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Thread: Bruce Lee Way in Oakland

  1. #1
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    Bruce Lee Way in Oakland

    Bruce Lee Way: Oakland intersection will be renamed to honor martial arts legend
    City Council will vote Tuesday to rename the intersection of Broadway and Garnet, where Lee opened a martial arts studio in 1964.
    by Roselyn Romero
    June 3, 2024, 12:00 p.m.


    Bruce Lee opened a martial arts school in 1964 at the intersection of Broadway and Garnet Street. Credit: Amaya Edwards
    In the summer of 1964, hybrid martial arts legend and Oakland resident Bruce Lee, just 24 years old, founded a martial arts school at the intersection of Broadway and Garnet Street.

    Sixty years later, the Oakland City Council will approve a resolution to rename that intersection “Bruce Lee Way” and install a plaque there to honor Lee’s legacy and contributions to the Oakland community.

    The city of Oakland’s Public Works and Transportation Committee first heard the resolution, introduced by Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan, on Tuesday. The Special Rules and Legislation Committee voted on Thursday to move the resolution forward to tomorrow’s City Council meeting. Councilmembers are expected to greenlight it.


    Lee was 24 years old when he and his training partner founded the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute in Oakland. Credit: Amaya Edwards
    Born in San Francisco and raised in Hong Kong, Lee “lived, worked, and created amazing cultural opportunities in the city of Oakland,” Kaplan said during last Tuesday’s meeting. “By honoring and uplifting Bruce Lee, we also acknowledge and honor his contribution to uplifting the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community, both in Oakland and beyond,” Kaplan added.

    Lee and his training partner, James Yimm Lee (no relation), cofounded a martial arts school—called the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute—at 4157 Broadway. Today, the site, located two blocks away from Oakland Technical High School, is home to a Toyota dealership.

    Before opening the studio, Lee had dropped out of the University of Washington in Seattle, where he opened his first martial arts academy. Though the Oakland Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute was Lee’s second martial arts studio, it was considered the birthplace and launching pad for Jeet Kune Do, his distinctive martial art.

    Lee’s Oakland studio wasn’t particularly popular, but it attracted many non-Chinese community members, fostering intercultural unity, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “This studio provided opportunities to build tolerance, health, discipline, and community,” said Kaplan, adding that Bruce “welcomed people of many backgrounds and focuses, including Steve McQueen, James Coburn, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.”

    After the studio’s opening, James introduced Lee to Ed Parker, a martial artist and celebrity trainer who invited Lee to a martial arts demonstration in Long Beach. There, Lee showed off his “one-inch punch” and two-finger push-ups, giving rise to his legend. He moved to Los Angeles in 1966 and starred in television shows like “The Green Hornet” and “Longstreet” and in movies such as “Enter the Dragon,” “Game of Death,” and “The Way of the Dragon.”

    Lee died in 1973 at the age of 32. His cause of death is still debated today; an autopsy shortly after his death determined he died from “cerebral edema,” or brain swelling, while a 2022 research paper argued he died from his “kidney’s inability to excrete excess water.” He is buried in Seattle.


    The former site of Lee’s martial arts studio is now a Toyota dealership. Credit: Amaya Edwards
    “The martial arts community is still fervent and enthusiastic about Bruce Lee,” said Michael Colbruno, an Oakland Port commissioner who spoke at Tuesday’s Public Works and Transportation Committee meeting. “It’s also going to be a way to attract martial arts to the city of Oakland.”

    The idea to rename the intersection came to then-Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums in 2010, according to Colbruno. Dellums was a martial arts enthusiast himself who had trained under Lee. “He was very proud of his six-pack,” Colbruno said.

    At the time, Dellums had unsuccessfully tried to lure a martial arts tournament to Oakland. He hoped the Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute could be recognized as one of the city’s cultural heritage sites.

    The city has a history of renaming other streets after Oakland icons, including Chauncey Bailey Way on 14th Street, Dr. Huey P. Newton Way on Ninth Street, Peter Van Kleef Way on Telegraph Avenue, and Too $hort Way on Foothill Boulevard.

    “I don’t know if there’s anybody more famous in entertainment than Bruce Lee,” Colbruno said. “Everybody knows who he is.”
    I was interviewed by Sara Hossaini for NPR about this yesterday. I'm told that the news bit ran today but I didn't hear it.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #2
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    Approved

    BAD ASS ASIANS
    An Oakland Intersection will be renamed ‘Bruce Lee Way’

    Max Photo Bruce Lee Mural in New York by Vincent Ballantine

    BY VALENTINA LEWIS
    JUNE 6, 2024


    Sixty years after Bruce Lee opened his martial arts school at the intersection of Broadway and Garnet Street in Oakland, CA; the City Council approved renaming that intersection “Bruce Lee Way” in honor of his legacy and contributions to the community.

    The resolution to rename an Oakland intersection “Bruce Lee Way” was initially presented by Council Member Rebecca Kaplan to the city’s Public Works and Transportation Committee on Tuesday, reported Oaklandside.

    “By honoring and uplifting Bruce Lee, we also acknowledge and honor his contribution to uplifting the AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) community, both in Oakland and beyond,” Kaplan said.

    Lee’s influence extended beyond martial arts, making him a cultural icon against racial discrimination. He gained fame not only for his extraordinary martial arts skills but also for his fight against the racist portrayals of Asians in film and television during the 1960s and ’70s with his iconic performances in The Green Hornet and Enter the Dragon, KTVU reported.

    Born in San Francisco and raised in Hong Kong, his groundbreaking work challenged stereotypes and paved the way for more accurate and respectful representations of Asian characters in the media.

    Although the Oakland Jun Fan Gung Fu Institute was Bruce Lee’s second martial arts studio, it is known as the place where he created and started teaching his unique martial art, Jeet Kune Do.

    Even after his death in 1973, the martial arts community continued to hold a deep passion for Bruce Lee, as noted by Michael Colbruno, an Oakland Port commissioner, during Tuesday’s Public Works and Transportation Committee meeting.

    “Renaming the intersection will also help attract martial arts enthusiasts to the city of Oakland, further enriching our cultural landscape and fostering a sense of unity within our community,” he added.

    Through this approval of “Bruce Lee Way,” Oakland honors a cultural icon and forges ahead in creating a more inclusive environment.
    Bruce-Lee-Memorials

    Worth its own indie thread. I hope there's a renaming event that I can attend.
    Bruce-Lee-Way-in-Oakland
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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