Black Belt magazine turned 50 this year. What became the world's leading martial arts magazine started in 1961 as a small black-and-white publication with a stapled spine. Today, Black Belt is a full-color magazine, an ever-expanding book library and an instructional-DVD archive -- and a website featuring hundreds of articles from the magazine's 50-year treasure trove of martial arts knowledge, hundreds of martial arts technique videos, video profiles of notable martial arts figures, interviews with martial arts luminaries, excerpts from exciting martial arts DVDs, and much more. To cap off 2011 -- and another year of progress in this new frontier of digital-media presentation -- the Black Belt editors took a look at's cache of martial arts videos from "the year that was" and selected their favorites in a variety of categories.


LINDA LEE CADWELL: THE ORIGINAL EDITION OF TAO OF JEET KUNE DO VS. THE NEW EXPANDED EDITION Bruce Lee's widow, Linda Lee Cadwell, talks With Black Belt about the history of her late husband's famous martial arts book Tao of Jeet Kune Do and the genesis of 2011's Tao of Jeet Kune Do: Expanded Edition.


KAYLA HARRISON: JUDO'S OUCHI GARI (MAJOR INNER REAPING THROW) TECHNIQUE Judo expert Kayla Harrison brought home the United States’ fourth world-championship judo gold medal in September 2010. She was the first female American world judo champion in more than a quarter-century! In this video, she shows you a winning judo technique called ouchi gari.


KENJI YAMAKI: FULL-CONTACT KARATE! 2-DVD SET Kenji Yamaki survived Japan's 100-man karate combat challenge with a total of 83 wins! As production continues on his upcoming two-DVD set, Full-Contact Karate! — Advanced Sparring Techniques / Hard-Core Physical Conditioning, Black Belt proudly presents this exciting preview montage!


SAMURAI SWORD CUTTING WITH MASAYUKI SHIMABUKURO! Samurai sword masters Masayuki Shimabukuro and Carl E. Long detail and demonstrate a variety of samurai sword techniques in this exclusive DVD preview from their 2011 DVD release Advanced Samurai Swordsmanship. In introducing Shimabukuro’s cutting demonstration, or suemono giri, Long explains: “We’re going to explore the more advanced section of test-cutting. The first one we’re going to do is called inazuma. Inazuma means ‘lightning strike,’ and so it’s key that the cuts never truly stop moving." And it's plain to see what he means as samurai sword master Shimabukuro quickly, elegantly and seemingly effortlessly slices a rolled tatami to pieces.

TELL US YOUR FAVORITE VIDEOS! Do you have favorite martial arts videos that we didn't select? Let us know! Contact our website directly, and post your suggestions to Black Belt's Facebook page!


KELLY McCANN: HOW TO USE LIVE PARTNERS IN COMBATIVES TRAINING Please excuse our use of the term "badass," but when talking about combatives expert Kelly McCann, there really is no other term that properly describes this guy. While he may not be punishing his combatives-training partner Jack Stradley quite as much as he usually might in this particular video, no list of this nature would be complete without one entry from this former U.S. Marine special-missions officer and author of the no-holds-barred self-defense multimedia juggernaut Combatives for Street Survival: Hard-Core Countermeasures for High-Risk Situations.


JEAN JACQUES MACHADO: SHOULDER LOCK FROM INSIDE CLOSED GUARD Jean Jacques Machado has been popular on this year -- and with good reason! This Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend was awarded the red-and-black-striped belt by Rickson Gracie and released his new book The Grappler’s Handbook Vol. 2: Tactics for Defense. As if that weren't enough, he also put out the highly anticipated three-disc companion-DVD set for his first book, The Grappler's Handbook Vol. 1: Gi and No-Gi Techniques. This video not only features a cool technique from the mixed-martial arts section of DVD 3 in that set, but it also highlights the top-notch production quality of this new set -- a fitting martial arts multimedia companion for the top-notch book on which it's based!


PAUL VUNAK: CONTEMPORARY JEET KUNE DO AT 2011 "BRUCE LEE BASH AT THE BEACH" “[‘Bruce Lee Bash at the Beach’] was an event that was meant to show people the metamorphosis of Bruce Lee when he first landed in America all the way up until the day he passed away,” Paul Vunak explains. “My goal to Dan Inosanto, [who] was Bruce Lee’s protégé, was that I would help continue the growth of Bruce Lee’s art." And in this exclusive event-coverage video shot on location by Black Belt's executive editor, it's clear that all this and more is in full swing!


SHANNON LEE: RE-IMAGINING BRUCE LEE'S CLASSIC MARTIAL ARTS TEXT, TAO OF JEET KUNE DO Shannon Lee kindly granted Black Belt an exclusive interview regarding the production of the highly anticipated Tao of Jeet Kune Do: Expanded Edition. In this conversational segment filmed at Bruce Lee Enterprises in Santa Monica, California, the daughter of martial arts icon and jeet kune do founder Bruce Lee touched on what went into the book's new layout and how it was modernized while retaining the martial arts and philosophy content that made the original edition such a classic.


BLACK BELT MAGAZINE TURNS 50! In this brief but informative retrospective, Century Martial Arts CEO / Chairman Mike Dillard and two-time Black Belt Hall of Fame inductee Pat Burris remember the early days of their favorite martial arts magazine and the parallel paths of influence Black Belt and Century Martial Arts have had on the world of traditional and mixed martial arts since their respective inceptions. This very special video features a host of Black Belt covers from decades passed, as well as archival photography and "retro" article spreads. This piece is a must-see for fans of this magazine -- and magazines in general!

FREE STUFF! Are you digging these martial arts videos? Then be sure to check out our downloadable FREE GUIDES for martial arts articles featuring (and/or written by) some of the martial artists you're seeing in these videos! Learn Brazilian jiu-jitsu techniques! Learn about Bruce Lee's life and his book, Tao of Jeet Kune Do! Learn how the elite Israeli fighters use krav maga for hard-core self-defense training! And MORE -- all for FREE! Not a bad way to wrap up 2011!


MAN VS. STEEL In this popular entry from a string of videos demonstrating incredible feats of strength and endurance, Mike Gillette explains to the Black Belt audience the mechanics and martial power involved in bending a steel bar. He and his demonstration partner Scott Bolan have, over the last couple years, broken arrows with their necks, gotten sledgehammered and rolled skillets with their bare hands. Don't believe us? Check out their other martial-power demonstration videos and see for yourself!


ANTONIO GRACEFFO TRAVELS TO THE PHILIPPINES! Black Belt columnist Antonio Graceffo checks in from another exotic destination with this video documenting his travels to the Philippines, where he explores a variety of martial arts and gives an overview of the fighting and training scene in this island nation. Included are his experiences training in arnis, kuntaw, yaw yan and hybrid yaw yan.

Your Filipino martial arts training starts with this FREE download!
Escrima Sticks 101: Julius Melegrito’s Practical Primer on the
Fighting Arts of the Philippines


EYAL YANILOV: KRAV MAGA KNIFE DEFENSE ON THE GROUND Krav maga expert Eyal Yanilov brings his tactical knowledge to the Black Belt studios in this straight-forward self-defense technique video. In-house, we liked this one because it takes viewers into the self-defense action right away. It proved to be one of our more popular videos of 2011, so it looks like our instincts were on the money!


JULIUS MELEGRITO: 10 BASIC KNIFE STRIKES IN PHILIPPINE MARTIAL ARTS If you've ever had the opportunity to train with Julius Melegrito, you know he's a jolly fellow. However, we recommend not mistaking his friendly demeanor for lack of fighting ability or technical proficiency. In this excerpt from his Philippine Fighting Arts 3-DVD Set, Melegrito shows a little of both. He may be smiling, but we wouldn't want to get into a knife battle with him. Someone would get hurt -- and it probably wouldn't be us.


WHAT IS TAO OF JEET KUNE DO? - PART 1 Diana Lee Inosanto (daughter of Dan Inosanto and goddaughter of Bruce Lee), Octavio Quintero (jeet kune do student under Bruce Lee disciple Jerry Poteet) and Richard Bustillo (student of Bruce Lee) reflect on the nature of Bruce Lee's martial art and the classic text that encapsulated his collected thoughts on life, martial arts and the mechanics of jeet kune do itself.


MIKE DILLARD: 2011 BLACK BELT HALL OF FAME MAN OF THE YEAR This special video presentation was designed to celebrate the induction of Mike Dillard into the 2011 Black Belt Hall of Fame as Man of the Year. Featuring archival video and photos spanning the Century Martial Arts founder's life, this piece was shown to a live audience at the 2011 MAIA SuperShow in Las Vegas, on July 23, 2011.
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

Do you want to maximize your self defense skills? Learn the game of combat chess and most importantly the queen of all moves.

Allow me to intercept those who would object to the title of this article. I'm not claiming that there's a secret move, shortcut or hack that will give you the edge in any fight. Even if there was an ultimate weapon or strategy, you likely would avoid it because you
Keep Reading Show less

In Karate Way, often I've discussed the many Japanese idioms and sayings that refer to the sword. This aspect of colloquial Japanese reminds one of how deeply the sword and the warrior influenced the culture of that country.

Thinking about these figures of speech, I remembered one that I heard as a child: umi no uchi no katana, "the sword behind the smile." This is a curious saying. How should one interpret it? A smile behind the sword would seem obvious in meaning. You are ready, even eager to use the weapon and happy to do so. But the other way around? We associate smiles with politeness and friendliness. The sword hiding behind that seems incompatible.

Keep Reading Show less

Fight 2 Win 142 is lined up with an exciting line up of grappling matches. Main event will feature superstar Gabi Garcia vs Kendall Reusing with co-main event Johnny Tama vs Dante Leon.

Fight 2 Win is back in Dallas this weekend for the fourth straight weekend of fights. This weekend IBJJF Hall of Famer and four time ADCC Champion Gabi Garcia takes on Team USA wrestler Kendall Reusing. This NoGi Women's heavyweight event is guaranteed to put on a great show.

Keep Reading Show less

Kenneth Baillie: TKD has changed over the years. WTF changed to traditional TKD at our school because our chief instructor didn't like the Olympic status. He said the sport detracts from the tradition. We had a certain rivalry even back then with ITF. The two can merge, I believe. There are differences but anything can be achieved. Positives are easy to find here!

Boston George Legaria: I'm not a TKD practitioner but I've been in martial arts for 26 years (kyokushin, muay Thai and krav maga), and from what I can see, a solution is for those two organizations to come together and reform the art so it can stay relevant. In combat sports, a lot of people leave TKD in favor of BJJ or muay Thai, while in self-defense people leave TKD for styles like Russian sambo, krav maga or Keysi Method. As for a business model, they need to leave the black belt mill because even though that gets parents interested so they can show their little one's "progress" on FB, in the long run, TKD loses its credibility when people see a 6 year old "master."

Michael Watson: Follow grandmaster Hee Il Cho's lead — he does both styles and without the negative of the Olympic sport aspect. I studied ITF growing up, but I also researched a lot on grandmaster Cho and I love his way.

Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter