On Friday I heard about the passing of a good friend, a man I was honored to call Sifu, Bobby Linn Haynes. A life of giving cut so short that it is truly heartbreaking for many of us that he touched. While my pain and grief is very strong, my heart goes out to his family and closest friends in this time.
When I heard the news I had a memory so strong it felt like I was back on the phone in 2002 with Linn. After we had put together the first Cave Of Kung Fu for my old website TombOfDVD.com (which is still archived on the web) we were chatting away happily when I told him from that day forward I would call him Sifu. He laughed, but I assured him that I meant it as a true sign of respect-because Linn was not only a great person, but someone that comes along very rarely. A true film fanatic that is more interested in sharing the passion and joy that he got from watching movies-never asking for anything in return. You would never hear “Wait until my book comes out” from him. If it wasn’t for Linn, my appreciation of martial arts films and embracing of my love for Korean cheap martial arts films over Shaw Bros. would never have happened. He may have thought I was nuts, but he sent me more information and help about the stuff I enjoyed than I could have ever imagined.
The Cave Of Kung Fu was something special to Linn, and I have found all of the original files from 2002 and 2003 and will put them on the net for anyone to take and reprint as they see fit. The knowledge that Sifu had will remain.
But I will miss talking with him more than I can say.
I know that he worked hard and had finally recorded a commentary track for Heroes Two, a truly great film that will be enhanced by this track-as will any fan of Shaw Brothers. I can’t wait to hear it.
But I will miss telling him how much I enjoyed it very very much.
Linn also loved sharing books and his understanding of writing with equal pleasure. “I’m not just about Kung Fu” he would say. I was introduced to Karl Edward Wagner with a big box of books out of the blue. I would not have had my first contact with Ed Lee without him either. His Georgia accent is the default tone I use in my head for all of Lee’s oddball characters-something he thought was funny, if not completely accurate.
He read all my short stories and was always a gentleman about breaking my literary back to make them better. I know at least two would not have been anywhere near as good without him.
He helped everyone he met, he loved his chosen passions so very much… and though we won’t speak again I will always hold him as an example of a true definition of the word Sifu.
With all the sadness I feel, I also feel a great honor to have known him and look back with a lot of joy at what he showed me. I will post some of the early graphics we put together for the original Cave (including my favorite “Five Beers And It’s Fine!” category)-and you’ll see his sense of humor all over them. Also, I want to post anything I have stored up from the Cave years-also for reproduction to anyone that wants to archive them.
Linn, I hope both my sadness and joy to have shared the time with you find you well right now.
One last thing I would like to share with you about Linn and the kind of man he was. This is perhaps the kindest thing he could have done for me. When he heard about my family expanding with our first child he sent along three very large boxes. Contained within them were a hardcover library of books that were for children to read from very early fairy tales all the way up until High School. A mix of philosophy and fantasy and humor and drama-these stories embody everything that Linn loved about sharing his passion for storytelling, be it with fists and feet or magic and wonderment. My son has a bit of Linn’s passion, tangible in these volumes, that will always be with him.
We love our Sifu-and long will his memory, and the fountain of information he so freely was the source of, be with us.