Happy Hump Day POU!
Today we pay tribute to a pioneer for African-American Martial Artist. A man referred to as “the one who beat them all.”
When Victor initially began pursuing Judo in the 1950s, there were no commercial schools. When he did find some help learning, he had to walk through white neighborhoods for instructions, very dangerous at the time for a young black man in Cincinnati, Ohio.
While attending Central State University, he was accepted into the Karate program headed by a Japanese instructor, but he was not allowed to join the national organization because he was black. As Victor became more and more talented and formidable, competition became a problem.
How do you keep a black man from competing and getting to the top? Simple. Just hold the competition at a “whites only” hotel. That way no one had to actually say, “You can’t compete because you’re a black man.” Other times, the men Vic traveled with would be at one hotel, he’d be at another. He was literally, at the back of the bus. His buddies would have to bring him food from restaurants he couldn’t go in. A lot of times Victor would get placed 2nd or 3rd because the judges just wouldn’t score him. The early ’60′s were rough for Victor Moore.
During his career, one of his accomplishments was placing 3rd at a tournament held by Jhoon Rhee. Instead of a “round robin” the way they are usually run, after Victor got to 3rd place, that was it. They didn’t want him beating the Korean delegate. In 1965, he went to the Grand National Championships in Florida and beat the champ, Mike Foster. In Richmond, Va., he beat the All Hawaiian Champ. In 1967, there was an International Tour put on by Ed Parker.
Victor Moore beat everyone and then the bets started. Ed Parker said, Bruce Lee is so fast your man can’t block him. Dr. Robert Trias, Victor’s mentor, said he could.
So the competition was on. This speed drill was to be a tap to the chest by hand. Victor blocked Bruce’s first punch, then he blocked the second. Then Bruce flashed at his face, and Victor glanced off. Victor laughed. Then Victor said, “Ok, you block my punch.” Bruce couldn’t stop it, missed two, the third he blocked.
There is footage of the complete encounter held by Ed Parker, Jr., however it hasn’t been released. Bruce Lee said to Victor Moore, “You’re the fastest American I’ve ever seen.”
At this same tournament, Victor Moore knocked down Chuck Norris. Chuck said, “You got me, Vic.” But the officials didn’t award it that way. They gave the match to Chuck Norris. Victor Moore still has the program from the fight. Chuck Norris wrote on it, “To the guy that beat me.”
In 1969, Victor Moore defeated Mike Stone, who had 91 wins and never placed anything but first place. His only defeat was by Victor Moore.
Vic Moore and Joe Lewis also introduced kick boxing to America on the Merv Griffin TV show in 1973.
A few highlights of Vic’s competition record:
- 1966 Defeating the all Hawaiian champion in Richmond Virginia.
- 1968 Defeating Joe Lewis at the World’s Fair Karate Championships.
(August 1968 San Antonio Official Karate Mag Feb 1970 Page 24)
- 1969 Defeating Mike Stone in Pasadena California for the light
heavyweight championship at the world teams championship.
(Black Belt Magazine Sept 1990 Page 20)
- 1970 Defeated the legendary Bill “Superfoot” Wallace in for the
USKA first professional world championship.
- Vic placed in every tournament he competed in from 1965 to 1975
when he retire
Victor was the first black man to join the first Karate Association in the USA (USKA).
Victor Moore discusses the challenges and racism within martial arts during this years of competition:
Vic talks about the racism within the media of the sport: