Long Beach International Karate Championships

Last updated
Long Beach International Karate Championships
Competition details
Discipline Karate
Type Kumite, biennial
First editionAugust 1964 in Long Beach, California, United States

The Long Beach International Karate Championships is an International karate and martial arts tournament in Long Beach, California that was first held in August 1964 by Kenpo Grandmaster Ed Parker. [1] [2] The tournament is still in existence. Many great tournament fighters earned their stripes at this tournament, including Chuck Norris, Tony Martinez Sr., Mike Stone, Joe Lewis, Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, Billy Blanks, Jerry Piddington, and "Superfoot" Bill Wallace. [3] [4] The Long Beach Internationals is also where Bruce Lee was first introduced to the martial arts community in August 1964, with Lee making another appearance in 1967.



In 1964, Bruce Lee appeared at the inaugural tournament [5] and demonstrated his one-inch punch and two-finger push-ups. His volunteer was Robert "Bob" Baker of Stockton, California, who was Lee's student and became the lead villain in Fist of Fury. "I told Bruce not to do this type of demonstration again", he recalled. "When he punched me that last time, I had to stay home from work because the pain in my chest was unbearable." [6] The only existing, high quality footage of Bruce Lee's 1964 Wing Chun demonstration was filmed with a 16mm camera. The sole proprietor of this 8.5-minute-long video is a California-based company, Rising Sun Productions. The owner of this company and reported discoverer of this video is Don Warrener. Poorer quality generations of this footage can be viewed on the Internet.


Bruce Lee made another appearance at Ed Parker's 1967 U'S. Internationals Karate tournament in Long Beach, California. The 1967 video footage has been preserved at a higher quality than the earlier 1964 footage. He demonstrates his fast speed, launching quick eye strikes before his opponent can block. Lee then performs chi sau while blindfolded, probing for weaknesses in his opponent while scoring with punches and takedowns. He then performs the one-inch punch on several volunteers. Most notably, Lee then participates in a full-contact sparring bout against sparring partner James Yimm Lee, with both wearing leather headgear. Lee can be seen implementing his Jeet Kune Do concept of economical motion, using Muhammad Ali inspired footwork to keep out of range while counter-attacking with backfists and straight punches. He also halts his opponent's attacks with stop-hit side kicks and quickly executes several sweeps and head kicks. The opponent is never able to connect with a clean hit, but once manages to come close with a spin kick. The fight footage was reviewed by Black Belt magazine in 1995, concluding that "the action is as fast and furious as anything in Lee's films." [7]

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  1. "Black Belt". Black Belt Magazine . February 1967. Retrieved 2015-05-14.
  2. Black Belt. December 1990. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  3. Black Belt. January 1992. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  4. Tales of American Karate. November 1994. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  5. Bruce Lee put U.S. martial arts on the grand stage in Long Beach 50 years ago, Press Telegram
  6. Vaughn 1986 , p. 21
  7. "Bruce Lee: Bootleg Videos of the "Dragon," and How to Find Them". Black Belt . Vol. 33, no. 12. Active Interest Media, Inc. December 1995. pp. 78–9.