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SIFU LARRY HARTSELL

As Granted To Karate Kidz Online

 

  


 

INTERVIEW WITH SIFU LARRY HARTSELL 

-Rest In Peace-

The UCW Radio Show

This is an interview graciously given to us at Karate Kidz Online.

Interview with Martial Arts Legend and Multi-Time Hall of Famer Sifu Larry Hartsell founder of the World renowned Jun fan Jeet Kune Do Grappling Association and one of the main authorities of Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do Concepts interviewed by Louis Velazquez.

I have to thank Sifu Hartsell for granting me this interview, his background and credentials are impeccable and I am honored to know him and I am privileged to have the opportunity to interview this great martial artist. His accomplishments in martial arts are just an example that martial arts is a never-ending learning process. His contribution to Martial Arts will be remembered for many years to come and he still manages to give back to the martial arts community, one example is through this interview. he is an inspiration to me personally and many others worldwide.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Mrs. Debra Hartsell for making this possible.

 

LV: What led you to get involved in Martial Arts?

LH: I became involved in the martial arts during my high school years, 1957-1960. Judo was offered at a local YMCA, which at this time was the only martial art available so I participated in the Judo Classes. Also I played football and was on the wrestling and track team.

 

LV: Who was your main inspiration?

LH: My main inspiration has always been Guro Dan Inosanto, Edmund Parker Sr. and Si Gung Bruce Lee.

LV: Your training dates back to 1957, you have established yourself as one the foremost authorities in Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do concepts, what was the event that made martial arts a big part of your life?

LH: I enjoyed competing in the tournaments during the 1960's. I guess I was into the competition aspects as well as the mental discipline and martial arts gave me a healthy outlook on life.

LV: Your martial arts background includes several different arts such as Jun Fan Gung Fu/Jeet Kune Do, Kenpo Karate, Judo, Filipino Martial Arts, Shoot fighting and much more, you are the "One of the premier Jeet Kune Do fighters of our time" according to Guro Dan Inosanto, do you ever see yourself slowing down?

LH: I think that everyone goes through various stages in life. At this point I see myself more into the coaching aspect of the martial arts, conducting seminars worldwide and teaching and sharing my knowledge from over the many years to others.

LV: I know that you have spent a majority of your martial arts career training under Guro Dan Inosanto, can you tell us who else you trained with throughout the years?

LH: Guro Dan Inosanto is today much like my brother and always been my mentor in the arts. We have been best of friends for over forty years. He has always been my primary teacher even to this day we continue to work out as much as possible in between our travels and teaching schedules. I am the Senior Instructor at the Inosanto Academy and teach there weekly. Among others I have trained with are: Yori Makamura in the Art of Shoot Wrestling. Together with Guro Dan I was on of the first in the US to embrace and train in Shoot Wrestling when it was first introduced at the Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts. Other Instructors include the late Punong Guro Sulite/Founder of Lamaco Eskrima. Over the years I often joined Guro Dan in training and researching systems such as Indonesian Pencak Silat. Thai Boxing and the Filipino Martial Arts. Edmund Parker, Sr was a grest inspiration to me and Si Gung Bruce Lee showed me a path of open minded and eager to learn while modifying systems and styles into a new dimension.

LV: The level of your devotion to Martial Arts is impressive, your credentials are impeccable, what is your ultimate goal?

LH: Always continuing to be open minded and cross training knowing the important role conditioning and physical fitness play in the complex game of survival in the martial arts incorporating the proven methods of the past alongside the cutting edge of fundamentals need for the future. And passing this knowledge down and experience to the younger generation , our future.

LV: How do you feel about martial arts becoming a main stream in today's society?

LH: Personally I feel that martial arts has always in some sort of form has influenced and changed people's lives who are directly involved in martial arts as a way of living and self-discipline.

LV: With the big trend today in Brazilian Jui Jitsu and "Cage Fighting", do you think this over shadows the study of true Martial Arts or is Martial Arts just an evolving process and always ever-changing ?

LH: I believe everything has to evolve. A number of arts are for a combative individual, for profit or fame. I do not feel this over shadows anyone who wishes to compete or indulge in recreational martial arts. Everyone trains differently. What might be good for me might not be necessarily be good for someone else.

LV: Most Martial Artist have no understanding of Philosophy, wisdom and inner peace, there are a lot of "Schools" that just teach students how to fight and that's all, they aren't taught spirituality, especially young martial artist they don't have first hand experience with this, I feel that there is a missing piece to a puzzle and that young martial artist are not being taught that martial arts is not just about fighting but its a lifestyle with many components, what is your opinion on this topic?

LH: Again, I must emphasize that there are many systems and styles of martial arts that one has to choose from. I suggest to students to know what you want before making a decision and or commitment with any school, instructor or art. Remember - "My truth may not be your truth and your truth may not be my truth. You must find your own path to the top of the mountain"

As for the young martial artist especially children I feel that the parents need to take a role with participation and watch their children in classes. Ask them questions about what they are learning and above all are you enjoying your school and your instructor? Participation is the main key with the parent and their children.

Guro Dan and I taught children's classes in the 1960's for Edmund Parkers, Sr Kempo Karate School located in Santa Monica , CA. Teaching children then and comparing it to today for example the " Little Dragons: classes taught at the Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts the same rules apply today as it did in the 1960's/ The program needs to provide your child with many personal and social benefits, some of which are as follows"

-To establish discipline in and courtesy of the child. The concept of respect is of paramount importance to and a primary principle of, martial arts instruction.

-To build and improve the child's self-confidence and character.

-To establish and develop physical coordination , to increase and improve physical strength and flexibility.

-To provide the child with a sense of achievement and accomplishment through the awarding of higher ranks and status in his or her class.

-To impart the concept and principles of self-defense. A basic principle of all martial arts is its value as a means of self defense. The children are instructed that the martial arts are not to be used outside the classroom in any manner other than as a last resort of self-defense.

-To impart the foundational concept of self fulfillment by teaching methods of physical mental and spiritual development.

-To develop the Childs mental attentiveness, stamina and focus.

"Little Dragons Class - Inosanto Academy of Martial Arts, Los Angeles California

LV: Do you mind if we get a little personal?, I am sure that Martial Artist and Fans in general are curious on how has Martial Arts has changed your life? and are other members of your family involved in martial arts?

LH: I've been a martial artist almost my entire life so instead of it changing my life it is a part of my life. My wife Debra is a martial artist and trains with me. She also trained with the late Punong Guro Edgar Sulite in the Eskrima Arts.

 

LV: You are an accomplished author and your work has been published in martial arts magazines worldwide, and you have one of a few books out as well entitled "Entering to Trapping To Grappling and Takedowns, Counters, and Reversals.", Do you have plans on writing other books or bringing your knowledge to the Hollywood?

LH: I have two new releases, "jeet Kune Do Conditioning and Grappling Methods" and "Jeet Kune Do Hardcore Training & Strategies Guide", of which both books are listed as best sellers. I believe the books will enable anyone to step into the still fascinating world, the art and the philosophy of Jeet Kune Do Concepts. these books help students perfect that edge, utilizing techniques, principles and strategies that while developed in the 60's by Bruce Lee, can still be effective if used today.

As to taking my knowledge to Hollywood?, Well, I feel that many individuals would have been content to have their fame and notoriety based solely on the fact that "They were original students" of Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto during the day of the Jun Fan Institute in Los Angeles' Chinatown. And or both Guro Dan and I were part of Bruce Lee history. As a novice veteran I believe one should put to test ones skills in the real world. Fame does not provide skills but training does.

LV: What are your feelings on young martial artist today?

LH: Just as they always have been. Train! Most importantly is to be open-minded, cross train in various arts - Strength and Conditioning!, I believe that these are the three key elements in an accomplished martial artist today!

LV: Do your students compete in tournaments?

LH: Yes, I have students Worldwide in various systems and styles in which they compete. I train Professionals as well as students that just like to get in the ring and fight Non-Professional.

LV: I know that you get asked about this a lot, but people have an interest so I have to ask these questions, How was it to train with Bruce Lee? and how was he out of the public eye?

LH: Bruce Lee could bring out the best in you. He was innovative and creative teacher and person. We used to go and look for an old book on fighting it was one of his hobbies and he loved to collect and read. He was a great father, Teacher and Personal Friend.

 

LV: I know that a lot of martial artist around the world are familiar with Jeet Kune Do , but throughout the years a lot of organizations have popped up professing to be authorities on JKD, I can name a few that have that in my opinion have earned the right to do so, I have also heard of numerous individuals teaching JKD, do you see a regulatory body governing Jeet Kune Do in the future to avoid misrepresentation?

LH: Jeet Kune Do is the most controversial style of any martial arts. Over the years I have seen misrepresentations of the art "but what goes around comes around", I believe these people will expose their true individuality eventually.

LV: Can you tell us about the Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do grappling Association?, how and when was it started and what is offered there? How can students find out more information?

LH: I am the Founder/ Chief Instructor of the JFJKDGA. I started the Association to establish my teachings to those students worldwide using a set curriculum based on various styles and systems and cross training into an instructorship program. We want to provide an opportunity and challenge while getting a grip on the future. The Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do Grappling Association will be directed by me in the spirit of Jeet Kune Do as established by Bruce Lee, "Use no way as way, have no limitation as limitation".

The Association is based upon teachings and thus perpetuation of the Art and Science of Jeet Kune Do. All ranges of combat will be taught. "kicking, Boxing , Trapping , Grappling", There are various systems blended and weapons taught. However, there will be an emphasis placed upon the product of the most confrontation, "Grappling".

I have appointed and established Representatives Worldwide formally known as the "Official Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do Grappling Association Representatives. They are a unique group of talented martial artist that assist the Association in coordinating activities. To improve levels of testing and facilitate communication with students. The Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do Grappling Association Representatives sponsor yearly seminars with me. During these events, levels of testing will be conducted. The Jun Fan Jeet Kune Do Grappling Association Instructorship program curriculum will be broken down into phases.

Beginning Level, Intermediate Level, Advanced Level, Apprentice Instructor, Levels One-Four, Associate Instructor, Levels One-Two, Full Instructor, Senior Instructor

Each phase is based upon proficiency on an order to reach the next phase of the testing process and to insure the content of the phases are being properly presented and practiced. Although the testing is base on a one year period, I do not state the student will be awarded or promoted to another level yearly. Every student learns at his/her own pace. It will be up to each student in the amount of time in which they dedicate to the Instructorship Program to reach the next level of testing.

We encourage all members and students within the Instructorship Program to attend as many seminars as possible. In addition , we strongly suggest you attend the Associations yearly workshop. The Jun fan Jet Kune Do Grappling Association was formed to assist all those interested in exploring Jeet Kune Do and eventually finding their own brands of individual expression.

LV: There are Martial Arts "Schools" around today that are extremely commercial, they have been referred to time and time again as "Black Belt Factory's" in numerous publications. The "Instructors" main concern is lining their pockets and promoting their students through belt ranks quickly to keep them interested and keep them paying. Many feel that this gives these students a false sense of security and a false representation of the what martial arts is really about. What effect if any do you think these actions have on martial arts as a whole?

 

LH: this is truly a big problem!, With parents I would ask that they first visit the school and watch other children while in class. Ask the Instructor for his or her certifications, references and be observant!! , It just makes sense. Before committing to a contract to join a school and or working with an instructor complete a background check first. Above all if anyone hesitates to answer questions to provide instructors certifications and it just does not feel right then more than likely its not right. Go to another school. Also , look around to see if other parents are participating with their children. Do they watch the class?, Does the school encourage parents to participate or just write a monthly check?, This important!! , Check it out!!!!!

Adult Classes, Personally I don't encourage contracts. Students are forever changing and should not be under and obligation to train only with one instructor and or only at one school.

 

Karate Kidz Online recommends the reading of Sifu Larry Hartsells "Jeet Kune DO, Hardcore Training & Strategies Guide" and "Jeet Kune Do Conditioning and Grappling Methods", you can go to the JKD Associations website to find out more, an Autographed 8x10 Photo is included with these great books but its for a limited time. Scroll down to their site of just click here www.jkdassoc.com

 

 

 

 

 

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