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2012 Martial Arts Departures — Part 1: Jerry Poteet and Joe Lewis

2012 Martial Arts Departures — Part 1: Jerry Poteet and Joe Lewis

In 2012, the martial arts world lost a number of individuals whose presence, teachings and friendship shaped the martial artistry and professional paths of many a martial arts practitioner — both young and old. Among them were noted figures Jerry Poteet, Joe Lewis, Jesse Glover, tang soo do’s Jae Chul Shin, Masayuki Shimabukuro and jeet kune do master Bob Bremer. As we move into November, the month of Thanksgiving, we at Black Belt thought it might be fitting to take a look back at these artists and curate a brief guide to their careers and accomplishments as a “thank you” for the years of instruction, insight and innovation they shared with the magazine, its readers and the martial arts community at large in ways both large and small — starting with two longtime friends of Black Belt: Jerry Poteet and Joe Lewis.

JERRY POTEET

Jeet kune do master and Bruce Lee student Jerry Poteet in 2011Jerry Poteet taught jeet kune do for more than 40 years. His career began in kenpo, which he studied through the black-belt level under the legendary Ed Parker.

Jerry Poteet would eventually meet another legend — the iconic Bruce Lee* — in Oakland, California, in the home of James Yimm Lee, and would later be admitted to Bruce Lee’s Chinatown school in Los Angeles, as well as selected for a “closed door” group of five students who trained with Bruce Lee twice weekly.

“[Bruce Lee] was interested in the truth,” Jerry Poteet said in an exclusive video interview with Black Belt commemorating his involvement in Tao of Jeet Kune Do: Expanded Edition. “He said, ‘Maybe your truth is different than my truth. But eventually, if we have a meeting of minds, then we can find each other’s truth. And this is the first part of communication. Sometimes communication starts with just self; maybe it comes from a text.’ And without a doubt, [Tao of Jeet Kune Do] is that type of text where you can have a conversation with yourself and it’ll open things to you, being able to look at it from another point of view … rather than [just] words on a piece of paper.”


Download this FREE Guide to modern jeet kune do training:
Dan Inosanto on Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do Techniques for Grappling and
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This “conversation with self” through physical performance shone through in Jerry Poteet’s teaching style, which his website’s biography describes as the following:

Whether teaching an individual or a group, [Jerry Poteet] is easy-going, yet intense, truly embodying the principle of yin/yang, or opposites co-existing harmoniously. [Jerry Poteet] is friendly and casual in manner, yet he demands precision in movement and attitude. Laughing and joking, yet all business when it comes to the training results. He wishes to elicit from students only what his teacher demanded from him: their best. It is amazing to see how many surpass not only his expectations, but their own as well.

For the 1993 Bruce Lee biopic Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story, Jerry Poteet trained actor Jason Scott Lee to portray Bruce Lee in the title role. According to the Jerry Poteet website, being selected for that project was his “proudest achievement” and served as “the ultimate way to give something back to [his] teacher.”

JERRY POTEET: TAO OF JEET KUNE DO INTERVIEW VIDEO
Jeet Kune Do Masters Richard Bustillo, Jerry Poteet, Tim Tackett, Diana Lee Inosanto, Chris Kent and Octavio Quintero Discuss How Bruce Lee’s Martial Arts Philosophy Book “Tao of Jeet Kune Do” Changed Them as Martial Artists


JOE LEWIS

Joe Lewis on September 1967 issue of Black Belt

Joe Lewis on the September 1967 cover of Black Belt (Photo by Oliver Pang)

American kickboxer. Point karate fighter. Actor. Icon.

Joe Lewis was voted the greatest karate fighter of all time — at least once, maybe twice, depending on the source.

His kickboxing record was 16 wins (14 knockouts), 4 losses and 1 draw. He defended his U.S. heavyweight kickboxing title with eight straight knockouts between 1970 and 1971.

Joe Lewis was the first kickboxer to be featured in The Ring (boxing magazine) and Sports Illustrated.

The Internet Movie Database entry for Joe Lewis describes him as the following:

Blond, muscular, tall, handsome, and the greatest heavyweight point-fighter and kick-boxer of the 1960s and 70s, Joe Lewis coined the phrase, “American Kickboxing.” [Joe Lewis] fought in the first kick-boxing heavyweight title fight in 1970. [Joe Lewis] is one of only 5 men to defeat the legendary Chuck Norris. … Considered one of the top 3 greatest kick-boxing champions in history; some say [Joe Lewis] was the best.

In the December 2012 issue of Black Belt, Executive Editor Robert W. Young wrote in his editorial remembering Joe Lewis:

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, [Joe Lewis] contributed to Black Belt’s The Winning Edge column. While editing the essays and interacting with him, I realized just how intelligent [Joe Lewis] was, how deep his thought processes were when it came to combat. He was also one of the most articulate fighters who ever wrote for us.


* BRUCE LEE is a registered trademark of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC. The Bruce Lee name, image and likeness are intellectual property of Bruce Lee Enterprises LLC. For more information about the life, teachings and legacy of Bruce Lee, visit the official Bruce Lee website at brucelee.com.

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  1. Stephen says

    My heart felt condolences to the family, and friends of the dearly departed
    ‘Men of The Martial Arts”. I only desire that one day i can achieve the a glimmer of what these iconshave done. my deepest prayers go out them and help the Angel Michael train the warriors to fight evil. I know he would appreciate the assistance of such fine fighting comrades on his side. God Bless Them All. fare Well Teachers. You`ll be missed very much especially myself.

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