Archive for Jesse Glover
In the long run men hit only what they aim at. Therefore, though they should fail immediately, they had better aim at something high.
How far are you willing to go? I’ll see you there.
—Jesse Glover (1935-2012)
Occam’s razor (or Ockham’s razor), is the meta-theoretical principle that “entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity” (entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem) and the conclusion thereof, that the simplest solution is usually the correct one.
At what point did Gung Fu men depart from this idea, thus complicating a previously simple method?
More importantly, why?
“The supreme excellence is simplicity.” Jesse Glover – Non-Classical Gung Fu
“The two major concepts that I have tried to instill in students are a sound physical fighting structure, (workable techniques) and a sound psychological structure, (how to apply the techniques in fighting and non-fighting situations). The key to the successful transmission of this information is an appreciation for functional reality, the ability to deal with the here and now.“
In all things,
The supreme excellence is SIMPLICITY.”
Jesse Glover (October 15, 1935 to June 27, 2012)
(Saturday 14 July, 2012, at 11am)
The black shoes that finished off my attire for the funeral shimmered despite the overcast morning weather. White shirt and black suit. It was 6.30am, when I departed my house, headed for Seattle. Ten minutes later, I flashed my passport and crossed the border.
Fog shrouded my vehicle for the initial part of my drive through woodland and rural homes. By the time I reached the motorway, the mist cleared revealing a dull grey slate sky, the sun obscured.
I reached my destination early, arriving at 9.10am. This afforded me time to settle down with a cup of coffee and a book. A short while later I walked into the cemetery with its low laying monuments and headstones set amidst closely cropped grass.
There was an uncomfortable-comfort I found at that burial site, having visited several times over the last decade to pay my respects to Bruce and Brandon Lee, as well as Ed Hart.
A hole had been dug.
A small green canvas tent erected.
Two dozen chairs in orderly lines.
People started congregating shortly after 10am. Within an hour, a small throng of mourners had arrived, people freely mixing, shaking hands, hugging. Old friends, family, Gung Fu fighters representing varying lines, the majority of whom tracing their roots back to Bruce Lee. This gathering brought together the Seattle era of Gung Fu, which began in 1959 when Jesse Glover, met a young Bruce Lee. Together they configured a fighting conceptual framework that endures.
What struck me most about the gathering was the subconscious divide that occurred at the funeral. Seattle era private students within Jesse’s core group tending to remain on the periphery, content to remember our mentor with quiet reflection.
The most notable speeches were made by Bruce Lee’s widow Linda Lee, Jesse’s family members and students. A short distance behind the speakers stood Taky Kimura, a wonderful gentle soul. Within the crowd another friend of Jesse’s from the Bruce Lee era; Leroy Garcia.
There were too many notable martial artists to list individually. Students from as far off as Switzerland, Germany and England. All great fighters in their own right, many of whom remain indebted eternally to Jesse Glover.
The funeral began under the looming presence of an angry sky. Rumbles of thunder rippled when speeches commenced. By the end of the funeral, as the coffin was lowered and soil placed above, the Heavenly host had cleared the sky, unleashing the skin warming glow of the sun. As the world mourned his loss, the divine spirit celebrated the arrival of Jesse Glover. A man who practiced Gung Fu and taught the art of transcendence.
Posted by Alexa Vaughn
Jesse Glover, the first student of martial arts legend Bruce Lee, died on Wednesday at age 77 after a battle with cancer, according to close friend and past student Steve Smith.
Glover, a lifelong Seattlite, used what he learned from Lee and his days as a judo champion to become a prominent leader in the martial arts community himself. While developing a method called non-classical Gung Fu, he worked as a private martial arts trainer in Seattle and eventually taught across the nation and as far as Germany, according to Glover’s training website.
Lee and Glover met in 1959 while attending Edison Technical School, now Seattle Central Community College. Glover had already seen Lee demonstrate Gung Fu on stage when he ran into him on campus and asked to be his first student. They became good friends and trained together for four years.
“Death is not extinguishing the light;
it is putting out the lamp because the dawn has come.”
The world looks drab.
I imagine that when you have swum in a river of ecstacy or have run through everglades with wild things, its difficult to return to seeing the world as merely ordinary.
And I have seen greatness first hand and have also felt its iron backfist, stinging across the face of a punch pad.
When you are sorrowful look again in your heart,
and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Today, at this very moment, the world appears bleached as if the kiss of the sun has gone. Its brightness muted. Yesterday’s excited whirring and whizzing has been replaced by a muffled sound. A dull hum in a sealed tomb. And once, where my skin tingled with universal vibrations, I find myself numb.
Jesse R. Glover passed away today.
He slipped quietly on the morning of the twenty seventh of June two thousand and twelve, after having lost his battle with cancer and its many manifestations of illness.
Love. Lost. Broken. Reborn. Missed.
Thank you Jesse for touching our lives.
“Naturally I miss Bruce. I was quite sad when I heard of his death.
The best thing that I got from Bruce was a way to learn and a path to follow.“
Jesse Glover on Bruce Lee
“Make techniques as simple as possible, avoid complexity for the sake of looking good and constantly look for ways to perform a technique with less movement.” Jesse Glover, describes the essential elements of Gung Fu.
A feeling of awe is hard to describe. Something that grows in the pit of your stomach and makes your skin tingle with excitement. When I first met Jesse in 2004, I remember this overwhelming feeling of awe.
(Jesse Glover far left, Bruce Lee center, Ed Hart far right)
Everytime I watch this video I get something more from it.
Most people have little idea about what NCGF is. Let me say that it is not a system but rather a process. The process requires that the teacher have a broad background in how best to transfer information to other people.
Another requirement is that the teacher can figure out what it is that the potential student hopes to gain from engaging in this process. Many people want to develop some type of fighting skills because they realize that they don’t know what to do in a situation with an aggressor. My training approach for these people is different form those expressing a lifetime interest in the development of a fighting method. People wanting to develop some basic fighting may be around for a short period so it is vital that I give them something that they can learn in a short time.
It is possible to give a person who doesn’t know how to punch, a punch in a very short time, like a few minutes. The punch will not be the greatest in the world but it may get them through a fight. The main idea is that these people leave each training session better than when they entered the session. By better I mean more able to give a good account of themselves in an encounter.
Because of differences in peoples physiology and psychology the way that I approach students differers from person to person. The long range goal for students who will be around for a long time is to help them create their own approach, one that works for them. The short range goal for people who will only be around for a short time is to develop in them something that they can use in the short time that they will devout to training.
When I do seminars I present different material. Often this material is dependent on the skill level of the people who are there. I realize that everyone won’t develop this material the same way and that is okay. I want them to get an idea of the central theme and to develop their own version of it. Often during these seminars I see people applying the material that I present in a different way,a way that is working for them. Sometimes I can take their method of application and pass it on to others because when I teach people I am also learning from them in terms of feedback about what can work and how it can best work for different people.
When people who I have trained teach others I hope that they give their students the same flexible outline that has been given to them. The truth is that others can’t teach me anymore than I can teach Bruce Lee.
What my students can teach is their version of the material that has been taught to them.
I just wanted to flow mercurial. So, I bypassed my usual strength training in order to go to the indoor track and sprint. The format was as follows; I would dash – full tilt, for 45 meters. Walk back, reset and repeat.
Its amazing how trying the repetition of simple things can be on the human body and inversely, how amazingly effective. My legs started to tremble after about 10 sets and they are glad to be supported by this chair, at this precise moment.
The repetition of simple patterns was something instilled in me by Jesse Glover. Prior to meeting him, my mind was still trapped in the classical method where I had a psychological corollary between amassing techniques and fighting prowess. Jesse taught me that the opposite is in fact true. The less you fill your brain with collecting techniques and the more you work basic punches and kicks, the greater the likelihood of success in a fight. Collecting techniques serves no purpose other than transforming someone into a librarian of techniques, whilst giving rise to the risk of interference patterns (confusion) when fighting (aka as the ‘which technique do I use?’ syndrome).
So, my legs are currently twitching, I worked out relatively hard and feel good. What did you do today?
Bruce Lee and Wing Chun
by Jesse Glover
When Bruce came to the U.S. in 1959 he knew about sixty percent of the Wooden dummy, the first form and parts of the second and third form but his Wing Chun training didn’t end there.
Fook Young a friend of Bruce’s father continued Bruce’s instruction in Wing Chun. Fook Young was a Chinese opera star from the time that he was ten. Each time that he joined a new opera he had to learn the Gung Fu style that Gung Fu master favoured. Fook Young learned many many styles and he taught parts of them to Bruce. One of the style that he taught Bruce was Red Boat Wing Chun. The areas where Bruce excelled were sticking hands, closing, chasing and punching.
In Wing Chun and maybe in other arts people seem to suggest that someone is better than another person simply because they know more of the system than the other person. I would like to suggest that one can excel in the application of certain aspect of a system that will easily overcome someone who knows more of the system but can’t do it as well.
Wong Shun Leung was the person who talked about Bruce’s exceptional skills in many of the articles that he wrote or was interviewed in. Since I learned from directly from Bruce beginning in 1959 I know how he look felt and moved. When I saw a tape of Wong Shun Leung doing the first form and demonstrating various techniques it was clear to me where most of Bruce’s Wing Chun came from because he moved just like Wong.
If a person can close on their opponent before he can activate his neural system there isn’t anything that the opponent can do regardless of how many techniques he knows. By the time that Bruce returned to Hong Kong for the second time the only person who had a chance of stopping Bruce’s attack was Wong Shun Leung.
When I think about Wing Chun I think that certain aspects of it are great. At the same time I think that other aspects of it are not practical for the average student. Wong Shun Leung said that Wing Chun is a good horse but few people can ride it. I totally agree with this statement. The techniques in Wing Chun that anyone can learn are chain punching ,chasing, simultaneous punching and blocking and certain aspects of sticking hands. A lot of the material in the forms can’t be applied by most people in combat.
I think that the Wing Chun concept of sticking hands is one of the greatest concepts in martial arts but I think that very few people can stick very well. One of the reason that I think that it is so difficult to make work is because it like most art is designed to work against the specific techniques that the style uses. For each of the major techniques there is a counter that is supposed to be applied when you are attacked in a specific way.
The major problem with this idea is that most of the people that you are likely to get in a fight with are not Wing Chun men and they are not likely to attack in a Wing Chun manner. What seem to be readily apparent if one takes the time to look is that it is very difficult to determine what attack an opponent is using if one is waiting for the opponent to make the first move. This is particularly true in the area of sticking hands.
Over the years I have stuck with many Wing Chun men and few of them could apply the techniques that they advocated. Bruce advocated the use of pressure in his sticking and few of the people that I stuck with knew what to do against pressure. Lately the idea of pressure is gradually being adopted by various Wing Chun people but there are still vast numbers who are not aware of it’s existence.
Pressure adds a whole new element to the game. It allows you to develop the central nervous system in ways that cannot be done otherwise. With the use of pressure and a heck of a lot of practice your arms and body can learn how to offset your opponents actions before you cognitive brain is alerted.
Bruce was a master of this form of attack. Bruce developed such a quick close that few people could make even a simple response to his attack. If someone was able to respond he simply shut them down with pressure sticking and continued with his speedy punching attack which was unstoppable at close range. Picture this if you are standing five to six feet away from your opponent and he can close the gap before you can react what chance do you have. This was Bruce.
According to Wong Shun Leung ( the best modern Wing Chun fighter) Wing Chun is a fighting art nothing more or nothing less. He said that nothing is sacred in the style and that the criteria for using something should be your ability to make it work. I think that this is an idea that is not pursued by most Wing Chun practitioners.
Sometimes I mistakenly vocalize things which should have remained firmly in my head. For instance, I try not to talk about my contempt for Karate, but sometimes I slip up. Ironically, my teacher Jesse Glover recently confirmed a story regarding a fight that took place between his instructor, Bruce Lee, and a Karate man back in about 1959. For years, Jesse kept the identity of the Karate man hidden but all has now been revealed;
“Yoiche Nakachi pushed for a fight with Bruce and he got. Bruce knocked him out. How do I know this? I was the referee and I stopped the fight with Yoiche knocked out on the floor.”
I have had the pleasure of hearing Jesse tell the story. Ed Hart was the timekeeper at the fight which lasted only 11 seconds. Bruce closed in on Yoiche and straight punched him into a wall, leaving the Karate man with a considerably damaged face.
Once again we are resurrected. The move is complete and the training area prepared and cleansed.
On Wednesday a friend, my son and I paid our respects to Bruce Lee and his son, as well as to Ed Hart. The graveyard was peaceful and the weather warm. I then went straight to train with Jesse.
Imagine an event where some of the greatest martial artists of the day could attend and not have to put on a seminar, supervise training, or exert any physical energy except to lift an arm for eating. Now imagine that if these martial artists could bring their families & close friends and enjoy themselves, meet new people (even those not in the martial arts community), feed their faces, feel safe and swap stories of yesteryear and today.
Well such an event does exist; it’s called “The Annual Gung Fu BBQ”, hosted by Sean Grant of Kirkland, Washington, USA. This event first started 3 years ago to replace one of our normal Saturday afternoon people watching after Saturday trainings at Jesse Glover’s (dungeon) workout place in China Town. Normally after workouts most of us including Jesse go to either an Asian food court to eat or to Tai Tung Restaurant and have a bite. However, one Saturday back in 2007, Sean (that’s me) asked, “Hey how would you all like to come over to my house for a BBQ?” That was all it took, and so the first Gung Fu BBQ was born. Truth be told, it was my son’s and my birthday that weekend as well, and that is how the date was established…Sorry no shame in my game (SMILE). So the second week in June every year is about when the BBQ takes place.
The BBQ continues to grow each year. For example the very first year we (My wife T & I) hosted about 20 people. That included people from my gung fu family and some of my son’s friends. I have to take my hat off to my wife seeing that she had no idea what was happening that first year. All she knew at the time was that we were having a few people over for a BBQ. Boy was she surprised!!! After that event, everyone told me what a good time they had and if I ever had another event like this they would definitely come.
So that is how the event of the summer was born. We had spent quite a bit of money hosting the first BBQ and that was a learning experience, so last year I decided to turn it into a pot luck type of event; people could bring their own comfort food or foods of their native origin. For example my wife is Filipino and some have never experienced Filipino food. Boy many were surprised after tasting something like this for the first time.
Do you know how you can tell if everyone is enjoying themselves? Just ask a question and if all you can hear is lips smacking and finger licking going on then you know…
There was a lot of that going on here. This is also a great time for those from both world’s gung fu and non gung fu to meet one another and make new friends. We had three generations of people here and it was truly amazing how everyone interacted.
We were Blessed with having great weather (which is sometimes hard to come by) in the Seattle area for this BBQ. So the turnout was very impressive. Although a number of people were unable to attend this year due to previous engagements, I’m sure after they see what they missed they will be sure to attend next year! I’m thinking that I may have to move it to the park down the street seeing that it grew to about 40 or so attendees this year. WOW! So everyone just to let you know I am putting the word out now that the 4th Annual Gung Fu BBQ will take place around the second week of June; so put that in your books to make it a date…
I would also like to thank those that brought all kinds of foods, salads, desserts and drinks over, it was a big help. And I would even like to thank those that stuck around to help clean up. Now that is what you call a family…When people are willing to assist with the clean up.
So as the afternoon went on and everyone began to settle in and enjoy one another’s company and took part in massive eating and entertaining. Some of the attendees included Jesse Glover, LeRoy Garcia and his lovely wife, Ted & Kim Hart (Son & Daughter of Ed Hart) Good friends and fellow students Chris Sutton Suki, Graham, Wes, Asa, Mike, Nick, Laura, Armand & dad Ramon, Paul and his dad Tim. And some students of Chris Sutton.
And now we get to the moment of truth…The last page of this story turns to the man of the hour that I wanted to feature at this year’s BBQ, even though I know he did not want to be singled out, but I felt it fitting to honor him with something from the heart. Sort of a small token from me personally to him for being my teacher, mentor, good friend & a second father figure for the past 20 plus years…I presented Jesse Glover with an 18”x24” hand penciled drawing (see below) featuring Bruce Lee in the upper left hand corner and Jesse Glover in the lower left hand corner with a collage of some of Jesse’s students (Ones that I know personally & myself)…An inscription in the picture says…”JFJKD to JGNCGF…From generations past…we create the Future” This picture was drawn by Kevin Hand from Illinois in the USA.
I presented Jesse with both the pencil drawing and a special t-shirt I had made especially for him. I’m sorry this shirt will not be available for open distribution. It will only be available to Jesse himself, direct students, and close friends of Jesse.
Once again…I would like to thank those that attended this most joyous event and I can’t wait until next year for the 4th Annual Gung Fu BBQ 2010…And as always. This will be a Non-Classical Event. Hope to see you then…
Sean Grant, Your Gung Fu Brother…