Remembering Sean Connery

Sean Connery
This week marked the first anniversary of film icon Sean Connery's death. Best known as the original big screen 007, Connery had a significant influence on martial arts through his James Bond movies.

The third Bond film, "Goldfinger," featured Honor Blackman, likely the first ever western action heroine to employ martial arts. Blackman was a real life judo practitioner who would go on to author a book on women's self defense. Showing off her skills in "Goldfinger" by throwing Connery around, her display set the stage for more women to become involved in martial arts.

Though Connery, himself, wasn't a martial arts practitioner, he does hold an honorary black belt in kyokushin karate from it's founder, Mas Oyama. Connery met Oyama while in Japan filming "You Only Live Twice," a Bond movie which set a standard for the use of martial arts in western cinema and even landed its star on the cover of Black Belt. The film's resident expert and Connery's stunt double for those scenes was renowned martial arts pioneer Donn Draeger.

"You Only Live Twice" also employed ninjutsu exponent Masaaki Hatsumi as an adviser. The movie became instrumental in launching the pop culture fascination with ninja which continues to this day.

Black Belt Magazine

Sean Connery on the cover of Black Belt Magazine, August 1967.

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