Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Top 10 Covers of Inside Karate Magazine: #9: Conan!

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.

This cover is awesome. In fact, if not for Ralf Moeller, this might be a top three pick. Unfortunately, Ralf can't even hold his tin foil sword the right way in his hand, and his general lameness drops this cover several spots on our list.

There's an old saying among baseball and football scouts: "You can't teach speed." Well, obviously they never talked to karate scouts. In the dangerous and sexy world of karate, you can not only teach speed (in a consumer magazine, no less!), you can double anyone's speed. That's how top karate prospects put up 2.2-second 40-yard dashes.

Dena Rae Hayess––Female Warrior for the New Millennium, or Human Typo? Or Kicker of Giant Hands?

Also, in direct refutation of the last cover we profiled, this month's issue seems to actually promote grappling, and not just for punch fighters! For kick fighters, too! Get your story straight, Inside Karate. Is grappling a worthwhile karate tactic or not? Let's hope for a deep dive next issue.

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

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