INSTRUCTOR OF THE YEAR
C onfession time! We’re not sure how Tim Tackett could have been overlooked for so long by the Black Belt Hall of Fame selection panel. He’s one of the most prominent instructors in the jeet kune do community and has a martial arts resume that stretches way back.
Tackett got his �irst taste of the Asian arts back in 1962 when Uncle Sam sent him to Taiwan as part of the . . Air Force. is initial foray into selfdefense included tai chi, hsing-i and several forms of kung fu. When he separated from the military, Tackett opened a kung fu school in California, at the time an uphill battle for a non-Chinese.
Like so many others who would go on to become martial arts movers and shakers, Tackett was inspired by a 1967 sighting of Bruce Lee at the Long Beach International Karate Championships.
e was suf�iciently impressed with the “ittle Dragon” that he refocused his attention on JKD.
In some respects, fate was not on Tim Tackett’s side because he didn’t �ind his way to ee’s Chinatown JKD school until after it had shut down. That meant being a �irst-generation JKD student was not in the cards for him. Nevertheless, Tackett was on a mission to learn Lee’s art, so he hooked up with Dan Inosanto for backyard training. He started in 1971 and continued for four years.
Inosanto gave Tackett permission to teach jeet kune do privately, which prompted him to organize the Wednesday Night Group, a cadre that congregated once a week in Tackett’s garage in Southern California. It still meets in the same setting.
Over the ensuing decades, Tackett furthered his and his students’ understanding of Bruce Lee’s art by collaborating extensively with two �irstgen students: Bob Bremer and Jim Sewell. Before their deaths, both men would teach the WNG whenever their schedules permitted. Tackett also teamed up with Bremer to create two books — Chinatown Jeet Kune Do: Essential Elements of Bruce Lee’s Martial Art and Chinatown Jeet Kune Do, Volume 2: Training Methods of Bruce Lee’s Martial Art, as well as a DVD set that bears the same Chinatown JKD name.
“Dan Inosanto told me back in the 1980s that Tim Tackett is among the most eloquent speakers in the current JKD clan,” said Black Belt Hall of Famer Dr. Jerry Beasley. “I have found that to be true. Sifu Tim has enjoyed an unquestionably successful career both as a public-school teacher and as a premier writer and lecturer in the practice of JKD. In recent years, his seminars have had a profound impact on the state of the Jun Fan arts worldwide.”
JKD authority amar M. Davis II concurs. “Tim Tackett is easily one of the most knowledgeable practitioners of jeet kune do in the world,” he said. “Of the second-generation instructors, Tim has done more than his part to help keep Bruce Lee’s [art] alive.”
Recently, Tackett downshifted from his previously hectic schedule as a prelude to retirement. “In ovember, I did my last uropean seminar in
icily,” he said. “In July, I will be teaching my last U.S. seminar in Kansas. I had my retirement dinner with my students two weeks ago. Jeremy Lynch and Dennis Blue will take over the operation of the Wednesday Night Group. I’m 76, and it’s time to just kick back. I’m starting to write my �inal book, and think I have a publisher interested in it.”
For his ongoing efforts to spread Bruce Lee’s art, not to mention all he’s done for the martial arts community during the past �ive decades, Black Belt is pleased to name Tim Tackett its 2017 Instructor of the Year.