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HARGRAVE TEACHES BRUCE LEE'S JEET KUNE DO - WITHOUT THE KICKS // Tulsan the `Doctor of Self-Defense'

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Posted: Thursday, September 22, 1994 12:00 am

Carter Hargrave is one of the state's three instructors certified to

teach Jeet Kune Do, which was developed by Bruce Lee.

However, don't expect Hargrave to teach the kicks Lee made famous in his

movies or television shows from the late 1960s and early 1970s.

"Some people come in and want to see some of those kicks," said Hargrave.

"I'll say, `Well, I'm sorry but that's not Jeet Kune Do.'

"They'll say, `Are you sure you teach Jeet Kune Do?' I'll

tell them all the high flashy kicks you see in his movies

are Tae Kwon Do. That's usually enough to satisfy them."

Hargrave, a 32-year-old Tulsa native, is president of the World Jeet Kune

Do Federation and headmaster of Combat Martial Arts, which moved to its new

location at 8263 S. Harvard last week. It is the first commercial Tulsa

school to teach Lee's Jeet Kund Do.

"This is Tulsa's self-defense headquarters," he said. "This is not a

school for those who want to go to the Olympics or compete in tournaments.

How many people go to the Olympics anyway? When anyone asked Bruce Lee about

his schools, he said, `The elite don't compete.' That's my theory, too,

carrying on that tradition."

Hargrave was first exposed to Jeet Kune Do about five years ago.

"A friend of mine who was into martial arts invited me to his house and

when I got there, I met one of Bruce Lee's original students," said

Hargrave. "He said, `I hear you're pretty good at Tae Kwon Do, show me your

best techniques, come and get me.'

"No matter what I did, he effortlessly dropped me like

a dog and didn't even break a sweat. He said, `See what

your Tae Kwon Do does for you?' I hadn't even touched him."

That meeting eventually led Hargrave to open a school teaching Jeet Kune

Do.

"I've conducted the school out of my home since I started

it 2 1/2-3 years ago," he said. "But we outgrew my home.

We've become the largest Jeet Kune Do school in the world."

Jeet Kune Do, developed by Lee in 1968, is a scientific

streetfighting style. Because the system utilizes speed

and simultaneous blocks and strikes, it can be especially

useful to smaller individuals. Students wear street clothes

and classes are informal.

Jeet Kune Do, "way of the intercepting fist," is made

up of three different styles: Wing Chun Kung Fu; French

fencing techniques for fast movements; and Wing Chun Kung

Fu combined with boxing.

"Bruce Lee was a big fan of Muhammad Ali," said Hargrave.

"Back in 1967 and '68, before most people had one, he had

a VCR and studied tapes of all of Ali's fights."

Jeet Kune Do was not greeted enthusiastically by the martial

arts community when it debuted.

"It wasn't readily accepted by the establishment, because

it was a slap in the face of tradition," said Hargrave.

"The reason there are less than 50 instructors is that

about six months before he died, (in 1973) he (Lee) closed

all three of his schools."

Hargrave refers to Jeet Kune Do as "the assault weapon

of martial arts."

"It's not pretty but it can do a lot of damage in a short

period of time," said Hargrave. "When people come in I

talk to them about why they want to learn it.

"If they don't give me the right reason, I tell them to

go on down the road. That's another reason why I don't teach

it to kids under 9. You can seriously injure someone so

you don't use it unless you really need to."

In 1993, Hargrave was named as the Instructor of the Year

by the World Jeet Kune Do Federation and was inducted into

the World Martial Arts Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio.

Those are impressive credentials for someone whose first

exposures to martial arts were not encouraging.

"When I was about 7, I started in Gojeu, an old Karate

style, and I didn't last very long at all in that. We had

to do knuckle push-ups, and kids and knuckle push-ups don't

go well together," said Hargrave.

"Then when I was in my teens, I got involved in Tae Kwon

Do, and I had a Korean instructor. We couldn't understand

each other and it made for a very uncomfortable situation.

I realized it would be best if I just moved along.

"In 1988, I realized I was at an age where it was now or

never to get back into it (martial arts) and I got involved

in Tae Kwon Do."

In addition to Jeet Kune Do, Hargrave teaches Kempo Karate,

which also is designed to be used for self-defense and not

in tournaments. Improved physical conditioning can be a

side benefit of practicing Jeet Kune Do and Kempo Karate,

but its not a primary goal for Hargrave.

"I don't enjoy watching people do push-ups," he said.

"In most of my classes, we don't do a lot of extra exercises.

I've added a Friday and Saturday conditioning class for

those who want to lose weight and get in shape. But most

other schools do sit-ups and push-ups, and I've never been

big on having people do that.

"I think schools that have a lot of exercises scare off

a lot of people. When people come in, most are not in very

good shape. They have an underlying reason why they are

coming in but won't tell you. Usually someone is bothering them.

"I feel like I'm the doctor of self-defense and like a

patient should, you should tell me your symptoms so I can

help you out, because I can tailor instruction to a specific need."

Unlike some martial arts schools, Hargrave does not have

a maximum age limit. Although he won't teach Jeet Kune Do

to students under 9, he will instruct students starting

at age 5 in Kempo Karate. For more information, call 494-3607.

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