One may want to give Chuck Norris the credit of martial arts teams, since the television world first saw his World Combat League possibly on ESPN. In 2002 a gentleman by the name of Dexter Kennedy picked up 11 sponsors in the Sheraton, Marriott Hotels and a few others to create 11 teams to create the Professional Sport Karate Association, now the http://www.thenationalmartialartsleague.com. There was the GulfPort Centipedes out of Gulfport Mississippi, The New Jersey Assassins out of New Jersey and the Baltimore Crane just to name a few. However, Mr Kennedy didn’t do as well as Mr. Norris. In out of the eleven locations Mr. Kennedy’s events brought in approximately 8 competitors with the most being in the Atlanta area. Although Mr. Kennedy’s Professional Sport Karate Association was a bust you have to wonder what the journey taught him about the industry.
With a new amateur point martial arts or tournament circuit popping up almost every 1-2 months you have to wonder if martial arts is winning? Boyce Lydell has the National Blackbelt League (NBL), and Larry Carnahan has the North American Sport Karate Association both long running circuits but where will the next martial arts superstar come from? Mostly likely mixed martial art (MMA), now that mixed martial art is vastly taking the spot light from boxing, is it actually the best venue for martial arts? There are mixed views on the sport itself. Some say it’s a breeding ground for bullies giving them a platform to release their anger, others are saying spend a few weeks with a boxing trainer, learn a little jiu jitsu and you are on your way with maybe 4-6 months training to be a millionaire. A nice place for our veterans (Marines, Special Forces or washed up boxers and football players), where are true martial artists? Chuck Norris had the right idea but his approach may not have been the best approach to move the sport martial arts industry to the professional level. Maybe some of these guys need to meet and discuss moving the industry forward before they get crushed by Mixed Martial Arts.
Cities, even states rally behind a team. This writer thinks Chuck Norris alone with his support can take out the MMA bully and implement a sport martial arts venue that allow the martial arts superstars of old the opportunity to showcase their talents on the world stage again. Change your paradigm and think like American Idol meets Kung Fun Cinema. The world is your Mr. Norris and we are hoping to hear from you.