Lot 102 - Bruce Lee’s Focus Mitts
A pair of brown leather focus mitts, approximately 9½” in diameter and 1½” thick, owned and used by Bruce Lee (1940-1973). Accompanied by images of Lee using the mitts and two signed typed letters of provenance, each dated September 2011, each on one page measuring 8½” x 11”.
The first letter of provenance reads:
“My name is David Tadman and I am a writer and producer and Bruce Lee historian. This letter concerns a right and left-handed pair of brown leather Focus Mitts that were owned and used by Bruce Lee, the legendary martial arts action superstar. These Focus Mitts are documented in many photographs and martial arts pictorial magazines that have been circulated from 1967 until present day. Bruce Lee used these Focus Mitts as a training aid to develop his physicality within the martial arts. These very Focus Mitts were a staple in his training when practicing his punching and kicking techniques within his Jeet June Do training. I have written many books on Bruce Lee and am well qualified to opine on such items. I have, through photo investigation and research, identified this pair as his personally owned and used equipment. These Focus Mitts represent a place in time for Bruce Lee when he was just rising to fame. Blood, sweat, and tears, I am sure have touched this historic pair. He is a true LEGEND and these are a particularly meaningful and cherishable piece of Bruce Lee’s story.
“PROVENANCE AND EXHIBITIONS: These Focus Mitts over the years have been displayed at many functions, including the famous ‘World of Bruce Lee,’ run by Norman Borine, one of the first American Bruce Lee historians. These Focus Mitts were given directly to Herb Jackson from Bruce Lee. Herb Jackson was a close friend, student and confidant of Bruce Lee. Herb Jackson handed these Focus Mitts down to his son, Mark Ashton.
“CONDITION: Heavy natural wear especially to strike surface. Some leather malformation and cracking. As logic and oral tradition would have it, Bruce Lee’s unorthodox and incredible punching and kicking power , and brutal strength caused the leather stitching to be changed on one occasion. These are in my opinion authentic beyond any question of a doubt. I, David Tadman, state the above to be true and accurate: 9/26/2011”
The second letter reads:
“9/19/2011 I, Mark Ashton, state that these two focus mitts were owned and used by Bruce Lee, the legendary martial arts and action film star. These focus mitts were given to my father Herb Jackson as a gift from Bruce Lee in and around 1968. My father Herb Jackson was a very close friend and confidant of Bruce Lee and was also one of his private backyard students in Los Angeles in the mid to late 1960’s. These focus mitts were used by Bruce Lee and are documented in many photos and magazines. These focus mitts were a big part of Bruce Lee’s training regime and helped better his physicality. These focus mitts are historical in nature and marks a point in time when Bruce Lee was seeking international fame for his martial arts / film career. I, Mark Ashton , state the above to be true and accurate.”
Also included in the lot are 14 8½” x 11” black and white and colour photographs. 6 of these photographs show Lee and these mitts in a variety of poses, many with his wife Linda and son Brandon.
“As early as the 1960’s, Bruce Lee was using focus mitts as part of his daily training program,” wrote Arthur Ligopantis, founder of Progressive Combat Systems, in his article “Bruce Lee’s Jeet-Kune-Do Fitness For Life” on combatsystems.com.au. “Although most people view Bruce Lee as a movie star,” continued Ligopantis, “the reality is, he was a martial artist & pioneer of expressing the human body. Bruce Lee realized very early, that in order to get his body in top fighting condition, he had to research many areas of human development. His thirst for knowledge in the areas of physiology, kinesiology, fitness, nutrition and of course combat was evident by his personal library consisting of more than two thousand books. Through Bruce Lee’s personal fighting style of Jeet-Kune-Do, he developed many combative drills for the use of the focus mitts. In addition to their combat application, the focus mitts also served as an avenue for total body conditioning in the areas of upper and lower body strength, cardiovascular conditioning and proper bio-mechanical execution of all techniques.”
Herb Jackson designed equipment for Bruce Lee and their friendship is well documented.
End Date: 2012-05-24 19:30:00