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Showdown in Oakland: The Story Behind the Wong Jack Man - Bruce Lee Fight

Showdown in Oakland: The Story Behind the Wong Jack Man - Bruce Lee Fight [Kindle Edition]

Rick Wing
2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product Description

Product Description

Many say this fight was the most important fight in the life of the famed martial icon Bruce Lee. True or not? You be the judge.
This book is the most detailed version ever written of the fight between Wong Jack Man and Bruce Lee in 1964, a fight which many insiders say spurred Lee on to create his personal art of Jeet Kune Do (JKD), Most importantly, it describes the context within which the fight occurred, how it all happened, why it happened, and what happened afterward. It is also a glimpse into the kung fu world of San Francisco Chinatown in the 1960s.
This fight has taken on an almost mythical status in the much studied career of the great martial icon Bruce Lee. Details unknown to the general public are revealed here for the first time ever and any student of martial history, Bruce Lee, or Jeet Kune Do should find this book a fascinating read. If anyone wishes to discuss this incident in an intelligent and thoughtful manner, this book must be read. Follow the author's careful reasoning as he takes the reader back in time to an incident which took place almost fifty years ago.
The true-life story behind this match is easily as interesting (perhaps more so) as any fictionalized movie portrayal of this singular encounter.
Eyewitness accounts, Chinese newspaper articles (with their English translations) and many old photographs make this meticulously researched book required reading for anyone interested in what actually transpired between Wong Jack Man and Bruce Lee in late 1964 and early 1965. These newspaper articles document the viewpoints of both Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man on the fight at the time.
Get an inside look at what really happened and step back in time to the streets of San Francisco Chinatown in 1964!

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 19765 KB
  • Print Length: 252 pages
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00AR0KE1I
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 2.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #277,140 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Firstly I would like to say I have been a practitioner of martial arts for quite a few years and being Chinese, I have some affinity for the Chinese culture and values. Ultimately whether Lee won or not on that fateful night in 1964 will not change my life in the slightest - I will continue to practice martial arts plus my opinions of both Lee and Wong remain the same - they are both legends in their own right.

Firstly there are some great pros to the book - it successfully captures and paints a very nostalgic period in the Chinese community in America in the 50-60s. In particular, there are some great photos and history of various martial arts communities during that time. The writer Rick Wing has studied with Wong Jak Man for 30+ years.

As I read through the book it became apparent that there were some fundamental flaws to Wings approach which ultimately caused any credibility in the writers assertions to unravel with each successive page. Firstly Wing chooses to base nearly all of his evidence solely on eye witness accounts from 2-3 close 'acquaintances' of Wong or those in the community who were disgruntled with the brash Lee. Where visual evidence is sketchy, Wing instead refers to 'others' or more ambiguous sources to substantiate his assertions. Interviews with friends or acquaintances from Lee's side of the fence, so to speak, are not even considered and the author briefly dances over the subject. I find this irksome as a reader, since good journalism should demonstrate courage and good objective fact finding.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.7 out of 5 stars  31 reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grab a cup of tea and prepare for a showdown! 26 Dec 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Showdown in Oakland is one of those rare books I finished in a couple of days and then immediately missed it and want to read it again. If you thought you knew Bruce Lee or about his "toughest fight," then you are wrong. This book is the most exhaustive, well-researched and balanced account of the event that has ever been documented. Written by someone with inside connections and a master in martial arts, Rick Wing tracks down and interviews many of the only surviving eye witnesses to the fight and to the inciting events that led up to the mythic encounter. Wing brings us on a colorful ride through 1960's San Francisco Chinatown where you can smell the dim sum and hear the hustle of a busy Chinatown populous.

The author brings the perspective of a person who is a master of Kung Fu, a knowledge I think necessary to understand the dynamics and details of the fight that one might not otherwise think of. He also happens to have known the other fighter and opponent of Lee in this drama, Sifu Wong Jack Man, for many decades. Although Wing obviously is friends with Wong, he is balanced, logical, and lets people make their own decisions based on the many interviews, quotes, news articles, and facts. Like a detective story set in Chinatown, this is interesting as a story, a historical event, and as a study of how media and individuals can distort what one perceives.

I would recommend this book to anyone interested in Chinatown, Bruce Lee, Kung Fu, or what people refer to as "Bruce Lee's Toughest Fight." Grab a cup of Tea, kick back, and prepare to experience a "Showdown in Oakland."
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Significant Contribution to the History of Martial Arts 7 Jan 2013
By Terrence Trumbo - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
As a former student of Wong Jack Man, I was intrigued by Sifu Rick Wing's conversations with this venerable grandmaster of the Northern arts. I was a witness to many of their exchanges during my years training and perfecting the techniques Sifu Wong taught me (some of which I have successfully used in real self-defense situations). Many of Wong's students (including myself) are not of Chinese descent, which should call into question the notion that the conflict between Lee and Wong arose from Wong's insistence that Lee had no right to teach non-Chinese pupils. The book presents compelling evidence to the contrary, and Sifu Wong is quoted as saying: "Even Bruce Lee never said these things."

There can be no significant discussion of this fight without a reading of this book. Most of the Internet discussions about the event, which have been carried on for years, have been heavily biased in favor of Lee, presumably based on Lee's own testimony. But the book presents evidence that Lee had made several statements that were patently false.

It should be noted that Lee was quite young at the time, having not yet landed his first U.S. role, as Kato on The Green Hornet. At the time he was still trying to make a name for himself and was known to be quite the capable fighter, having proven his mettle during many scraps in Hong Kong. He wasn't, however, invincible. The book quotes Lee's friend Michael Lai: "Bruce hated to lose. If he lost, he would have some excuse and never admitted that he had been beaten fairly. He had `nga tsat,' which is to say he was very cheeky and strutted like a peacock. He always acted very superior." A similar take of Bruce's young life is given by Wong Shun Leung, Bruce's senior kung fu brother (his article, "Bruce Lee and His Friendship with Wong Shun Leung," is a very interesting read).

It should be noted that Sifu Wing reveals himself to be quite a Bruce Lee fan. He recounts the first time he saw Enter The Dragon and the splash that it made with him and his peers at the time. Among Wing's friends is Greglon Lee, the son of Bruce Lee's good friend James Yimm Lee (who was at the fight). Greglon has written a foreward for the book and has shown his support for Sifu Wing's efforts in recounting this historic event. Other testimonies include Ming Lum's, a friend of both Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man and who Sifu Wing eventually befriended.

The book is a treasure trove of rare photographs, many of which have never been revealed to the public. The photos of the young Wong Jack Man performing his Northern Shaolin kung fu are spectacular, and there are some great pictures of Bruce (courtesy of Greglon Lee) that have never been made public. There are also many photos of the relevant historical locations throughout the Bay Area, including some of the family associations in San Francisco's Chinatown, the Sun Sing Theatre, where Bruce Lee demonstrated his skills to the public, and the location of Bruce Lee's kung fu school in Oakland. The book also includes copies of the Chinese newspaper articles reporting the event at the time, which along with the extraordinary photos further enrich the fabled tale.

Showdown in Oakland is a must-read for all martial arts enthusiasts. I highly recommend it, and every Bruce Lee fan with a strong opinion about this event should read this book to develop deeper insights and determine if what they think they "know" about this fight is in fact true.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book! 7 Jan 2013
By jjan16 - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition
Well written with exhaustive research. Very balanced and thoughtful. Excellent reading for any martial art enthusiast or fan. I highly recommend reading this if you want to know the "real" story.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Definitive account of the Bruce Lee-Wong Jack Man fight 29 Dec 2012
By Nick - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Rick Wing's book is the definitive account of the 1964 fight between Lee and Wong. It is a well researched and constructed work which strips away the myths surrounding the fight (or sparring match, as some would term it) and puts the fight in the context of the times and the environment of 1960s San Francisco Chinatown.

It's a timely book in that many of the old time Chinatown residents and Kung fu instructors are passing away, and those with first hand knowledge of the times and the event are harder and harder to find. Rick has grabbed his chance at grabbing the last of the men who were there and wringing the story out of them. Those of us interested in martial arts and culture should be glad he did so.

Rick is the long time student of master Wong Jack Man, but to his credit this book is not a partisan stomping of the Lee family's version of the fight. Rick does put the lie to a number of myths about the fight (primary among them that Lee was fighting to teach Kung fu to non- Chinese) but Rick is very even handed in his exploration of Lee's and Wong's motivations for fighting and for the drama that came afterward. Both Bruce Lee and Wong Jack man emerge from the fray with credit; a good reader will weigh the evidence and come to his own conclusion.

If you're interested in Bruce Lee and want to know how he came to develop his personal style, if you are interested in one of the great but little known Northern shaolin Kung fu masters of the last half century (master Wong), or even if you're just interested in some of the "hidden history" of San Francisco Chinatown, get this book. It's informative, well written, and exhaustively researched. Rick Wing has written a work worthy of its subjects.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eric Von Lustbader in real time ? 13 Feb 2013
By John Lu - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The description of the action is as good if not better than E. v. L's " Ninja." ... and I think it was very good. BL is an icon of Chinese America no matter what opinion one might have of BL as a person. JMW comes over as a gentleman, a scholar of martial arts, and honorable in battle.

This is a part of Asian American History that needed to be recorded, and many thanks to Rick Wing for his effort.

Buy his book.
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