Bart Vale: 2006 Full-Contact Fighter of the Year
This video biography of Bart Vale was presented during his induction into the 2006 Black Belt Hall of Fame as Full-Contact Fighter of the Year. Ask any martial artist about full-contact fighting before the advent of the Ultimate Fighting Championship, and Bart Vale's name will be mentioned. In fact, it’s tough to talk about the history of all-skills combat anywhere in the United States without hearing about the 6-foot-4-inch, 250-pound warrior and shootfighting, the style he introduced to the West. Vale became one of the first Westerners to compete in Japan’s Universal Wrestling Federation. A few years later, he fought a pre-UFC Ken Shamrock and several of Japan’s top competitors. In 1992 he became the first non-Japanese to win the world championship, defeating his own instructor, Yoshio Fujiwara. He coined the term “shootfighting” to describe his hybrid style and helped found the International Shootfighting Association in 1987. In 2001 Bart Vale and Mark Jacobs wrote the definitive guide to the style, Shootfighting: The Ultimate Fighting System. Bart Vale’s organized fundraisers for the MDA, as well as kickathons for the St. Jude’s and St. Thomas’ charity organizations. And for the past several years, Bart Valehas had his students teach underprivileged kids in YMCA programs. For Bart Vale's pioneering bouts in Japan and America, his tireless devotion to promoting shootfighting around the world and his ongoing efforts to bridge the gaps that divide martial arts and cultures, Black Belt has inducted Bart Vale into its Hall of Fame as 2006 Full-Contact Fighter of the Year.