JKD Timeline

Following is a somewhat incomplete timeline of events in the evolution of JKD.  My notes are a little confusing during Sigung Lee's early years in the United States and I will revise them and add more reference points and information as my research uncovers them...
1940 Bruce "Jun Fan" Lee born on November 27th in San Francisco, CA.
1954 Sigung Lee begins formal martial arts training in Wing Chun Gung Fu under Grandmaster Yip Man.
Sigung Lee enters La Salle College boxing championship and defeats reigning champion Gary Elms.
  • Sigung Lee arrives in the United States (San Francisco, CA) to claim U.S. citizenship
  • Later that year he moves to Seattle, WA with his brother Peter.
  • Begins working in Ruby Chow's restaurant and living in room above dining room.
  • Begins teaching the Tao of Chinese Gung Fu in parking lot of Ruby Chow's restaurant and local parks.
  • Begins training Jessie Glover, Taky Kimura, James Demile and Charlie Woo.
  • Enrolls at the University of Washington majoring in Philosophy.
  • Submits philosophy paper on the “Tao of Gung Fu”.
  • Meets martial artists James Yimm Lee; Sigung Lee is introduced to weightlifting.
  • Sigung Lee meets his martial arts contemporaries: Allen Joe, Professor Wally Jay, Ralph Castro and Ed Parker.
  • Sigung Lee returns to Hong Kong for a short visit where he visits his family and is reunited with his Wing Chun instructor Yip Man.
  • Meets and starts dating fellow U.W. student Linda Emery.
  • Opens the first Jun Fan Kung Fu Institute in Seattle's Chinatown.
  • Later that year he relocates the school to a location nearer the UW campus; Taky Kimura is Assistant Instructor.
  • Moves to Oakland, California and opens new kwoon; teaches Lee Jun Fan Gung Fu; James Lee is Assistant Instructor.
  • Gives demonstration at the Ed Parker International Karate Championships; meets Dan Inosanto and Jhoon Rhee.
  • Returns to Seattle, WA to marry Linda; they return to OAkland, CA.
  • Fights Wong Jak Man; turning point in Sigung Lee’s martial arts development and training methodology.
  • Auditions for “Green Hornet” television series.
  • Brandon Lee is born on February 1st.
  • Sigung Lee is given an $1800 retainer to wait 1 year for production to begin on "The Green Hornet".
  • Redefines Jun Fan Gung Fu as a concept not a style… inception of the term Jeet Kune Do.
  • Begins work on “The Green Hornet” as Kato.
  • Sigung Lee moves to Los Angeles, CA.
  • Opens third Jun Fan Kung Fu Institute with Dan Inosanto as Assistant Instructor.
  • Does cameos on "Matt Helm" and "Ironsides".
  • Meets Joe Lewis at National Karate Championships in Washington, DC.
Works on the syndicated TV shows “Batman” and “Blondie”.
  • Works on “Marlowe” with James Gardner.
  • Shannon Lee is born on April 19th.
  • Works on 2 episodes of “Longstreet” with James Franciscus.
  • Sigung Lee's back injury gives him time to document the philosophy and practice of JKD; after his death his notes were turned into "The Tao of Jeet Kune Do".
  • Closes Chinatown gym to return to Hong Kong and make movies.
  • Sigung Lee's first film, “The Big Boss / Fists of Fury”, opens to sell out crowds.
  • Sigung Lee's second film, "Fists of Fury / The Chinese Connection", breaks all-time box office records in the Orient.
  • Sigung Lee's third film, "Return of the Dragon / The Way of the Dragon", surpasses box office expectations.
  • Sigung Lee forms his own production company, Concord, and begins filming fight scenes for his next movie "The Game of Death".
  • Filming is interrupted in order for Sigung Lee to begin filming of "Enter the Dragon".
  • Sigung Lee dies on July 17th.
  • “Enter the Dragon” premieres on August 24th.
1978 Fight footage that was made prior to Sigung Lee's death is used to create “The Game of Death”.


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