Still Standing on the Shoulders of American Greatness: Martial Arts Legends

By Joe Corley


Still Standing on the Shoulders of American Greatness: Martial Arts Legends

As we look back on the past 7 odd decades that have comprised Martial Arts in America, the American ideals of individualism and fierce determination stand out, as they have in the other cultural heritages that have found their way to our shores.

I often felt the biases that the presumed “founders” of the martial arts in China, Okinawa, Japan, and Korea felt for one another would permeate the landscape in America forever. Indeed, in my first 10 years of the 60’s and 70’s, I saw little cooperation, as if the incurable viruses of centuries of distrust had been imported with the arts themselves.

Happily, this Who’s Who in the Martial Arts Legends Edition of Grand Master Jessie Bowen represents the shift we Americans have brought to the arts, recognizing the greatness of the individuals who practiced and perfected their arts as opposed to the glorification of the arts themselves. In reading about what the Who’s Who Leaders here have done, one can only marvel at the magnitude of individual effort expended and sacrifices made, from the grass roots activities to global media and organizational results.

So, rather than debating which blocks or strikes or styles are more perfect, this work heralds the individual strengths of those who share the martial bond in America, whose legacies have impacted martial arts in America and thus, around the world.

In that vein, our tribute to Grand Master Jhoon Rhee and the more than 100,000 Black belts that emanated from the early work he did with Grand Masters Allen Steen and J Pat Burleson, then Grand Master Jeff Smith underscores as perfectly as any the phenomenal reach of American Martial Arts.

Our thanks go to all of you, from Robert Trias and Ed Parker and Ki Whang Kim in the early days to those spearheading the efforts today in the studios at the tournaments and on film and TV for all you have done for the millions who have had, have now and will have the opportunity to stand on your shoulders of American Greatness.


2 Reviews
Danny McCall
Denverf, NC 28037
Keep that Karate candle Burning!

Love the Directions the arts are moving with all sharing their History. It's all for the Greater gain of all as I was Told by My Instructor GM Piddington.....Thanks to jesse Bowens for kicking that Karate candle Burning!!

May 2019

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Jessie Bowen
Durham, NC
American Greatness

Great article, let stand strong!

May 2019

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25 May 2019