Black Belt


- — Robert W. Young, Editor-in-Chief

Trekking to Las Vegas every summer for the Martial Arts SuperShow, put on annually by the Martial Arts Industry Associatio­n, is something of a tradition here at Black Belt for a number of reasons. First, it’s Vegas. No matter how hard Atlantic City tries, there can be only one Vegas. And no matter how nice Southern California is, Vegas is … Vegas.

But there’s much more than that. We always look forward to going because it gives us a chance to hobnob with the cream of the crop of the martial arts community. We get to shake hands with hundreds of instructor­s and school owners from across the country and a few from abroad while listening to them explain where they think the industry is headed and what they would like to see in our magazine. And we get to catch up with many of the masters we feature in our pages. (Unfortunat­ely, we can’t train with them like you can because we’re working.)

This year’s SuperShow is scheduled for July 1-3 at the Bellagio. Here are a few of the instructor­s you’ve seen in the pages of Black Belt who have confirmed they’ll be there to conduct classes: Bill Wallace, the man known as “Superfoot”; Stephen K. Hayes, ninjutsu pioneer; Eyal Yanilov, head of Krav Maga Global; Tom Patire, founder of the CDT and LRT selfdefens­e systems; Herb Perez, 1992 Olympic taekwondo gold medalist; and Harinder Singh, jeet kune do instructor and fitness coach.

In addition, our contact at MAIA told us that Damon Gilbert probably will be at the show with Team Paul Mitchell and will most likely speak. Gilbert, as you may remember, was interviewe­d for a feature on kajukenbo in our February/March 2018 issue.

The other 2018 presenters may not have made it into our pages yet, but they have just as much teaching and business wisdom to offer. They include Apolo Ladra, Marcelo Garcia, Dave Kovar, Melody Shuman, Jason Han, Robby Beard, Eric Santamaria, Abid Benwali, Tom Scott and Jackson Rudolph.

Our MAIA rep also noted that plenty of other VIPs will be in the house, and we’re in no position to disagree. Nearly every year, we run into actor and martial artist Michael Jai White, martial arts historian Emil Farkas, former tournament champ Christine Bannon-Rodrigues, JKD instructor Gary Dill, the one and only Master Ken, BJJ authority Ricardo Liborio and Dana Abbott, the swordsman on this issue’s cover. Being true martial artists, they’re always open to photos, autographs and conversati­ons, so go ahead and introduce yourself if they show up this year.

What does all this add up to? An industry event that, even if you’re not a school owner, is a blast to attend. And an event that’s fondly remembered all year long.

Is it July yet?

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