Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Urquidez, Benny

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Benny UrquidezBenny Urquidez was born June 20, 1952 in Tarzana, California. He comes from a family of athletes. His mother was a professional wrestler and his father, a professional boxer. His sister ily Rodriguez became a pioneer in women’s kickboxing. At the age of five, Benny was competing in peewee boxing events at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, California. Two years later Benny found his passion in life when he began studying martial arts under his brother Arnold Urquidez, who Benny consideres his most influential instructor.

More instructors followed, and Benny studied under martial arts legends such as Ed Parker, Tak Kubota, Billy Ryuisaki, and Clarence Akuda. Hs desire to improve as a martial artists was insatiable, and at age 14, a full four years earlier than was generally permitted, Benny earned the first of what would be nine black belts. At the same time, Benny was already at work formulating a new style of martial arts competition called Free Form which would eventually lead to the full contact karate that is now practiced in events all over the world.

In 1964 Benny joined the sport circuit (point karate) as one of the youngest black belts in modern martial arts history. He was fighting men twice his age and size and he quickly became a crowd favorite with his colorful fighting style and he captured the hearts and imagination of audiences throughout the United States and Europe. At the 1972 Santa Monica Kempo Open, Benny lost in the finals to Brian Strian. In the 1973 Long Beach Internationals, Benny fought John Natividad in one of the greatest non-contact bouts in history. There was an unprecedented 25-point overtime match, and John Natividad won the match and the Grand Title, 13-12 and the $2,500 purse using a technique that Benny had shown him in practice the week before. In May, 1974, at the PAWAK Tournament, Urquidez lost a 4-1 decision to Joe Lewis. He also competed in England and Belgium as a member of Ed Parker’s 1974 US team. During his point career Elvis Presley sponsor Benny and Benny was asked to fight as a member of the Los Angeles All Stars, the Chuck Norris United States Karate Team.

In 1975 Benny accepted an offer to compete in Hawaii in the first ever World Series of Martial Arts World Championship. Benny, weighing in at only 145 pounds, would now be fighting in a no-holds-barred contest against challengers from all weight classes. Benny fought seven different opponents over two grueling days, and he achieved the impossible, he defeated the 225 pound Challenger Dana Goodson winning the World Championship title. This competition left only one world champion, across all weight classes and in all styles of the martial arts and that was Benny Urquidez. In was in 1976, when Benny beame the PKA Lightweight World Champion, that he began to be called Benny “the Jet” Urquidez.

By 1977 Benny had traveled the world and systematically defeated every world champion from Japan, He won the P.K.A. and W.K.A. World Kickboxing Championships, and had become a national hero in the process. After winning five World Championships in four separate weight divisions, Benny retired in 1989, undefeated with an unduplicated ring record of 62 winds (57 of which were knockouts), and zero losses. This undefeated record, though official, is controversial. Over two decades Benny fought under many kickboxing organizations (NKL, WPKO, PKA, WKA, AJKBA, KATOGI, NJPW and MTN).

In 1989 Benny came out of retirement and fought Nobuya AzukaIn and once again in 1993, at the age of 42, Benny challenged and defeated the 25-year-old reigning world champion from Japan, Yoshihisa Tagami. He won both bouts by decision. Benny was now victorious in six world championships in five different weight divisions.

Benny has retired from professional competition, remaining undefeated for 27 years – the longest reigning World Champion in the history not just of modern martial arts, but in any sport and he has earned black belts in nine styles: judo, kajukenbo, shotokan, taekwondo, lima lama, white crane kung fu, jujutsu, aikido, and karate.

Benny’s first “acting” gig came when he and his brothyer Rueben, along with Steve Sanders, Chuck Norris and John Saxon apperaed together in the 1982 training video called “World of Martial Arts”. After retiring from competition, Benny went on to devote himself to acting and stunt work. Benny played a leading role in many martial arts movies. The first was Force: Five in 1981. The movie starred Joe Lewis and Bong Soo Han. Later, he made two movies with Jackie Chan, Wheels on Meals in 1984 and Dragons Forever in 1988, where he fights against the characters played by Chan, Sammo Hung and Yuen Biao. Benny plays a tough opponent who is defeated in the climactic fight scenes of both movies. He had a cameo as a kickboxer in the Troma film Ragin’ Cajun which was filmed in 1988 and was released in 1991. Ragin’ Cajun wrongfully claims to be Benny’s first film, stating in the opening credits, “Introducing Benny ‘The Jet’ Urquidez.” He also made an appearance in a movie called Blood Match in 1991.

In 2000, Benny and Emil Farkas known as the “Sensei to the Stars”) founded the Los Angeles Film Fighting Institute, which was one of the first schools of its kind in the United States to teach martial artists the intricacies of stunt work.

Since retirement Benny has re-developed his original system of Free Form martial arts, combining nine different styles to create Ukidokan karate. Ukidokan means “a way of life” and is also commonly referred to as Internal Training; and it is a unique system designed to help its students control their emotions and responses under pressure. Under his competition-tested and battle -proven technique, Sensei Benny’s students are taught to discard inferior techniques and apply only those that function under any kind of situation or pressure. Not only is this martial art incredibly effective, it also bears the distinction of being the only New Age System of martial arts recognized by the governing bodies of Japan as an official martial art.

Currently Sensei Benny is a full-time teacher. He teaches seminars and classes the world over, Sensei Benny has combined with numerous other internationally recognized masters of the martial arts to provide visitors of with thousands of hours of training, tips, and the invitation to “Forget what you know and remember what you have learned,” an invitation to discard the useless, and become an effective user of what remains.

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