top of page

Fighting Stars Magazine: A Chronicle of Martial Arts Superstars

fighting stars
Black Belt Plus
Black Belt Magazine Shop

Long before the advent of social media, Fighting Stars Magazine was a cultural touchstone, shaping the narrative of martial arts cinema and sports for over a decade. Its pages were a portal into a world of action, excitement, and inspiration, leaving an indelible imprint on the hearts and minds of fans around the globe.

Mike Stone, the father of ninja cinema in Hollywood.
Mike Stone, the father of ninja cinema in Hollywood.

Launched in 1973 by the creators of Black Belt Magazine, it quickly became the go-to source for fans hungry for the latest news, interviews, and insights into the world of martial arts cinema, and sports. Let's take a journey through the pages of this iconic publication, tracing its trajectory from the breakout success of "Enter the Dragon" to its final bow in 1987.

fighting stars with angelo mao ying

The Birth of a Phenomenon 

The birth of Fighting Stars coincided with a seismic shift in popular culture – the release of Bruce Lee's groundbreaking film "Enter the Dragon" in 1973. Suddenly, martial arts were thrust into the spotlight, captivating audiences worldwide. Fighting Stars was there from the beginning, chronicling Lee's meteoric rise and the ripple effect it had on Hollywood.

Fighting Stars with Bruce Lee, John Saxon and Jim Kelly
Fighting Stars: Enter the Dragon Exclusive

Soon, everyone from Sean Connery and Roger Moore was getting in on the action, fueling the public's obsession with martial arts cinema.

fighting stars with Sean Connery and Roger Moore

Even Star Trek's own William Shatner jumped in on the dragon's tail with his own brand of Captain Kirk Kwon Do.

fighting stars with William Shatner

The Rise of Icons

As the 1970s rolled on, a new wave of martial arts stars emerged. Jim Kelly burst onto the scene with his electrifying performances in films like Black Belt Jones, Three the Hard Way, Golden Needles and Black Samurai carving out a niche for African-American martial artists in Hollywood. 

fighting stars with Jim Kelly

Meanwhile, Chuck Norris became a household name with hits like The Octagon, Breaker Breaker, Good Guys Wear Black, and Force of One cementing his status as an action cinema icon.

fighting stars with chuck norris

The Global Impact 

The early 1980s saw the global expansion of martial arts cinema, thanks in no small part to the discovery of Jackie Chan. His breakout role in "Snake in the Eagle's Shadow" showcased his unique blend of comedy and action, captivating audiences worldwide. Fighting Stars played a role in introducing Chan to Western audiences, helping to fuel the international martial arts craze that would define the decade.

fighting stars with jackie chan

Enter the Ninja and Hollywood's big move to action: The 80s saw the craze of the ninjas. Former World Karate Champion Mike Stone penned the original screenplay which set off a global movement we could not get enough of. For a moment it was nothing but Ninja’s, everywhere and Hollywood was delighted.

fighting stars with bruce lee

Subscribe to Black Belt Plus

The Golden Age of Sports Stars (1985)

As the mid-1980s dawned, Fighting Stars shifted its focus to the world of martial arts sports. Legends like Cynthia Rothrock, Ernie Reyes, and Benny Urquidez graced its pages, inspiring a new generation of athletes and performers. These pioneers paved the way for the future of martial arts entertainment and a generation of movies and stars still to come. 

fighting stars with sports stars

A Farewell to Legends 

Fighting Stars Magazine bid farewell to its readers with a final cover in 1987 after switching formats to Fighting Stars Ninja. Though the magazine may have ceased publication, its legacy lives on in the countless stars it helped to make and the indelible mark it left on pop culture.

fighting stars last issue cover

Related Posts

See All
bottom of page