We figured many of you have probably never heard the true story behind our history. We’d like to tell you that whole story now….
In 1889, a young man by the name of Ho Kom-tong. traveled to Mt. Clemens, Michigan from Hong Kong. He was recovering from a sword wound and had heard many wonderful stories about the healing powers of the city’s mineral baths. He had high hopes that the mineral baths would quicken his recovery. After arriving to Mt. Clemens he found that indeed the baths were a great tool for his wounds, and he recovered very quickly. He was so pleased by his results, he made a promise to return to Mt. Clemens with his family. Upon returning home to Hong Kong, he learned that his young son, Lee Hoi-chuen had become gravely ill. Kom-tong put out a plea to his village with hopes of sending his young son to Mt. Clemens to be healed by the salt baths. Ho Kom-tong was never able to return, but his son Lee Hoi-chuen was. After several weeks of treatment, Hoi-chuen made a full recovery. He quickly fell in love with the local people and established his family in Mt. Clemens. He married a young woman who worked in the bathhouses. Her name was Grace Ho. The two of them lived in Mt. Clemens, where they had children and started their own judo club, creatively named, “The Mt. Clemens Judo Club.” All of their children gravitated towards Americanized sports and activities, but one of their sons held firm to Chinese Martial Arts. He excelled and was known for his quickness and power.
The Mt. Clemens Judo Club was located above a printing company. Their young son would have to enter The Judo Club through the entrance of the printing company. He was very fond of the company and they were very kind to his family. As he grew into somewhat of a local celebrity, and also gained some international popularity, he had it in his heart to purchase the printing company to help his family financially. In 1964, this young man approached the owners of the printing company and offered an undisclosed amount. The owners told the young man that two others had just recently made offers, and surprisingly, they were all identical offers. The owners of the printing company decided that the final offer would be accepted based on the winner of a proposed judo match. Who ever would win the judo match would have the winning offer. All three parties agreed and a match date was set.
That rainy morning came quickly and all three came prepared for battle. The match progressed, and it was a very even match until one of the men seemed to come alive with two quick “Hane Makikomi” (Spring Wrap-around Throw) that ended the match. The winner was easily decided. The winner of the match was Bill Lesperance. Throughout the match, Bill gained a great respect for the young man who had grown-up up-stairs in The Judo Club. Mr. Lesperance said, “I may have won the match, but your name comes with respect and power. I will name the printing company after you. We will never forget your quickness and strength.” The young man responded, “My name is Bruce Lee.” Bill responded, “Then the name will be Lee Printing.”
The third party in the match, to this day, is bitter about the loss. He was, and is still labeled as one of the most dangerous fighters in all of history. In 1972, he again found himself fighting with the young man from The Judo Club. In the movie, “Way of the Dragon” Chuck Norris lost another great battle to Bruce Lee.
We are very proud of our history and remain “Old As Dirt,” and cooler than Chuck Norris.