“The Straight Lead”: Teri Tom and Ted Wong

In the wake of Sifu Ted Wong’s death, I thought of the book “The Straight Lead,” by Teri Tom. It’s an

The Straight Lead, by Teri Tom

excellent book.

Now you might think that a book only about the lead punch would be simple-Simon dull and repetitive, but you’d be wrong. If you can judge a teacher by his students, the knowledge and seriousness of author Teri Tom speaks well of the late Sifu Ted Wong. Sifu Wong poses for several pictures and is interviewed, as well as being referenced and quoted throughout the book.

The most fascinating aspect of the book is how it goes into great depth about how Bruce Lee developed his lead punch. Bruce didn’t just get a punch from Wing Chun, or from boxing, or simply combine the two. Bruce Lee’s lead punch was the result of intense study and wide reading in the fields of both boxing and fencing, including legendary boxer Jack Dempsey and fencer Aldo Nadi. Regardless of how well you think you know Bruce Lee, I guarantee you will find something new in this book.

The book goes into great depth on the lead punch, on footwork, and on strategy. Teri Tom writes so intelligently and has researched her subject so thoroughly, that you can’t help but be prompted to think more deeply about the martial arts. Even if you disagree with her and Sifu Wong.

And you may very well find yourself disagreeing. The late Sifu Wong was a prime mover behind the “purist” Jeet Kune Do movement, and your view of GM Dan Inosanto may cause your blood to boil, especially in the comments and interview sections toward the end, which are less focused on technique.

For the serious martial artist, those interested in Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do, or the late Sifu Wong, I think this book is a must have.

Author Teri Tom and the Late Sifu Ted Wong


10 Responses to ““The Straight Lead”: Teri Tom and Ted Wong”

  1. Teri Tom is also a proponent of explosive strength training or what is commonly functional strength. The idea being that rather than using traditional body building exercises one does strength training for the full range of motion that one would use in martial arts.

  2. James,

    I didn’t know that. I saw pictures of her with Manny Pacquiao –I think she’s a sports nutritionist, too.

  3. Yes she is Darrin, and while she credits another man with what I said above I have no doubt that she too is a beliver of funtional strength training: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l8FAgC25o2g

  4. Hola Darrin:

    Me alegra volver a contactar con usted. Yo como muchos, me inicié por la aventura de conocer a fondo Jeet Kune Do y me llegó a fascinar y el uso de los puños en su estudio es muy completo, por no decir, el más completo. Pero algo que me hizo pensar en seguir con su estudio, fue el hecho de que una pelea callejera es incontrolable, y de esa manera tuve una fractura en los huesos de mi mano, e intercambiando conversaciones con porteros de discoteca y alumnos que siempre han estado al pie del cañón han sufrido este tipo de lesiones. Desde que me inicié en el estudio de Defendu, Combatives y Gutterfighting, he desecho el uso de los puños dándole protagonismo como usted sabe al uso de las manos (excepto el Hammer Fist) con una gran satisfacción y seguridad para mi integridad y la de mis alumnos.

    Feliz Navidad y Saludos desde España.

    Miguel A. Gutiérrez


  5. For those who do not read Spanish just cut and paste the above into Google using the language tools.

    • Hi Darrin:

      Glad to reconnect with you. I like many, I started the adventure of getting to know Jeet Kune Do and I became fascinated and use his fists in his study is complete, if not the most complete. But something made me think to continue their study was the fact that a street fight is uncontrollable, and so I had a broken bone in my hand, and sharing conversations with nightclub doormen and students who have always been soldiering have suffered such injuries. Since I began studying Defendu, Combatives and Gutterfighting, I discard the use of fists as you know by giving prominence to the use of hands (except the Hammer Fist) with great satisfaction and security for my integrity and my students.

  6. Miguel,

    Bienvenido! Hace mucho que no hablamos.

    Es una cuestion, es util el golpe con los nudillos? Porque hay una gran diferencia entre pelear con guantes (el boxeo tradicional) y pelear en las calles, sin guantes.

  7. I got this book on loan from a friend. The Dan bashing (she doesn’t say the Dan but when you talk about Escrima, Kali, and JKD you know who she is talking about) was in bad taste and for a woman that had no martial art training I think she is just repeating what she hears from Ted Wong and Linda Lee. Bad taste indeed.

    The actual technical part though is well done except she hasn’t a leg to stand on when it comes to her Wing Chun comments: “Wing Chun, for example, requires both fighters to set up so that their arms are touching”. Oh please Teri, learn aomething about an art before you try to talk about it! The touching is called a reference point and in actual combat it only comes in to use if your first atack is blocked. She is a one trick pony, she has studied JKD or JFJKD as she calls it under Ted Wong…oh but wait!…she is now doing Jujutsu? So what if she comes in with a straight lead and the guy deflects and takes her to the ground? Will she use her jujutsu now? I guess Dan isn’t allowed to use a straight lead and then use his BJJ that he has been learning in the 90s.

    So parts of the book is good, but parts are to be put in the young punk section. Don’t take it too bad, Bruce was a young punk too but he had the utmost respect and love for his Wing Chun teacher Yip Man.

    • She can talk, she’s also studying Freedman’s method of Jujutsu and said ‘It plugs the gaps that are in jkd!’
      That was her testimonial on back cover of the book from the Freedman’s method called ‘Receiving the Circle’ once this came to light that she’d said ‘plug the gaps in jkd’, the book was withdrawn from the Freedman’s website.

  8. Teri Tom: “For many years now, I have searched for a way to fill in the gaps, both spiritual and technical, left in the wake of Bruce Lee’s premature death. Freedman’s Method and ‘Receiving the Circle’ have pointed me in the right direction. The principles of the art? are perfectly in line with, and a logical extension of, Jeet Kune Do. And this book’s bigger-picture approach to the martial arts will change the way you see the world.”

    So after bashing another fellow who studies and teaches other arts besides JKD she is saying that jujutsu (the Japanese kind which I do) is a “logical extension of, Jeet Kune Do. WTF? Will this woman please make up her mind!

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