MA magazines

SJON

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I need a little help regarding the main English language MA magazines around nowadays. I live in Spain, and they aren't available here, so I don't know which ones are most popular, what their focus is, how seriously people take them.

I wonder if people could give me their impressions of the main US and UK mags. This is because I may wish to take out advertising in some of them, and I don't want to waste time and money on unsuitable publications.

I'll give you a couple of examples based on the two main Spanish mags:


  1. XXXXXXXX XXXXX: Part of the YYYY ZZZZZZZZZZZZZ group, magazines that essentially exist as a catalogue for an MA products shop. Has some good MMA news and interesting features, but only really publishes articles and interviews connected to DVDs it is trying to sell.
  2. XXXX: A rather amateurish magazine aimed at teenagers, dealing mainly with Bruce Lee and ninjas.

Serious question, folks, and any help would be appreciated. Extra points if you can guess what the first magazine I mention is.
 

Earl Weiss

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What are you planning on advertising? Black Belt Mag has been around long tim as has TKD Times. Stopped reading and subscribing to TKD Times when they started pretending the NK ITF was the only one in existence.

I am a regular contributer to totally TKD. It is purely an on line magzine. Like most, some stuff is great and some not so much. I tend to prefer how to articles. Not really nterested in news type stuff covering an event or promotion. I guess it helps sell mags if people and their friends want to see themselves, friends and instructors in print.
 
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SJON

SJON

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Hi Earl.

I write for TTKD too, though not as frequently as you. I was thinking more of the traditional newsstand printed mags.

I'd rather not say just now what I want to advertise, and it would probably be against forum rules anyway.

I'm aware of BB and TKD Times, but not of their current reputations or if they have any serious competitors.

Thanks,

Simon
 

dancingalone

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There's really not many magazines left in the US that cater to traditional martial arts. Most have gone out of business or are ailing with infrequent publication dates. Black Belt magazine is really the only one that still hits the newsstands. You can of course also look into the MMA publications which are more numerous and popular at this time. I saw 3 or 4 of those at my Barnes and Noble last time I browsed the shelves.

In my opinion, Black Belt is a rag now, and I barely even do more than look at the cover when I see it. I certainly don't subscribe or buy copies any more. Many times the cover story also has a connected advertisement for some product, so I think the magazine has blurred the line between product/ad sales and feature writing.

My suggestion would be to promote heavily through the web and new media outlets like Amazon, Youtube, and Google where honestly I think the result hit rate would be higher anyway and you'll get a timely worldwide audience. You should have your own website where you offer links to free excerpts of your book (if it's a book) or free clips of your video (if it is a video). Be sure to make the freebies available on the giant sites like Amazon Kindle, Google Play, Google Youtube, and Apple Itunes.
 

Gwai Lo Dan

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Stopped reading and subscribing to TKD Times when they started pretending the NK ITF was the only one in existence.
I do find that sometimes people talk about the ITF as being more or less "the communist taekwondo". I last heard that at a WTF-style school about a month ago. It makes me roll my eyes. My understanding is that General Choi ticked a lot of South Koreans off for wanting/trying to unify the Koreas, which hardly seems like a "communist" thing to do.

On the plus side, since I live in the Toronto area (where I believe General Choi lived for a while), I think people tend to think of ITF as being "INTERNATIONAL Tae Kwon Do" (ignoring semantics of how to spell TKD), as opposed to NKTKD.
 

Earl Weiss

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On the plus side, since I live in the Toronto area (where I believe General Choi lived for a while), I think people tend to think of ITF as being "INTERNATIONAL Tae Kwon Do" (ignoring semantics of how to spell TKD), as opposed to NKTKD.

I think you misunderstood te designation. ITF has split into 3 major factions using the name. Geenral Choi's son split before his death and his group is often reverred to as ITF C (C for canada although he is no longer located there.) Post split an NK group attempted a coup and that group is now referred to as ITF NK. Since the original group was headquarterd in Viena (No longer) it is commonly referred to as ITF V. TKD Times will only use the ITF designation (don't know if they changed) for the NK group apparently pretending the others are not "ITF".
 

Gwai Lo Dan

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Thanks. I had (mis)understood that ITF moved from Canada to Vienna, and that there were no other ITF organizations.
 
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SJON

SJON

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Returning to the original question:

Any comments from our UK brethren? Is it still mainly Combat and MAI?

Also, what are the major MA trade shows/expo's in the US and the UK? I mean events where companies go to exhibit their products on stands, rather than shows in the spectator sense.

Cheers,

Simon
 
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SJON

SJON

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Any comments from our UK brethren? Is it still mainly Combat and MAI?

Also, what are the major MA trade shows/expo's in the US and the UK? I mean events where companies go to exhibit their products on stands, rather than shows in the spectator sense.

Anyone?
 

kitkatninja

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There use to be a mag called traditional karate over here in the uk, covered the more traditional art (funnily enough), however haven't been able to find it for ages...


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punisher73

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Outside of the mags already listed for the US markets (BB and TKDT), most of the mags are geared towards MMA. The only traditional mag I can think of is Classical Fighting Arts that you can get through some Barnes and Noble stores (used to be Border's too, before they closed).
 

chrispillertkd

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"Classical Fighting Arts" is a very good publication. I wish we had something comparable for Taekwon-Do and other Korean martial arts.

TKDTimes was never great but seems to have been on a downward spiral for the last 20 years or so. I bought the most recent copy, the first issue I have purchased in over 13 years, to see the preview of Dr. Kimm's Taekwon-Do history book, and was sorely disappointed in the magazine as a whole.

Pax,

Chris
 

dancingalone

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"Classical Fighting Arts" is a very good publication. I wish we had something comparable for Taekwon-Do and other Korean martial arts.

Unfortunately, there is no commercial market for serious martial arts scholarship. Even Classical Fighting Arts is ailing with only semi-regular publication. TotallyTKD is probably the best thing out there for Korean arts (though I don't remember too many articles about hapkido, Kuk Sool, etc), although there's still way too much fluff within it for my taste.

The only way to change this is to help reverse the trend by supporting financially the projects out there that do exist. I buy every single copy of Classical Fighting Arts when I DO see it and then I give them away to students who I think will appreciate their content. I buy every new martial arts book that I see on Amazon even if it's not a style I practice because I want more books to be written not less. I'll even hold my nose sometimes and open my wallet even if the author is misguided in my opinion, because on balance I think more good is done that way than through my anonymous 'boycott'.

Or those with the capability (thank you, Mr. Weiss) can do their part by writing articles and books themselves. If we can do better than TKD Times, then by all means let's.
 

chrispillertkd

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Well, I agree with you to a point. But I simply don't want "more books [martial arts] to be written not less." I want better books to be written, not the horrible stuff that largely fills the shelves in my local book stores. I buy books that I think (not "feel") are worth my money. Indiscriminate buying would, IMO, send the wrong message to publishing houses, viz. "this dreck sells, so we'll publish more of it!" Think if everyone bought "Classical Fighting Arts" instead of, say, "Black Belt"? (I would hate to see Dave Lowry's column go if BB ever folded, since it's generally the only thing worth reading in that rag, but he's a good enough author to survive that.) Market forces go into what gets produced. If people are willing to settle for "Black Belt" then they will eventually not even get a chance to buy "Classical Fighting Arts."

While TotallyTKD gets a qualified thumbs up from me publications geared towards Korean martial arts seem to suffer from a few common problems (and Totally TKD is not excepted from some of these):

Generally poor writing both in style and substance. I'm not a 4th grader and, in fact, my 4th grader has a better reading level than most of the articles I have seen in most MA magazines.

Closely related to this: horrendous editing. Seriously, do people think spell-check is the same as editing? I've edited several professionally published books and would be ashamed to have signed off on many of the articles I have read in various magazines.

The idea that an article consists of three pages asking someone who has spent decades in the martial arts incredibly shallow questions and settling for unbelievably shallow responses. Case in point: the most recent issue of TKDTimes with the "preview" of Dr. Kimm's Taekwon-Do history book elicited a resounding "Who cares?" after reading it. If that's the kind of "preview" they're going to give then the book doesn't deserve to sell (disclaimer: obviously the book deserves to sell, but I hope you get my point).

Becoming a house organ. We all have our own biases about things, whether well grounded or not, but there is something to be said about entertaining a different viewpoint from time to time without condescension.

Publication of articles and/or editorials that are belittling in tone towards styles/people/concepts with which they disagree. Critical thinking is one thing, being a boor is quite another.

If not adhering to the above problems results in a publication being killed then it deserves death. Those are the absolute minimum standards, IMO, that a good martial arts publication should meet. I have read more than enough magazines that fail on one or more of them (and, frankly, the writing "skill" is the worst offender for me personally; I just can't waste my time reading poorly written articles anymore). I'd like to think that producing a quality product would result in more people buying said product since it provides a good or service that people say they want.

Pax,

Chris
 
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SJON

SJON

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Well, I agree with you to a point. But I simply don't want "more books [martial arts] to be written not less." I want better books to be written, not the horrible stuff that largely fills the shelves in my local book stores. I buy books that I think (not "feel") are worth my money. Indiscriminate buying would, IMO, send the wrong message to publishing houses, viz. "this dreck sells, so we'll publish more of it!" Think if everyone bought "Classical Fighting Arts" instead of, say, "Black Belt"? (I would hate to see Dave Lowry's column go if BB ever folded, since it's generally the only thing worth reading in that rag, but he's a good enough author to survive that.) Market forces go into what gets produced. If people are willing to settle for "Black Belt" then they will eventually not even get a chance to buy "Classical Fighting Arts."

While TotallyTKD gets a qualified thumbs up from me publications geared towards Korean martial arts seem to suffer from a few common problems (and Totally TKD is not excepted from some of these):

Generally poor writing both in style and substance. I'm not a 4th grader and, in fact, my 4th grader has a better reading level than most of the articles I have seen in most MA magazines.

Closely related to this: horrendous editing. Seriously, do people think spell-check is the same as editing? I've edited several professionally published books and would be ashamed to have signed off on many of the articles I have read in various magazines.

The idea that an article consists of three pages asking someone who has spent decades in the martial arts incredibly shallow questions and settling for unbelievably shallow responses. Case in point: the most recent issue of TKDTimes with the "preview" of Dr. Kimm's Taekwon-Do history book elicited a resounding "Who cares?" after reading it. If that's the kind of "preview" they're going to give then the book doesn't deserve to sell (disclaimer: obviously the book deserves to sell, but I hope you get my point).

Becoming a house organ. We all have our own biases about things, whether well grounded or not, but there is something to be said about entertaining a different viewpoint from time to time without condescension.

Publication of articles and/or editorials that are belittling in tone towards styles/people/concepts with which they disagree. Critical thinking is one thing, being a boor is quite another.

If not adhering to the above problems results in a publication being killed then it deserves death. Those are the absolute minimum standards, IMO, that a good martial arts publication should meet. I have read more than enough magazines that fail on one or more of them (and, frankly, the writing "skill" is the worst offender for me personally; I just can't waste my time reading poorly written articles anymore). I'd like to think that producing a quality product would result in more people buying said product since it provides a good or service that people say they want.

Pax,

Chris

Perhaps the obvious answer is for more people to get involved writing for independent and essentially labour-of-love publications like Totally TKD. The more material available, the higher the standards the publication can demand. There are several obviously able writers here who could no doubt make a contribution if so inclined.
 
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