Bruce Lee had a studio in Oakland by Erika Mailma 2005 Contra Costa Times

January 1 2016 at 1:01 PM
Nick Clarke  (Login pathfinder73)

Response to Re: Just Read the Book "Showdown in Oakland"

George Lee could be included in this article - haven't found the whole piece.

In 2005 The Contra Costa Times interviewed Lee's friend, George Lee, who was at the fight:
"George offered a little more about the infamous battle that Bruce fought to keep the right to teach martial arts to non-Chinese. He was actually on the scene. As Linda was pregnant, Bruce told her to stay outside because he didn't know what could happen and George stayed outside with Linda."

That last one's interesting. Bill Chen, who was there, said someone kept peeking through the door that led to the back room of the studio. George Lee was supposed to be there to back Lee up should the situation escalate. If we are to assume that Linda stayed with George in the next room, then she couldn't have seen anything in detail since George was trying not to overtly make his presence known and was opening and closing the door slightly just to make sure everything was OK.

Bruce Lee had a studio in Oakland
Posted in the Contra Costa Times
on Tuesday, April 12, 2005
Written by Erika Mailman

Picture the scene, a triumvirate of history-minded people: Betty Marvin, head of the Oakland Cultural Heritage Survey; Kathy Ferreira, former admin director of the Oakland Heritage Alliance; and me. We’re eating Vietnamese food a stone’s throw from City Hall and full of glee over Betty and Kathy’s discovery. They’ve figured out where Bruce Lee’s studio was.

Flash back to a year ago: Ferreira was working at OHA’s former site, the Camron-Stanford house on the edge of Lake Merritt. A French tourist stopped her on her way into the building, saying that he had come all the way from France to see Bruce Lee’s studio. Ferreira launched into action, calling Jeff Hull since his group, Nonchalance, put out a poster depicting Lee. All that the two could put together was stories that Lee had taught out of someone’s house in East Oakland, where there was no signage to mark the gung fu fighter’s time there.
Ferreira called Marvin for help. Stumped, Marvin poked around city directories (much like today’s phone books, only organized by address as well as name) but didn’t get very far. The man returned to France without an answer and months passed.

Then, at the survey office where Marvin works, a colleague was doing research on Upper Broadway, looking at the permit history building by building on microfiche. “She says, ‘Wow, Bruce Lee’s martial arts studio! I wonder if it’s THE Bruce Lee.’ I vultured down on her and we printed it out,” said Marvin.
That simple permit, filed by Lee and his friend James Yimm Lee to open a martial arts studio, provided a lot of answers.

For one thing, we now know where the studio was: 4157 Broadway, where the Toyota dealership near Dave’s Coffee Shop now stands. Unfortunately, the martial arts studio was torn down, but at least we can pay homage to where it once was!

We also know that the permit was filed July 24, 1964. as a new business changing location from Seattle. And we learn that at the time of application, Bruce and James Lee lived together at 3039 Monticello Ave., which is in Maxwell Park. Bruce and Linda Lee moved in with James after his wife, Katherine, died in 1964, coming from Seattle to further train James — who had visited Bruce there on a tip — and open the studio.

The name of the studio is hard to read on the microfiche printout, but it looks like friends chose the name “Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute” as a “Chinese Self-Defense School.” Unfortunately, the studio didn’t do too well and had to close. Bruce Lee later moved to Hollywood, and the rest is history.
But as Ferreira and Marvin eloquently argue, Oakland should acknowledge his sojourn here.
“Bruce Lee’s contribution to Oakland is something that’s been completely overlooked,” Ferreira said. “I mean, if you have some Gen-Xer from France traveling all the way here … This is a huge issue that the visitors’ bureau is just blowing.”

Their possibly tongue-in-cheek suggestion? A statue of Bruce Lee on the Broadway median near where his studio stood.”Who doesn’t like Bruce Lee?” said Ferreira, who took judo in high school. “He’s like a god, an international hero. I can’t think of another Oaklander like that, with his bucking tradition and the norm.”

The “bucking tradition” she refers to is that Bruce Lee got into trouble with the Asian martial arts community for sharing martial arts information with non-Asians. Ferreira heard that Bruce Lee was challenged to a duel with another fighter named Wong Jak Man in the basement of the home on Monticello. If he lost, he was to stop teaching — but of course, he won.


Bruce Lee memorial event set Sunday
Looking Back/Erika Mailman
POSTED: 08/26/2008 11:44:57 AM PDT | UPDATED: 7 YEARS AGO
A WHILE AGO, I wrote a column in which a couple Oaklanders talked about how great it would be if the city capitalized on its Bruce Lee heritage.

Why not erect a statue at the site of his martial arts studio, they wondered, and create a tourist destination for those who would want to pay their respects? And lest you think this unrealistic, I heard from an Italian who had come to the United States for exactly that purpose and wandered around Oakland lost and sad.

Well, in response to that column, Thomas Hong contacted me. He is a 45-year-old Chinatown resident who loves Bruce Lee and started knocking on many doors trying to get a statue or mural created.

He said, "It's tough being a resident of Oakland, a city that has been overmaligned. And yet this American-born citizen (Lee) overcame adversity by rising out of this shadow to become a movie legend ... Oakland was the city where he taught and developed his unique style and philosophy of Jeet Kune Do Martial Arts."

Here's a catalog of some of the things Hong has done to try to commemorate Lee: He met with a local writer who told him there were other Oakland residents "more deserving of a statue;" looked into funding through the city's Cultural Funding Program; met with someone at the Asian Resource Gallery to talk about a possible exhibit; wrote a proposal to the Oakland Asian Community Center; asked permission of the Pacific Renaissance Plaza to hold an event next to the fountain (declined for insurance reasons); spoke with two different local artists about painting a mural on the wall of the building where Lee's studio once stood; and called the building owner both about the possible mural and to see about holding an event outside where people could leave a flower for Lee.

As Hong says, "All dead ends."

However, he was able to schedule an event for 5 p.m. this Sunday, July 20, at Lincoln Square, 10th and Harrison streets. The event is the Bruce Lee Memorial martial arts show (Lee died on this same date in 1973). Hong hopes martial artists will come to demonstrate and that he can approach people there about creating something more permanent.

He points out that there is room on the sidewalk for a statue and a big white blank wall for a mural at 4157 Broadway, where Lee's studio once was.

"We currently have a statue of Jack London, where people gather to take a picture," he says. "When I lived in Waikiki, the statue of a surfer there also got people together to talk about his accomplishments. I hope a statue of Bruce Lee will encourage people to visit Oakland and to inspire residents that they, too, have the potential for greatness."

This message has been edited by pathfinder73 on Jan 1, 2016 1:02 PM

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  • Re: Bruce Lee had a studio in Oakland by Erika Mailma 2005 Contra Costa Times - Bestsham on Jan 1, 2016, 7:33 PM
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