Only two people in the world have achieved teacher status in Jeet Kune Do under Bruce Lee: Dan Inosanto and Ted Wong. Although it was Inosanto who was trained by Bruce Lee to teach Jeet Kune Do at the Chinatown school in Los Angeles, it was Ted Wong who was chosen by Bruce to be his sparring partner at home.
Jeet Kune Do as Inosanto is currently promoting is very different from the Jeet Kune Do as Wong teaches. Inosanto has greatly expanded Jeet Kune Do with techniques from other martial arts and has developed a "Concept Method", in which ample attention is given to techniques and principles from among others Kali, Pencak Silat, Muay Thai and Savate.
In contrast to the "Concept Method" Wong, on the other hand, has retained the original thoughts and ideas of Bruce Lee concerning Jeet Kune Do.
He practically lived with Bruce Lee at home and gave Bruce the opportunity to experiment with numerous techniques. Many innovations that Bruce Lee used for Jeet Kune Do came directly from the training sessions with Wong.
Whoever saw Ted Wong at a seminar immediately understood why he was chosen as sparring partner by Bruce Lee: they had about the same length, the same weight, were equally agile and spoke the same language (Chinese). It was not always easy to be Bruce Lee's training partner.
Wong sparred with Lee the moment Lee was on top of his physical abilities. The holding of hand targets and the stopping of the bag also consistently caused bruises and contusions!
Ted Wong has always tried to preserve the original Jeet Kune Do and regretted that today many people can no longer see what was originally developed by Bruce Lee and what was added later on through the "Concept Method".
Wong always emphasized that an important characteristic of Jeet Kune Do is that new elements are not constantly being added, but that all superfluous elements are eliminated in order to arrive at the essence of martial arts!
In other words: less is better! Simplicity!
Quote Bruce Lee:
"It is not daily increase but daily decrease, hack away the unessential".
STORIES OF TED WONG
BY KRINA WONG (Ted's wife)
Ted and his sister were born in Hong Kong, to the proud parents of Poi and Wei Wong . His father a native Californian, and graduate from Cal Berkeley school of Engineering. His mother a home coming queen from the prestigious University of Chong-Sun in Canton, China.
In 1953, his family moved back to San Francisco, California, where they stayed with his Auntie Betsy Wong Lau. Uncle Lau owned the Chinese newspaper publication. Ted got a part time job in that company, worked as a filing clerk. His job was to file back the metal type punch; Chinese characters that writers pulled out from the slots, to print the writing for the printing press. That job trained him be a patient man; to worked alone in any place and on any task
A year or so later, his father employed by the US Navy as a civil engineer; moved the family down at San Diego, California. Ted attended high school and college there until he was drafted into the army. Soon after, he was stationed in Germany. During his two and half years stationed in the army; he somehow was able to buy a car, as only officers could. With that little VW, he toured Europe with friends whenever vacation time allowed, countries like Austria, Spain, Switzerland, Belgium, etc. After his discharged from the army, he shipped the little car back to the USA. He drove from New York to San Francisco in three days to visit his Auntie Betsy and Uncle Lau before he returned home in San Diego. The little car took him to school; took him to work, took him sky diving, took Krina out on a date; took Krina to his Chinatown JKD school where he taught Krina a few JKD moves; and later took his children to school.
The family lived on the second floor of a Chinatown apartment in Los Angeles. Bruce and Linda visited Ted every time they came back from Hong Kong. One time, Bruce came by himself and the two did a little work out on the balcony, the building shook. Next thing they knew, the neighbor knocked on the door and inquired what's happening. They laughed so hard. When Ted's children turned school age, Ted moved the family out of Chinatown. Herb Jackson helped Ted put up the steel structure in his back yard to hang punching bags. They worked out of ten in the 1970s and 1980s. He taught a student here and there, and a few of workshops.
When you think life is going the way you wanted, it throws you a curve ball. During that period, Ted's work place had sold, merged and then closed down. He had a choice of moving with the company to another state or retired. Ted chose retirement. He began to teach Martial Arts-JKD. Ted was a kind and generous soul. Since his retirement, he had more time to teach JKD. His fees were barely enough to cover his traveling expenses. A humble, generous, and honest man; some may say to the point of being taken advantage of. One funny story: this guy gave him a check after the workshop. He tried to cash it the next day, the check bounced. He tried again the next week, insufficient funds. The next week again, insufficient funds ... The fifth week, he cashed the check. He was so happy, as soon as he got home and yelled out, "I got it!"
Sometimes, private lessons, turned into free lessons because the person said, 'I am poor'. It wasn't about the money, he was happy to teach. People wanted to learn JKD and Ted had the love for teaching it. He saw the JKD teaching out there was wrong. He saw the meaning was being lost if he's not correcting it. His passion for the art later turned into his mission. He traveled all over the world to teach JKD as his teacher, Bruce Lee, had taught him. Ted wanted to show the younger generation the right way of doing JKD. Jeet Kune Do enriched his life. His mission was for the preservation of the art. It enabled him traveled al! over the globe to share his knowledge and experiences and to teach JKD the right way.
He was happy to see some of his students catch on, not only the fighting techniques, but also other aspects of the JKD teaching like: developing good moral standard, ethical conducts, honest, integrity, and respect for ethers. Thank you for supporting him through the years, on which, make it possible for him to perpetuate Jeet Kune Do as he had learned from his SiFu Bruce Lee. Let his teachings continue to flourish onto the future. His spirit lives on.
"TED, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED'!!" - Krina
Ted Wong 1937 - 2010
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