AWMA turns 50 this year. Let’s start celebrating with a trip down memory lane!
Covering martial arts news, training, and gear for the AWMA Blog is rewarding in a lot of ways. But one of the most exciting parts of the job is getting to learn more about AWMA’s past, present, and future. One of the most enjoyable parts about that is getting to look at retro catalogues and ads from the past 50 years.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s very rewarding to get to talk about AWMA and ProForce’s current cutting edge gear and styles — and to share amazing images from the latest photo shoots. But it’s also fun to be able to check out the retro styles and to see what has changed — and what hasn’t — over a half of a century in martial arts.
Plus the retro covers look so cool. And I’m clearly not alone in thinking that. A variation on an old school AWMA catalogue just appeared in Stranger Things.
So this week’s blog is dedicated to some of the best catalogue covers in AWMA. We’ll look at what makes them so great and how to recreate their looks today with AWMA and ProForce’s modern range of martial arts equipment and apparel.
Raiders of the Lost Ark and Superman II were dominating the box office. Diana Ross, Lionel Richie, and Kenny Rogers were all over the radio. And AWMA was offering up this totally tubular selection of martial arts weapons and equipment.
Get this look: 41 years later, AWMA’s selection of sai, nunchaku and throwing stars ranges from traditional versions of these training weapons to the latest innovations for competition and exhibition. You can even get a classic Dragon Target Board to use in your throwing star training. The only difference is that it comes in yellow and black instead of red these days.
Some gear has changed more than others in the past four decades, though. And you’ll be able to see how far technology has come with with the newest versions of Kempo gloves (Combat by ProForce™ Kempo Gloves) and focus mitts (ProForce® Thunder Curved Vinyl Focus Mitt).
The ProForce® Lightning Sparring Gloves / Punch can take care of your modern day Bionic Chop needs.
Images like this were a big deal in the 1980s. School photos tried to copy this magic. There were entire stores dedicated to this vibe. You could go to your local mall, buy a photo shoot, and find yourself immortalized in the best aesthetics that new wave, the action film boom, and Miami Vice had to offer. Most of us didn’t end up looking quite this righteous, though.
Get this look: AWMA’s massive selection of martial arts uniforms will allow you to find the perfect size, weight, and style for your training goals. A pair of ProForce® Lightning Sparring Gloves will take care of your hands. Available in red if you want to perfectly recreate this look, and a variety of other colors if you want to add your own spin.
At the height of grunge and alternative music, AWMA and its cover star rocked.
Get this look: The music that went along with this look may have aged, but the swords haven’t. Whether you’re a collector or a martial artist looking for a katana for training or demonstration purposes, AWMA has you covered. You’re on your own for that sweet leather jacket, though.
The 1990s saw a whole new generation turned onto martial arts thanks to pop culture. Nineties kids grew up on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and 3 Ninjas, among many other classics. Then, in 1995, the first live action Mortal Kombat movie came out.
And AWMA was ready for all of those fledgling martial artists with this huge selection of martial arts gear and accessories.
Get this look: Some things have definitely evolved in the past 27 years. So while you won’t be able to get boxing gloves, speed bags, paddles, or freestanding heavy bags exactly like what you see here these days, you’ll be able to find even better versions of all of the above at AWMA.com.
And some things never go out of style. The Yin/Yang and Tae Kwon Do designs pictured above are still available on the ProForce® Velocity Duffel Bag.
There are two great things about this cover:
- It’s an early example of how great AWMA is at taking things outside and giving us exciting photos of martial arts in unexpected places.
- It’s full of fashion that was very rad to all of those ’90s kids who grew up on the above mentioned pop culture.
Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your taste in ’90s athletic wear), these awesome outfits aren’t currently available for sale. But AWMA.com does have a big apparel section if you’re looking for something new to wear during your martial arts and cross-training exercises.
And if you’re interested in how current fashions can influence martial arts gear, look no further than ProForce Sport’s line of cutting edge athleisure.