• Striking Distance

  • Bruce Lee & the Dawn of Martial Arts in America
  • By: Charles Russo
  • Narrated by: Dan Woren
  • Length: 6 hrs and 10 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (256 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In the spring of 1959, 18-year-old Bruce Lee returned to San Francisco, the city of his birth, and quickly inserted himself into the West Coast's fledgling martial arts culture. Even though Asian fighting styles were widely unknown to mainstream America, Bruce encountered a robust fight culture in a San Francisco Bay Area that was populated with talented and trailblazing practitioners such as Lau Bun, Chinatown's aging kung fu patriarch; Wally Jay, the innovative Hawaiian jujitsu master; and James Lee, the no-nonsense Oakland street fighter. Regarded by some as a brash loudmouth and by others as a dynamic visionary, Bruce spent his first few years back in America advocating a more modern approach to the martial arts and showing little regard for the damaged egos left in his wake.

In the Chinese calendar, 1964 was the Year of the Green Dragon. It would be a challenging and eventful year for Bruce. He would broadcast his dissenting view before the first great international martial arts gathering and then defend it by facing down Chinatown's young ace kung fu practitioner in a legendary behind-closed-doors, high-noon-style showdown. The Year of the Green Dragon saw the dawn of martial arts in America and the rise of an icon.

Drawing on more than 100 original interviews and an eclectic array of sources, Striking Distance is an engrossing narrative chronicling San Francisco Bay's pioneering martial arts scene as it thrived in the early 1960s and offers an in-depth look at a widely unknown chapter of Bruce Lee's iconic life.

©2016 Charles Russo (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Striking Distance

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Needs a direction

the book seemed to bounce back and forth between a history textbook about China and Chinese immigration in San Francisco and then secondarily about Bruce Lee. The timelines bounce back and forth a little too much so you're not really clear on where and when you're reading about.

2 people found this helpful

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  • LC
  • 08-11-21

Great read but the timelines are kinda jumbled

The timelines seem to bounce around a little more than I like but overall good read

1 person found this helpful

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Fantastic guide to great tim in martial art histo

I stayed up till 3 am listening to this fantastic guide to early USA martial arts!

1 person found this helpful

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great info. too much info

The story jumped around a lot. It went from different decades back-and-forth, and from characters back-and-forth. Over all the stories really in together, just wish it was a bit more concise

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Bruce Lee, founder of Jeet Kune Do

Now I fully understand & greatly appreciate Bruce Lee, founder of Jeet Kune Do, his contributions to the art of self defense & the sharing of it.

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More history than biography

Very good & interesting as a history of martial arts at a particular place & time. Short on Bruce Lee biography, so if you are mainly interested in Bruce Lee, this might not be it for you

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Great history of martial arts in America

Dan Worren is incredible.
Loved learning the hidden history of Chinese martial arts in America.

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Good book on history of martial arts in America

this was an interesting book more about history than necessarily individually about Bruce Lee. I enjoyed learning more about the development of martial arts in America.

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An Inclusive Brief History of the US martial arts

Most of it is about Bruce Lee and the personalities that became his friends and got him thinking about cross training in other martial arts. Ed Parker, Jimmy Lee, Leo Fong, Wally Jay and a few others were the pioneers of martial arts in the US. The book concludes with a fued between Bruce and Long Jak Man and Bruce's opportunity to be in movies. It was nice they left out his tragic death after he catapulted to stardom on the silver screen, but perhaps that is another book in itself.

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Loved It

Great perspective of Bruce Lee. I would also add there are great examples of martial artist thirsty for Mixed Martial Arts. Love the history.

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  • Aaron
  • 02-04-22

I enjoyed a small insight into Bruce Lee's Americn

narrator was fine. and I would have to liked to have heard more on the challenges that were issued and accepted throughout his journey in the bay area.

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  • Chris Gonzalez
  • 01-22-18

Great for the Bruce Lee fan

Nice detail about the evolution of martial arts in America and how Bruce Lee was a part of it. Please not this is not a bio on Bruce Lee.