Carmichael Simon

Carmichael Simon is widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of extreme martial arts and tricking. He won numerous world championships, was the first person to land a 720 kick in competition, played "Kid Carmichael" on WMAC Masters as well as "Liu Kang" on the broadway show Mortal Kombat Live. Keep reading to find out how he defines "A Performer's Blueprint".


VISION: The American Division

Many styles of martial arts contributed to the evolution of Sport Karate Creative and Extreme performances. Once known as the American and Open form divisions, the 1990s was the era where our individual styles not only embraced movement but captured moments that have defined our history. Post 1988 Olympics, ice skaters and gymnasts were perfecting triples. With the introduction of Tae Kwon Do at the Olympic Games, we were still executing the 360 and discovering the 540. Inverts, combinations, and 720s were merely a figment of imagination. We were a few revolutions behind. Literally!!!

STRATEGY: Designing the Choreography

Inspired by video games, comics, and animation, these visuals allowed our young artists to develop and standardize performances to mainstream culture. The opportunity was to shift our mindset from training marathon forms to sprinting sections. We redesigned the existing traditional patterns while creating unique choreography. Forms were reformatted from the "Classical" 90 second base to a "Contemporary" 60 seconds max. As we continued to explore, we began to understand and recognize that practicing the same form for self-mastery took the same level of effort to develop a plethora of sections. These sections began to take a life of its own and the forms created had individual character.

EXECUTION: Developing the Sections 

The Blueprint

• 4 sections are adopted from Chinese Wushu. (Timing/Quickness/Endurance)

• Hand sections and Stances are evolved from the beautiful lines of Japanese Karate. (Power/Posture)

• Dynamic kicking, acrokicking, and tricking pay homage to Tae Kwon Do and Capoeira. (Flexibility/Balance)

Personality, charisma, and foundational basics were the key attributes for our 1990s youth to have the opportunity to share their choreography on the national stage. Traditional I-patterns evolved to diagonals which ultimately standardized to our 4 sectional Sport Karate performances. Each section has a purpose and can be interchanged within the following 15 second intervals:

• Section 1: Explosive hand striking techniques with solid stances and ground kicks.

• Section 2: Dynamic acrokicking and tricking combination.

• Section 3: High flying invert and acrokicking.

• Section 4: Hybrid spinning hand striking techniques, ground kicks and finale acrokick/trick.

The individuality and integrity of all well known performances are the transitions. Transitions are the subtle movements of sticking, switching, and spinning that unifies each section into the overall performance.

METRICS: Progressing the Culture

Carmichael Simon

During our forms training, we began to integrate the use of resistance bands, weight vests, ankle weights, and weightlifting. With these training tools to enhance our strength and conditioning during practice, the goal was to complete the following workout in 30 minutes:

1. Stance Lines for 2 minutes

2. Switching Drills for 2 minutes

3. Full Form: 1x within 1 minute

4. Full Form: "Move by Move" for 5 minutes

5. Section 1: 4x within 2 minutes

6. Section 2: 4x within 2 minutes

7. Section 3: 4x within 2 minutes

8. Section 4: 4x within 2 minutes

9. Section 1&2: 4x within 3 minutes

10. Section 2&3: 4x within 3 minutes

11. Section 3&4: 4x within 3 minutes

12. Full Form: 2x within 3 minutes

At each section, we augmented conditioning with 25x squats or 25x pushups between each interval to exhaust our performance and peak our mindset. Perfect practice evolved to perfecting our reps as we focused on details.

By 1995, X-Games was introduced. The Sport Karate performances and athletic standards were established. These 5 years were very instrumental and would carry our sport to the present. With this blueprint foundation, we now had the ability to take flight as the rise of Tricking and Team Sync performances would inspire our protégés.

Black Belt Magazine has a storied history that dates back all the way to 1961, making 2021 the 60th Anniversary of the world's leading magazine of martial arts. To celebrate six decades of legendary martial arts coverage, take a trip down memory lane by scrolling through some of the most influential covers ever published. From the creators of martial art styles, to karate tournament heroes, to superstars on the silver screen, and everything in between, the iconic covers of Black Belt Magazine act as a time capsule for so many important moments and figures in martial arts history. Keep reading to view the full list of these classic issues.

Keep Reading Show less

ONE on TNT III gets underway on Wednesday, April 21, in primetime. And this time, the main event is a bantamweight slugfest with title implications.

American "Pretty Boy" Troy Worthen takes a main event slot to try and upend top-ranked bantamweight challenger John "Hands of Stone" Lineker as the watchful eyes of ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano Fernandes look on from afar.

Lineker has been outstanding since joining the promotion with a 2-0 record, and he is coming off a stellar performance against former World Champion Kevin Belingon. As the #1-ranked bantamweight contender, Lineker hopes to be next for a shot at the gold.

However, this is not a showcase match. Worthen poses significant challenges for the Brazilian.

Keep Reading Show less

How will you perform at the moment of truth?

What's going to happen to you physically and emotionally in a real fight where you could be injured or killed? Will you defend yourself immediately, hesitate during the first few critical seconds of the fight, or will you be so paralyzed with fear that you won't be able to move at all? The answer is - you won't know until you can say, "Been there, done that." However, there is a way to train for that fearful day.

Keep Reading Show less