aaron banks

Five more of the most important events in the life of East Coast karateka/tournament promoter Aaron Banks (1928-2013) are detailed in this story. Learn how one man's determination changed the martial arts in America and around the world.

No. 6

Staging America vs. the Orient in 1968

Another highlight of the Aaron Banks hit parade was a show that pitted Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, Mike Stone and Thomas LaPuppet against a group of Asian fighters.

The Americans won the contest, taking four of the six bouts and proving to the nation that Westerners could defeat Asians at their own game.

No. 7

Beginning His Tournament-a-Month Competition Calendar in 1969

It ran in the same venue, the Sunnyside Gardens Arena in Queens, once a month for three years. “Those tournaments drew the strongest schools and the toughest martial artists who ever existed, including George Cofield, Joe Hess, Moses Powell, Frank Ruiz, Tom LaPuppet, J.T. Will, Jerry Piddington, Nick Cerio and Joe Lewis," Aaron Banks said.

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Tournament promoter extraordinaire Aaron Banks passed away in May 2013. In an effort to pay tribute to his lifelong devotion to the arts, Black Belt is posting this article, which originally appeared in our March 2002 issue.

Inside all of us lies at least one truly great accomplishment waiting to happen. For Aaron Banks, that accomplishment happened hundreds of times — in the form of a string of successful martial arts tournaments and demonstrations. They were his way of showing America what the real martial arts are all about.

Banks quickly developed a reputation for pulling off the unimaginable. For example, in 1964 he brought Chinese kung fu, Korean moo duk kwan, Japanese and Okinawan goju-ryu karate, judo and boxing under the same roof in his New York Karate Academy.

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