Museum makes Plans for New Theater


Burbank, CA – Topping the list as “Things To Do in Burbank,” the Martial Arts History Museum is setting its sights on establishing a 150-seat theater. The museum, the world’s first and only of its kind, has just launched a campaign to raise funds to build a new theater complex for visitors to enjoy.

“Establishing a theater is something that is badly needed. We get so many requests but our current facility is not large enough to support the need. The theater will add a new dimension to the museum. It will allow us to do movie screenings and premieres, film festivals, cultural performances, interviews, book readings, seminars and more,” says museum president and founder Michael Matsuda.

The movies have played one of the biggest roles in the martial arts. From the silent films with Anna May Wong to Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai to Toshiro Mifune films to today’s Kill Bill, the film industry is responsible for putting the martial arts on the map. “It was in 1945, when James Cagney used judo in the film Blood on the Sun that changed everything. Judo schools began popping up all over. In 1971, it was the movie Billy Jack that created the biggest martial arts boom which lead to Hong Kong films coming to America,” notes Matsuda.

It is that appreciation for films, the literal impact it has made on the martial arts and how today, every action scene always includes some form of martial arts. Because of martial arts on film, a huge, billion-dollar industry has been created. From anime to video games to cartoons such as Kung Fu Panda, films have continued to make an impact on audiences.

Although the museum is located in the movie studio capital of the world, having a theater will provide a central place for film appreciation and screenings. “We don’t just focus on martial arts films, the museum focuses on Asian history, documentaries, children’s films, etc. When each of the Kung Fu Panda movies were released, the studios had to rent out the local AMC theater to debut them. How much better and more exciting it would be if they could release at the Martial Arts History Museum.”

“As a former commercial producer, films have had an impact on my life and it keeps that time in history alive for many generations. Having a theater will create a better appreciation for the positive influence that films have on our lives,” concludes Matsuda.

To make a donation, visit the Martial Arts History Museum website at You can contact the Museum at (818) 478-1722 or visit the facility at 2319 W. Magnolia Blvd., Burbank, CA 91506.

The Martial Arts History Museum is a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) organization and contributions are tax-deductible.