Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Top 10 Covers of Inside Karate Magazine: #5: The Martial Art of Zorro

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.

When you think of history's greatest martial arts film stars, you think of Jackie Chan. Tony Jaa. Chuck Norris. Oh yeah, and Antonio Banderas. This issue promises an in-depth expose on the "martial art of Zorro," which mainly involved distracting his enemies with his luscious chest hair before hacking their dresses to pieces with his sword. Oh and riding horses. That's a martial art, right?

The thing we really love about this cover, though, is the Zorro/Bruce Lee pastiche. It appears that Lee is using his superhuman speed to sneak up behind the Mexican freedom fighter, whose head is somehow squished between the "Inside" and the "Karate."

Also: Stare into Cynthia Barker's abs and tell us what happens. Have you lost the capacity for speech? No problem, she clearly knows sign language!

Apparently an army once conquered the world using only grappling techniques. Tell me again why Inside Karate once claimed there were seven reasons never to grapple?

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

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