Gary Goltz is the founder of Goltz Judo Club and the Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Judo Association. In this video shot at Black Belt, he talks about the magazine's past, present and future coverage of judo.
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Gary Goltz is the founder of Goltz Judo Club and the Chief Operating Officer of the U.S. Judo Association. In this video shot at Black Belt, he talks about the magazine's past, present and future coverage of judo.
Black Belt Magazine has a storied history that dates back all the way to 1961, making 2021 the 60th Anniversary of the world's leading magazine of martial arts. To celebrate six decades of legendary martial arts coverage, take a trip down memory lane by scrolling through some of the most influential covers ever published. From the creators of martial art styles, to karate tournament heroes, to superstars on the silver screen, and everything in between, the iconic covers of Black Belt Magazine act as a time capsule for so many important moments and figures in martial arts history. Keep reading to view the full list of these classic issues.
This is where it all began. This 34-page first issue contained feature articles about kendo, aikido, and the AAU National Judo Championships. Legends like Jigoro Kano, Ed Parker, and Koichi Tohei are all mentioned. The first page even explains where Black Belt got its name!
The September 1965 issue had some international flavor, with articles featuring karate practiced "The Tokyo Way" by Tak Kubota and a piece titled Judo in Yugoslavia. There is also a write-up about the All-Japan Judo Championships and a story on the Judo icon Wally Jay.
Black Belt tried out a hand-painted art style for many of the covers in 1967. This cover was the first to feature Chuck Norris after he narrowly defeated Joe Lewis at S. Henry Cho's North American Karate Championship. The final score was 27.5 to 25.5.
Joe Lewis would avenge his loss to Norris earlier in the year by winning Jhoon Rhee's U.S. Karate Championships with Bruce Lee in attendance. The feature article tells how Lewis defeated John Wooley in the finals in front of 8,000 fans in Washington, D.C.
The first issue featuring Bruce Lee on the cover had to be one of Black Belt's most iconic issues. Action fans everywhere were tuning into The Green Hornet and "Kato" was a superstar. Also, the results of a survey showed that karate was gaining popularity over judo in the U.S.
Young kobudo master Fumio Demura shared the secrets of the sai in a feature article that included photograph tutorials of various grips and techniques. A four-year judo university called "Yudo College" in Korea was also featured in this issue.
In this issue, Capoeira was described as an art that captured Brazil's history and culture. Another sign of the times, a study was published suggesting that karate can be learned from films for the first time. Pat Johnson described films as the "finest single aid to karate training".
The cover article of this issue featured the legendary Jhoon Rhee, who was deemed the "Father of U.S. Tae Kwon Do" in the story. The Bornean Dyak tradition of Kenjah was also featured, which prepared boys for murder in a bloody ritual that was required for manhood.
In the first issue featuring Gene LeBell on the cover, he compares judo and its limitations to professional wrestling. Another feature article provides self-defense information from law enforcement advisors after recent increases in violent crime were observed.
David Carradine was prominently featured in the cover piece about the Kung Fu television series. Black Belt also claimed that Japan's reign on Olympic judo had ended, as Dutchman Willem Ruska took two gold medals and the Russians won four total medals (one gold).
In this issue, Bob Wall of Enter the Dragon tells all about how mastering pain helped him achieve success in competition, business, and acting. Black Belt also sponsored the "First Oriental Fighting Arts Expo" with 35 martial artists performing for over 10,000 fans.
The Father of American Kenpo is prominently featured in a piece titled And in the Beginning There was Ed Parker. There is also a forward-thinking article about informing the media of martial arts in order to grow participation in martial arts schools and tournaments.
"Superfoot" gets his own Black Belt cover and discusses his fighting career. He said that he liked the then-new innovation of safety gear because he can "really hit the guy". Successful martial arts businesswomen Pauline Short, Julie Webb, and Py Bateman were also featured.
Southern California karate pioneer Dan Ivan gets a a cover article about his career in this issue. The magazine also contains advertisements for Jhoon Rhee's Safe-T gear and Braschi protective equipment as endorsed by Chuck Norris, early competitors in martial arts supply.
Chuck Norris finds himself on the cover of another issue and is famously quoted in the feature article stating, "I would really like to become a white Bruce Lee". The issue also shares a photograph tutorial for elbow techniques designed to defend women against rape.
Tang Soo Do gets a national spotlight as C.S. Kim graces the cover of this issue. Century Martial Arts had their classic Kickin' Jeans advertisement featured. The art of Chi Kung is also prominently featured in the piece Harnessing Internal Powers with Chi Kung.
Joo Bang Lee shares his knowledge of Hwarangdo and how it can be used for knife defense in his cover piece. There is also a write up about Mas Oyama's 2nd World Karate Tournament, where overtime bareknuckle matches were determined by breaking competitions.
A four-part feature series about William Cheung concluded in this issue as he was pictured on the cover. The issue also contains an exclusive interview with Hirokazu Kanazawa, who was one of the premier instructors in the Japan Karate Association.
The ninjutsu craze earned Ninjamania the cover, but this issue included other big stories like Chuck Norris reflecting on his toughest opponents and the U.S. Olympic Judo team making history by winning their first-ever silver medal.
Benny "The Jet" Urquidez lands on his first Black Belt cover in this issue and stresses the importance of striking to the legs when fighting. There was also a special update piece on previous Hall of Famers, such as Ed parker, Joe Lewis, Jeff Smith, Ark Wong, and more.
Thai boxing gets some notable American press in this issue, and Jhoon Rhee is featured again for teaching multiple United States congressmen. Fumio Demura is also pictured in the issue breaking glass for an article titled Hand Strikes of Karate.
Masaaki Hatsumi continues the 80's ninja craze on the cover of this issue. The WUKO World Championships were also covered, where American superstar Hakim Alston defeated an opponent in under 22 seconds. This prompted a drug screening that he passed without issue.
Judo legend Mike Swain gets the cover in October of '88 as the United States Olympic Judo Team gets a spotlight for all of their members. The U.S. Taekwondo team was also given a feature, recognizing notable athletes like Jimmy Kim and Arlene Limas.
Taekwondo Master Hee Il Cho shared his art's amazing jumping kicks for this cover. Various martial arts weapons also received a spotlight in articles about lesser-known Samurai weapons like the sickle and chain, as well as a Kung Fu piece about the Wu Dang sword.
Ted Wong is featured on this cover as he tells Black Belt about his training under Bruce Lee. Another feature article tackles a question that is still prevalent today- What's Wrong with Tournament Karate? in an attempt to figure out how to make martial arts a mainstream sport.
Suh In-Hyuk graced this cover because he was a notable professor for the Rockwell College of Applied Arts and Science that offered doctorates in martial arts through the mail. This issue also provided one of the first major national spotlights for Gracie JuJitsu.
The NBA's all-time leading scorer, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, is featured on this cover for an exclusive interview in which he talks about training with Bruce Lee. Other features include a piece about stunt performers and cross training in martial arts for other athletes.
Kickboxing champion Kathy Long tells all in this issue about being the stunt double for Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman. David Lea is also prominently featured for his work as a stunt double for Michael Keaton in Batman and the sequel, Batman Returns.
Brandon Lee wields a three-sectional staff on the cover of this issue shortly after his tragic passing. In addition to the memorial, champions on the tournament circuit at the time such as Cynthia Rothrock and Kenn Firestone share secrets about designing a winning tournament form.
UFC 1 tournament winner Royce Gracie gets the cover in this issue as he explains why he had been inactive at the time. There's also a write up of the Ocean State Grand Nationals, where over 1,000 competitors attended while Richard Branden and Mafia Holloway won titles.
MMA legend Ken Shamrock is pictured on the cover with challenger Kimo Leopoldo in the background ahead of their superfight. In other news, Team USA took home multiple WAKO world titles as Richard Plowden, Mike Chaturantabut, and Willie Johnson all won gold.
This cover features Marco Ruas as he tells the Black Belt readers about Vale Tudo, an intense martial art that helped him earn the title of King of the Streets. Another feature article discusses the appeal of martial arts movies and what made them so popular in this era.
Rickson Gracie, arguably the greatest jiu jitsu practitioner of all time, is seen on this cover for his feature article about the No-Holds-Barred Fighting association. A fascinating article about learning Tae Kwon Do in Korea is also featured in the issue.
Shannon Lee, daughter of icon Bruce Lee, is featured for her piece that dives into her training in a variety of martial arts. Gary Alexander, winner of Mas Oyama's first North American Championships, also earns a prominent feature to discuss the state of martial arts at the time.
Steve Demasco shares how Chinese Kempo maximizes striking power in the cover issue. In another feature, Meredith Gold shares one of many women's self-defense articles. Century's iconic BOB also makes one of its first advertising appearances in the issue.
This cover features Steven Seagal after his return to the big screen for Exit Wounds, and discusses his influential role as a promoter of Aikido in the United States. Bare-knuckle karate is also featured as part of the classic debate between Budo and Bujutsu.
Black Belt celebrates four decades of martial arts history with a mosaic of many impactful covers over the years. A feature article explains how grappling skills are useful for self-defense and "Hwa Rang Do's Golden Child" Taejoon Lee landed an article/photo tutorial as well.
Michael Jai White credits his Hollywood success to mastery of traditional karate and kobudo in the cover piece of the February 2002 issue. There is also a somewhat controversial piece about the art of trapping and wether or not it is effective in the real world.
The now ultra-famous podcast host Joe Rogan gets the cover in this issue when he was the host of Fear Factor and was known for training in Taekwondo and Jujutsu. There is also a story about a martial arts "Celebrity Roast" to honor Bob Wall featuring the likes of Chuck Norris.
Co-Founder of Gracie Jiu Jitsu alongside his brothers, Helio Gracie, graces the cover of this issue for an article about his life and legacy. Also, after new rules were implemented by the World Karate Federation, John Fonseca shares his kumite secrets.
Following the release and success of Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Volume 1, David Carradine gets a long-overdue feature on the cover of Black Belt. In other news, K-1 legend Bob Sapp confronted Mike Tyson after knocking out Kimo Leopoldo.
Ahead of the premiere of The Ultimate Fighter, UFC stars Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell appear in the cover article and give tips for any readers that may want to give the reality show a try. A feature article titled "High-Tech Training" discusses the use of instructional DVDs as well.
Wushu superstar Jet Li sheds his hero archetype in Unleashed and gets a spot on the cover for it. The legendary Morihei Uyeshiba is also prominently featured in an article that details the striking and pressure points used in Aikido.
Leading up to Black Belt's 50th anniversary, this issue is the second in a series of five that features a decade-by-decade timeline of martial arts history as told by Black Belt. Scott Adkins gets the cover as one of seven featured individuals that define the "21st Century Martial Artist".
Martial arts icons like Jhoon Rhee, Stephen K. Hayes, Dan Inosanto, and more write personal notes to Black Belt in celebration of the 50th anniversary. There is also a prominent write up of Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster starring Donnie Yen.
Black Belt's 2011 Man of the Year and the founder/CEO of Century Martial Arts, Mike Dillard, is featured on the cover of this issue. Anthony "Showtime" Pettis is also featured in the issue after his signature knockout of Ben Henderson by jumping off the cage with a round kick.
Ronda Rousey gets featured on the cover after medaling in Judo at the olympics and having some early MMA succes, but before fighting for the UFC title. Sport Karate legend Steve "Nasty" Anderson does an exclusive interview about the Superman Punch vs California Blitz.
Kayla Harrison lands on this cover after winning her first gold medal and bringing United States Olympic Judo to prominence. The 2012 Black Belt Hall of Fame is also announced in this issue, featuring Jae Chul Shin, Ronda Rousey, Sage Northcutt, and more.
YouTube superstar Master Ken dons the signature red Ameri-Do-Te sleeveless uniform on this cover. He and his true self, Matt Page, answer questions separately in a truly one-of-a-kind feature article. The rest of the 2014 Hall of Fame class is also announced in this issue.
This brings us to 2021, the modern era of Black Belt. The stars of Netflix's Cobra Kai are featured as their show captures the attention of martial artists and fans around the world. Black Belt celebrates their 60th anniversary and looks ahead to many more years of martial arts.
Visualize, the fight begins. You go into your defensive stance. You spend about 30 seconds moving around looking for an entry point or angle to punch, kick, or lock up and take down your opponent. You find the point and throw an explosive punch. Your opponent blocks it. You go back into your defensive stance and wait to find another opportunity. Or, let's say in jiu-jitsu, you spend 2 minutes in the mount or guard position waiting to find the opportunity to execute the right technique with speed and explosiveness.
Punch faster, kick quicker, throw harder. Yes, these are all important to develop in your martial arts. However, martial arts and jiu-jitsu are not predominantly explosive sports. They are sports that use explosive techniques that have bursts of speed from their aerobic base. And, if your aerobic base has no strength, no foundation, then it affects your endurance, explosiveness, and speed. After you perform an explosive fast technique like a kick or throw without success, where do you have to return, to your aerobic base.
Let's understand the three different energy systems so you can comprehend their integration into martial arts.
The misconception about slow-twitch fibers is that they are weak. They are not weak. They just produce less force than the other two systems. You can and need to strengthen your slow-twitch fibers. Slow-twitch fibers are necessary to develop in your training to optimize your strength, speed, and power.
Slow-twitch muscle fibers are important for all athletes. These fibers stabilize your joints, alignment, posture, and help prevent injury. If your slow-twitch fibers are not strong, your alignment and joints will be weak. When using fast-twitch fibers, moving through large ranges of motion, or using bigger muscles, they create high amounts of force. If your slow-twitch fibers are not strong enough to support and stabilize your alignment and joints, when generating high amounts of force, you will be more prone to injury. Alignment and stability are similar to the foundation of a building. Is the foundation concrete or sand? Which one can withstand greater force over a longer time? This is similar to your slow-twitch fibers and how they support force.
Firstly, the key for training slow-twitch muscles are high repetitions and low resistance. This will increase the strength of the slow-twitch fibers. Secondly, training aerobically greater than 3 minutes or more creates more mitochondria to increase endurance capacity. Mitochondria are cells that boost endurance. The more you have, the greater your endurance.
Think of slow-twitch fibers as sustainability. If you can run 3 minutes at 9MPH. And, from training over time, you can run 3 minutes at 8MPH. You have increased your mitochondria and endurance. If you can do 15 reps with 50 lbs. And, over time from training, you can do 15 reps with 65 lbs. Well, now you increase slow-twitch muscle strength. Again, it is not that they are weak they just produce an overall strength base.
In order to tap the slow-twitch fibers, the aerobic activity needs to be sustained for 3 minutes or longer. Slow-twitch fibers should be trained first before fast-twitch fibers. Your alignment and joints need strength to stabilize first, to sustain force, before generating it.
Fast-twitch fibers are large fibers that produce high and quick force.
Type IIA fibers are a mixture of slow and fast-twitch fibers. They are highly oxidative like slow-twitch fibers that are resistant to fatigue and also are glycolytic to generate higher amounts of force during anaerobic training. These muscle fibers can use both oxygen and glucose. They are hybrids and switch back and forth depending on the activity you are doing. Their duration is from 10 seconds to 3 minutes.
Type IIB fibers are fast-twitch. They are low oxidative and highly glycolytic that fatigue rapidly. These fibers are quicker to fatigue because they are glycolytic and have little to no mitochondria. They do not use oxygen. Type IIB fibers produce the greatest amount of force but only up to about 10 seconds in duration.
Now again visualize, the fight begins. You go into your defensive stance. You spend about 30 seconds moving around looking for an entry point or angle to punch, kick, or lock up and take down your opponent. You find the point and throw an explosive punch. Your opponent blocks it. You go back into your defensive stance and wait to find another opportunity. Or, in jiu-jitsu, you spend 2 minutes in the mount or guard position waiting to find the opportunity to execute the right technique with explosiveness and speed. Slow-twitch fiber sustainability provides the necessary strength and time for the faster exhaustive muscles to recover and be used again during the match.
Now that you understand each system, you can improve and enhance your martial arts training accordingly. Don't underestimate slow-twitch fibers. Again, they are not weak, they are about sustaining rather than generating. They need to be strong. All the systems function together like an orchestra playing a symphony, the low tones support the high ones. Take out the low tones and the high ones lose support and don't sound so good.
Fighting two or more attackers, even if they are unarmed, is a "worst case scenario." However, as with any conflict, there are rules that can help you survive it. Here are six of them that you must commit to memory.
Situational awareness is the first step to avoiding a confrontation with multiple attackers. Criminals and terrorists are not ghosts. They don't just appear out of thin air and attack you. Before the conflict, your attackers will be somewhere in the environment, and they will either be waiting for you to unwarily enter their "kill zone" or they will approach you. Either way, if you are constantly scanning the area for any suspicious persons or activity, you may detect them before it's too late. Any advance warning, no matter how slim it may be, gives you both decision and reaction time.
While in any potentially hostile environment, don't be so absorbed in your thoughts, locked into a conversation with others, or distracted with devices, that you don't bother to scan your surrounding for potential danger. Whenever you are engaged in these activities you can still scan the area every several seconds for tell-tale signs: the sights, sounds, and smell of trouble.
When I was a military tactics instructor during the Iraq War and Afghanistan War, I taught American Soldiers, according to U.S. Army doctrine, how to survive an ambush, which was IMMEDIATELY COUNTERATTACK THE AMBUSHERS. The definition of "ambush" is to attack by surprise from a hidden place.
The natural reaction when ambushed is to hunker down on the spot and fight. However, the enemy chose the location for specific fields of fire. Staying in a defensive position in the fatal funnel will just get everybody killed, and that is exactly what the enemy wants.
Soldiers caught in an ambush must immediately pick a point, concentrate all available fire power on that point, and try to punch through the enemy line with decisive movement to escape. Likewise, if you have multiple attackers coming toward you in a civilian self-defense situation, and you are trapped in their fatal funnel, you need to pick one of the attackers, immediately incapacitate him, and push past him before the rest of them swarm you.
Whatever action you take, do not get in between two attackers. We call this a "sandwich." Metaphorically, the attackers are the two pieces of "bread" and you're the "dead meat" that's sandwiched in between.
The key to preventing yourself getting into this position of disadvantage is to always keep yourself in front of one attacker while forcing the other one to stay behind him. This may take some quick flanking movements on your part, to keep the other one from getting to you, but it's essential. If you do end up in between two attackers, your attention will undoubtedly be divided, and you will be sucker punched or worse. Therefore, the general rule is YOU CANNOT FIGHT TWO PEOPLE AT THE SAME TIME. Action movies may make it seem possible to take on multiple attackers at once, but Hollywood is a poor self-defense teacher.
Not only have I had the privilege of training U.S. Army units for three decades, but I've trained extensively with the United States Marine Corps as well. One of their concepts that I learned from them, and it rubbed off on me, is what they call Violence of Action. This means that once you have decided on a plan of attack, or counterattack, you launch it with 100% commitment and completely overwhelm the enemy. OORAH! Likewise, when two or more attackers are coming at you to harm you, and violence is imminent, you must commit to hard hitting tactics with 100% effort. A timid response will not be enough for such a life-threatening event. In your fierceness, your Violence of Action, you will either defeat your attackers, make them back off, you escape, or you die in the process. Submitting to the attackers is not an option.
If two or more attackers intend to do you harm you may give them a warning to back off, but if they proceed to aggress you, then deadly force may be the only option for your survival. Deadly force is a legal term that means that you are in fear of your life, or of great bodily injury, and the only option available to you is to severely injure or kill. Legally you are only trying to "stop" the attack, but when using deadly force an attacker could be seriously injured or killed in the process. You only use deadly force when reasonable force will not stop the attack where you are likely to sustain serious injury or death, and you were unable to escape without using such force.
When I teach my Reality-Based Personal Protection course titled Crime Survival, I have each student go up against two or more attackers in a contact fight. Of course, adequate protective gear is worn by all the participants.
The "victim" starts at one end of the room and he or she must get out the front door that is blocked by the two attackers at the other end of the room who will try to keep him or her from escaping. The door can be a literal door, or the "door" can be represented in the training area by two columns of stacked cardboard boxes or two duct tape lines on the ground that indicate an exit opening.
The woman, role playing the Italian Ambassador in a country that is collapsing, is being protected by an Italian dignitary protection unit who must get her safely out of the country. I set up the scenario where they are ambushed between leaving the "Italian Embassy" and her limousine. When attacked, they performed flawlessly their counter-ambush techniques and tactics, and they got the Ambassador to the "airport." This training took place in Caorle, Italy.
No matter who the "victim" is, all the flowery or fine motor skills techniques evaporate in the first few seconds of the fight, giving way to only the simplest and hard-hitting techniques and tactics. If not during his or her first fight, then definitely during the retry after their first defeat.
In multiple attacker fights, based upon my own experience and supervising hundreds of such fights, there are almost no kick combinations used, rarely is an elbow strike thrown, occasionally a student will do a head butt, once in a blue moon a knee strike will be attempted, and kicks above the pelvic are virtually nonexistent. Those who try a kick to the head learn quickly that it's suicidal. For those single kicks that are successful, they are almost always simple front thrust kicks, and even those are always at belt level or below. Again, I am talking about street fights, not an MMA match.
When my students are up against multiple attackers they learn to stick with conservative techniques, not because I tell them to, but because of compressed decision-making time and the brutality of multiple attacker fights. The situation forces them to adhere to the K.I.S.S. principle (Keep It Simple Stupid).
That's me on the left (in the blue cap and red shirt) supervising the Counter Assault Team (CAT), who are counter-assaulting the ambushers (the silhouette targets) as the Executive Protection team gets the principal out of the Kill Zone. This law enforcement training took place at the Burro Canyon Shooting Park in Los Angeles, California.
Unfortunately, most of my students, when first thrown into this multiple attacker fight, use impact force (in legal terms it is reasonable force). In other words, they'll use sport martial arts, which is a lot of punching. Out of every 20 students, the average is that only 2 will make it out the door. The rest are taken down by the multiple attackers. And I'm not talking about a bunch of wimps either. In any given course, my students include Special Forces Soldiers, police SWAT Team operators, Krav Maga instructors, Karate black belts, doormen, security agents, and some beginners. However, after the first attempts are completed, I instruct my students and future instructors that this is a deadly force situation and they must use deadly force techniques: eye gouges and throat strikes, crushing knee breaks, kidney shots, and pull out a legal weapon or make use of an improvised weapon. For me personally, going to a weapon is a no brainer when facing two or more attackers, even if they are unarmed. Of course, my law enforcement background forces me think like this. If two unarmed attackers try to take down a police officer, the use of deadly force is warranted by that officer, provided there was not sufficient distance to use a less-lethal weapon or other officers immediately on scene to assist. Plus, thinking beyond the proverbial bar fight, most criminals are armed, so you had better have a good weapon in hand for a multiple attacker fight, even if it is only a good sturdy metal business pen with a very sharp point. That tool just as good as a prison shank or shiv (a prison made knife-like weapon).
BE A HARD TARGET
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