hall of fame

Black Belt Magazine is home to the most prestigious hall of fame in martial arts. The Black Belt Hall of Fame began in 1968 and has since inducted over 200 of the world's best martial artists of all styles. Stay tuned for a resource that will help you learn about the legendary members of the Black Belt Hall of Fame.

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Burton Richardson began his martial education under the tutelage of Dan Inosanto at his original kali/Jun Fan gung fu academy. It put Richardson on the right path physically — who could go wrong with Bruce Lee's top student as a teacher?

It also put Richardson on the right path mentally because Dan Inosanto has always believed in keeping an open mind with respect to martial arts and techniques.

That started in 1980, and Richardson hasn't slowed down since.

Not willing to limit himself to the vast pool of martial arts talent in Southern California, Burton Richardson set about traveling the world to bolster his skills. Wanderlust took him to China for sanshou lessons, Japan for shootfighting, the Philippines for kali and escrima, France for savate, Brazil for jiu-jitsu, and South Africa for Zulu stick and spear fighting.

Every time he set foot in a training hall, Richardson was on the prowl for functional self-defense skills. His philosophy was always that any technique must be proved effective before he'd adopt it. No doubt his formal schooling in biology helped him evaluate techniques for effectiveness before deciding which ones to teach and which to toss.

Burton Richardson earned himself a number of prestigious ranks, including full instructor in JKD and Filipino martial arts under Dan Inosanto, full instructor in jeet kune do under Larry Hartsell and second-stripe black belt in BJJ under Egan Inoue.

An original member of the Dog Brothers, Richardson is also a muay Thai instructor under Chai Sirisute, a silat instructor under Paul deThouars and a kali instructor under Antonio Ilustrisimo.

All that makes for an impressive curriculum vitae, but what really has enabled Burton Richardson to shine is his approach to passing his accumulated wisdom along to the next generation. Soft-spoken but insistent, he teaches only what works against a resisting opponent. Nevertheless, he keeps his classes safe — which is not an easy task, given the lethality of the subject matter and the focus on real-world functionality.

These are some of the reasons Burton Richardson was named Black Belt's 2015 Self-Defense Instructor of the Year.

Photos by Robert Reiff

To watch a Burton Richardson BJJ seminar, go here.

To read "These 10 Self-Defense Strategies Will Make You a Better Martial Artist" by Burton Richardson, click here now.

To read "Pencak Silat Expert Gets MMA Smackdown, Regroups, Comes Back Even Stronger With His Martial Art!" by Burton Richardson, click here.

Go here to order Burton Richardson's book Silat for the Street.

Click here to check out his online video course Silat for the Street.

Burton Richardson's latest project with Black Belt is a book titled Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for the Street, available soon!

Jackson Rudolph Podcast #29

Diamond Nationals Hall of Famer and Coach of Team Infinity Mike Welch joins the show to share some secrets about Team Infinity's rise to demo team greatness and reflect on how sport karate has evolved over the past twenty years. Welch and host Jackson Rudolph also assemble their "dream demo teams" using some of their favorite competitors of all time.

Tim Kennedy and His Team Teach Self-Defense for the 21st Century!

Going by what you witness on the news these days, the world is a dangerous place — and it's getting more dangerous all the time. Hardly a day goes by when you don't see a story about a mass shooting, a terrorist attack or just a senseless act of random violence, sometimes in your own backyard.

Whether this is an accurate picture of how things are or merely a sensationalist attempt to garner news ratings via fear-mongering, the fact is many people are worried, and they're looking for ways to set their minds at ease. Some of them are, naturally, turning to self-defense instruction. But they're finding that some martial arts instructors are ill-prepared to deal with questions pertaining to how to survive an active-shooter situation or the best way to treat a life-threatening wound.

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2019 man of the year Chatri Sityodtong

The martial arts gods are smiling down on Chatri Sityodtong and ONE Championship. Either that or Chatri is a genius because what he and his crew are serving up is resonating not only with fight fans in Asia but also with traditional and eclectic martial arts practitioners around the world. As evidence, note that ONE is seeing consistently growing audiences, and it's the subject of weekly stories in mainstream outlets touting its unparalleled success and preaching the gospel of Chatri.

The following quote sums up the philosophy of the man and the org rather nicely: "The word 'MMA' is now synonymous with martial arts, [and] the general public thinks of MMA as blood sport, violence, hatred, controversy. Literally from day one, my mission for ONE Championship [has been] to unleash the real-life superheroes who ignite the world with hope, strength and inspiration."

In a nutshell, that's why ONE is riding a rocket into the stratosphere. Not surprisingly, the path along which Chatri is guiding the promotion grew out of his 34-plus years in the arts. "The biggest misconception about martial arts is that it's about fighting or violence," he observed in a Black Belt interview. "In actuality, martial arts is the warrior way of life, of inheriting these incredible values that allow you to release your potential as a human being. It gives you so many skills, so many values to apply to the rest of your life."

More and more people — martial artists as well as business leaders — are listening to what Chatri has to say on a variety of subjects. As the CEO of Asia's largest global sports entity, he possesses a gravitas that's rare in the martial arts, one that's refreshingly in line with the principles all practitioners hold dear.

Of course his philosophical bent doesn't preclude him from growing ONE. His expansion plans don't stop with MMA, however, and what he has in mind could be even more intriguing for traditional martial artists everywhere. That's because Chatri intends to feature on his cards — and eventually organize events around — other combat sports, including karate, kung fu, taekwondo, lethwei and submission grappling."I view ONE as the bridge between the new and the old," he told Black Belt. "I want to preserve the old in the sense of the history, the culture and the values of what traditional martial arts brings. But I want to present it in a way that millennials can enjoy genuinely, hence allowing martial arts to become truly mainstream."Few are doing more to propagate our traditions in a format that appeals to the next generation of fans and practitioners than Chatri Sityodtong. Which is why he is Black Belt's 2019 Man of the Year.— Robert W. Young

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