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Trailblazer: Cynthia Rothrock

Updated: Oct 25, 2023

Cynthia Rothrock is a legend in the martial arts community and cinema, she is also a trailblazing instructor on the most comprehensive martial arts platform in history—Black Belt+

Black Belt+: You inspired so many, who or what inspired you?

Cynthia: My mom and dad inspired me to not be afraid to do the things I love, to be fearless, and excel in all you do.

Black Belt+: Black Belt+ was started to help students outside the dojo, what are your expert tips on training solo or remotely?

Cynthia: Training remotely or online, it's important to get a great video where the teacher really knows how to teach and explain the techniques thoroughly. Video tape yourself and compare it to the instructional video. Practice in front of a mirror so you can spot incorrect positions.

Black Belt+: Oftentimes in our training we hit a wall, what’s your advice for students who lack motivation or want to quit?

Cynthia: Change your way of thinking. Think of ways to not get bored. I teach students different combinations, so the student can be creative and make up fun and challenging combinations. Learn to love your martial arts. Practice different ways. Maybe one day bag work, another day self-defense techniques, then focus on forms, or a day working with weapons. I find it’s an art to keep one challenged. There is so much knowledge out there that one should never get bored.

Black Belt+: Traditionally many martial artists start with one style, when do you recommend the best time to branch out and learn other styles?

Cynthia: I have branched out into many different styles, but I have been training over 49 years. I would recommend get proficient or your black belt in one style then move on to another if you choose. When you start out observe many styles or schools and see which one seems to fit you and your body the best.

Black Belt+: What are some changes or developments in your art over the years?

Cynthia: Over the years, I've learned more techniques to be fit and flexible which has changed my way of doing martial art techniques to be faster, stronger, and more effective.

I love to teach students. My philosophy is to have a Warrior Spirit when training. That means love your moves, perfect your moves, and always do them with intent, confidence, power and speed.

Black Belt+: Today, what is the emphasis of your teaching? Tell us about your videos featured on BB+.

Cynthia: I always first work with stretching and conditioning. I have developed a formula to help you get maximum benefits for your training. I see most people stretch incorrectly, not utilizing maximum effort. I give them ideas how to improve any stretch. We can always challenge ourselves no matter what our flexibility level is. I am a stickler for technique. I'm constantly correcting feet and hand positions. I teach self-defense hoping to give new insight on a technique and for those interested in fighting for film. Fighting for film is difficult for most people because even if they have the proper technique, they don't know how to react realistically, which is vital for film.

Black Belt+: What motivates you to stay passionate about your art?

Cynthia: Passion is my motivation. I love training and teaching. It starts out with a mindset. When I'm training, I also think what great exercise my body is getting. We all have moves that we hate, but I say the moves we hate are the ones we need to work on. Mine were pushups, but I switched my mindset to “I love pushups because they make my arms strong and lean so therefore the more I do them the more benefit I will get.”

Also learning a new form or weapon was always motivational for me.


Check out Cynthia Rothrock’s movies, interviews, and instructional videos on Black Belt+. Download and subscribe directly from Black Belt Magazine at Or download in the App Store or Google Play.

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