They're like lawyers and doctors.The older you get,the better you become.And teaching mental energy,mindset,focus,mental preparation before workouts and fights seems to be my forte because that's a weakness that seems to permeat all fighting camps.
Temple of the Unknown: Hello Joe,Can you tell us what were Bruce Lee's physical assets and liabilities?
Joe Lewis: Physical assets-He had gifted quickness.There's a differnce between quickness and fastness.He had very low fat body composition.He had thick shoulders, quick hands,and slim strong legs.And it appeared he had a good torso,that being the key to explosiveness in any athlete.He was coordinated.Moved very well on his feet, in particular his footwork.
* His liabilities-He had a long skinny neck, which is an indication a person can't take a punch,or a choke hold.His rib cage was very flat,which means a good liver shot on the right side of the body,or a good heart shot on the left side wouldn't be alot of padding to guard against a contussion or damage to one of these arteries.If you look at his back between his shoulder blades,there's not alot of thickness in the lower part of the trapezious muscles.This is an indication that he possibly couldn't hit as hard as people elude to.His bones were very thin.Typically people with small bones don't hit hard-a Sugar Ray Leonard physical type.These people tend to knock people out with a 2-3 punch combination,as opposed to a single strike knock out,which perhaps a Rocky Marciano or a Jack Dempsey would posses. BL had real small ankles as well as small joints in the knees.I would imagine him to have some joint problems later in his life,especially if he did alot of kicking on the heavy bag,or the round kicks against the banana bag to develop his shin bones.
Temple of the Unknown: How did Bruce Lee's attempts at lateral movement differ from those of real world fighters?
Joe Lewis: BL worked primarily on the vertical in and out motion.His penetration speed ,that's what we call going towards your opponent,and your clearing speed,which is pulling away from your opponent,as you disengage.He had great speed in both,but his lateral motion going side to side to disrupt an opponents sight alignment in my opinion was not perfected.He was a little stiff. Typically what you see people doing when they start doing the lateral motion is their shoulders and hips get too squared up,which makes them very accesible for an incoming strike.Also you notice in pictures of him and students like Danny Inosanto is that thier hands are all over the place,meaning you want to maintain a strong defensive posture at all times.You want your elbows to remain in front of your hips and you want to keep your forward shoulder pointed towards your opponent so that your chin is behind that shoulder.Otherwise there's a good chance you're going to get hit.You'll also notice that BL and certain martial artists doing ducking and slipping motions.When they duck down it means their knees are slightly collapsing,they're making their target shorter,(this is called giving your opponent at an angle).His elbows tend to seperate,and when that happens you're wide open for a knee thrust or an uppercut.This is one of the weaknesses that you see in today's JKD practitioners.
Temple of the Unknown: In your opinion,why are Bruce Lee fans so damned hypersensitive?
Joe Lewis: Anytime an individual embraces an idol, whether it's a direct emotinal attachment or a vicarious association,and probably the most coveted example I can give is the Christian's symbolic affection they have for Jesus Christ.Any time there's an implied attack on their idol,they take it personally.Most of these people,in my opinion have low self esteem,or lack a real strong inner sense of self assurance on a certain level.And their sensitivity is derived from the fact that it causes them to feel guilty.No one wants to feel guilty for something they lack.If you make someone aware of something they are not,it offends them, it angers them.The pain converts itself to anger and rage.And that's what they vent.these hostilities.
Temple of the Unknown: I saw Howard 'flashpoint' Williams ten years ago performing a left side kick on an instructor holding the shield and he busted his ribs and was using his weakest leg at George Tan's convention. He's not allowed to use his right leg or perform the 1 inch punch. I would love to know what you thinks about Howard Williams. Ex Oaklnd school JKD fighter trained when he was 15 years old (no other training) by Bruce & James Yimme Lee. This man is a top notch JKD guy but keeps a low profile because like yourself he's dismayed with the JKD people like Gary Dill who couldn't fight and the likes training watered down JKD not the true style and concept of scientific streetfighting that Bruce developed. Any comments about Howard & the standard of JKD instructors?
Joe Lewis: Honestly,and this might come as a shock to alot of people-he thought it was a bunch of garbage.And he told me at one time that he was going to gradually phase it out of his system.He might do a single trap or like a little obstruction which you see certain pro boxers doing from time to time.This double and triple trapping stuff is nonsense.If you've got time to trap,you've got time to hit.When you get close enough to an opponent where you can trap,there are 3 things you don't do-1-You don't trap 2-you don't cover 3- you don't move-you hit first,then you trap,cover or move.I mentioned it before-on the outside or inside you want to practice getting off first.
Temple of the Unknown: It is your choice if you wish to answer this: Being a real friend of Bruce Lee, what was your initial reaction on hearing that Bruce Lee had died and what are your gut feelings on the official verdict on his death?
Joe Lewis: I was in St. Louis and wasn't really focused on JKD or martial arts at that time and the first thing I thought of was the kids being without a father.I suggest you watch George Tan's documentary, Death by Misadventure. It's the most thorough analysis I've seen.But regardless of how he died,the family is still without a father, a husband, still without a brother, still without a son.
Temple of the Unknown: Which fighter of all time, do you respect the most, and why?
Joe Lewis: Sugar Ray Robinson.He could fight inside or outside.He could in th etrenches and fite the tuff guys or he can getcenter ring and play with the fast technicians. He had 2 things-he hit hard and he had a hard chin.He had an incorrigible will to continue.He never yield/he never quit.He had incredible basics and his decision makingskills were extremely quick.These are the traits of great fighters.These are the thing we all try to emulate.
Temple of the Unknown: Jimmy First of all can I say what a honour and a pleasure it is to have you on this forum. What was a typical workout session with Bruce like?
Joe Lewis: He was strict about being on time.We went right to work,no warm up.He always had to show off his stomach muscles or forearms and sometimes a new kick he was working ion.His kicks were a little weak back in65-67.If you lokk at his movies,he has bad extension,his hands were out of position and he often over lunges.We would always work on fighting principles and /or tactics.Speed and quickneess was a value that we both shared over everything else.We mostly worked on tactical sparrindg drills.sometimes transition maneuvers,such as going from an offensive strike to a defensive posture.We studied fite films often.Most of what BL did was copied from another source,he would then add his emotional energies and unique fite philosophy.Then I became his test tube and spy.I would go to tournaments and do JKD demo's.I would tet his Jkd against boxers and karate fiters in the ring and report back.What didn't work we threw away.Quite a bit was the oldWing Chun stuff,such as the trapping.For example when you get ibside,don't cover,move or trap.Instead fir first,just as you would on the outside.I woud go to differnet camps or schools snoop arond,steal their stuff and go back to BL and we'd analyze what was useful.That's the process of creation-you take something from here and there and come up with something new.That one of BL's gifts.He was innovative and had the courage to be creative.He said the balls to say goodbye to the past.we call this breaking free. That's why I liked him,we both alike.