Thursday, September 19, 2013

Top 10 Covers of Inside Karate Magazine: #10: Benny and the New Jets

In the early 1980s, there existed a magazine called Kick Illustrated. It was the world's premier source for photos of kicks. But its editors weren't satisfied. They dared to ask the question, "What if?" What if there was a magazine that pulled back the veil not just on kicks, but on punches. On grapples. On open-fist palm strikes. On throat chops. And so was Inside Karate magazine born.

Inside Karate, or "Karate Inside Karate," as its own covers seem to call it, combined all the over-earnest badassery of late-20th century martial arts with the zazzy, breezy coverlines of a city magazine. That combination, much like a combination of strikes followed by a triangle choke, turned Inside Karate into this world's preeminent printed publication and earned it a stranglehold on the martial arts community's reading circles until its untimely demise in 1999. Did readership really dwindle? Or was the new century simply unprepared to coexist with such a kickass periodical?

Don't be fooled by copycats like Professional Karate or Karate Illustrated. They have neither the high-quality karate action photography nor the deep-diving karate action features to compete with the marketplace leader. Join us as we count down the best magazine covers in karate action history.

Questions. So many questions raised by this cover. Who is Benny? What was wrong with the Old Jets? Why are they wearing championship belts? What is their connection to Elton John? What is Elton John's connection to karate? Can Elton John beat Frank Dux in a straight-up karate fight?

We have no idea how or why a karate magazine would offer seven reasons not to grapple. Perhaps Bridgett Hare hates grappling and will wallop anybody who says otherwise.

This issue also promises to tackle the greatest problem of martial arts: How can the classes for something so badass be so boring to participate in? Hopefully the answer was "add more ropes and flame jets."

Note to self: My band's new name is Benny and the Flame Jets.

Think you can do better? Study the cover archive here and show us your moves!

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