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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.

  • 19
    61

    Black Belt Magazine is founded

    Vol 1. No 1.

    Sells for 50 Cents

  • 19
    62

    Vol. 1, No 2 Hits Newstands

    Subscriptions

    Cost $3 for 10 Issues

  • 19
    64

    Black Belt Runs its

    First Woman

    On the cover

    November - December

  • 19
    67

    Chuck Norris

    Gets his first cover - in the form of a painting

    June

  • 19
    67

    Bruce Lee

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

    October

  • 19
    68

    Hall of Fame

    Is created

    November

  • 19
    74

    Black Belt begins using

    Glossy Paper

    And a few pages of color

    October

  • 19
    81

    Black Belt celebrates its

    20th Anniversary

    June

  • 19
    87

    The magazine releases its

    300th issue

    August

  • 20
    01

    Black Belt celebrates its

    40th Anniversary

    July

  • 20
    17

    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.