Tien Shan Taoist Internal Arts:

It is common belief that Ip Man was Bruce Lee’s main teacher. Ip Man was a friend of the family of Bruce’s but he wasn’t Bruce’s main teacher. Bruce Lee’s main teacher was a man named Fook Yueng and we all called him Mr. Yueng, who lived in Seattle. And Bruce came to America to live with Mr. Yueng while he went to the University of Washington. And Mr. Yueng went down to the pier of San Francisco to pick Bruce Lee up at the boat. And I guess it’s, well, maybe it’s not that well known.

Tien Shan Taoist Internal Arts:

First thing Bruce did when he met Mr. Yueng was offered to do chi sao, push hands with him. So, Mr. Yueng took him to Seattle and Bruce lived with him for a total of three years. Mr. Yueng got him a job at Ruby Chow’s luxury Chinese restaurant, where he was a cook. And they lived upstairs on the third floor and Mr. Yueng said Bruce was really dedicated. He would get up, like, at four in the morning and practice for 2-3 hours before getting ready to go to school. And Mr. Yueng taught him as a relative because you see, Bruce Lee’s dad was in the Chinese opera called the Red Boat Opera or the Red Junk Opera. They are an opera that went up and down the coast of China and up the rivers, giving opera performances.

Tien Shan Taoist Internal Arts:

And both Bruce Lee’s dad Hoi-Chuen something and Mr. Yueng were both the stars of the opera. They were the monkey king. This was the monkey king opera and the monkey king performance has to be the most difficult acrobatic performance that you’ll never get to see anymore. In that performance the monkey king would be running and jumping through a group of 3-4 other guys who were all swinging swords and spears and sticks at them all at the same time, and he’d be going through them and taking their weapons away and throwing him back. So, the monkey king and the weapons would be flying through the air. I don’t think we’ll ever see anything like that original show anymore because maybe nobody trains that hard anymore.

Tien Shan Taoist Internal Arts:

But Mr. Yueng and Bruce’s dad were the closest of Kung Fu brothers and they joined the opera when they were about 10…9-11 something like that. Usually it happened because the parents couldn’t afford to feed the kids or they thought they were talented. So, they were either sold or given to the opera. And the training in the opera was brutal. But anyway, the opera was their family and it was their family. They didn’t have any other family and it was very important to them.

Tien Shan Taoist Internal Arts:

So, Mr. Yueng and Bruce Lee’s dad were the closest of Kung Fu brothers. They were both the monkey king and the Red Boat Opera specialized in a kind of Wing Chun which is known as the red bull Wing Chun, which is much softer than the other kinds, more internal and it was so effective, it was banned by the Chinese government. And that was partly because the Red Boat Opera was a cover for a troop of anti-government assassins. So, they trained as assassins. In other words, their training was extremely realistic, deadly and effective. And that’s one of the reasons that red bull Wing Chun was banned by the Chinese government.

Tien Shan Taoist Internal Arts:

So, Bruce lived with Mr. Yueng for three years, then he moved out, but he continued to be a student for eight years. And Mr. Yueng learned many internal arts, over 100 I guess. And he really specialized in and liked the Wing Chun, Tai Chi and Bagua and Praying Mantis. But he added elements of, you could say, 100 others. They all mixed together in his mind so much that he lost track of what’s what and that tends to happen anyway when you arrive at the formless. So, he taught Bruce Lee his way of fighting and he taught Bruce as a relative. He didn’t want students bothering him for lessons. He didn’t want people challenging him for fights and due to his Red Boat background, he was kind of a secretive guy. By the way, it’s raining now, getting alternating rain and sun here in the tropics and that’s when I can’t voice everything through it.

Tien Shan Taoist Internal Arts:

So, Bruce Lee’s training. Bruce was with him for about eight years and Mr. Yueng didn’t want people to know who taught him. So, that’s why Bruce had to say he made it up and he liked that. Anyway, that was good for him. And since Mr. Yueng was also Bruce’s mentor, he wasn’t just a Kung Fu teacher. A lot of the popular sayings or popular quotes that I hear that come from Bruce are similar things that I’ve heard from Mr. Yueng. So, it stands to reason that Bruce learned all these popular wisdoms from Mr. Yueng.

Tien Shan Taoist Internal Arts:

Another thing is, Mr. Yueng encouraged Bruce to visit some other teachers in the area to get a broader perspective and to try out other kinds of martial arts, so he could do the same thing that Mr. Yueng did, and that is take the best from each system and leave the rest. In a way, Mr. Yueng already did that because he gave back to Bruce and some other people who are Kung Fu brothers. So, Mr. Yueng was secretive. He understands the importance of not being popular. He understood it’s very important to remain hidden. Now, one more thing about me calling myself Bruce’s Kung Fu brother. Well, we do that because we’re in the same Kung Fu family. It’s because Bruce’s main teacher was Mr. Yueng and my main teacher was also Mr. Yueng. He was with him for about eight years and I was with him for about eight years. But I never met Bruce. Usually, when people say Kung Fu brothers like it means somebody who’s alive with them at the time but technically, it still works, and the main thing is we both have the same main teacher, kind of both have the same attitude.




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