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An Introduction to Martial Arts Podcasts

by Barry Choate

As a student of martial arts, I am always interested in listening to, and learning from, the insights and advice of others who have travelled the same path. While nothing can compare to the face-to-face, hand-to-hand learning experience that takes place during training in the dojo, I often find inspiration and motivation for the journey from other sources as well.

While I am a big fan of the usual sources such as books, magazines, etc., one medium that I was not too familiar with until recently is the podcast. Since I have not really heard any discussion about martial arts podcasts in the dojo, I thought I would point out a few that I have found to be well worth the time to listen.

Although I have not yet found any that are specific to Shotokan Karate, the subjects that are discussed in the podcasts I am mentioning seem to be pretty universal. In fact, most of these take the form of interview shows, with guests that are long-time martial artists of the highest level discussing their successes and failures in martial arts practice. At the same time, there are also some great episodes that focus on specific topics that would be interesting to any martial artists (more on that below).

Some of these are as short as 15 minutes, while others go for up to an hour and a half, so there is wide variety available depending on your time frame or level of interest. Personally, I like to download them to my phone and listen to them in the car on my way to work or to the dojo. But no matter what works for you, hopefully you will find this useful, and please let me know if you find any others.

Iain Abernethy – The Practical Application of Karate - "One of the UK's leading exponents of applied karate, Iain has written a number of critically acclaimed books on the practical application of traditional martial arts and is well known for his work on the pragmatic use of the techniques and concepts recorded in the traditional kata."

Some interesting recent podcasts have been on subjects such as: The use of banned techniques, Martial Virtues and Warrior Ethics, and 10 Things that Martial Arts Should Have Taught You About Life.

Whistlekick Martial Arts Radio - "Whistlekick Martial Arts Radio is the only weekly podcast dedicated to bringing you the best stories from the best martial artists. From Bill "Superfoot" Wallace to Shihan Christine Bannon-Rodrigues, we've talked to, or hope to talk to, all of the greats."

This podcasts features weekly interviews with renowned martial artists, and more recently the host has been doing an additional show every Thursday that takes a closer look at issues most martial artists can relate to, such as Martial Arts Recovery and Rehab, Martial Arts Warm-ups, Avoiding Fights, and many others.

Karate Café - Karate Cafe was created in May 2005 by Pete Shambo and Gene Myers as a sort of "after class discussion" and unleashed on the internet and soon gathered a nationwide and international following. Now in its 10th year of bringing discussion topics and interviews to martial arts enthusiasts all over the globe, Karate Cafe has a solid group of dedicated listeners and contributors and has branched into the world of live shows, streamed over the internet, as well as recorded shows."

Some interesting recent topics have included Muscle Memory, Martial Evangelism, and Training While Traveling.

Martial Thoughts Podcast - "Random thoughts and ideas presented on martial arts"

This is primarily an interview show similar to Whistlekick, but the host also includes book and film reviews, as well as general discussion of martial arts-related subjects.

Hiyaa! Martial Arts Podcast - "The Martial Arts Podcast that's discussing the Humorous, the Human, and the just plain Horrible in the wide, wild world of martial arts. We talk about martial arts and to martial artists. So you don't have to."

As you may have guessed from the description, the hosts on this one take a close look at martial arts and related issues, but also add a good dose of humor to the conversation. The format varies from interviews to discussions of specific martial-arts-related topics. Recent podcasts have focused on subjects such as the differences between beginner, intermediate and advanced students, Power vs. Precision, and taking a move from a technique to a principle that can be applied continuously. Although they haven't done a new episode in a while, there are plenty of previous episodes to choose from.

Good luck, and I hope you find one that is of interest to you!