Venus de Budo

This piece appeared in Black Belt Magazine’s October 1975 issue leading the article, “Women in the martial arts: Venus’s Big Year in Budo”.


I kind of love this odd, clever, beautiful painting but can’t find the artist credited anywhere in the magazine. I’d absolutely buy a print.

The article starts off really weird with women compared to lions and orangutans and mortal combat. The words ‘ample cleavage’ are used in the third paragraph. But it’s both an interesting artifact of 1975 in terms of pop culture mentions, and a shot-by-shot of naming-names when it comes to who was moving and shaking in the martial arts world at that time.

Firstest with the mostest was Anne Small of Toledo, Ohio. She is the head of the newly formed women’s karate subcommittee of the AAU (Amateur Athletics Union). Now that they have a mouthpiece, women can start legislating their own competition rules (which won’t really differ too drastically from those of the men’s division.), organizing new and better classes of competition and promoting the image of the female in a sport previously dominated by men.


It was that kind of year – a woman’s year. But the coming year promises even more ground traversed by women’s movement. It’s almost tempting to use the disgusting old cliche – you’ve come a long way, baby – but women have come a long way since Ruby Paglinawan beat two out of three men in a circus-like contest at Ed Parker’s 1964 Internationals.

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