The first issue of Black Belt was published in 1961 by a Japanese-American who, not surprisingly, practiced martial arts (primarily aikido, kendo, judo and jeet kune do). Based in Southern California, Mito Uyehara envisioned a national magazine that would help spread the Asian martial arts, the benefits of which he knew very well, to the American public.


Black Belt, first issue, 1961

The second issue didn't hit newsstands until almost a year after the first, but it was an obvious improvement with better coverage, more pages and a trim size that was twice as large.

Black Belt, second issue, January 1962

As the years passed, the magazine adopted a monthly publication schedule and then added color inside. Along the way, it broke new ground by featuring a woman on the cover for the first time in 1964.

Black Belt, first woman on the cover, November-December 1964

In 1968 Black Belt featured an African-American martial artist on the cover for the first time. His name is Thomas LaPuppet.

Black Belt, August 1968

The editors even put Bruce Lee on that coveted front page before he was a superstar. It was 1967, and his name was not deemed to be enough of a selling point to be placed next to his photo. Instead, the cover line read "Green Hornet's Kato: Does He Really Practice Kung Fu?"

Black Belt, October 1967

The year after Bruce Lee appeared on the cover, the editors unveiled the Black Belt Hall of Fame. In the ensuing decades, the company published books, made videos, hosted events and launched spin-off magazines — including Karate Illustrated, Martial Arts Training, FightSport and Self-Defense for Women.

Later, when the world went digital, Black Belt expanded onto the Web, started an e-newsletter, launched a series of online martial arts courses and built a strong following on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

Black Belt's 40th anniversary issue, July 2001

Fast-forward to the present: Black Belt is sporting an ultramodern redesign, a significant paper upgrade and unexpected growth under its new owner, Century Martial Arts.

Mito Uyehara surely would agree that the humble publication he created in 1961 has succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.

— Robert W. Young, editor, Black Belt

BRUCE LEE is a registered trademark of Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC. The Bruce Lee name, image, likeness and all related indicia are intellectual property of Bruce Lee Enterprises, LLC. All Rights Reserved. www.brucelee.com

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

Just like royalty has dynastic families that rule over nations, martial arts have dynasties that rule over the world of combat. So here's a list of our top five family dynasties in martial arts...


Keep Reading Show less

Having just concluded hosting the Hungary Grand Slam, the first international judo competition in eight months, it was announced Hungary will now host the 2021 Judo World Championships. László Tóth, head of the Hungarian Judo Association, said the event will take place starting on June 3 in Budapest.

The 2021 championships were originally slated to be hosted by Uzbekistan with Hungary to have hosted the 2022 tournament. The world championships will be a qualifying event for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

On Friday, October 30, ONE Championship presents ONE: Inside The Matrix. The event will feature World Championship contests across four divisions with some of the best and most exciting global stars.

The six-bout card from Singapore will air live and free on the B/R Live app starting at 8:30 a.m. EST/5:30 a.m. PST.

Click here to find out how to watch the event if you live outside of the United States.

A Card Full Of Finishers

If there is anything fans should know going into ONE: Inside The Matrix, it is to have their snacks ready because every contest will feature athletes who can finish bouts in the blink of an eye.

Two title challengers, Thanh Le and Iuri Lapicus enter their respective World Championship clashes with perfect finishing rates. However, both of their opponents, Martin "The Situ-Asian" Nguyen and Christian "The Warrior" Lee respectively, have finishing rates above 90%.

In the main event, both Aung La "The Burmese Python" N Sang and Reinier "The Dutch Knight" De Ridder have finishing rates of 92%.

And strawweights "The Panda" Xiong Jing Nan and Tiffany "No Chill" Teo have also finished more than half of their wins before going to the scorecards. In an evening of title tilts, every match for gold is filled with the possibility of a show-stealing ending.

Keep Reading Show less

UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov defended his title at the company's "Fight Island" in Abu Dhabi Saturday defeating Justin Gaethje by second round submission, then promptly announced his retirement from mixed martial arts.

Gaethje employed a stick and move strategy that helped him avoid Nurmagomedov's relentless wrestling game until the end of the first round when the champion took him to the mat and easily passed his guard going for an armbar attempt. Though the bell sounded before Nurmagomedov could cinch in the armbar, he was instantly back to work in the second round taking Gaethje down, mounting him and wrapping his legs around the challenger's neck to fall back into a perfect triangle choke. Gaethje quickly tapped but, when referee Jason Herzog was slow to step in, he appeared to briefly go unconscious.

Reaction to Khabib Nurmagomedov retiring after UFC 254 win vs. Justin Gaethje | UFC Post Show www.youtube.com

Nurmagomedov, competing for the first time since his father passed away earlier in the year, immediately announced this would be his final fight. If he does stay away from the cage, he leaves the sport with an unblemished 29-0 record.

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