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Ron van Clief
Born January 25, 1943 (1943-01-25) (age 66)
Brooklyn, New York City
Other names Black Dragon
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)
Weight 182 lb (83 kg; 13.0 st)
Style Chinese Goju, Goju-Ryu Karate, Jujutsu, Wing Tsun, Daitō-ryū Aiki-jūjutsu, Eskrima, Okinawan Kobudo
Fighting out of New York, U.S.
MMA record
Total 1
Wins 0
By knockout 0
By submission 0
Losses 1
Draws 0
No contests 0

Ron Van Clief (born January 25, 1943 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American martial artist and an actor in Hollywood and Hong Kong action films. He is the father of slam poetry guru Shihan van Clief.


Martial arts

Ron Van Clief began his martial arts career competing in both full-contact and non-contact karate tournaments in New York then internationally, going on to win several national tournaments and world championships. The exposure from these victories is also when fans of the martial arts world began giving him the legendary nickname, "The Black Dragon" , which he maintains until this day.

VanClief was a student of Goju-ryu masters Peter Urban, Frank Ruiz, and Moses Powell, as well as WingTsun founder Leung Ting Modern Arnis (Remy Presas) Brazilian Jiujitsu (Joe Moreira). In 1971, Clief created his own style of martial arts, called "Chinese Goju," attempting to unify Japanese style goju-ryu with its roots in Chinese martial arts. He currently holds the rank of 10th degree red belt (shidoshi or grandmaster), in this system.

On December 16, 1994, Ron Van Clief returned to the ring to fight in the 4th Ultimate Fighting Championship, as the oldest competitor to date to fight in the UFC at the age of 51.[1]. Van Clief's sole fight in the tournament was against Brazilian jiu-jitsu exponent Royce Gracie. Gracie won the match by submission with a rear naked choke near the four-minute mark. Ron served as the commissioner of UFC such is his enthusiasm for the sport MMA Ron Van Clief retired from competition in 2002 after winning the All American Karate Championship at 60 years old. Presently finishing new book INSTANT SELF DEFENSE to be published 2009. Ron competed in over 900 tournaments in over 40 years on the tournament circuit. Ron Van Clief retired as a 5 time world karate/kungfu champion and 15 time all American champion.

Clief is also the author and creator of a number of instructional books and video recordings.

Film career

Ron Van Clief's first acting job came when he was selected to star in the Hong Kong film Black Dragon (1974). Some of his film roles during the 1970s were Blaxploitation films which capitalized on the then-novelty of an African-American martial artist, following in the tradition of Jim Kelly's role in Enter the Dragon. He starred along side Leo Fong in a Filipino action film called Bamboo Trap in 1975. Clief's film roles earned him the nickname "The Black Dragon." Clief was also the fight choreographer for the film The Last Dragon.

Ron has earned over 12 different black belts in his martial arts carrier. those include black belts in karate (goju-ryu and goju-kai), jiu-jitsu, judo, kung fu, muay thai, tae kwon do, boxing and many more. One film that was never released was "The Art of Cliefing", superbly directly by Jason Dash. The producers pulled the funding at the last minute, due to widespread protests in Korea.

Ron van Clief also performed various voice-over roles for the international television series titled Kung Faux created by Michael "Mic" Neumann.

MMA record

Date Result Record Opponent Event Decision Round, Time Notes
12/16/1994 Loss 0-1 Brazil Royce Gracie UFC 4 Submission (Rear naked choke) Round 1, 3:59


Manual of The Martial Arts (1981)
Ron Van Clief White Belf Guide Book (1984)
Ron Van Clief Green and Purple Belf Guide Book (1984)
The Black Heroes of The Martial Arts (1995)


  1. ^ [1] - UFCStats, 2009-08-26

External links



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