top of page

History & Background

"Grandmaster Vic"

Ironically, it could be argued that Brooklyn Arts of Advantage had its  beginning in the city of Atlanta. In 2011 we travelled -from Brooklyn to Georgia- in order to meet with an interview an obscure Martial Artist named Victor Moore. Known as “The Man That Fought ‘em ALL”, Grandmaster Vic -as we would come to know him - had asserted that, in his day, he'd fought the likes of Chuck Norris, Bill "Super-foot" Wallace and even Bruce Lee (in 1967). But being a young, tough and talented Blackman in the White/Asian world of martial arts caused many of his victories to go unnoticed and unreported.

 

 

victor-moore-bruce-lee-1967-lbi.jpg
DUGH7240.jpg

GM Vic  & Chuck Norris

GM Vic vs. Bruce Lee. 1967

GM Vic began to educate us on the many ways in which he, and other Black fighters, were held back -while at the same time evolving- the world of martial arts. This phenomenon is no different from what occurred in the fields of Science, Sports and Technology, the only difference is that all the above took place within the world of combat. Therefore,  not only were Vic Moore and company revolutionizing martial arts by introducing the natural rhythms and body movements of Black People, but they were often not allowed to compete for first place in competitions, they were regularly cheated out clear victories (over White opponents), had to fight in venues that barred Black spectators, and sometimes had to fight their way out of the venues) they'd just fought in.

Dsc00080.jpg
102_0263_edited.jpg

W/H Master McGuire, GM Vic & Master Mosley. 

Grandmaster Sabir (Steve) Muhammad

Our second meeting and  interview was with the cofounder of The Black Karate Federation (1969), Sijo Sabir Muhammad (formally known as Steve Saunders & Steve Muhammad). Sijo was featured in the Bruce Lee classic Enter The Dragon and was one of the many Black fighters Bruce Lee emulated when developing his now famous martial swagger. (Bruce Lee was also reported to have said that Sijo Muhammad possessed the fastest hands and feet of anyone he’d ever seen).

Sijo Muhammad was able to not only recount his own rich history and accomplishments within the Martial World, he and GM Vic were also able to confirm each others place as two of the best fighters of that day.

Meeting these two pioneers and being exposed to their many martial contributions not only provided a very important introduction into the litany of hardships placed upon Black martial artist in America, it also made us curious as to how many others have had their history blurred over and erased.

download.jpeg

Jim Kelly w/h Sijo Muhammad, Enter The Dragon

IMG_0677_edited_edited.jpg

Sijo Muhammad & GM Victor Moore, 2011

102_0226.jpg

W/h Sijo Muhammad, Atlanta GA..2011

Grandmasters of New York

IMG_0517.jpg

That initial expedition to Atlanta gave birth to the idea of another -much bigger- project entitled: THE GRANDMASTERS OF NEW YORK, an endeavor that would focus not only on individual Martial Black Artist, but on a collective of Black Fighters that forged a  new combat culture within the intense days of gang warfare and high crime in New York City.

"THE SECOND GANG ERA"

As a result of the “Second Gang Era” (beginning in the 1950s and fading out in the 1970s), along with the high crime (due to White Flight and the creation of The Suburbs) the need for martial arts in the city was great. Not only as a means for regular citizens to defend themselves, but the various gang members -because of the lack of firearms available in those days- felt the need to equip themselves by training their bodies for combat.

These realities virtually forced the martial arts instructors of that day to come up with even more effective forms of self defense and combat. These teachers, and their schools, competed with one another in determining who had the most efficient & street ready art.

 

This competition went on for decades increasing the skill, effectiveness and  realism of New York Martial Arts and distinguishing it from any martial art being taught and practiced anywhere else on the planet. 
 

Students and Martial Artist from as far as Japan -and even movie actors- would come to New York to receive this specialized training making New York the unofficial Martial Arts Capital of the World.

gangscolors2_edited.jpg
nycspades.jpg
nycvoxc14e-1-web.jpg
gangsPerry_Kretz_1.jpg

This investigation into the underground world of martial arts history led to the unprecedented interview of over 40 Masters and Grandmasters, all within the NYC area. From these interviews came the realization that the martial climate and culture within the Black communities of New York was far different from anything occurring in the country (or the world) and, as a result, that climate produced a caliber of martial artist within the Black Community that were proven to be the most unique and skilled fighters in the world. 
 

The level of lawlessness that existed within the city produced a breed of martial artist whose primary focus was to produce the skills and techniques that were necessary to survive the realities of an increasingly dangerous city. 

It is from these interviews -and the relationships formed from them- that Brooklyn Arts of Advantage was established.

 

Our goal was to connect -and make available- the skills and the experiences- of these martial arts  masters, so that  those living in our community would have direct access to their expertise. 

The Sheikh.jpg
183E2F85-9133-4512-875F-CB95779AC419_edi
E49EE11D-378A-4FA1-BE16-2709532F44C8_edi
4394C119-057A-49E1-B2F0-0DF5AC233A2B.jpg
Martial Arts Beginnings-37_edited.jpg
MarcusGarveyPark2 (28).png
Martial Arts Beginnings-29.png
bottom of page