Cynthia Rothrock

Cynthia Rothrock performing a form with a bo staff

Black Belt Magazine Archives

Cynthia Rothrock made a name for herself in Hollywood as the first female authentic martial artist to make it big in the movie business.

When you think of martial arts action movie stars, names such as Jean-Claude Van Damme, Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Bruce Lee come to mind. Just as important is Cynthia Rothrock.

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Alvin Toffler, in his 1970 book Future Shock, talked about the rapid rate of change in the modern world, how people were having trouble keeping up and how that rate would only increase in years to come. The martial arts entertainment world — and the martial arts in general, for that matter — may be proving Toffler correct.

Take, for example, the recent Urban Action Showcase & Expo, held at the AMC Empire 25 Theaters in New York City, where old met new both on the big screen and in the exhibition hall.A two-day event sponsored by HBO and Cinemax, the UAS was part action-film festival, part martial arts trade show and part photo op for fans looking to mingle with legends like kickboxing-champion-turned-actor Don "The Dragon" Wilson. "Events like this are getting bigger, and unlike the past, you're now seeing more people showing up who have never done martial arts — they're just fans who want to meet us," Wilson said.


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The Black Belt Hall of Famer tournament champ who became an international film star talks about choosing a school, competing in tournaments, finding a role model and never giving up.

“I was nervous as anything," Cynthia Rothrock said of her first tournament, after which she started to laugh. "I was an orange belt competing against black belts in forms. I was doing the most basic forms, and they were so advanced."

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Add to that list Tony Jaa, Scott Adkins, Dolph Lundgren, Dave Bautista and Sammo Hung and you've got yourself a party! Check out these fun sneak peeks!

On Wednesday, August 27, 2014, we posted a behind-the-scenes video of martial artist and film/TV actor Michael Jai White during his off time working with young students at Victory Dojo & Fitness in Burbank, California. That post was a huge hit! Thanks to everyone who liked the post on BlackBeltMag.com and on the Black Belt Facebook page, it's become one of our most "viral" videos in recent memory. It's no wonder, then, that the Black Belt editors chose Michael Jai White as the cover story for the magazine's upcoming October/November 2014 issue! Until that issue comes out in late September, though, here are some sneak peeks of upcoming martial arts movies featuring not only Michael Jai White but also a veritable smorgasbord of martial arts legends! Among these martial arts movie offerings you'll find MMA fighter Georges St-Pierre, Don "The Dragon" Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock and Donnie Yen.

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