Benjamin Gilber "Benny" Urquidez (popularly known as "The Jet") is an American kickboxer, karate competitor, and martial arts choreographer.
Urquidez was born in Tarzana, California, on June 20, 1952. He was born into an athletic family: his mother was a wrestler, his father was a boxer, his brother was a competitive martial artist, and his sister was a pioneer in kickboxing for women. In 1958, when he was five years old, Urquidez began competing in "peewee" boxing and wrestling in Los Angeles. Two years later, he began receiving martial arts instruction, first from Kenpō pioneer Bill Ryusaki. When he was fourteen, Urquidez received his black belt, which was highly unusual during the 1960s. He then went on to enter in the point circuit in 1964, where he earned the reputation as an extremely colorful fighter.
At the 1972 Santa Monica Kempo Open, Urquidez lost in the finals to another fighter named Brian Strian. In the 1973 Internationals, he fought John Natividad in an unprecedented 25-point overtime match; Natividad won the match and the Grand Title, 13-12 and the $2,500 purse. In May 1974, during the PAWAK Tournament, Urquidez lost a 4-1 decision to Joe Lewis. He also participated in competitions held in England and Belgium, as a member of the 1974 U.S. team. During that same year, Urquidez began moving away from the non-contact style. He did this by entering and winning the World Series of Martial Arts Championship, an essential tough-man contest with few rules. Over the next two decades, he fought under a number of notable kickboxing organizations, eventually amassing a record of 58 wins with no losses. The legitimacy of the winning streak, though official, is considered extremely controversial and highly disputed among the kickboxing community.
In 1977, Urquidez traveled to Japan for the first time to participate in a competition. He fought under its compromise U.S.-Japan rules, which included leg kicks and knees to the body. In his first fight, which took place in August, he defeated Katsuyuki Suzuki by sixth round KO. The All-Japan Kickboxing Association subsequently became interested in the American sport of full-contact karate. It decided to promote a series of mixed-rules bouts between the American full-contact karate fighters and Japanese kickboxers. On November 14, 1977, the AJKF held the first event, which featured Urquidez, his brother-in-law Blinky Rodriguez, Marc Costello, Brendan Leddy, Tony Lopez, Leonard Galiza, and Freddy Avila. Only Urquidez and Costello came out as the winners for the American team.
Urquidez's victory over Kunimitsu Okao convinced the Japanese fight fans. As a result, he eventually began to be featured as the central figure for a documentary comic book called The Square Ring until he declined to avenge his loss against the Thai opponent Prayout Sittiboonlert. After 1980, Urquidez' ring appearances became less frequent, and he fought sporadically. In 1984, he fought Ivan Sprang in Amsterdam under modified Muay Thai rules (which involved no usage of elbows), winning by sixth round TKO. Urquidez's ring career came to a halt after 1985, after he faced Yoshihisa Tagami. From that time on, he devoted himself to professional acting, along with teaching kickboxing and martial arts choreography.
Urquidez has starred in various martial arts movies. His first role was in Force: Five. Later, he made two movies with Jackie Chan: Wheels on Meals and Dragons Forever. In these roles, he is depicted as a tough opponent who is defeated in the climactic fight scenes. He made a cameo appearance as a kickboxer in Ragin' Cajun. Urquidez appeared again in the 1989 film Roadhouse, portraying one of the fighters at a car dealership that is partially destroyed. He then made an appearance in the 1991 film Blood Match. During the following year, he played a referee in the film Diggstown. After that, Urquidez made another cameo appearance in the movie Street Fighter, in which he portrayed one of several prisoners put in a truck.