Friday, November 8, 2013

Top 10 Covers of Inside Karate Magazine: #1: Modern Samurai

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.

There can be only one. Why this one? Because Martin Kove is our spirit animal and he will chop you with his tiny katana blades if you disagree. It's as good a reason as any for this cover to top our list.

This is also the issue where Inside Karate rips the lid off the existence of current-day samurai. They exist, and they're al Qaeda's worst nightmare. Do you know why you aren't getting an envelope full of anthrax in your mailbox every day? Samurai. Modern ones. Even now the samurai are scouring the caves of Afghanistan in order to protect us all.

The other great thing about this cover is the implication that Kove himself is one of these modern samurai. IK is like, "We're not directly saying he is, but we're not saying he isn't." And really, who are we to argue with John Steele?

Bonus points for the unnecessary-but-artfully placed drop of blood.

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

1 comment:

  1. Ross I give bonus points for child discipline instruction (Korean cane techniques)