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Pupil of Bruce Lee to teach class

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    Richard Bustillo.

One of the last remaining students of the late martial arts superstar Bruce Lee will teach a seminar on jeet kune do this week.

Richard Bustillo, a Hawaii-born expert in a fighting style Lee made famous, studied martial arts under Lee from 1967 to 1970, when Lee closed his Los Angeles training academy and traveled to Hong Kong to make movies.


» When: 9 a.m.- 3:30 p.m. Saturday

» Where: Hawaii Martial Arts Center, 555 N. King St.

» Cost: $40 pre-registration, $50 at the door

» To register: Call 223-9363, 381-2285 or 310-787-8793.

The San Francisco-born Lee, who is arguably the most famous martial artist ever, introduced Chinese martial arts to the West through a series of kung fu films before his death in 1973 at the age of 33.

The 73-year-old Bustillo said Lee may have had around 1,000 students, but there are only three or four left. Lee liked to individualize each student’s training and kept class sizes to about a dozen people, Bustillo said in a call from California.

Organizers for the jeet kune do seminar Saturday at the Hawaii Martial Arts Center in Kalihi expect a small group of students, and while many of them will be intermediate-level martial artists, beginners are also encouraged to attend.

“It’s potentially lifesaving, knowing a little self-defense,” said Bustillo, who lives in Carson, Calif., but returns to Hawaii often.

Bustillo has taught martial arts for more than 45 years and is sought after for defense-tactics training and self-defense programs by law enforcement agencies including the FBI, the Los Angeles Sheriffs Department and the Los Angeles Police Department.

Bustillo said practitioners of jeet kune do have to be well rounded in all types of martial arts. At his seminar, Bustillo will also teach students about the Filipino martial art eskrima and techniques used in mixed martial arts.

Jeet kune do stands out because it’s “a real fight,” Bustillo said.

“You have to defend yourself with a bite,” he said, adding that in jeet kune do there are no limits in sparring. “There are no rules,” Bustillo said. “There are no officials to stop a real fight.”

Jeet kune do is as much a philosophy as it is a martial art, according to Bustillo, who also said Lee did not believe in tournaments or competitions.

“The philosophy in Bruce Lee’s jeet kune do is to win a fight without fighting,” Bustillo said.

That means getting the most out of each move.

Bustillo said that jeet kune do involves grappling, defending against all kinds of strikes and defending against weapons.

For Bustillo, knowing isn’t enough.

“You must do,” he said.

Bustillo said many know they want to learn martial arts. To those, Bustillo says, “Just do it.”

Bustillo is the lead instructor at the International Martial Arts and Boxing Academy in Torrance, Calif.

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