Sotheby’s groundbreaking charity auction First Editions, Second Thoughts saw a first edition of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone take the top spot and set a new auction record for the writer.
Bruce Lee’s personal martial arts instruction manual is a booklet that once belonged to the celebrated actor and martial arts expert Bruce Lee.
Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco in 1940, and raised in Hong Kong after his family returned there when he was just three months old. After becoming involved in a growing number of fights at school, including one with the son of a local Triad gangster, his parents sent him back to the United States to live with his older sister.
He arrived in the U.S in April 1959, and after a few months in San Francisco Lee moved to Seattle, Washington to finish his high school education. He remained in Seattle, studying at the University of Washington and eventually opening his first martial arts academy there, until 1964 when he moved to Oakland to establish a second academy.
It was during these years in Seattle that Lee owned the martial arts booklet. Both the front page and page 32 of the 59-page book feature his handwritten inscription: ‘Property of Bruce Lee, 1122 Jefferson St., Seattle, Wash’
The Chinese-language manual was originally published by the Vih Mei Book Company of Hong Kong. The cover is also inscribed with Lee’s full name, ‘Bruce Lee Shiu Long’, along with a notation that reads ‘The Chinese twenty-four foot fighting technique’.
Inside the front cover another hand-written note reads ‘This book deals mainly in foot technique and is…’, and the rest of the pages are filled with passages highlighted and numbered by Lee in red ink.
The book was used by Lee during the development of his Jun Fan Gung Fu style of martial arts, which would later evolve and be renamed Jeet Kune Do.
The martial arts booklet is an example of Bruce Lee’s autograph, which is considered rare, and is currently owned by the company Paul Fraser Collectibles which specialises in unique historical memorabilia.1
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