For many the 1950’s-the late 1970’s  were a very historic time in our country and the martial arts world is no exception. Martial Arts, far from being a household word, was still in its infancy in the United States. It was being popularized, at times, on television, in some movies, but on the tournament circuit is where the martial arts really flourished. Legends such as Chuck Norris, Bill Wallace, Mike Stone, and Joe Lewis began to be known in mainstream media outlets thus increasing the notoriety of Karate and other martial arts. There were other names and fighters despite their skills and accomplishments who were left out of mainstream coverage. These men had defeated some of the aforementioned Karate stars and were known as some of the best martial artists in the country.  Some were featured in kung fu movies, some quietly teach their craft to new generations of students. Their history is a very important part of both the American and Hong Kong martial arts movie cinema.  Let’s meet some of them in this Dojo Tribute: Black Karate Tournament Fighters part 1.  For a more in-depth study of this topic visit Forgotten Fury written by Clarke Illmatical.

Vic Moore

Victor Moore

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Hanshi Victor Moore has a very accomplished fighting record. He defeated Joe Lewis, Mike Stone and Bill Wallce in tournament fighting. Hanshi Moore and Joe Lewis put on the first Kickboxing match on TV in 1969 as both appeared and fought on the  Merv Griffin show. He is the man who faced Bruce Lee in the controversial “speed test” at the 1967 Long Beach Karate International Tournament promoted by Grandmaster Ed Parker. Hanshi Moore still teaches and promotes the values of traditional Karate at his dojo in Cincinnati, Ohio and Hanshi Moore has studied with the likes of Robert Trias, Muang Gyi, William Dometrich, and other well known Karate masters. This is only part of his incredible story. Click here for more info on Hanshi Vic Moore.

Interview by Clarke Illmatical featuring Vic Moore

Steve (Sanders) Muhammad

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Sijo Steve Muhammad has a long and storied career in the martial arts. He is a master of Kenpo and the founder of his own expression of martial arts “Al Qa-Nun Min Qab’d Al Khafiat’(Arabic) meaning “The Law of The Invisible Fist” and ‘Wu Shur Shin Chuan-Fa’ (Chinese)“Fist Law of the Warrior Spirit.” Sijo Muhammad has fought such greats as Chuck Norris, Joe Lewis, Mike Stone, Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, Al Dacascos(father of Mark Dacascos), and many others. He is the co-author of Championship Kenpo and has also wrote “The God Side of Kenpo” and “Brain Site.” Sijo Muhammad appeared in Enter the Dragon as Jim Kelly’s Karate instructor and appeared in Dynamo starring Bruce Li as an assassin sent to get rid of Li’s character. He is one of the founders of The Black Karate Federation as well as author of instructional DVD’s. Visit The Black Karate Federation website for more detailed info on this pioneer in the martial arts. By the way, Bruce Lee said Sijo Muhammad had the fastest hands and feet he (Lee) has ever seen!

Bo Luellen’s Kenpo History Channel Interview with Sijo Steve Muhammad

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Nganga Tolo Naa (Ray Cooper)

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Beginning at the age of 12, Nganga Tolo Naa ( Ray Cooper) has studied Kempo, Burmese Bando with Dr.  U Muang Gyi, , Jiu Jutsu, Hsing Yi, Ba Gua Zhang, Tai Chi Chuan, Aikido, and Tae Kwon Do. He is co-founder of Kupigani Ngumi style along with Mfundishi Maasi. Ray Cooper, as he was known then, was a fierce tournament competitor in Chicago and a feared sparring opponent.  Tolo Naa was also a student of the controversial Count Dante. For more info on Nganag Tolo Naa click here.