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Striking Distance

Bruce Lee & the Dawn of Martial Arts in America
Narrated by: Dan Woren
Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
Categories: Sport, Other
4.5 out of 5 stars (5 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the spring of 1959, 18-year-old Bruce Lee returned to San Francisco, the city of his birth, and quickly inserted himself into the West Coast's fledgling martial arts culture. Even though Asian fighting styles were widely unknown to mainstream America, Bruce encountered a robust fight culture in a San Francisco Bay Area that was populated with talented and trailblazing practitioners such as Lau Bun, Chinatown's aging kung fu patriarch; Wally Jay, the innovative Hawaiian jujitsu master; and James Lee, the no-nonsense Oakland street fighter. Regarded by some as a brash loudmouth and by others as a dynamic visionary, Bruce spent his first few years back in America advocating a more modern approach to the martial arts and showing little regard for the damaged egos left in his wake.

In the Chinese calendar, 1964 was the Year of the Green Dragon. It would be a challenging and eventful year for Bruce. He would broadcast his dissenting view before the first great international martial arts gathering and then defend it by facing down Chinatown's young ace kung fu practitioner in a legendary behind-closed-doors, high-noon-style showdown. The Year of the Green Dragon saw the dawn of martial arts in America and the rise of an icon.

Drawing on more than 100 original interviews and an eclectic array of sources, Striking Distance is an engrossing narrative chronicling San Francisco Bay's pioneering martial arts scene as it thrived in the early 1960s and offers an in-depth look at a widely unknown chapter of Bruce Lee's iconic life.

©2016 Charles Russo (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Great for the Bruce Lee fan

Nice detail about the evolution of martial arts in America and how Bruce Lee was a part of it. Please not this is not a bio on Bruce Lee.

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  • Jason VinesAmazon Customer
  • 13-09-2016

Fantastic guide to great tim in martial art histo

I stayed up till 3 am listening to this fantastic guide to early USA martial arts!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Daniel Brown
  • 03-01-2020

Good overview of the martial arts in the US

The title speaks to the focus on Bruce Lee and the shadow that he casts over the martial arts landscape in the US, but there is so much more in this book. The book covers the first forays into the US with Judo. It makes passing mention of the oldest dojo in the US, located in Seattle. The book also delves into the story of Bruce, Taky Kimura and others starting the Jun Fan Gung Fu institute in there and later relocating to Oakland and later LA. It highlights the fights both verbal and physical that Bruce had with proponents of the "classical mess" martial arts. The term, used by Bruce sent the martial arts world in the San Francisco into a tailspin of fury. This and Bruce's propensity to test himself in street fights in Seattle and San Francisco result in some great listening. This book really focuses on the Bay Area while giving passing mention to those that came before Bruce. As a kid of the 1970's it seems fair that the author limited his scope to this time and this place. After the 1960's and early 70's martial arts exploded in the US and Bruce was the introduction to the martial arts for many of that era.

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  • JC Haley
  • 24-03-2019

Excellent History Lesson

This books provides balanced and in depth history of the beginnings of modern martial arts in America. I have been a lifelong fan of Bruce Lee and many of his contemporaries. There has long been a fractured view of Bruce and his philosophy, but this book does a great job of explaining where and how that fractured view began. I have this book in my main reference shelf for martial arts study.

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  • Dave R.
  • 13-11-2018

Needs a direction

the book seemed to bounce back and forth between a history textbook about China and Chinese immigration in San Francisco and then secondarily about Bruce Lee. The timelines bounce back and forth a little too much so you're not really clear on where and when you're reading about.

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  • Belal Khan
  • 09-10-2018

great storytelling

I felt like this red very similar to blood in the cage on the story of Pat miletich and the rise of UFC but this time it was in the context of Chinese martial arts and the rise of Bruce Lee

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  • Gone Fishing
  • 06-08-2018

Fantastic insight into the environment..

Fantastic insight into the environment around Bruce Lee. You'll get an interesting view of martial thinking worldwide during and of the time building up to Lee's prominence. It showed that ideas for floating around before then, and just needed the right spearhead to push martial arts forward out of a secret society/superstition into practical arts.

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  • Anita
  • 25-06-2018

Very Informative!

Great history about martial arts in America and how Bruce Lee played a part in shaping it.

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  • Kyle
  • 25-04-2018

Not What I Expected

If you want a book that covers Chinese and Chinese-American history for 50% of the book, while touching on Bruce’s life and randomly zooming in on a few of his fights while staying true to an obscure writing style...enter wild tangents about other people’s fights who have very little to do with Bruce. Just not what was expected. Great narration! 👍

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  • Marcus Gallon
  • 31-08-2017

Fantastic! A must for true Martial Artist

Before watching Birth of the Drangon, read / listen to the true story on how Bruce Lee, and his martial arts came to be.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-05-2017

The REAL Birth of the Dragon

A must listen for any Bruce Lee/martial arts fan. Very informative. Shannon Lee cosigned this