Accomplished martial artist and action film actor. He won numerous national and world championships and was named Black Belt Magazine's 2002 martial arts teacher of the year.
While serving as a United States Marine in the 1960s, he was honored with a Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, a National Defense Service Medal, and a Rifle Badge.
For his accomplishments, he was nicknamed "The Black Dragon."
His son Shihan van Clief had a career as a poet.
He and Bob Wall both displayed their martial arts skills in several films.