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Dolph Lundgren (6ft 6ins, 240lb former European and Australian Kyokushin Contact Karate Champion) slams a ushiro mawashi-geri into his longtime instructor, Brian Fitkin. Brian is a former British champion, now based in Dolph's home country, Sweden. This action was shot at last year's Australian Kyokushin Contact Karate Championships at Sydney Town Hall

Dolph Lundgren, 'The Punisher' and 'Rocky 4' star's Kyokushin
For Street Defence

From Australasian Fighting Arts, vol.13 n°6, June 1990

Continuing our popular occasional defence-and-tournament combinations series, featuring prominent Martial Artists and their 'favourite technique''...

COULD DOLPH LUNDGREN have beaten Bruce Lee in a real fight'? When this proposition was bounced around in a British Martial Arts magazine recently with a very persuasive case put forward in support of the giant Kyokushin Contact Karate Champion's prospects against the late 'Little Dragon' in a real-life street encounter -- the resultant screams of outrage from Bruce Lee fans apparently filled the Martial Arts airwaves of G.B. for months afterwards. Some stalwarts are still seething, it seems...
Well, the late great Bruce Lee is said to have handled some highly accomplished heavyweights with ease. (See James DeMile interview', this issue and last issue). But he also shunned the competitive arenas in which Dolph Lundgren and the other hot heavyweights made their name. And in any case, such conjecturing is arguably pointless and probably counterproductive. So we're not buying into that debate.
However, we can say that it would take an extremely brave lightweight, indeed regardless of his undisputed brilliance to risk his reputation, and health, against the sheer size, power, strength and contact experience of 'The Punisher', Dolph Lundgren.
At six feet six inches (198 centimetres) and around 240 lbs (about 108 kgs), Lundgren has proved on numerous occasions that he knows how to put his huge assets to good use. He has held the European, Scandinavian and Australian Heavyweight Kyokushin Contact Karate championships, and was only beaten narrowly on points by the grand champion, Nakamura, in Mas Oyama's All-Japan Open in 1979 - while reportedly still a green belt!
(Incidentally, some non-contact Sport Karateka delight in pointing out that Dolph Lundgren was quite convincingly 'beaten , in a FAKO 'Champion Of Champions'-type tournament - where speed is of the essence - in Sydney in about 1984" However, as always with this form of tournament, the obvious "what if... ?" relates to the fighters' relative abilities to "take one or two to give back something more damaging"... Those contact fighters who have felt the power of the Lundgren assault have no doubts about where they' d lay their bets...!)
Dolph is also reasonably experienced in 'streetscene' action, having supplemented his income for some years by working as a bouncer, while completing his university studies in Sydney and Europe. It was, in fact, while working as a doorman at Sydney's Jamieson Street nightclub that he was "spotted and seized" by visiting disco queen, Grace Jones, who whisked him off to be her personal bodyguard.
Their subsequent, internationally publicized love affair opened many doors for Dolph (formerly known in Sydney, where he also operated a university dojo for Shihan John Taylor's Australian Kyokushinkai Karate Association, under his given name, Hans). His first movie role was a 'blink-and-you'll-miss-him ' part in the 1985 James Bond flick, A View To A Kill, followed by his 'Russian Rambo'-type role in Rocky IV. Despite the obvious outcome of the Stallone vs. Lundgren showdown, Dolph actually hospitalized the 'Italian Stallion' with several well-hushed-up broken ribs during filming! Then came the best-forgotten Masters Of The Universe (in which, of course, Dolph's natural role was that of 'He-Man').
As this issue went to press, Dolph was reportedly back in Tokyo for additional training under Kyokushinkai founder, Master Mas Oyama, and his latest screen effort, The Punisher, was headed towards your friendly local video outlet. Although scripted by Karateka/millionaire Robert Kamen - creator of the highly successful Karate Kid series - it seems Robert might have been 'off the boil' at the time, as The Punisher is certainly not in the Karate Kid league. However, we think it's still worth checking out, even if only to keep abreast of the former heavyweight Australian Kyokushin Contact Karate champ's still-developing screen career... And, of course, to see if you can spot any of the numerous Aussie Martial Arts Instructors who pop up in supporting 'Yakuza' (Japanese gangster) roles.
Among those involved in The Punisher's minor 'heavy' roles are: Sifu(s) Chan Cheuk Fai and Chan Cheuk Wah (Jin Wu Koon Kung Fu), Sensei(s) Watanabe (7th ban, Goju-Ryu), Kaneko (4th Dan, Kyokushin), Hirata (4th Dan, Goju-Kai), Saito (6th Dan, Bushido/Goju-Ryu) and Ellison ( see Newsbriefs). Other 'heavy' Yakuza roles were played by two of Kancho Mas Oyama's Tokyo honbu dojo instructors.