Yeah brilliant… been practising all afternoon… Now have a swollen bursa on my left elbow, the size of a fecking golf ball!
(I’m suppose to doing three hours of Pakamut/Pagamut tomorrow.)
I sound just like Bruce Lee! But with swearing. “Whaaaaaa fuck?” “Whaaaataaaa son of a bitch!” Whuwawhyyyyyyy? Mother fucker!”
I don’t mind being punched or kicked by an opponent… I CAN TAKE THAT! It’s hitting yourself with a god damn bamboo stick, usually on the elbow, or the knee, that really pisses me off! 😡
You get a flow going, you speed it up… You put some power into it… and crack! Right on the fucking elbow. 🤬
I should do a YouTube channel! From the humble (and sweary) beginnings… To grandmaster in five years!
BRUCE LEE AND ESCRIMA
Escrima owes its first global exposure to the late Bruce Lee. Escrima was featured in two of Lee’s film – Enter the Dragon (released in1973) and Game of Death, the kung fu superstar’s last and unfinished movie (released 1978 with additional scenes spliced with the original footages).
In Enter the Dragon, Lee demonstrated his prowess in double sticks while in Game of Death, his protégé, Filipino-American martial artist Dan Inosanto showcased the espada y daga (sword and dagger), doble baston (double sticks) and solo baston (single stick) skills of escrima.
It was Inosanto who introduced Lee to the Filipino martial arts (FMA). In his classic book “The Filipino Martial Arts” (1980), Inosanto recalled of how Lee quickly absorbed the concepts of escrima even though he had no prior training in it, “Bruce could perform the Filipino martial arts naturally, because he had already reached that level on his own,” he noted.
Being Lee’s protégé as well as a top escrima practitioner in the United States, the FMA through Inosanto became closely associated with jeet kune do, the martial art that Lee founded. On the degree of Lee’s exposure to the FMA and whether it profoundly affected the development of jeet kune do, it is best to look for answers in Inosanto’s writings.
In an earlier book, “Jeet Kune Do: The Art and Philosophy of Bruce Lee” (1976), Inosanto wrote of the nature of Lee’s introduction to escrima, it reads, “As early as 1964 at the first internationals [Long Beach International Karate Championships], I had introduced Bruce to the art of Escrima. At that time, however, he took a pretty dim view of it.
Then later when I visited him in Hong Kong, he told me what he liked and what he didn’t like about Escrima. I think what changed his mind was the emphasis on the empty hands and seeing through the movies that it had a lot of functional value.
And I was really flabbergasted when he grabbed the sticks one day and said, ‘OK, now I would show you what I would do.’ I watched him closely, and with no previous background or training he ad libbed a style of Escrima that he never could have known even existed. Shocked, I yelled out, ‘Hey, that’s Largo Mano.’ Bruce said, ‘I don’t know what you call it, but this is my method.”
Based on the above passage, Inosanto is implying that through his works in films, Lee first appreciated the FMA’s cinematic potentials before its functional combative value. Such an outcome of Lee’s scrutiny of the FMA through the medium of cinema can be further understood by reading Inosanto’s commentaries on his mentor’s movies in the book “Absorb What is Useful” (1982).
On Enter the Dragon, he wrote, “The combative lessons here [that Lee is trying to convey to the public] would be: know all combative ranges; be able to pick up anything (snake, staff, double sticks, nunchaku); and be able to use it.” On Game of Death, he has this to say: “Bruce’s original concept for the Game of Death was to educate the film public by making people aware that there are many different types of martial arts and that each martial art has a value in a certain environment.
That’s why he used me for the Filipino martial arts (weapons); he used a Korean guy to show what Hapkido is about; and he wanted to use Taky Kimura as a Praying Mantis/Wing Chun stylist to show the close-quarter system of trapping. Finally, he chose Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to illustrate the unknown style, to show how you must adapt to someone who has a 1 ½-foot reach on you.”
Being an intimate friend and student of Lee, Inosanto is in the position to observe up close his mentor’s evolution as a martial artist. And based on these observations, one can only surmise on the degree of influence Lee absorbed from the FMA. In a letter to Penthouse publisher Bob Guccione dated March 6, 1983, Inosanto wrote, “As a whole, his hand techniques resembled Western boxing, Wing Chun gung fu, Filipino kali, Thai boxing and Indonesian pencak silat, which are totally contrary to Bob Wall’s and Chuck Norris’s style of karate.”
Notice that the use of the word “resembled” implies that the aforementioned is but Inosanto’s personal ruminations and not Lee’s personal description of his repertoire of hand techniques.
After Lee’s death, Inosanto decided to continue teaching jeet kune do in addition to the FMA. Through the years, some people have criticized him, saying that his brand of jeet kune do has deviated from Lee’s original teachings. The confusion could be attributed to the similarities of concepts between jeet kune do and the FMA as well as Inosanto’s approach to teaching, “Therefore the curriculum at the Filipino Kali Academy can be described as Wing Chun, Escrima, Jeet Kune Do, etc. – it makes no difference.
But I have to admit that the Filipino art, in particular, seems to be a natural vehicle for the maturation of JKD,” he wrote in Jeet Kune Do: The Art and Philosophy of Bruce Lee.
Inosanto stands firm though that he never misrepresented the FMA by calling it jeet kune do, “I never ever said that kali is jeet kune do,” he said in a 1990 Blackbelt Magazine interview by Jose Emiliano Alzona.
Personally, I would like to hypothesize that respect for weapons is highest lesson that Lee absorbed from escrima for he himself once wrote, “You are at a disadvantage against someone with a weapon, so keep away from him.”
Dan Inosanto and Bruce Lee (Source: Karate Bushido Magazine/Dan Inosanto’s photo archives)Bruce Lee is regarded as one of the greatest martial artists, if not the greatest master of the art to ever live. His art revolutionized cinema forever, changing the way the western world perceived martial arts. Over the course of his life, Lee’s fame came not only from his films, but also from the creation of his own art. Jeet Kun Do, “the way of the intercepting fist,” drew influences from every art Lee studied, which included Filipino martial arts.
What many may not know is that Lee was an avid practitioner of the Filipino escrima (stick fighting). Danny Inosanto (a Filipino American), one of Lee’s closest friends and finest students, introduced him to the art. Inosanto recalled how Lee at first “took a pretty dim view of it” but later explained “what he liked and didn’t like about escrima.” Inosanto believes “what changed (Lee’s) mind was the emphasis on the empty hands and seeing through the movies that it had a lot of functional value.” From the repertoire of Bruce Lee masterpieces, two films stand out the most in terms of Lee’s links to Filipino martial arts – “Enter the Dragon” and “Game of Death.”
“Danny Inosanto taught his friend Bruce Lee how to use nunchaku through the Filipino equivalent called tabok-toyok.”
In “Enter the Dragon,” Inosanto, explained, the message Lee wanted to convey to the public was to “know all combative ranges; be able to pick up anything and be able to use it.” This is best illustrated in the fight scene with the guards in which Lee uses their own weapons against them. Lee demonstrates escrima, using doble baston (double sticks) to subdue the guards. This concept is directly related to Filipino martial arts because of the ability to adapt to the environment and utilize it to one’s own advantage.
In “Game of Death,” Lee fights Inosanto using both double sticks as well as nunchaku. What many may not know is, Inosanto taught Lee how to use nunchaku through the Filipino equivalent called tabok-toyok. During the process of the film, Inosanto explained, “Bruce’s original concept for ‘Game of Death’ was to educate the film viewing public by making people aware that there are many different types of martial arts and that each martial art has a value in a certain environment.”
Because many Filipino martial arts are weapons-based systems, it could be assumed that Inosanto was chosen for the film to properly represent the art. The movie also touches on the aspect of adaptation as the film progresses; Lee must eventually fight Kareem Abdul-Jabbar who is seven feet tall.
From these two movies and the concepts drawn from them, you can see how Filipino martial arts helped promote the success of Bruce Lee. Many are unaware that Filipino martial arts exist, yet they had been utilized by one of the most iconic martial artists to ever live. Today, more than 40 years after Lee’s death, his legacy lives on, intertwined with Filipino martial arts and will continue to do for generations to come.
Bruce Lee uses escrima in “Enter the Dragon”: