About John Natividad:
John Natividad was a world-rated karate fighter before his retirement from competition in 1975. He appeared in the Top 10 polls of such publications as Black Belt and Professional Karate. His biggest year was 1973, when he won grand championship titles at the International Championships, the Colorado State Championships, Yamashita Open, Northern California Karate Championships and first places at the Las Vegas Nationals and the Black Belt Team Championships in Washington, D.C. He also owns first-place and grand championship trophies from the ’72 Western States Championships, ’72 Las Vegas Nationals, ’71 Four Seasons, ’71 Pasadena AOpen, ’72 Pacific Coast Team Invitational, ’71 California State Team Championships, ’71 Four Seasons Fall Team Championships, ’70 International Team Championships, and the 1970 Mike Stone All-Star Team championships in California where he burst into the national spotlight by defeating the top 5 National ranked competitors, most notable were Whirlwind Fred Wren, Victor Moore from New York, and Joe Lewis. That night earned him the title of “Giant Killer”. He finished second in the heavyweight division of the World Pro/Am in ’70, second in middleweight at the ’72 Top 10 Nationals in St. Louis and ’72 Grand Nationals in Alburquerque.
John was a member of Chuck Norris’ Championship team with Bob Alegria, Victor Guerrerao, Ralph Alegria and Dennis Young, which fought all over the United States and went undefeated for 7 years. This team fought the Japanese karate team lead by Halliburton in San Jose California and also fought and defeated the Jhoon Rhee team lead by Jeff Smith in Washington, D.C..
The 1973 fight between John Natividad and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez was one of the greatest non-contact bouts in history at the famous finals of Ed Parker’s Long Beach Internationals. Natividad beat Urquidez 13-12 in overtime using a technique that Benny had shown him two weeks earlier. Most of the top fighters were part of Southern California Professional Karate Association under Mike Stone and they trained and fought each other, exchanging ideas and often using each others techniques against one another.
Born in Hawaii just outside of Honolulu of chinese and filipino decent, John went to Germany at the age of 14 with his father, during his fathers tenure in the service. After returning from traveling and studying in Europe, at the age of nineteen, John began studying Tang Soo Do with Chuck Norris, and received his black belt from Mr. Norris in 1970.
In 1975 John was one of the first martial artists to utilize books to help with the study of self defense at home.
John was part of the movie documentary “New Gladiators” financed by Elvis Presley. The film follows a team of five American fighters who took on the challenge of the best karate fighters in the world. The film was shot over a year and a half period. Team members included John Natividad, Darnell Garcia, Tom Kelly, Ron Marchini and Benny Urquidez. Ed Parker, Elvis’s instructor, and George Waite, a well known karate practitioner, entrepreneur, and friend of Elvis’s, led this team.
The team traveled to England, Belgium and Germany competing their top karate teams. The United States Championship Karate Team, as they were called won every team event they fought.
John was also featured in the 2002 television show, Modern Warriors, which was a behind the scenes look into the world of martial arts masters, where over 80 of the world’s greatest martial artists, including Hapkido Grand Master Bong Soo Han, demonstrated techniques and discussed philosophy. The program had rare footage of some of the world’s greatest kick boxers such as JOHN NATIVIDAD, BENNY “THE JET” URQUIDEZ, DON “THE DRAGON WILSON AND BILL “SUPERFOOT” WALLACE. Commentary is by some of the top stars of No-Holds-Barred including RORION GRACIE, MARK KERR, KEITH HACKNEY and BAS RUTTEN. Modern Warriors shows the stars training and analyzes their techniques and discusses competitions such as K-1. It also discusses the differences in the sports styles and the spiritual styles of martial arts.
John received the Golden Fist Award, Karate’s answer to the Oscar, given by Mike Stone, for Best Offensive Fighter and Technician from 1972 to 1974. He has been inducted into the INTERNATIONAL KARATE AND KICKBOXING HALL OF FAME and the MASTERS HALL OF FAME.
Grandmaster John Natividad passed away on August 12, 2021 after years of fighting health issues. He was a true warrior in every sense of the word and one of the greatest examples of a life changed and completed by the his participation in the martial arts and by his relationship with Christ. He will be missed by everyone who knew him and by everyone who appreciated his accomplishments. Until we meet again Grandmaster Natividad, RIP.