In our June/July 2019 issue, we highlighted Professor Mo, the prominent New York City-based teacher of 52 Blocks, on the cover. It sold so well that we decided to run a follow-up feature in the June/July 2020 issue of Black Belt. In the second story, Professor Mo teaches 7 fighting techniques from the African martial art. At his photo shoot, he also demonstrated a technique called "cover the bullet." Unfortunately, we didn't have room to include that technique in the magazine. Which is why we're posting the video here.


From Professor Mo's first article/cover story:

Black Belt: Is 52 Blocks the same as 52 Hand Blocks?

Professor Mo: They're the same. Different people teach it different ways and call it different things, but they're the same system.

Black Belt: And is 52 Blocks the same as Jailhouse Rock?

Professor Mo: Yes. Jailhouse Rock was what they called it before they started using the name 52 Blocks. It's also been called "wall fighting." But over the past few years, 52 Blocks has become the most widely accepted name.

Black Belt: Where did the system originate?

Professor Mo: Some people will tell you it comes from incarceration, but actually it's a very Afrocentric system. But when you look at its history, you find that because of mass incarceration, the fighting system evolved in the jails. Some people mistakenly say that the name Jailhouse Rock means it comes from the jails. Most masters of 52 Blocks will tell you that it's a martial art from Africa

Black Belt: Why are so many celebrities doing 52 Blocks?

Professor Mo: Ludacris did a fight scene in Fast and Furious using 52 Blocks. Larenz Tate did a film called Gun Hill that featured 52 Blocks. I think they like it because it's an Afrocentric martial art. They want to study an art that's relevant to them. The thing about 52 Blocks is that a lot of people grew up with it. The public doesn't know it, but for many people, this was our first martial art.

Order the June/July 2020 issue of Black Belt here and own Professor Mo's latest article!

When I was a kid, I saw a Jerome Mackey commercial on TV. Mackey was the first guy to have a commercial. He was franchising martial arts schools — the big time. I asked my mother to take me there. She said, "We can't afford Jerome Mackey. Go see your uncle."

So I did. What did my uncle start showing me? 52 Blocks. People love it because their uncles and cousins talked about it. I've had grandfathers come to my dojo with their grandsons and do 52 Blocks together.

Black Belt: Did Wesley Snipes train in 52 Blocks?

Professor Mo: Of course! I was Wesley Snipes' bodyguard. It was fun because we were two martial artists who loved to train — and by the way, he's a real martial artist with several belts and he's really good. His introduction to the martial arts was 52 Blocks.

In the past, we didn't think people would understand 52 Blocks, so we always said, "Yeah, I'm a karate guy." Many of us never wanted to be identified with the jail thing. We didn't want to have to debate people about it. But then my instructor Reno Moralez told me, "This is an African martial art, and you need to put out a video on it." So, being an obedient student, I did.

The point I'm trying to make is that Wesley Snipes might not have said in the beginning, "Yeah, this is 52 Blocks," but he knows the art. In the past, people would refer to it as street fighting. They would say, "Yeah, I do karate, jujitsu and street fighting." The street fighting always represented 52 Blocks. Now it's finally being uncovered, and people like me are working hard to give it a name. We're thankful that Black Belt magazine is giving it a name.

s3.amazonaws.com

SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

Talks About Being a Smaller Fighter in a Combat Sport Ruled by Giants

At first glance, most people — most martial artists, even — will zero in on the smaller person in any fight and deem him or her to be at a distinct disadvantage. It's a natural tendency to draw this conclusion based on obvious attributes such as height, weight and reach. However, that tendency does not always lead to accurate conclusions.

Keep Reading Show less
Black Belt Magazine on Facebook Watch

Wing Chun Kung Fu: Strategies and BOEC

The name of Louis Damien Chauremootoo is engraved on a commemorative plaque in the province of Henan, China. Erected on the occasion of the great return of Wing Chun to the Shaolin Temple. This sculpture also includes the names of Robert Downey Jr. and William Cheung, Grand Master of the traditional Wing Chun and direct disciple of the legendary Ip Man. It was under the tutelage of Grand Master William Cheung that Louis Damien Chauremootoo perfected his mastery of Wing Chun Kung-Fu and became an instructor.

Keep Reading Show less
Jackson Rudolph Podcast Episode 28

Join Black Belt Hall of Famer Jackson Rudolph as he discusses the history of the Team Paul Mitchell Karate team with co-founder Steve Babcock.

The Paul Mitchell Karate Team is one of the longest standing martial arts competition teams in existence. Their dedication to the sport since its founding in 1987 resulted in some of the best martial artist in the world being a part of their team over the years. With the backing of Paul Mitchell CEO Jean Paul DeJoria in conjunction with the teams co-founder Steve Babcock the team was created and has been an impactful presence for ongoing development of Sport Karate ever since.

Keep Reading Show less

In the wake of civil unrest across the United States over the death of civilians at the hands of police, bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the state of New Jersey seeking to increase self-defense training for law enforcement officers in order to provide an alternative to the use of lethal force.

The bill would increase self-defense training at the police academy to 148 hours of practice time from its current 40 hours. In addition, active duty police officers would be required to do 104 hours of additional training every year as long as they remain on the job.

Free Bruce Lee Guide
Have you ever wondered how Bruce Lee’s boxing influenced his jeet kune do techniques? Read all about it in this free guide.
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter