Instructor Area: Dallas, Texas
Michael Gonzales from Dallas started his conditioning and training under the tutelage of his father, John Zapata Gonzales and other family members. The elder Gonzales was the captain of the boxing team in the military and was active in the Golden Gloves. He was in the Navy attached to the first Marine division. At the age of 17, he fought the Japanese in World War 2 in the Philippine islands where President Kennedy was stationed. His training included the early Navy Seal program in the amphibious forces. This intense training prepared him to live and fight in the jungles of the Solomon Islands for approximately two years. All of the senior Gonzales’ family fought in the Golden Gloves and their military service included the Green Beret and 82nd airborne. John’s brother, Alex was ranked number two in boxing in the State of Texas and ranked nationally.
His family has a long history of pugilism and patriotism. Michael’s uncle, Felix Botello fought in World War 2 and eliminated 27 hostiles single-handedly. He received numerous military awards. The Felix G. Botello Elementary School in Dallas was named after his accomplishments.
Michael Gonzales’ family background prepared him for his future training in the martial arts. Initially, he trained under Sifu Gary Dill in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Mr. Dill studied with Sifu James Yim Lee in California. James Yimm Lee, Ted Wong and Dan Inosanto are the only three persons that were certified as instructors from Bruce Lee personally. Our training included “man in the hole training.” Basically, one person would get in the “hole” (middle of three practitioners” and actively “engage.” This type of training is specialized and much more challenging than “engaging” with one person.
Thereafter, he continued studying Jeet Kune Do exclusively under Sifu Ted Wong (Bruce Lee’s protégé) starting in Virginia in the mid 1980’s where they met at a JKD seminar. It took 9 months for Mr. Wong to accept him as a student. Thereafter, Mr. Gonzales studied for decades in private sessions with Mr. Wong and conversed weekly by telephone. Ted Wong was Bruce Lee’s protégé and best friend. Sifu Wong is the most knowledgeable first generation instructor and is listed in Bruce Lee’s first four original books. Sifu Gonzales’ commitment to honor Sifu Wong, Bruce Lee and JKD was to develop the Dallas school as an elite JKD training institution which he did. After more than ten years of intense training, on April 29, 2000, Mr. Wong certified Mr. Gonzales as a JKD 3rd rank instructor (Sifu). 3rd rank is considered the highest level in the Jeet Kune Do ranking system. (See Certificate)
Mr. Gonzales sparred with other Jeet Kune Do instructors across the United States and was always top ranked. He is originally one of only about 22 first generation instructors certified under Ted Wong worldwide. His team in Dallas enjoyed the prominence of elite conditioning.
Sifu Gonzales’ curriculum for he and his instructors included 45 minutes of jump rope, 12 rounds of sparring, 12 rounds of kicks, punches and footwork, speed bag, and abdominal work.
He and Mr. Wong developed a long time personal relationship visiting each others’ homes. In March 19, 1994, Michael Gonzales purchased 6 original auction items from the Bruce Lee Estate that were in his personal home. He has socialized with Linda Lee and her daughter, Shannon Lee at numerous seminars. He has great respect for their continued commitment in promoting JKD.
Over the years, Sifu Gonzales developed an inner circle of first generation instructors under him to carry one the mission that Bruce Lee taught Ted Wong. Mr. Gonzales has not changed the curriculum nor has he integrated it with any other art. Therefore, his curriculum is based on the original training methods of JKD as taught to Sifu Ted Wong.
To this day, he trains 7 day per week for an average of 2.5-3 hours of circuit training with no break. He is the Chief Instructor of the Authentic Jeet Kune Do Association. His current training program includes 12 rounds on the heavy bag, 250-300 push-ups daily, 40 finger push-ups, road work, 300 sit-ups at a 45% angle, focus mitts, speed rope, speed bag, footwork, and weight training. His weekly training partner, student and intern instructor is Scott Blum who earned a Black Belt in the Marine Corp Martial Arts Program. Scott served for 8 years in the Marine Corp and was in active combat duty in Afghanistan among two other tours.
In the coming year, Sifu Gonzales will be developing a curriculum to certify practitioners so that these self-defense and training methods will prevail for future generations.