Ed Hart was Bruce's second student in America. Prior to becoming involved in the martial arts, Ed was a well-known street-fighter in Chicago. He was known as one of the toughest men around. He could take a punch exceptionally well, and he could also give one as well. By 1960, Ed had "reformed" and become a hard-core martial artist.
Ed and Jesse Glover were room-mates in a duplex in Seattle. Their apartment was almost like a club house, in the sense that Bruce, Skip Ellsworth, and the rest of the guys were always welcome to stop by to practice Gung Fu, drink tea and discuss martial arts, etc.
Ed was a very good friend to Bruce, and he had a large influence on Bruce's life. He often would help Lee with his homework and even wrote some of Bruce's famed papers on Gung Fu which have since been auctioned off by the Lee Estate.
Ed taught Gung Fu in the Seattle area for many years up until his death on December 3rd, 1998. Before his passing, he released a video on his expertise in grappling.
Rest in peace, Ed Hart. You were loved and revered by many.
(Note: The bulk of the information in the above article was taken from Skip Ellsworth's site-PB)
The Ed Hart Interview
Conducted By Paul Bax
Bruce Lee's root's in the martial way began in the scenic town of Seattle, Washington. A close friend and dedicated student of "the little dragon" who is often over looked as a link to the late martial arts master is the seldom heard from, Ed Hart. Hart, also a close associate of Lee's first American student, Jesse Glover, has retained much of Lee's early teachings and also added a considerable amount of grappling moves to his arsenal of already devastating techniques. In this interview, Mr. Hart reminisces of his fondest memories of Bruce Lee and his sadness he felt after his passing.
BEFORE BRUCE OPENED HIS OFFICIAL SCHOOL, THE WORKOUTS WERE EITHER IN PARKING GARAGES AND BACKYARDS...
Ed Hart: At first they were in our apartment and then in the yard and in the summer time we'd go out to the play grounds and in cold weather we'd go some where to get out of the rain. It didn't matter. We didn't have a regular school for quite some time.
HOW DID THE TRAINING DIFFER FROM ONE PERIOD TO THE NEXT?
EH: It didn't differ.
EVEN AFTER HE OPENED HIS FIRST SCHOOL?
EH: Yeah up until he opened his first school it was just informal. Just a bunch of us guys would get together and work out. When more guys started coming around it became kind of loose because a lot of guys would see what he was doing and then practice it for a few sessions and then you wouldn't see them anymore. There were a few guys who stayed with the core group and we all became good friends, but they were a lot of guys that were kind of "frenzies," you know.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT BRUCE LEE'S EXACT PLANS ABOUT OPENING A CHAIN OF SCHOOLS?
EH: He didn't give us any exact plans, he just said he wanted to open up a chain of schools and spread the art all over the world but he didn't sit down and give us an agenda or anything like that.
WHAT WAS BRUCE LIKE AS A TEACHER AS OPPOSED TO THE BRUCE LEE OUTSIDE OF CLASS?
EH: Well, when he was teaching us he just kept us practicing. Actually, I don't think he liked teaching very much. He would get us going and have us do the moves over and over and have us perform them. He worked out with a couple of us but he was way to far ahead of us to do a lot of work outs with us. He did work out with us on chi sao and closing. He did a lot of stuff with a few guys but when the group got bigger he would just tell them what to do and just stand there and watch them do it and give them some suggestions. I don't think he liked teaching a lot but he did like to do chi sao and he did like to show closing moves. He liked to practice against any kind of attack. He was always practicing against any kind of attack at all to try and find a weak spot. That's something I do to. I keep looking for weak spots all the time. I'm always questioning.
WHEN THE FIRST SCHOOL OPENED DID HE HOLD A LOT OF THINGS BACK AS FAR AS CHI SAO AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE?
EH: Yeah, I don't think he taught too much chi sao when he opened his school. He was teaching more complicated things. The guy he worked out the most with was Jesse Glover. He worked out with Jesse constantly. If Jesse and I hadn't worked out together I wouldn't have learned as much as I did because I learned more from Jesse than I did from Bruce. In fact, any one from that group who learnt it well or learnt it half way learned it from Jesse because Bruce wasn't that dedicated of a teacher. Bruce would show me some moves and I would practice it with Jesse and that's how I got to the point to where I could do them.
YOU EMPHASIZE A LOT OF GRAPPLING IN YOUR SYSTEM OF FIGHTING. WAS THAT A RESULT OF BRUCE LEE'S LACK OF EMPHASIS IN THE AREA?
EH: He didn't have a lack of emphasis (in that area). He had a lot for respect of grappling. It's not the result of anything except the fact that the Gung Fu we do ties into grappling so well that you can be punching someone and moving them around and go into a grappling move with out any wasted motion at all so that it plugs right into grappling. It like seamless. You can't tell where the gung fu leaves off and the grappling begins. It ties in so well. I've done a lot of grappling, I have done some wrestling, I've done some judo, I've done jujitsu and I have a great deal of respect for grappling. In the gung fu that I do a lot of stuff isn't taken care of like getting grabbed from behind or if your down and someone attacks you. The grappling is like a secondary layer over the gung fu, it's like the layers of an onion. It ties in so well with the gung fu that you can go from one to the other without anyone seeing where one leaves off and the other begins. That's how well it ties in, there's just no wasted motion at all. I have bouncers that train with me from out of town who stay here for a week at a time. I work them on control moves and I work them on punching too so there punches are more efficient and so they don't throw such wide punches. I also work them on control moves which they like a lot. They've written me about it, they've phoned me about it, they've told me how they worked and they're just amazed at just how well the control moves work. These control moves are good because you don't have to hurt the guy but if he gets too much out of hand they can revert to punching or break his arm or what ever you have to do but the good thing about the control moves is that you don't have to hurt them. A good bouncer doesn't want to hurt anybody. What he wants to do is either subdue the guy or get him out of the place but without damaging the guy in the process. The way I got into grappling was just evolution. It wasn't like I sat down and said, "Oh I am going to put in a grappling move in here or there," it just evolved. These things just kind of came to me. I would make a gung fu move and I'd see how well it would tie into the next move if you wanted to control the guy and so I'd just do it and after awhile it just kind of came together on it's own.
DID BRUCE EVER MENTION WHAT HIS STRATEGY AGAINST A GRAPPLER AND DID HE PLAN TO INCORPORATE MORE GRAPPLING INTO HIS SYSTEM?
EH: Well if Bruce met a grappler head on he would just stick on him. In other words the guy couldn't get in. He would control the head. If you control the head, the body goes where the head goes. If you shove a guy's head away he can't grab you but you can also punch him in the head. If the guy comes in low like he's going to grab you or something (if my students don't have a grappling back ground) I just tell them to slam their head away and keep punching.
HAVE ANY OF YOUR STUDENTS CONSIDERED ENTERING THE ULTIMATE FIGHTING CHAMPIONSHIP?
EH: No. (laughs)
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THIS TOURNAMENT?
EH: Well, I've thought about it and I don't know exactly what to think of it myself. Jesse (Glover) thinks that their selective. I'm not sure exactly what to think about it.
WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE GRACIES AND THEIR GRAPPLING TECHNIQUES?
EH: Their pretty good grapplers. They don't move as quite as good as a wrestler but their grappling is pretty good. They have lots of little tricky moves and ways of interfering on the ground that make the other guy not get on them right because they keep interfering with them. One good thing about the Gracies is that they specialize in chokes and joint locks which is very good. They can get into a choke or joint lock from almost any position so it makes them extremely dangerous. They don't shoot in or do take-downs as smoothly as a wrestler but their adequate. The stuff they do is more like judo.
DO YOU THINK THAT THEY WOULD BE AS SUCCESSFUL IF THEY WERE IN AN ALL OUT STREET FIGHT? (THE UFC DOES HAVE RULES SUCH AS NO EYE GOUCHING, NO BITING AND IS PERFORMED ON A SOFT MAT)
EH: I don't know, I think they'd do all right in most street fights but they're not punchers at all and if they'd learn how to punch right they could probably be even better fighters but they're pretty good fighters. There not somebody to laugh at. If they got into a fight with most street fighters they would probably choke him or something.
DO YOU HAVE ANY STREET STORIES ABOUT YOUR STUDENTS IMPLEMENTING YOUR TECHNIQUES SUCCESSFULLY?
EH: Yeah, I've had several students who were bouncers who have wrote to me and told me how a move worked so good in spite of the fact that the guy they were fighting was bigger than them. Not too many of my students get into fights. In fact I keep telling them that if somebody calls you names to ignore them but if they attack you then you react. I had one student who was attacked in a parking lot by a guy who was bullying a girl and my friend made a remark about it and the guy came around a car and lunged at him and my student just hit him, bam-bam-bam and he was just amazed at how fast he went down. Another time one of my students was driving along and he saw some guy with a nap-sack on his back with a stick in his hand beating a dog. So here's this guy beating a dog and my friend likes animals and he's a real nice guy. He was on a real busy street and he screeched over to a stop and jumped out of the truck and ran over to the guy and said, "What the hell you doing to that dog beating him with that stick like that?" and the guy said, "Maybe I'll beat you with it," and he pulled the stick back and my friend just jumped in and took him down with one punch and took the stick out of his hand. Then when the guy was down their cowering he cracked him with the stick and said, "How do you like it?" He said the guy was a big dude too. So he took the stick and hurled it away somewhere. He grabbed the dog and took it with him and as he was pulling away people started applauding.
WHAT OTHER STUDENTS FORM THE SEATTLE PERIOD DO YOU KEEP IN TOUCH WITH BESIDES JESSE GLOVER?
EH: Well, I keep in touch with Skip Ellsworth and Leroy Garcia. I've stopped into Taky Kimura's store once or twice and said hello and one of my students delivers to his store every day.
MUCH HAS BEEN SAID ABOUT LEE'S EVOLUTION IN THE MARTIAL ARTS. HAVE YOU SEEN THE MODIFICATIONS OVER THE YEARS TO FROM WHAT WE HAVE COME TO KNOW AS JEET KUNE DO?
EH: Well, I have seen a lot of people doing it and they all do it differently.
DOES IT DIFFER THAT MUCH FROM WHAT YOU LEARNT FROM BRUCE?
IN WHAT WAYS?
EH: It's very difficult to explain but it's not the same.
DO YOU THINK IT'S ANY MORE EFFECTIVE OR LESS EFFECTIVE?
EH: Well, I don't want to get into that. I just teach what I teach the best I can and try to be a good teacher and I know that what I teach works so I teach my own thing and what ever other people want to teach, I don't know.
YOU WE'RE THE TIME KEEPER AT LEE'S FAMOUS FIGHT AT THE YMCA. DO YOU HAVE ANY INTERESTING DETAILS ABOUT THE FIGHT?
Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do, james demile, jeet kune do, jkd, doug palmer, jim demile, bruce lee
skip ellsworth, bob bremer, howard williams, taky kimura, jesse glover, leo fong, james lee jun fan gung fu, richard bustillo, jerry poteet, joe cowles, dan inosanto