The choice of a young man depends on his inclination, but also on the luck of meeting a great teacher, Rita Levi Montalcini’ sentence. “Hi, we were looking for the legendary Bruce Lee’s first gym. Can you tell us who we can contact ”we asked, me and my husband Antonio Spadafora to the first passer-by that day in Seattle. And the gentleman on duty with a nice and reassuring smile said “my name is Barry MAR..follow me!”. It was the distant 2010 and we were in Seattle, one of the stops desired by my husband for his irrepressible passion for martial arts which has always been his daily bread. DEAR FRIEND, I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU FOR YOUR AVAILABILITY AND HUMILITY. BYE BARRY, by Daniela honeymoon from Italy.
Seattle was the place where Bruce Lee lived and where the roots of his martial art lay and where he was later buried. Since that year of Bruce Lee’s passed away, Seattle has become a destination for fans from all over the world. Even just to offer a greeting in front of his epitaph to the one who gave emotions to the youth of the 70s by becoming stainless to the roaring becoming of other legends. The admiration for Bruce Lee, however, showed the same tenacity of the myth that revolved around him, grabbing the enthusiasm of young people of the past and becoming an icon of martial arts.
Although we were in Seattle, a place foreign to us, we decided to trust that affable face that brought us in front of the first gym founded by the legendary Bruce Lee. On the way to the gym, Barry told himself noticing a martial understanding with Antonio “I met Bruce Lee when he was at University. We used to go out together because he didn’t drive .. ”. And as we walked, it seemed that Barry and Antonio had always known each other. After seeing Bruce Lee’s first gym, we set out for an entrance to an underground place. Hidden away. The place that had known the sweats and long hours of training of Bruce Lee’s first student Jesse Glover.
L’INTUITO DI BARRY MAR
BARRY invited Antonio Spadafora to take part in a full immersion training with some of Jesse Glover’s students. During that training, Barry Mar recognized in Antonio as an innate talent. Antonio’s immense gratitude towards Barry was consolidated in a fraternal and sincere friendship between him and the gentleman with a reassuring smile named Barry Mar. From that 2010 to today, laughter and advice in videocall followed one another interspersed with other meetings and on talking. Today, one month after the untimely death of Barry Mar, your friend Antonio Spadafora and your talented friends want to remember and greet you like that.
ANTONIO SPADAFORA, MASTER of TÁO JIÀN KUNG FU
“Barry Mar, you have been my quintessential mentor. From the first moment we met in 2010, the feeling was palpable both in the jokes and when it came to kung fu. Person of great humility and generosity. It was he who introduced me to the NCGF dimension by making me train with Jesse Glover’s guys in Seattle and who invited me to follow the seminars in Europe by introducing myself to the various Masters.
The vision we had of martial arts united us very much in fact we shared many Taoist ideas to the point that when I told you about my upcoming manual on my kung fu, you didn’t think twice about wanting to comment on it yourself and highly to recommend it. THANKS Barry, THANKS MY GREAT FRIEND. THANK YOU for your advice, and also for the chats we often did and not only via the internet, a sign that, even if we were physically distant because we lived on two different continents, our friendship was pure and disinterested. I’LL MISS YOU. R.I.P.“.
SEAN GRANT, Direct friend and student of Jesse GLOVER
“Mr. “B” as I used to call Barry was a dear friend, mentor, martial arts brother and an all around beautiful soul. We were friends and training brothers for over 20 years of the 25 years that I trained under Jesse Glover. Then later with Brother Wallace (Sandman) Johnson. I remember when Barry brought you and your husband down to visit one of our Saturday classes. I loved Mr. B as a Brother. I will miss him with a heavy heart. I pray for the Mar family and God Bless you all. With Love and respects🙏🏿“.
PIERRE HARTMANN, Direct and official student of Jesse Glover and Founder NCKF-Association Switzerland
“When my journey began in Seattle in 1991, i haven’t met Barry at that time until later by having organised seminars for Jesse in Europe. Barry had a good friend in Geneva Switzerland, he took the time to travel with Jesse by assisting his seminars at the same time and he became the icon over here as a friend and mentor and after Jesse’s death, for many years, Barry came to visit all of us almost every year or so. My friends in Europe and i organised several little seminars for Barry in France, Germany, Uk and Switzerland. Barry’s teachings and hanging-outs are in our memories forever. He left us, but everyone of us had so many good moments with him. Barry enjoyed life and was always happy to see us whenever he showed up. He will never be forgotten. Barry, rest in peace”.
SEYFI SHEVKET, An officially recognised student of Jesse GLOVER (Bruce Lee’s 1st student) from England and the HEAD instructor of Non-Classical WING CHUN
“Once in a while in your life someone enters to leave an everlasting impression and Barry Mar was one of these rare human beings. Barry was one of the most humble martial artists anyone could have met and I was very fortunate to have known him and honoured to have arranged his first ever seminar for my school. Not only have I lost a good friend but I feel that I have lost an older brother that I respected and looked up to as a perfect example of how a martial artist should conduct themselves. In the short time that I knew Barry he made me feel like we have been friends for a lifetime and his untimely passing has left me feeling very sad knowing that I will never see or hear from him again and I will never forget his friendship or his boyish smile, good sense of humour and his kind ways. Rest in peace my dear friend“.
GAËL LACAULT, Direct and Official student of Jesse GLOVER. Instructor of NCGF and JUN FAN JEET KUNE DO
“In the Family of Bruce Lee’s Jun Fan Gung Fu and Jesse Glover’s Non Classical Gung Fu, existed a man non very well knowned by a large audience but very appreciate by this Family, clan, brothers and partners, a man who’s called Mr Barry Mar. Unfortunately Barry is gone 3 weeks ago, he was a manager , a martial artist, a cherish Uncle , a friend and student of late Bruce Lee in early 60s and Jesse Glover …. Bruce introduce Jesse Glover to Barry at this time then when he cale back to Seattle in the middle of 70s , Barry became a true friend and student of Jesse Glover ( 1st student of Bruce Lee, Seattle Washington ) … Jesse Glover was my mentor and Teacher and he introduce me to Mr Barry Mar in 2010 .
Barry was a real Gentleman, he became a dear friend after the lost of Jesse in 2012, he perpetuate the philosophy, friendship and link with the Seattle Gung Fu’s area from Seattle where the early students of Bruce Lee came from…. Barry was a good man, with always good advices and no ego. He had a lot of stories about Bruce Lee, Jesse, Seattle years, but for him the important was the present moment, he always enjoy the good times that we have during the seminars all around Europe with Students of Jesse from USA like Tom DeFelice or Chris Charnos, Wolfgang Rain, and in Europe like Seyfi Shevket in London , Andreas Häckel and Ingolf Grabitz in Germany, Pierre Hartmann in Geneva and me in Bordeaux, France.
But far beyond, he enjoyed Life, people, perpetuate the lineage of Bruce and Jesse, discover new horizons, share some thoughts next to a cup of coffee, like we said all the time : Life is Good. On this earth, sometimes we have the chance to meet some few authentics, good persons, with a lot of love, patience, empathy and friendship, this is the case with a humble man called Barry Mar. Take care my dear Friend, miss you. You are always in our hearts”.
MIMI MAR, niece of Barry MAR
“Barry was my ‘cool’ uncle. For as long as I can remember, he was more than my uncle, he was my friend. We would have so much fun. He watched cartoons with me, and he would ask me to sew and craft stuffed animals for him. We enjoyed fighting over our favorite foods at family dinners since we liked the same foods. As I grew up and had a family, we would meet for coffee and regular lunches, but now he took my boys out to eat hamburgers or see action movies. He helped them to learn basketball and taught them wise things about life. The one thing the boys admired the most is that he could go anywhere (as far as Europe but most often a local coffee shop) and make meaningful, connected friendships. Barry was an amazing person and mentor over many fields – martial arts, basketball, civic rights, community awareness, but to me, he was just the best uncle and friend”.
MARQUES MAR, Barry’s grand-nephew
“Barry wore many hats in my life, he was Coach, Boss, Mentor, but most importantly, my Uncle Barry. After work, he would take me out to a restaurant in Chinatown he wanted me to try, and would give me life advice. One of my favorite quotes was “Fang Xia”, which means to put down or let go. His quote taught me to be more patient in life, and see things in a different perspective, especially through certain circumstances in my life. I will be forever grateful for him and for what he taught me”.
MIKE CRUSOE, Direct student of Jesse GLOVER and Steve SMITH
“I met Barry through my teacher Jesse Glover. They were the closest of friends. Barry made me feel as though we’d known each other for years from the very first time I met him and we were good friends ever since. He was always encouraging and had a kind thing to say. I feel a great loss
PAUL TAFIL, Direct student of Jesse GLOVER in Seattle
“I remember when training with Jessie Barry would come down to visit and he was always very gracious with a good sense of humor“.
TOM DEFELICE, a Seattle Direct student of Jesse Glover and fondly remembers his friend Barry Mar
“Barry Mar was a beloved member of the Non-Classical Gung Fu family who passed away in March 2021. Barry was initially a Seattle student of Bruce Lee and years later became a friend and student of Jesse Glover. Barry enjoyed traveling and after Jesse Glover passed away in 2012, he began to travel often to Europe, visiting NCGF friends and students and giving seminars. Another interesting piece of history is that Barry and his family owned the building where Jesse taught; “the dungeon” as it was affectionally referred to, from around 2000-2012. Barry will always be remembered as the soft-spoken, gentleman of Non-Classical Gung Fu”.
CHRIS CHARNOS, Direct student of Jesse GLOVER and ED HART
“My memories of Barry start with training in the basement of the Atlas Hotel which his family owned. Those of us that trained there called it the Dungeon because it was underground and the workouts were brutal. It was very kind of Barry to allow us the space and he was very kind to Jesse and all of the group. My fondest memory was the trip to Europe and the train ride from Geneva to Germany. We had the chance to relax and talk about life and Jesse and martial arts.
He was very intelligent and of course had seen a lot in his lifetime. I was honored to sit and listen to his wisdom and life experiences. The one takeaway was this poignant statement : (no self inflicted wounds). Over time he had learned how to be good to himself and not to sweat the little stuff. You know…dont be too hard or ugly to your own soul. I thought this was genius because we’re always our own worst critic. He spoke to the idea of treating ourselves well and accepting the things that come. I will miss his easy smile and kind demeanor…rest in peace Barry…“
ANDREAS HÄCKEL, Official and Direct student of Jesse GLOVER
“Barry Mar, I have met him as a quiet person and a great listener . We had especially good conversations about the time with Bruce Lee about martial arts and of course about Jesse. A little story that I like to remember was when we had a seminar in my school with Wolfgang Rain, Chris Charnos and Tom DeFelice and Barry talked about the time when he was Bruce Lee’s driver . At that time Bruce was obviously a little womanizer and very often Barry had to drive him like a chaffeur from one woman to another. Barry said he was wondering where Bruce got all this energy from for so many women despite his training we all had to laugh. Barry, I hope Bruce, Jesse, Ed and all the others are laughing together now”.
WOLFGANG RAIN, Direct student of Jesse GLOVER
“Barry was a good friend and someone who cared about community very deeply. He was a long time basketball coach for a teenage girls team in Seattle, and helped many different groups with conflict resolution. He also provided us decades of use of the basement of his family’s building in Seattle’s Chinatown, aka, the “gung fu dungeon.” It is still difficult to imagine he passed so suddenly”.
I thank all the European and overseas Masters for actively participating with their thoughts. Barry will always remain in everyone’s heart. His memory will be proof that he will never be forgotten.
Bye BARRY MAR!