Singular Athletes: Teri Tom, Martial Arts Master — The Fun Is in the Fight

Singular Athletes: Teri Tom, Martial Arts Master — The Fun Is in the Fight

Singular Athletes: Teri Tom, Martial Arts Master — The Fun Is in the Fight

Teri Tom, 37, says it’s “Jun Fan Jeet Kun Do “— that’s Chinese for “Bruce Lee’s way of the intercepting fist” — an art, a style, a fighting system where East meets West in a hybrid form of martial arts. But unlike the traditional form, it has to be practiced in a very controlled environment or, Teri says, “We’d kill each other.”

Jun Fan Jeet Kun Do has been a big part of Teri’s life since she discovered it 10 years ago. At the time, she was playing lead guitar in rockabilly bands and enjoying the good health she regained after learning the importance of good nutrition. A drummer told her about his love of martial arts and recommended she buy a series of Bruce Lee books. That led to connecting with her mentor/teacher, Ted Wong, who learned the art from Lee himself.

Teri, who lives in Westwood, says there are no belt levels in what she does because Lee didn’t believe in them. “We just get in the ring and mix it up,” she says. “It’s more like boxing. What is important is your lineage — who your instructor is and what their relationship was to Lee.”
Teri Tom - It’s like being a kid and getting to play
She says the reward for all her hard work is an incredible level of body awareness, a feeling of being fine-tuned, and the thrilling mental stimulation of sparring when “your world blows open into a game of human chess.”

Teri works out almost every day — either swimming, tennis, running or training. “I don’t feel well if I haven’t moved that day,” she says. “It’s my treat. It’s like being a kid and getting to play.”

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