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Ron Van Clief

From The Grindhouse Cinema Database

Exploitation FilmographyOFFICIAL WEBSITE

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Overview

Ron Van Clief was born January 25, 1943 in Brooklyn, New York. He began his martial arts career competing in both full-contact and non-contact karate tournaments in New York, going on to win several tournaments and championships. Van Clief was a student of Goju-ryu masters Peter Urban, Frank Ruiz, and Moses Powell, as well as Wing Tsun founder Leung Ting. In 1971, Van 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. 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.

Van Clief's first acting job came when he was selected to star in the Hong Kong film The 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. Van Clief's own film roles earned him the nickname "The Black Dragon." Van Clief was also the fight choreographer for the 80s cult classic The Last Dragon.

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