Tale of Tim Tackett
Didn’t JKD Senior Statesman Start in Bruce Lee’s Art, Him But That Didn’t Stop of Its From Becoming One Most Respected Teachers!
As I sat in his immaculate living room, listening to the tale of Tim Tackett unfold from the mouth of the man himself, I couldn’t help but note the parallels between his life and mine. Both of us started our martial arts journeys in the United States before going to Asia for non-martial arts reasons. Both of us, however, seized the opportunity to train as much as possible while in Asia. Both of us found that local masters were flattered that a foreigner had come so far because of his passion for the arts and subsequently were very giving. Both of us returned from Asia and built a career in the martial arts that did not involve teaching what we’d learned in the Far East. That’s where the parallels end. Tackett’s path led him to become a prominent jeet kune do teacher, while mine led me to become the editor of Black Belt. And that is why, as I sat on his sofa, Tim Tackett was doing 90 percent of the talking and I was happy to do 90 percent of the listening.
Could you tell us how you got started in the martial arts and how Taiwan fit into it?
I was always interested in World War II combatives when I was a kid. There was a chief of police here in Redlands, California, named Wesley Brown who had written a book on it, and I futzed around with that for a while. Because I was in the YMCA youth circus at the time, martial arts seemed natural to me.
So you had an athletic background from the beginning?
I did. Interestingly enough, Bob Bremer, whom I learned
jeet kune do from, was also a trampoline guy. He taught Bruce Lee how to do backflips and stuff. That helps you know where your body is in space.
What came next martial arts-wise?
When I was 12 or 13, a judo guy started teaching at the Y, so I began training with him. Then nine months later, he moved, and we were left with no martial arts