Browse


- – - – -



- – - – -



Martial Arts Masters

Despite the long history of martial arts, there are only a few martial arts masters. Traditionally in Eastern culture, a master is a person who founds a style or is the individual appointed by the master to continue the lineage. In Western culture, a master is traditionally a person who devotes his whole life to the craft and who reaches a level of excellence that surpasses the average practitioner. In both cultures, masters have rarely considered themselves to be masters. Instead, they are designated as masters by their peers.

  1. B.J. Penn B.J. Penn

    Hawaiian-born mixed-martial arts fighter B.J. “The Prodigy” Penn was the first non-Brazilian to win the black-belt division of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in 2000. Born December 13, 1978, B.J. Penn began training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in 1997 under Ralph Gracie. The Prodigy then moved to Rio de Janeiro to attend Nova Uniao, ...

  2. Bill Wallace Bill Wallace

    Although born in the Chinese Year of the Rooster (December 1, 1945), Bill “Superfoot” Wallace is a dragon—not the mythical creature but the predacious dragonfly. His fabled hook-kick velocity had the same airspeed acceleration of the dragonfly: 60 mph. It’s no wonder Bill Wallace bugged his opponents with a subtle grin before kicking them ...

  3. Bruce Lee Bruce Lee

    Bruce Lee is arguably the most influential martial artist in history because he essentially introduced Chinese martial arts to the world. Within a short span of time, he inspired millions to practice martial arts. “Little Dragon” Bruce Lee (aka Cantonese, Lee Jun-fan; Mandarin, Lee Xiao-lung) was born in San Francisco during the Chinese ...

  4. David Meyer David Meyer

    Back when it was fun to train at the YMCA, Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist David Meyer began his budoshin jiu-jitsu training in 1968 under Jack Seki at the Burbank, California, branch of the famous fitness center. Staying with the budoshin beat for nine years, David Meyer earned his black belt in 1977. After stints learning white ...

  5. Fedor Emelianenko Fedor Emelianenko

    Russian-born Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko (September 28, 1976) is a heavyweight mixed martial artist. Like many successful MMA fighters, he pinballs between various MMA sanctioning organizations and promotion groups. While bouncing around in the life’s pinball machine, Fedor Emelianenko racked up the points by winning numerous ...

  6. Frank Mir Frank Mir

    After becoming the 1998 Nevada high-school wrestling champion, the American-borne Frank Mir began climbing up the MMA ladder by studying Brazilian jiu-jitsu. A few years later, a UFC matchmaker told Frank Mir to pursue a career in mixed martial arts. Several MMA fights later, Frank Mir’s climb gained national attention when he earned ...

  7. Fumio Demura Fumio Demura

    In 1965, Fumio Demura became one of the early pioneers of karate in America by opening the first dojo in the United States that taught authentic shito-ryu karate and kobudo (Okinawan weapons training). Born September 15, 1938, Fumio Demura began training in karate and kendo under Asano sensei and ...

  8. Jean Jacques Machado Jean Jacques Machado

    The next time you complain that you’re all thumbs, think about the amazing achievements of the Brazil-born Brazilian jiu-jitsu expert Jean Jacques Machado. As one of the five marvelous Machado brothers (Carlos, Roger, Rigan and John) and nephew of BJJ co-founder Carlos Gracie, Jean Jacques Machado was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome. ...

  9. Jim Wagner Jim Wagner

    There are martial men who choose to fight in the ring for fame and then there is the quiet breed of martial military men who use their knowledge to protect their country and help civilians learn how to protect their families. Jim Wagner is just such a man. Jim Wagner has served the United States and its people in many capacities—first in the ...

  10. Joe Lewis Joe Lewis

    Dubbed the “Muhammad Ali” of sport karate, Joe Lewis won more titles in his 17-year fighting career than any other tournament fighter. Lewis was born on March 7, 1944, in North Carolina. He eventually joined the Marines and was stationed in Okinawa. It was while he was there that 18-year-old Lewis began studying shorin-ryu karate ...

  11. Kelly McCann Kelly McCann

    Black Belt author Kelly McCann is a former U.S. Marine special-missions officer responsible for counterterrorism and counter-narcotics. He now serves as the president of Crucible, an elite empty-hand and weapons-training facility that provides security support services and trains military, government and law-enforcement operators to do ...

  12. Lyoto Machida Lyoto Machida

    Brazilian-born Lyoto “The Dragon” Machida astounded the grappling world when he defeated Rashad Evans with karate at the UFC 98 to become the UFC light-heavyweight champion. It was a rare event for a highly trained karate practitioner to win a UFC championship, and fans started referring to his fighting style as “Machida karate.” In 2009, ...

  13. MMA Fighters MMA Fighters

    Whoever coined the term mixed martial arts (we know—it was actually Rick Blume) should have called it MMMA (modern mixed martial arts) because just about every martial art historically evolved from combining previously existing styles or techniques. Choy lay fut, for example, is a mixed martial art based on the styles of three martial ...

  14. Randy Couture Randy Couture

    American-born Randy Duane Couture is the non-Brazilian face of mixed martial arts. In fact, Randy Couture and fellow fighter Chuck Liddell made MMA a part of pop culture. He also set many “firsts” for the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Randy “The Natural” Couture was born June 22, 1963. Before his debut at the UFC 13 (May 1997), Randy ...

  15. Royce Gracie Royce Gracie

    Royce Gracie put Brazilian jiu-jitsu on the world martial arts map when he won the inaugural Ultimate Fighting Championship. At the UFC 1 on November 12, 1993, Royce Gracie defeated opponents of greater size and strength. He then did the same thing at the UFC 2 and 4. He also tied with Ken Shamrock at the UFC 5 to prove that size ...

  16. Scott Sonnon Scott Sonnon

    Known for his fitness systems, Scott Sonnon struggled with physical disabilities like myopia and joint disease as well as dyslexia. As he got older, he turned to martial arts. In 1994, Scott Sonnon became the Pan American Games sambo champion. He also became the first American instructor licensed by the ROSS systema system. By ...

  17. Self-Defense Experts Self-Defense Experts

    More and more civilians are turning to martial-arts-inspired skills in order to protect their families and friends. At the forefront of this new industry are self-defense experts who are instructors who generally teach effective self-defense methods to civilians while at the same time teaching them how to avoid explosive situations. Tactics ...

  18. Shannon Lee Shannon Lee

    Born April 19, 1969, Shannon Emery Lee is the only daughter of martial artist and kung fu film legend Bruce Lee. As a youngster, she studied jeet kune do under Richard Bustillo, who was one of her father’s students. However, her serious studies didn’t begin until the late 1990s. To prepare for roles in action movies, she restarted her ...

  19. Tito Ortiz Tito Ortiz

    Born as Jacob Christopher Ortiz on January 23, 1975, the Mexican-American mixed-martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz is arguably one of the most controversial MMA competitors in the Ultimate Fighting Championship. His showman antics border on pro-wrestler behavior, which also have led to recurring “roles” with pro-wrestling promotions like Total ...

  20. Traditional Martial Artists Traditional Martial Artists

    In the changing landscape of martial arts, many civilians and practitioners are looking to the martial arts more for fitness, sports, combat training, self-defense training and physical discipline. However, many martial arts were initially based in traditional values of self-awareness, character development, and spiritual and philosophical ...

  21. William Cheung William Cheung

    Born one month before Bruce Lee in 1940, the Hong Kong-raised William Cheung (Cantonese: Cheung Cheuk-hing) began training in wing chun kung fu under Ip Man in 1951. As is historically common in the Chinese kung fu student-teacher relationship, William Cheung was Ip Man’s live-in student between 1954 and1958. During that time, William ...