Monday, August 12, 2013

Self-Defense (as it used to be)

  I was recently doing a (general) “internet” search for Self-Defense (just to see what came up). One of the items that did, was for “Bruce Tegner's Self-Defense” book. For those that aren't aware of this guy, during the (mid/late)“60's”, his were the only books (readily) available to most people (including myself, when I was a youth during that time period). During his life (1929–1985) he published 80 books on various MA subjects (Hmmmm, yes, a “Jack” of all systems).
  Although “The Green Hornet” was on (9/1966-3/1967), Nobody knew (or cared) who “Bruce Lee” was, Tegner's stuff was the only written information available regarding the MA.
  Even at my own (young) age, I recognized that what was shown in his books were “simplistic” (if not amateurish). He instructed a number of famous people, and was generally considered to be “famous” himself as well.
  Having owned a couple of his books as a youth, I downloaded one just to reminisce. Being “older”, I actually read the first chapter or two (which I hadn't bothered to do when I was younger, LOL). What I found, was a pretty good summation of what “self-defense” should consist of (and an excerpt has been included on this blog's "pages").
 He named his system JuKaDo (meaning Ju(do), Ka(rate), and  (Aiki)Do. He (obviously, LOL) wasn't fluent with the language, he just "combined" the pieces of the names in order to make a "new" one (sigh). To the "Western" perspective (of the time), doing so, made sense (though making it nearly impossible to write using kanji, LOL)
  Unlike today's marketed attitude, his was one of (honest) “self-defense”. What he presented, was a collection of simple techniques that (most) anyone could follow along with and be able to perform.  Though not being a “technical” manual (by any means), it provided a glimpse into the world of martial arts that most (at least at that time) had no real understanding of.
  Initially having received his instruction from his mother and father (beginning at age 2?) in Judo and Jiu-jutsu, he was later introduced to numerous other forms of the martial arts (a long list) and published books regarding them as well (Though I was unable to discover who his instructor's for those arts actually were?).
  Reading his general beliefs (regarding martial arts), various authors made the correlation to what Bruce Lee had taught as well. They both had very similar ideas about what and how a martial art should be taught. Tegner reminded myself more of “Houdini” as far as how he vehemently disagreed with the (popular) promotion of “mysticism” that was (and still is) attached to the instruction of the martial arts.
  Unbeknownst to me, Tegner was very active in Law Enforcement training, as well as with instructing the Military Police (as I understand, while serving in the Air Force, I would be curious to locate some of his texts in that regard, I just feel it would be interesting).
  Though repeatedly scorned and mocked, what this instructor had to say, was (very often) right on the mark (regarding “Self-Defense”). The techniques that he demonstrated and taught (in his books) were often very simplistic, but that was also his goal (so that any student would be able to perform them).
 There's a "thread" on in regards to him. It matches most all the other entree's that I found regarding the man, and is interesting reading.
 Whether one agrees with the techniques that he taught (in his books) or not, it's difficult to disagree with his methodology. He taught to the masses, not the elite few.

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