R.I.P. Bruce L. Johnson, Chinese Wand Grandmaster, 1926-2014

R.I.P. Bruce L. Johnson, Chinese Wand Grandmaster, 1926-2014.

Born on 21 June 1926 and died on December 11 2014 at the age of 88.

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http://stillwatergazette.com/2014/12/18/bruce-l-johnson/

Bruce L. Johnson arrived safely home in heaven December 11, 2014, departing from Stillwater, MN.
Survived by loving wife Shari of 48 years; devoted nieces Debbie Jankura and family, and Pamela Robb; brothers-in-law John and Tom Quam and families, sister-in-law Marty Quam and family, beloved dogs Samantha and Gracie.
Preceded in death by parents Roy and Eda Johnson, sister Babette Robb, and his once in a lifetime dog Spencer. Was active in naval operations during WWII where he served as a Navy Ranger. After the war he became a proponent of health and fitness and eventually introduced to the U.S., the Chinese Wand Exercises, which he learned in China and authored a book of the same name. Later in life he became a born-again Christian, attended a Christian college in Ft. Myers, FL where he eventually became a professor and taught cult awareness and world religions. His life touched people in many ways, some of which will only be revealed to him now, in heaven.
A family graveside gathering will take place at a later time.

Thank you Bruce for introducing the Chinese Wand Exercises to the West.

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James Coburn and the Chinese Wand

Bruce Johnson mentioned that he worked as a fitness instructor for Paramount Studios during the sixties and taught the wand exercises to many famous stars, including James Coburn, who became a dedicated wand practitioner. Here is a newspaper article mentioning Coburn practicing the wand exercises, taken from the New Straits Times, Jan 23, 1976. (Click on image to enlarge).

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There are other articles about Coburn practicing the Chinese Wand, notably the Chicago Tribune dated Aug 26, 1978, which I have – but can not reproduce because I do not have the copyright. I believe that there are also at least two photos of Cuburn practicing the wand but they are again copyrighted and difficult to get hold of.

Communication from Bruce and Shari Johnson

I received an email at the end of 2010 but I have not put details of it here on my blog until now;

We came by your site quite by accident, but found it very interesting. We were especially impressed that you gave Bruce the credit he is due in being the first to bring Chinese Wand to the States….thank you for giving Bruce the recognition of his past. Sincerely,Bruce and Shari Johnson(the original Grand Master of Chinese Wand Exercise)

I emailed a `thank you’ reply and told them I had a book coming out which acknowledges his work but I did not receive another communication from them. Even if Bruce did not want to get involved with the Wand Exercises again I am glad that he considered that his role in history had been fully acknowledged.

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Michael Davies is Hon President of the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain and author of `Jiangan – The Chinese Health Wand

Amazon UK page http://amzn.to/1yPqjZK
Singing Dragon Blog Interview http://bit.ly/1yPqogd
Google Books Preview http://bit.ly/1vCadPZ

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Newspaper Cuttings from the 1970s Featuring Bruce Johnson and the Chinese Wand Exercises

Master of Gentle Exercise Visits (The Day, 1975) 
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Wand’s Magic is Instant Limber (The Free Lance-Star, 1976)
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Exercises that can Benefit the Elderly (Gadsten Times, 1976)
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Bruce Johnson Puts Back into Far East Workout (The Palm Beach Post, 1972)
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Wand Workout May Slow Aging Process (The Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 1976)
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Wand Exercises Extolled (The Victoria Advocate, 1976)
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With Chinese Health Wand You Shed Inches, Pounds (Palm Beach Daily, 1973)

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Michael Davies is Hon President of the Tai Chi Union for Great Britain and author of `Jiangan – The Chinese Health Wand

Amazon UK page http://amzn.to/1yPqjZK
Singing Dragon Blog Interview http://bit.ly/1yPqogd
Google Books Preview http://bit.ly/1vCadPZ

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Bruce Johnson and the Discovery of an Obscure Chinese Art

Bruce L Johnson is the man who brought Chinese Wand Exercises to the West at the end of the Second World War. While serving with the US Navy in Shanghai in 1945, he took a rickshaw ride that led to him to a ninety-three year old Chinese Wand master who taught him the secrets of the Wand system. This was many decades before Kung Fu, Tai Chi Chuan or Qigong were known outside China. Johnson began teaching the art in the 1960s and published his book `Chinese Wand Exercises’ in 1977. As fitness instructor at Paramount Studios Johnson taught the Chinese Wand Exercises to many famous actors, including Clint Walker (the large muscular guy in The Dirty Dozen), James Coburn, Mae West, Ryan O’Neal, Lorne Greene, Liberace and others. The exercises improved Walker’s bad back while Coburn used the exercises as a calming technique.

Wikipedia Article

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