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Dan Rodarte: Revolutionary Thai Boxing promoter in the USA.

Muay Thai

  • Received his black belt in Kenpo from legendary Ed Parker in 1969.
  • Opened Rodarte's Kenpo School in 1974.
  • Soon after began promoting some of the first full contact Kickboxing events in Southern California, including the very first Western U.S.-Thai Kickboxing event in Hawaii.
  • Co-founded the (TPA) Tournament Promoters Association.
  • Organized & promoted first officially licensed Thai Kickboxing event at the Los Angeles Olympic Auditorium.
  • Graduated into the Rio Hondo Police Reserves in 1982 & 1990.
  • Received a "Certificate of Good Samaritan Award" from District Attorney Ira Reiner for his involvement in an investigation.
  • Rodarte's Kenpo School is tragically destroyed in California Earthquake of 1989.
DAN RODARTE is like a deep wellspring full of life experiences. He sort of reminds me of an oasis in the desert. A fertile place filled with vast information that promises to quench ones constant thirst for some pure refreshing knowledge. He deserves our respect not only for what he's accomplished as a devoted martial artist & caring instructor, he's also earned it for his enormous contributions as one of the most revolutionary full contact martial arts event promoters in the last few decades! As an experienced martial artist myself, it's obvious how his efforts have changed what was into what has become precedence, specifically in the Kickboxing arena! As chief editor of this magazine, it's a pleasure to have had him volunteer as a continual resource to draw from for future articles and projects. Sensei Dan Rodarte's own Kickboxing legacy still continues within his family. His son Steve has been a Muay Tai Kickboxing Champion & is an experienced Kenpo artist as well an established stunt coordinator on film sets.

A.M.A.M.: Welcome Steve. It's great to have you here for this occasion! Glad you're here with your dad (Dan) and me for this interview, Champ!

Steve: No problem. Good to meet you. Sorry I can't stay longer!

Steve Rodarte with the group

A.M.A.M.: Please tell us about your self-defense background and how you got your start promoting Martial Arts tournaments & Kickboxing events?

Steve: As a kid I was already into Kenpo because of my father's extensive background at Ed Parker's old studio back in the 1960's & 70's. Ed used to let him teach class there. When I was old enough I'd go along to learn Karate. My dad still is a good teacher! Around that time we attended Ed Parker's very first Karate Internationals at the Long Beach Arena and Bruce Lee did a demonstration that day! Dad had become more interested in promoting our own martial arts events. We'd see how certain other local promoters were putting together matches & profiting from their shows and decided to organize and promote our own.

A.M.A.M.: What was the first official "Rodarte promoted" event?

Dan: That would be the one my good friend Frank Trejo & I put together at Cal State L.A. in the 1970's. Frank was an instructor at the school I had at the time. That was the first "larger scale" Karate tournament I'd ever organized & promoted. Fortunately for us it was a big success! At that time there were no real full contact events held in Los Angeles. There were occasional Karate tournaments but they always restricted the competitors to remain on safer "point based" systems where they were almost never making true contact with each other or even causing any real damage like Western Boxing matches did. True "full contact" challenges began popping up in the mid to late 1970's. I became more interested in promoting those types of events because the fighting was more realistic. A fight that was decided either by a TKO or obvious damage to ones opponent had much more value and excitement!

Dan Rodarte works with sticks

A.M.A.M.: Tell us about your next foray into promoting Kickboxing events?

Dan: I began putting on my own Full Contact Kickboxing events in the late 1970's at various high schools & just about anywhere I could get licensed. I got into some hot water once back of Pico Rivera. I had some trouble trying to deal with the state for licensing. They weren't so willing to sanction full contact events back in those days. Especially Muay Thai-style events! Then I had to go in front of the State Athletic Commission for several hours before I could even apply for the necessary insurance. Man, what a hassle! Over the years, I ran into all sorts of hassles with a variety of promoters, city commissioners and state athletics licensing departments that I could fill two of these interviews! (Laughs!)

A.M.A.M.: I'm Sure you could! Any advice to help struggling young fight promoters?

Dan: Anything that can go wrong will go wrong promoting kickboxing events! If you're gonna put five or six matches together, you'd better line up ten.

A.M.A.M.: If you're an experienced martial arts student of many years or perhaps even an established teacher & owner of a training center who feels the next best step may be to start promoting, where should he go to get started?

Dan: Tell him to call me. (Laughs!) Seriously a good promoter will first decide at what facility he wants his event to be held. Start small like a high school gym or hotel. For larger events a hotel or casino is usually a good choice. Then check on all the licensing and the permits and insurance involved.

You'll then need to get the word out about your upcoming show. Getting some additional sponsorship can really make a huge difference too! And good luck! (Laughs!)

To begin Martial Arts training with Dan or Steve Rodarte or for more information on upcoming GOLDEN LEG Karate & Kickboxing Championship Events call (562) 929-0475.

Dan Rodarte
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