Grandmaster John Buckley began studying with Senior Grandmaster Richard Lee in 1986. Three years into his studies, Grandmaster Buckley made the important decision to follow in the footsteps of his teacher by choosing Bok Fu Do as a career. So, in 1989, Grandmaster Buckley became the first student ever of Grandmaster Lee’s to fully commit his life to carrying on his teacher’s lifework. From that moment forward, Grandmaster Buckley has dedicated his life to doing his best to honor his teacher’s legacy and ensure that Bok Fu Do is passed on to future generations in the true and pure spirit of its founder.
Grandmaster Lee taught martial arts for more than thirty years before choosing even a single disciple. But in 1999, he selected his first, Grandmaster John Buckley. Becoming a disciple is the single greatest honor a student may receive from their teacher in Chinese martial arts. It supersedes all other recognitions, including earning a black belt. Grandmaster Lee’s choosing of his first disciple was monumental for two reasons: One, by doing so Grandmaster Lee formally established the first generation of Bok Fu Do lineage. Formally choosing a disciple or disciples allows the Grandmaster to go on record as to who or whom he has handpicked to pass the torch to those he sees fit to carry the system into the future. Grandmaster Lee has taught thousands of students over the years, going all the way back to the 1960’s. Out of those many thousands of students, however, he has selected only a handful of disciples to date. Secondly, by choosing a disciple, Grandmaster Lee formalized the Bok Fu Do family tree. The Bok Fu Do Family tree documents explicitly the lineage of Bok Fu Do, directly from the source, it’s founder, Grandmaster Richard Lee.
One of the chief objectives of the International Bok Fu Do Association (IBFDA) is to document and record Bok Fu Do and it’s long and rich history. The IBFDA is the primary means by which any and all students studying Bok Fu Do are recognized. Be it rank, membership, activity points, certifications, or any other prominent distinctions where it pertains to Bok Fu Do, it will all be recorded and documented exclusively through the IBFDA.
As President of this prestigious organization, Grandmaster Buckley has worked hard to make sure that the immensity of Grandmaster Lee’s life’s work and grandeur of his vision for the system has a platform for providing historical perspective as well as factual documentation of Bok Fu Do and students past, present and future. In brief, Grandmaster Lee has commissioned Grandmaster Buckley to make Bok Fu Do the most well documented system in the history of martial arts. The IBFDA is the launch point of this effort and Grandmaster Buckley is totally committed to making Grandmaster Lee’s modest goal come to pass.
Says Grandmaster Buckley, “My hope (through the IBFDA) is to ensure that the organization reflects the extraordinary commitment and level of excellence it takes to earn a Richard Lee Bok Fu Do Black Belt. I think it is important to recognize, whether you studied Bok Fu in the 1960’s or Bok Fu Do in the 2000’s, none of us have that opportunity without Grandmaster Lee. The function of the IBFDA, I believe, is to at least attempt to serve justice to what Grandmaster Lee has created; assuring it is symbolic and reflective of his life’s work now… and for generations to come.”
Grandmaster Buckley is a first generation disciple and the first disciple of Grandmaster Richard Lee. He currently holds the rank of Sixth Degree Black Belt in Bok-Fu-Do and Seventh Tuan in Chinese Kuo Shu. Additionally he is a Tien Shan Pai Second Degree Black Sash under Grandmaster Huang, Chien-Liang. He is the President of East West Kung Fu Schools and the Vice President of The World Kuo Shu Federation.
You can find more information on Grandmaster Buckley HERE