The Oakland school was run by James, it was a
combination of new and old(a living ying/yang)he taught modern techniques and
principles he learned from Bruce in Spartan(Gladiator)methods. The use of old
training methods of using apparatus was stressed, but with an eye for
practically and efficiency with new improvement. Since James was a welder by
trade he was able to design, test, and construct most of the apparatuses. There
was a traditional Wing Chun dummy, various striking targets for finger jabs,
iron hand training. Leather strap device Canvas striking bags with wooden
arms(Tiet Kune Bau), Metal rolling arms for chi sao development, dip bars for
body conditioning. Head lock machine to develop ones arms to deliver a crushing
head lock. Hand held snapping universal joint to make the wrist stronger and
quicker for penetrating snapping punches. Single supported iron legs for
developing quick accurate kicks to the knee and shin. Leather heavy bag roman
chair, incline bench, weights, and dumbells.
The most appreciated piece of equipment by his
students was Jame's "MAN FAT JONG" "Man" in Chinese
means"ten thousand","Fat"is the equivalent of "magic or
techiniques", "Jong"can be translated as "Apparatus"James
called it "Multi Techniques Training Apparatus".
Others called it, "The Thousand Way Dummy".
It could be used to develop a powerful penetrating side kick(dummy weigh
other 300Ibs.). Bruce was one of few who was able to make the JONG rock back and
forth off its foundations a few inches when side kicked. It had a head of metal
covered with hard rubber to develop hand toughness and target accuracy, there
were removable arms for practicing hand immobilization and trapping, also a
single iron leg with bent knee to practice low kicks, leg immobilization, and
body positioning for leg sweeps and takedowns. The "Jong" was made
mostly of crude iron with a few rubber and wooden parts. When struck the Jong
would compress against the car shock absorber/spring mechanism, and instantly
spring back to its original position. Training with this equipment would make
you tough as nails, but user beware for many a student has had the "Jong"
get the better part of him, giving them a personal autograph on their body. When
in use the clanging noise could be heard from over 50 ft away. James always
stressed, "make haste slowly". "You must learn to adapt to the
circumstances, and adapt your training methods to those circumstances."
There was no protective equipment used when sparring
except for occasional use of baseball shin guards. The students would hold one
hand up with palm open as targets while the lower hand would guard the bottom
gates. This made your hand (cover) strong and palm tough, if a student was off
target you had better learn to move quickly in the proper direction so as to not
get hit in the face by a punch or kicked in the groin by a kick.
No boxing gloves or hand wraps were used.
James wanted the students to used to the reality of combat. Because of
this many prospective students chose not to stay around long. Those that stayed
and could endure became proficirnt, tough, and mentally ready for any
altercation outside class. The Oakland school was really not commercial, no
sign, no advertisement. Most new students came by a word of mouth and most had some
martial arts background. Sometimes people came to see and challenge James, but
once they saw the class train then was no longer a desire to challenge. There
was always visitors, Bruce would visit almost bi-monthly. James top student and
semi assistant was Bob Baker. Bob became good friends with Bruce and appeared in
one of Bruce's movies.
James conducted 4 classes usually in the evenings
after his work as a welder. Training lasted about 2 hours twice a week. There
was a weekend day class also in which many student came from as far away as 80
miles. Some of the students in one class did not know or meet the students in
the other classes. James was simple and direct with his student, no beating
around the bush, or attempt to woe them or seek any visual or verbal gratitude
from them. All he wanted them to do was train hard, train often, try the best
they could without any explanation and treat each other with due respect and
behave as gentlemen. He always told the student to pay attention, James disliked
repeating himself when giving instructions, his students did not fool around
during class. All students were on probation that meant they could be released
if James felt they were a determent to him or the class. He was a very patient
teacher as long as the student put out their best effort. He did not water down,
dilute his teaching methods, James did not waste any time in class, class ran
smooth, deliberate and constant in both physical and mental energy. Occasionally
students would be allowed to rest, when they left, they knew they had been in a
complete workout. The interior decoration motif of the training area was one of
"holes", there were numerous holes in lower portion and eyesight
levels of the walls, where many a stray punch or kick landed to the
self-preservation of the student.
Former student of the Oakland Era - not a