Bruce Lee's $45,000 Book

Dateline: 12/16/99
Updated: 12/17/99

Having trouble finding the right gift for that martial artist on your holiday shopping list? One item on eBay, the famous (and infamous) Web auction house might just fit the bill:


This is a rare and extremely hard to find 1st edition book from the late Bruce Lee. It was origonally (sic) from the Lee family's private collection and then was given as a gift to the late American Kenpo Master Ed Parker at a truibute (sic) to him by Bruce Lee's widow Linda, just a few years prior to Ed's passing. It was signed by Linda in 1988 and the book was first published in 1963. This book has been sold for up to $45,000. But it is starting at a low bid price to move as fast as possible. Money orders, cashiers checks, visa or mastercard is accepted. Personal checks must clear before shipping.

The book being described here is said to be a first edition of Chinese Gung Fu: The Philosophical Art of Self-Defense. Bruce wrote this book in the early 1960's, describing his philosophy and style of fighting. Initial bid? $20,000. Yes, that's 20 grand, folks.

Ed Parker was a legend in his own right, responsible for introducing the art of kenpo to millions of Americans in the 1960's and 1970's. It was at Parker's Long Beach Tournament where Bruce Lee first caught the eye of Hollywood, giving him his big break to television and movie stardom. And, Parker is probably most recognized outside the martial arts world as Elvis Presley's long-time martial arts instructor.

Is this legit? eBay has been a target of many hoaxes this past year, including fake sales of body parts and infant children. Can a $45,000 book be far behind? As's Online Shopping Guide Frank Fiore would say, "Do your homework." I've tried to contact the seller of this book, but haven't received a response yet.*

I suppose for the well-heeled martial artist with the inobtanium card (with at least a $20,000 credit limit!), this would be no problem. But for the rest of us, we'll have to look elsewhere for that great gift this holiday season.

(Besides, you can buy a brand-new copy of the same book here, through and Borders, for $6.80. Hey, just save the $19,993.20 and take a nice Y2K vacation. Or two.)

*Update: 12/17/99

I just had an email exchange with the seller of the book, and yes, this auction does seem to be legitimate! The Ed Parker estate is selling the book in order to raise funds to continue some of Ed Parker's projects, left incomplete after his passing away in 1990. So this book is not only from Bruce Lee's personal library, but also from kenpo pioneer Ed Parker's! I can see why it's worth $45,000.

It's Not Too Late!

Luckily, there's great online sources for martial arts equipment, gifts, and supplies. Here's a few, gathered from this site's Equipment page:

Asian World of Martial Arts
Philadelphia-based mail-order house.

Bugei Trading Company
Bugei specializes in the classical Japanese arts, providing swords, armor, and other essentials.

Century Martial Arts
One of the biggest mail-order martial arts suppliers.

Cutlery Shoppe
Cutlery Shoppe was one of the first mail-order discounters of high-end knives.

Global Martial Arts Supply
Global sells a large variety of martial arts supplies over the 'Net. Martial Arts Supply sells equipment for many martial arts, not just gung fu.

Kim Pacific
Kim Pacific sells a lot of sparring equipment and uniforms.

Knifecenter of the Internet
Knifecenter was one of the first Web-based knife stores, and sells swords as well.

Direct source for the gloves, trunks, and even the rings used in major boxing title fights.

And for more information about Bruce Lee, eBay, and book collecting, consult these sites:

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