Mar­tial Arts Com­mu­nity Loses ALLEN JOE, JKD Icon and True Amer­i­can Hero

Black Belt - - EDITOR'S NOTE - — Tommy Gong

Allen Joe wore many hats in his adult life: World War II vet­eran, body­build­ing cham­pion and mar­tial artist are a few of them. That last one was es­pe­cially im­por­tant be­cause Joe was not only a stu­dent of %UXFH /HH·V EXW DOVR D FORVH IULHQG 6DGO\ KH SDVVHG DZD\ RQ April 2, 2018, at age 94.

Allen Joe played a piv­otal role in the jeet kune do com­mu­nity. He was a found­ing mem­ber of the Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do Nu­cleus, a board mem­ber of the Bruce Lee Ed­u­ca­tional Foun­da­tion and a mem­ber of the board of direc­tors for the cur­rent Bruce Lee Foun­da­tion. He held his friend­ship with Lee so dear to his heart that he al­ways car­ried a photo of Lee in his wal­let.

Joe, who lived in the Oak­land, Cal­i­for­nia, area at the time, is of­ten cred­ited with “steal­ing Bruce /HH IURP 6HDWWOH μ ,W DOO VWDUWHG ZKHQ KH DQG KLV IDPLO\ WUDYHOHG WR WKH 6HDWWOH :RUOG·V )DLU LQ At the urg­ing of his friend and train­ing part­ner James Lee, Joe “checked out this cat named %UXFH /HH μ :KHQ /HH DVNHG -RH WR GHPRQVWUDWH some of his mar­tial arts skills, Lee ´ORS VDR·G him DOO RYHU WKH SODFH μ ,W ZDV WKH EHJLQQLQJ RI D JUHDW IULHQGVKLS

Af­ter Lee made a few vis­its to Cal­i­for­nia, he and his new EULGH /LQGD PRYHG WR 2DNODQG LQ ZKHUH WKH\ VWD\HG ZLWK James Lee and his fam­ily. Not long af­ter, Bran­don was born. Then the Lees moved to Los An­ge­les. De­spite the dis­tance, WKH ´IRXU PXVNHWHHUVμ ³ %UXFH /HH $OOHQ -RH -DPHV /HH DQG *HRUJH /HH ³ ZRXOG UHXQLWH ZKHQHYHU -RH DQG WKH JDQJ KDG D FKDQFH WR WUDYHO VRXWK 6RPHWLPHV LW ZRXOG EH WR YLVLW WKH set of The Green Hor­net, some­times it would be to cel­e­brate a birth­day, and once it was to con­grat­u­late Bruce and Linda on WKH DUULYDO RI WKHLU GDXJKWHU 6KDQQRQ

Twenty years be­fore he met Bruce Lee, Joe served in the 3DFLÀF 7KHDWHU ³ 1HZ *XLQHD 2NLQDZD 3DODX DQG WKH 3KLOLSSLQHV ³ GXULQJ :RUOG :DU ,, +H NHSW LQ VKDSH E\ WUDLQLQJ with Jeep parts as weights.

Af­ter he was dis­charged, Joe mar­ried his high-school sweet­heart An­nie and be­gan body­build­ing un­der Ed Yar­ick, who SURGXFHG IRXU 0U $PHULFD FKDPSLRQV LQFOXGLQJ 6WHYH 5HHYHV of the Her­cules movies. Joe shunned the com­pe­ti­tion cir­cuit be­cause of the dis­crim­i­na­tion that was ram­pant at the time, but ZLWK <DULFN·V HQFRXUDJHPHQW KH UHOHQWHG LQ +H HQGHG up win­ning the Mr. North­ern Cal­i­for­nia ti­tle, which made him the ÀUVW $VLDQ $PHULFDQ WR GR VR )LWQHVV JXUX -DFN /D/DQQH SUHsented Joe with the tro­phy.

Joe was the per­son who in­spired Bruce Lee to use weight WUDLQLQJ WR HQKDQFH KLV PDUWLDO DUWV -RH·V FKLVHOHG SK\VLTXH surely was a great mo­ti­va­tor, and it was Joe who gave Lee his ÀUVW VHW RI ZHLJKWV $QG ZLWK WKDW /HH EHJDQ EXLOGing one of the most famous bod­ies in his­tory, the HSLWRPH RI ÀWQHVV VWUHQJWK DQG YLJRU

$W WKH VDPH WLPH -RH ZDV LQÁXHQFHG E\ /HH de­spite the fact that Lee was al­most 20 years \RXQJHU /HH·V SHUVRQDO MRXUQH\ LQ WKH PDUWLDO DUWV and his philo­soph­i­cal in­sights res­onated with Joe IRU PDQ\ \HDUV DIWHU KLV PHQWRU ·V GHDWK

$OOHQ -RH UHPDLQHG FORVH WR /LQGD DQG 6KDQQRQ Lee over the years, and his loy­alty to Bruce stayed strong to the end. Joe also be­came friends with the late Ted Wong, and they con­ducted JKD sem­i­nars WRJHWKHU LQ WKH 8QLWHG 6WDWHV DQG (XURSH 7KHLU al­le­giance to their teacher drove them to share their ex­pe­ri­ences with any­one who de­sired to learn.

Joe made friends eas­ily, and with his big smile DQG ERQH FUXVKLQJ KDQGVKDNH KH ZDV D ÀQH am­bas­sador not only for body­build­ing but also for Bruce Lee, JKD and mar­tial arts in gen­eral. Even in his se­nior years, he FRQWLQXHG WR WUDLQ :KHQ OLIWLQJ ZHLJKWV KH·G W\SLFDOO\ PD[ RXW his set by doing “one rep for the man up­stairs and one more IRU %UXFH μ

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