Bruce Tegner was a lifelong martial artist and prolific writer of martial arts books, numbering some 25 books in print.
Tegner's parents were themselves professional adherents of judo and jujutsu. At age 2, Tegner began his martial arts training under his parents, a curriculum that would last his lifetime. Over his lifetime, Bruce Tegner studied judo, jujutsu, aikido, karate, Japanese sword and stick fighting, Savate (French foot and fist fighting), tai chi, and other Chinese kung fu forms.
Bruce Tegner recounted in his books that he originally trained in the highly traditional and stylized Asian regimen of martial arts training. But as an adult he became concerned that much of the stylization and formality had no place in modern application. There was the prevalent belief that it took a lifetime of rigorous training to become a proficient martial artist. More, a martial arts adherent was expected to athletically proficient. Tegner acknowledged that these long-held beliefs arose from ancient history where warriors did indeed practice their occupation for a lifetime and in doing so remained athletically capable, because they had to. But in modern civilization, man did not need to be a full time warrior, nor could he afford to be unless he or she were in a military occupation. Yet, modern man needed some means of practical self-defense because the physical threats to life and safety remained out there.
Bruce Tegner set out to prove that modern practical self-defense was feasible and did not require many years of rigorous physical regimen nor did an ordinary citizen have to be an athlete in order to defend himself. Yet Tegner remained consistent with his martial arts roots as many of his books are introductions to the traditional martial arts.
Bruce Tegner integrated self-defense techniques of judo, jujutsu, and karate into a practical self-defense instructional program he termed, 'jukado'. He did not require physical fitness prowess although he strongly encouraged physical fitness for health reasons and for the obvious that it improved one's training and chances in self-defense.
Bruce Tegner led an active martial arts career. He instructed U.S. military instructors; devised law enforcement self-defense courses; created fight scenes for film studios, and for a time, operated his own martial arts dojo in Hollywood, California between 1952 and 1967. Bruce Tegner would later personally instruct several notable Hollywood actors who found the instruction useful in their acting careers.
Like his contemporary, the late Bruce Lee (d. 1973), Bruce Tegner encountered criticism and opposition to his ideas of minimizing highly traditional and stylized elements of martial arts thought to be superfluous or redundant in the search for a practical, more versatile form of modern self-defense. Tegner and Lee were not iconoclasts as many critics accused. They preferred to think of themselves as modern martial artists who hoped to modernize the empty hand martial arts. There was no minimization of the traditional honorable dojo ettiquette that respected the dignity and safety of fellow dojo students. In recent years the concept of modernized, empty hand, self-defense martial arts has become more accepted and received greater study in the U.S. and abroad. But Bruce Tegner would not receive the pioneering credit he was due. After his death in 1985, Bruce Tegner was largely and quietly forgotten. His books on traditional martial arts and modern self-defense are out of print, but remain available for purchase on the Internet from typically individual book owners.
In the mid-1970s, Bruce Tegner taught judo at Moorpark College and Ventura College, both in Southern California. Bruce Tegner served as judo instructor for the Self-Defense program in the Criminology Department at Moorpark College.
Bruce Tegner married Alice Greenfield McGrath, of Calgary; Alberta, Canada, a prominent political activist, on April 5, 1977 and remained married to her till his death in 1985. She passed away on November 27, 2009, in Ventura, California.
CAUSE OF DEATH: Heart Attack
Alice Greenfield McGrath
1917–2009 (m. 1977)
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