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Martial Arts TV

Although the first TV program to feature a martial arts storyline was a Chinese kung fu soap opera seen on ATV (Asia Television) in Hong Kong in the late 1950s, the first time martial arts were featured on American television was in an early episode of ABC’s series The Detectives (1959-1961). The martial art was karate.

Television in Hong Kong and Taiwan was soon flooded with martial arts dramas that ran for months. American television came around much slower. However, some groundbreaking American programs infused their action with martial arts, such as The Wild Wild West (1965), The Green Hornet (1966) and Kung Fu (1972). These shows are still considered by many critics to be among the best American-made martial arts TV shows ever.

With the advent of pay-per-view, cable and TV movie channels and the influence of Hong Kong action on Hollywood films like The Matrix (1999), martial arts programming is now a normal part of the American TV landscape.

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  1. American Ninja Warrior Tryouts: Submit Your Video for the G4 Casting Call!

    American Ninja Warrior Tryouts: Submit Your Video for the G4 Casting Call!

    You’re an alpha male who eats “tough” for breakfast. You’re a fierce female competitor who can conquer any obstacle and keep pushing forward.

    If that description fits you, here’s your chance to prove it on television by signing up for the American Ninja Warrior tryouts.

    The nationwide search is on for the
    Read More »

  2. Judo vs. Boxing: “Judo” Gene LeBell Defeats Boxer Milo Savage in First MMA Fight

    Judo vs. Boxing: “Judo” Gene LeBell Defeats Boxer Milo Savage in First MMA Fight

    For much of the world, MMA was born on November 12, 1993, when the Ultimate Fighting Championship debuted in Denver. Most martial artists know otherwise, however. They know the date was actually December 2, 1963, the day “Judo” Gene LeBell stepped into the ring to face boxer Milo Savage. Black
    Read More »

  3. Mick Coup: Eye Gouges for Self-Defense

    Mick Coup: Eye Gouges for Self-Defense

    On March 8, 2007, reality-based self-defense expert Mick Coup visited the offices of Black Belt to be photographed for a feature article in the August 2007 issue. In the article, “Reach Out and Touch Someone,” Mick Coup discusses the role of indexing and how this age-old skill–when properly tuned up
    Read More »

  4. Mick Coup on Self-Defense Target Selection

    Mick Coup on Self-Defense Target Selection

    On March 8, 2007, reality-based self-defense expert Mick Coup visited the offices of Black Belt to be photographed for a feature article in the August 2007 issue. In the article, “Reach Out and Touch Someone,” Coup discusses the role of indexing and how this age-old skill–when properly tuned up and
    Read More »

  5. Learn the Real Chuck Norris Facts

    Learn the Real Chuck Norris Facts

    Like most netizens, we love Chuck Norris jokes. But Chuck Norris is more than just an aging action hero. As this classic interview with Sara Fogan shows, the former karate champion is also a deeply spiritual man who has devoted his life to helping children. Here are the real Chuck
    Read More »

  6. Bill “Superfoot” Wallace on Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, Bob Wall and Jean-Claude Van Damme

    Bill “Superfoot” Wallace on Chuck Norris, Dolph Lundgren, Bob Wall and Jean-Claude Van Damme

    It was 1 o’clock, and I was sitting at Jun Chong’s taekwondo school in Los Angeles getting ready to work out. In walked Dolph Lundgren, 6 feet 5 inches tall and built like a brick [outhouse].

    He said, “You’re Bill Wallace, right?”

    I said, “Yeah, and you’re Dolph Lundgren.”

    I stood up and
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  7. George Kirby on Jujitsu Figure-4 Locks Book

    George Kirby on Jujitsu Figure-4 Locks Book

    Sarah Dzida gets the lowdown regarding Jujitsu Figure-4 Locks straight from the author George Kirby! A Black Belt Hall of Fame member (Instructor of the Year, 2007), Kirby has been teaching the art since 1967 and is the author of several jujitsu books. His latest book, Jujitsu Figure-4 Locks: Submission
    Read More »

  8. Archery Lesson at Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior

    Archery Lesson at Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior

    Black Belt magazine’s Rachelle Lagnado takes aim on the set of Spike TV’s Deadliest Warrior during a visit to the show’s weapons shop. Weapons maker Dave Baker shows her how to hold and shoot a bow and arrow. The result? Well, nobody was injured in the filming of this exclusive
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  9. Martial Artist Rolls Skillet With His Bare Hands!

    Martial Artist Rolls Skillet With His Bare Hands!

    As the line from The Karate Kid, Part III goes, “A man can’t breathe, he can’t fight.” Scott Bolan takes the philosophy to heart, and with partner Mike Gillette he presents a methodology for dynamic breathing, breaking and power development. In this EXCLUSIVE VIDEO, Gillette demonstrates these methods by rolling
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  10. Frank Mir: Black Belt Magazine Cover Shoot!

    Frank Mir: Black Belt Magazine Cover Shoot!

    Watch UFC and WEC veteran Frank Mir as he is photographed for the July 2010 issue of Black Belt at Big John McCarthy’s Ultimate Training Academy in Valencia, CA.


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