Written By Raymond Horwitz
Today, we bring you some awesome archival behind-the-scenes jeet kune do techniques footage of this first-generation Bruce Lee student in action at Black Belt magazine! Below the video is a brief Q-and-A regarding the impact of Bruce Lee’s philosophy on the martial arts, the creation of the Bruce Lee philosophy book Tao of Jeet Kune Do and Bruce Lee’s training methodology.
If you know jeet kune do, then you know Richard Bustillo. And if you don’t, then you should. Inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame as the 1989 Co-Instructor of the Year, Bruce Lee training disciple Richard Bustillo was one of the jeet kune do techniques pioneer’s first students in Los Angeles and was partly responsible for training his children (Brandon Lee and Shannon Lee) in the martial arts.
A longtime practitioner of boxing, Thai boxing, escrima, kajunkenbo, wrestling, jujitsu, tai chi chuan and silat, Richard Bustillo has evolved his own version of the Bruce Lee training method and jeet kune do techniques at his IMB Academy in Torrance, California.
RICHARD BUSTILLO VIDEO
First-Generation Bruce Lee Student Richard Bustillo Shoots Jeet Kune Do Techniques at Black Belt Magazine
Black Belt: How do you think Bruce Lee’s training methods and the Bruce Lee philosophy for living have impacted the world?
Richard Bustillo: [Neither] he himself nor the family nor we who trained with Bruce Lee, the first-generation students … we had no idea that his impact would reach all the corners of the world. I mean, I’ve been to India doing seminars. I’ve been to, of course, China, the Philippines, and every martial art in every corner of the world is touched by Bruce Lee. Non-martial artists also — even the kids who never met Bruce Lee — today still know that Bruce Lee’s an icon in the martial arts. They all still want to learn, they all still want to imitate Bruce. And that’s why [Tao of Jeet Kune Do] is important because people want to know about Bruce Lee’s inner mind, how he thinks and how he acts.
Black Belt: What part of Bruce Lee’s philosophy or the Bruce Lee training style do you think people may have misunderstood?
Richard Bustillo: People thought Bruce Lee was arrogant and he was a showoff. If you don’t know him, yes, it might come off like being arrogant, but Bruce Lee was always honest in his explanations and about his martial arts. He was very confident about what he [said], so [when he spoke] with confidence, people misconstrued that as being arrogant. I mean, he’d [critique] guys who’d been training for 20 years and here’s just this young kid — 20 years old, 24 — and [he’d] tell them just like it is. For instance, he’d say [things like], “Today, you need to train by today’s standards. Why go into a horse stance when we don’t ride horses [anymore]? Why set yourself up to practice [from] 400 years ago in today’s modern times?” Today’s street fighting is different from 400 years ago. [Sometimes] people cannot break from the old traditional habits to go by the new standards. And all Bruce Lee did was bring his martial arts up to today’s times.
Black Belt: Can you describe your first encounter with the Bruce Lee philosophy book Tao of Jeet Kune Do?
Richard Bustillo: My first encounter [with Tao of Jeet Kune Do] was at its inception. The late Gilbert Johnson was assigned to write Bruce Lee’s notes. Linda [Lee Cadwell] and the [original] owner of Black Belt, Mito Uyehara, had conversed about all [the] notes that Bruce Lee had collected throughout the years [and about how] these notes and sketches and drawings were too valuable to trash. So Gil Johnson put these notes in a book form. I don’t know if then it was called Tao of Jeet Kune Do, but Gil’s project was to put these notes into a book form. And since Gil didn’t know too much about Bruce Lee’s training, he started training with [Dan] Inosanto and I at the Filipino Kali Academy and he brought his notes with him, asked us about what terminology meant, about the techniques, about what the sketches meant, and that’s how he got the book out.