HISTORY

The first issue of Black Belt magazine was published in 1961 by a Japanese-American skilled in the arts of Aikido, Kendo, Judo and what would become known as Jeet Kune Do. Based in Southern California, Mito Uyehara envisioned a national publication that would help spread the Asian martial arts, the benefits of which he knew very well, to the American public.


As the publication grew in the years to come so did the popularity of martial arts in America. Black Belt magazine quickly solidified its position as one of the timeless periodicals on newsstands across the country.

1961

BLACK BELT MAGAZINE IS FOUNDED

Vol 1. No 1.

SELLS FOR 50 CENTS

1962

VOL. 1, NO 2 HITS NEWSTANDS

Subscriptions

COST $3 FOR 10 ISSUES


1964

Black Belt Runs its

FIRST WOMAN

On the cover

NOVEMBER - DECEMBER

1967

CHUCK NORRIS

Gets his first cover - in the form of a painting

JUNE

1967

BRUCE LEE

Appears on the cover. It's the first of many

OCTOBER

1968

HALL OF FAME

Is created

NOVEMBER

1974

Black Belt begins using

GLOSSY PAPER

And a few pages of color

OCTOBER

1983

Black Belt celebrates its

20TH ANNIVERSARY

JUNE

1987

The magazine releases its

300TH ISSUE

AUGUST

2001

Black Belt celebrates its

40TH ANNIVERSARY

JULY

2017

CENTURY MARTIAL ARTS

Releases the first issue under new ownership

JUNE - JULY

As the years passed, Black Belt adopted a monthly publication schedule and then added color. All along the way, the magazine broke new ground by featuring women, as well as African-Americans and members of other ethnic groups, on the cover. All controversial decisions given their respective tes of publication. The editors even put Bruce Lee on that coveted front page before he was a star in 1967

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

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.

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