(Skip Ellsworth, my dear friend, brother and adopted father - passed away on 8/6/08)
Skip Ellsworth was Bruce Lee's third student in America, and has practiced Kung Fu for many years. He has been included in many books and/or articles about his friend and instructor, Bruce Lee.
Skip was invited by Linda Lee Cadwell (Bruce's widow), and by Taky Kimura (Bruce's grave caretaker and student), to become a resource consultant for the now defunct Jeet Kune Do Nucleus. Skip is currently in the process of writing a book about his relationship with Bruce Lee. The purpose of the book will be to "honor" his friend Bruce as well as the rest of Bruce's original friends/students in America.
Skip Ellsworth is a fifth-generation log home builder. His great, great grandfather (Ruben Jones Ellsworth) built the first log home in Nasua, Iowa in 1853, as mentioned in the book called The History of Butler and Bremer Counties, 1853. The accumulated knowledge of four generations of log home builders has been systematically passed on to Skip. In addition, he has spent his entire life researching and developing the various methods of log home building. He is the world's foremost authority regarding this craft.
After retiring from the University of Washington's Experimental College, Skip occasionally taught via many other governmental institutions, including but not limited to the following: Seattle University -- Seattle Central Community College -- North Seattle Community College -- Shoreline Community College -- Highline Community College -- Everett Community College -- Bellevue Community College -- and many other governmental agencies.
His effectiveness as a log home teacher can best be understood by reading the many testimonials that he has received over the years -- from grateful students -- many of whom are now living in beautiful "mortgage-free" log homes.
During the past 50 years that Skip has been teaching, he has developed a method for imparting this knowledge to his students that is so simple that anyone can understand it, and build their own log home.
Skip is currently retired and living “on permanent vacation” in the Philippines with his wife, Belle and two sons, Chip and Dwelle. His wife and Skip run the increasingly popular, “Skip’s Beach Resort” which offers unbelievable prices along with many free amenities that cannot be found at other competing resorts.
The Skip Ellsworth Interview
Conducted by Paul Bax
What was your previous experience in the martial arts before studying Gung Fu under Bruce Lee?
Skip Ellsworth: I was a “white-kid” that was raised on an Indian Reservation in America. That was more than half a century ago. At that time, there were many Indians that still resented white people for destroying the Indian Culture. The racial problems that I faced on the “rez” meant that I had to fight Indian guys almost every day – often two or three times each day. My problems were increased by the fact that I had a Paper Route (the Duluth Herald) when I was a kid, and therefore I had to go deep into “hostile territory” on a daily basis. Therefore, during times of “no snow” (e.g. spring, summer and fall) it was unusual for me to get through a day without having to fight at least one Indian. Because of this, I became familiar with many of the mental and physical aspects of fighting. For example, I learned how to face those situations calmly no matter how bad I knew they could be. I learned how to accept fighting – plan for it – deal with it – and (ironically for me) even look forward to it. I learned how to become friends with pain – to not quit – and to accept the fact that my fights could involve staying on my feet or going to the ground. I also accepted the fact that my fights could involve fists – elbows – knees – feet – teeth – and any other weapons that might be at hand, including rocks, sand, dirt, etc. In other words, even though I had never heard the term “martial arts” I none-the-less became quite familiar with several aspects of those arts. It brings a smile to my face now, when I think about the experiences I had as a kid on the “rez.”
When did you first meet Jesse Glover?
SE: I first met Jesse Glover in either 1957, or 1958, when I joined the Seattle Judo Dojo. I was either 18 or 19 years old. Jesse was already a well known member of the Dojo, and as I recall he was the Inland Empire First Degree Black Belt Judo Champion at the time. At the Dojo, Jesse was one of the “main men” as far as teaching and helping people is concerned. Jesse and I became close friends almost immediately. He was six or seven years older than me, and I looked upon him as being a “big brother.” In fact, to this day I still call him “Brother Jesse.”
In those days, Jesse was sharing a duplex apartment with his good friend Ed Hart [R.I.P.]. Ed was a black-belt Judo player from the same Dojo, and he later became Bruce Lee’s second student in America. Jesse and Ed were totally friendly and hospitable guys. Therefore their apartment became a place for our group of friends to “hang-out” as we pursued our interest in Martial Arts. All of us were so poor that we would sometimes joke about the fact that we often used the same tea-bag for two weeks or more.
Incidentally, the above-mentioned apartment was located at the southeast corner of Seventh and James in downtown Seattle. It saddens me to say that the site is now buried under the Northbound lanes of the I-5 Freeway.
Later on, Jesse and one of his girl-friends rented a different duplex apartment that was located on the same block as the Seattle Judo Dojo. That apartment was located only 90 meters or so from the Dojo, and therefore it became one of the major hang-out places for Bruce’s original gang in Seattle (consisting of Bruce Lee, Jesse Glover, Ed Hart, Skip Ellsworth, Mike Lee [I think Jesse’s half-brother Mike was ten years old at the time.], Jim DeMile, LeRoy Garcia, Taky Kimura, Tak Miyabe, Charlie Woo, etc.).
Unfortunately, Ed Hart died on December 3, 1998. My son Chip and I went to his memorial meeting (sort of like a wake or a funeral service) in Chinatown in Seattle. Of course, a huge number of Ed’s friends were there. To help Ed’s family preserve the memory of that occasion, I circulated a paper for all of Ed’s friends to sign (with their names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses). I did this so Ed’s family, in later years, would always be reminded of how many good friends Ed had. I still have a copy of that “sign-in” sheet.
Even though Ed Hart has now been dead for many years, I am still in contact with his family -- especially with his daughter Lori and grandson Ronnie in Australia. In Lori’s email to me dated August 19, 2007, she signed-off with the words: “You are my father’s brother, Skip. All our love, Lori and Ronnie.” I was very touched by Lori’s words, because she obviously realizes that I will always love her father. Ed Hart was an awesome guy, and one of the best friends that a man could ask for.
When I became friends with Bruce Lee, Jesse Glover and Ed Hart those occasions added up to being a very worthwhile turning point in my life.
(Due to the newness of this interview and it's rarity I am only releasing a slice of the interview on the members page but look for the complete interview in my next version of Disciples of the Dragon)
(The following was written by exclusively for The JKD Brotherhood)
AN INVITATION TO THE SCROLLERS:
Skip Ellsworth has invited all of us SCROLLERS to come and visit him on his beautiful tropical island in Southeast Asia. As part of his beach resort he has a beach-front campground that is waiting for us at this very moment -- and we can use it for FREE. His kind invitation includes the free use of everything in his campground, including the following: permanent shelters ten feet from the ocean – split bamboo benches for sleeping – places to cook on open beach-fires – a native style “his-and-hers” out-house -- native-style sail-boats (for local use) – ten-speed bicycles (for local use) – a wireless internet connection – one of the best beaches in the world for swimming – hammocks for sleeping among the coconut trees near the ocean -- rods and reels for fishing -- snorkeling gear -- and many other amenities.
For food, the campers generally buy fish from the local fishermen, and fruit and vegetables at the local market. This means that it is possible to live quite well spending less than $3.00 U.S. per-person, per day.
Hey... we might want to stay for months at a time. :-)
Photos of the campground can be seen at Skip's website: www.skipsbeachresort.com.
And now, here is some information about the man himself...
Skip Ellsworth was Bruce Lee's third student in America, and he has been included in many books and/or articles about his friend Bruce.
He was invited by Linda Lee Cadwell (Bruce's widow), and by Taky Kimura (Bruce's good friend, grave caretaker, and student), to become a resource consultant for what was then called the Jeet Kune Do Nucleus.
He is currently writing a book about his relationship with his friend and teacher Bruce Lee. The purpose of the book will be to "honor" Bruce as well as the rest of Bruce's original friends/students in America.
Skip’s professional background is as follows: Skip is a Private Attorney for the Log Home Builders Association of North America (L.H.B.A.O.N.A.). He previously served as President of L.H.B.A.O.N.A., but he resigned from that job when retired and moved to Southeast Asia. Skip is in the unique position of being a fifth-generation log homebuilder. His great, great grandfather, Ruben Jones Ellsworth, built the first log home in Nashua, Iowa in 1853, as mentioned in the book called: The History of Butler and Bremer Counties, 1853. When Skip was a young man, the accumulated knowledge of four generations of log home builders was systematically passed on to him by his father and his grandfather. Skip then spent many, many years researching, developing, and teaching the various methods of log home construction. He previously taught his two-day seminar (11 hours on Saturday and 11 hours on Sunday) via such institutions as the University of Washington – Seattle University – Bellevue Community College – Everett Community College – North Seattle Community College – Seattle Central Community College – etc. At this time Skip has been retired for many years, but he is still considered to be the world's foremost authority (and teacher) regarding log homes.
The log home seminars that Skip taught for more than 50 years are now being taught by his youngest American son, “Ellsworth,” who (believe it or not) has no first name or middle name. However, Skip's former effectiveness as a teacher can still be understood by reading the many testimonials that he has received throughout the years from grateful students that are now living in beautiful "mortgage-free" log homes.
Testimonials about those mortgage free log homes -- and about Skip -- as well as information about Bruce Lee -- can be seen on the L.H.B.A.O.N.A. "log home" website, the address of which is as follows: www.loghomebuilders.org.
Skip's own personal log home (7,000 square feet) at his ranch near Seattle was used to film the "log mansion scenes" for the award winning TV series called NORTHERN EXPOSURE. His home was "lived in" by the fictional character named "Maurice" (the retired astronaut). It is reported that Universal Studios based Maurice's personality largely on Skip's personality. For example, Marice refused to acknowledge that he had grown old -- and consequently he insisted upon behaving like a man half his age (sorry Skip). :-)
For example, at the age of 68 Skip is married to a beautiful girl named Belle -- that is 40 years younger than him. Skip and Belle have a son (Flip) that is only 14 months old -- and Skip also has sole custody of his 12-year-old son (Chip). The four of them are in the process of living "happily ever after" at Belle's resort in the Philippines. Skip recently told me that he and his wife Belle are considering having at least five more kids. Skip still goes back-packing through the jungles and swamps in such places as the Philippines -- Thailand -- Cambodia -- Laos -- Myanmar/Burma -- Indonesia -- Malaysia -- etc. -- and he still keeps up with guys that are half his age.
For many years, Skip has been "retired" and living on a beautiful tropical island in the Philippines -- where Belle's beautiful beach resort (called "SKIP'S BEACH RESORT") is located.
Belle is the sole owner and manager of SKIP’S BEACH RESORT. Skip says he helps Belle manage the resort by keeping out of her way (which sounds like a pretty easy job). :-)
Skip's job gives him plenty of time for sailing -- swimming -- snorkeling -- fishing -- exploring the native villages by motorcycle -- exploring in Chip's jeep where the roads are better -- hanging out with friends -- reading -- writing -- learning more about the awesome Filipino culture -- inter-acting with the local folks -- looking at the beautiful girls -- teaching his American friends how to get more dates with beautiful girls here in two weeks than they got in America during the past five years -- island hopping (there are more than 7,000 beautiful islands in the area and more than half of them are not inhabited) -- and the list goes on.
Does that sound like FUN -- or what?
Let's go, SCROLLERS!
If you have any questions about staying at Skip's free campground in the Philippines, you can contact his family at email address: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bruce Lee, Jeet Kune Do, james demile, jeet kune do, jkd, doug palmer, jim demile, bruce lee
skip ellsworth, bob bremer, howard williams, taky kimura, jesse glover, leo fong, james lee jun fan gung fu, richard bustillo, jerry poteet, joe cowles, dan inosanto