Donald "Lee" Barden ( September 9, 1960-March 2, 2017) was an American martial artist, famous for his skills with the nunchaku. Barden is trained in Wing Chun, Chinese Kenpo, American Karate, Jeet Kune Do, Filipino Kali and Lissajous-do Weapons System. He is the owner and head instructor of Karate Arts, a martial arts school located in Jacksonville, Florida which is specialized in teaching children the positive side of martial arts. He is also the owner and Vice President of Black and Blue Productions, Inc. He currently holds a seventh degree Black Belt, which has earned him the title of "Master". He is a member of the Florida Black Belt hall of fame and has won numerous awards and honors including Instructor of the Year, Master Instructor of the Year and Best Showman of the Year.
Lee Barden was born in Fort Myers, Florida during Hurricane Donna. When Barden was thirteen, he saw Enter the Dragon, starring martial arts actor Bruce Lee, which inspired his training in the martial arts. He built a homemade set of nunchaku out of a broomstick and a dog's collar. As a teenager, Barden began his martial arts studies at a local dojo.
At the age of eighteen, Barden joined the United States Navy and served for four years. During this time Barden visited Europe and the Middle East and had the opportunity to continue his martial arts training along the way.
Believing in a lack of a genuine nunchaku master, Barden found his abilities were far beyond most he encountered at the time and made it his goal to seek out a true master. In 1979, Barden met Roy Williams]], the founder of the Lissajous-do weapons system, which is based on physics, logic and mathematics. Barden spent the next 28 years mastering Lissajous-do, and incorporating it into his own style.
After many years of successful competition he opened his first martial arts school in 1983. Not long after that, he started Black and Blue Productions, a sports martial arts video company, with partner Walter Faulkner.
In 1984, Barden married Connie Barden, who is currently an instructor at Barden's school, Karate Arts. The couple has two daughters, Cassidy and Kailee.
In 2008, Barden formed a partnership with Jack Hodges and Tim Rockliffe to manufacture ProChux, replacing Black and Blue Productions in this duty. The ProChux stlye was originally invented by Master Roy williams.
Barden is known worldwide for his activity with the nunchaku, which consists of freestyle nunchaku, fire nunchaku, and ultraviolet nunchaku. Barden was the first nunchaku practitioner to light his nunchaku on fire, a practice that has become popular among freestyle nunchaku performers. Barden also pioneered many moves that have became staples in the nunchaku community. His video production company Black and Blue Productions has one of the largest martial arts catalogs in the world.
Barden has competed internationally, always placing high in the rankings. He has been the featured performer at many events including The Battle of Atlanta. Barden pioneered a new brand of nunchaku called ProChux. ProChux are hand made with a specific balancing point and shorter cord. Short corded nunchaku are becoming increasingly popular, which Barden claims is an effect of his ProChux sales.
Barden is a master of the Lissajous-Do nunchaku system, which he promotes with instructional DVDs. His video company, Black and Blue Productions, also provides some of Barden's nunchaku content on [YouTube]. Barden has been featured on numerous national television programs including The Maury Povich Show, You Gotta See This, I'm Still Alive!, World's Most Amazing Videos, Impact, and Now See This. He currently hosts a television show in Jacksonville, Florida called Karate Arts. In addition, he is highly involved with the local kickboxing and MMA community hosting and sanctioning events as a Florida IKF amateur kickboxing state representative.