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Christine Bannon Rodrigues
Photo Courtesy: Christopher Rappold via Facebook

Black Belt Magazine's 1989 Competitor of the Year Christine Bannon-Rodrigues was promoted to 10th degree black belt in Oki-ryu on December 5th. She is pictured above at the ceremony with her family, including Dante (left), Chris (right), and legendary Team Paul Mitchell coach Don Rodrigues. Chris and Dante were also promoted at the event, achieving the ranks of 6th degree and 2nd degree black belt, respectively. Chris Rappold, the executive director of Team Paul Mitchell who was at the event as a friend of the Rodrigues family, reported that 35 martial artists in total were promoted at the ceremony.

Bannon-Rodrigues is one of the most prolific sport karate competitors of all time, amassing numerous wins throughout her career in forms, weapons, and fighting. She won the coveted women's sparring diamond ring at the Diamond Nationals in 1992, and was inducted into the Diamond Nationals Hall of Fame in 2008. She is a nine-time world champion as recognized by the World Association of Kickboxing Organizations (WAKO). Her success as a competitor led to opportunities in the film industry, where she is still active and has had a phenomenal career performing stunts as Batgirl and acting as a double for Hilary Swank in The Next Karate Kid.

WATCH: Christine Bannon-Rodrigues Dominates at the 1999 Ocean State Grand Nationals

Video courtesy of KarateVideoGuy on YouTube, Black and Blue Video Productions, Inc.


Longtime Black Belt magazine writer Floyd Burk did some digging on full-contact karate legend Bill Wallace -- and what he found may surprise you!

Fact No. 1

Bill "Superfoot" Wallace was not always nicknamed "Superfoot." Early point-fighting opponents often referred to him as "Bad Billy."

Fact No. 2

Bill Wallace remained a brown belt in judo until 1971, when Sam Allred tested and then promoted him to shodan.

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Raymond Daniels MMA

Raymond "The Real Deal" Daniels, arguably the greatest point fighter of all time and Bellator Kickboxing welterweight champion, announced on Thursday that his contract with Bellator has expired. The free agent has defeated his last three mixed martial arts opponents and is now considering resigning with Bellator or taking his talents to another promotion. Based on the tagging in his Instagram post, major organizations like the UFC and ONE Championship are being considered to land the sport karate icon.

Daniels has connections to each of these entities, as he just helped Gilbert Burns prepare for his win against karate-style fighter Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson at UFC 264 and his wife Colbey Northcutt Daniels is under contract with ONE Championship. Wherever Daniels ends up, his next match will be a must-see bout due to his flashy style of world-class striking that features jump-spinning kicks and unbelievable knockouts.

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Taky Kimura

Members of the martial arts community — and followers of the arts of Bruce Lee, in particular — suffered a loss on January 7, 2021, when Seattle-based instructor Taky Kimura passed away at age 96. He had been the most senior living student of Lee and one of only three people (along with Dan Inosanto and the late James Yimm Lee) certified by Lee to teach.

He had been the most senior living student of Lee and one of only three people (along with Dan Inosanto and the late James Yimm Lee) certified by Lee to teach. Taky, the son of Japanese immigrants, was born and raised in Washington state. He was the only person of Japanese descent in his high school, but according to his son Andy Kimura, he was treated well in the community and rarely experienced discrimination.

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