whistlekick Martial Arts Radio - Podcast about Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, Capoeira, FMA - Interviews, Training Advice, Stories, Motivation, Celebrities & More

whistlekick Martial Arts Radio is a bi-weekly podcast interviewing traditional martial artists. We hear their stories and journeys, the way they overcame challenges and learn how to be better people through the guests martial arts experiences. Past guests have included many famous martial artists from Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu and other disciplines.
RSS Feed Subscribe in iTunes
whistlekick Martial Arts Radio - Podcast about Karate, Taekwondo, Kung Fu, Capoeira, FMA - Interviews, Training Advice, Stories, Motivation, Celebrities & More




All Episodes
Now displaying: 2016
Dec 26, 2016

Mr. Michael Staples is a well-respected authority on Chinese martial arts, with several books to his credit. He's written about and studied Kung fu, White Crane and other styles with some of the American pioneers.

Mr. Michael Staples - Episode 147

...but Ron is like a ballet dancer. He's just snipping things left and right, he's not getting hit at all. He's being carried into unique angles. At one point he just kind of pops up in the air and flips around with the back of his head and just smacks Steve in the forehead.

We've been fortunate enough to have a number of guests on the show that have talked about the early days of martial arts in America. Today's guest brings us that perspective on the Chinese martial arts and his early days training in California. We hear several times how Mr. Michael Staples life was altered dramatically, and seemingly by forces beyond understanding. What you hear in today's episode is the story of someone who was destined to be the martial artist they became.

Our sparring helmets are the most comfortable head protection you'll ever wear in a martial arts class. If you don't like them, we'll give you your money back. With free shipping every day, there's no risk. Check them out at


For full show notes please visit:

Dec 22, 2016

Zen in the Martial Arts is a classic martial art book written by Joe Hyams. It was recently selected as the #1 martial arts book by guests of this show.

Zen in the Martial Arts - Episode 146

You can read our post on the Top Ten Martial Arts Books as selected by our guests.

It’s time for episode 146 of whistlekick Martial Arts radio, and we’re going to talk about an amazing book that has come up in conversation a lot on this show – Zen in the Martial Arts. Not a reader? You should still stick around because this isn’t a book review.

Let me introduce myself. I'm whistlekick’s founder but I’m better known as your host on this show. My name is Jeremy Lesniak. whistlekick makes the best sparring gear you can get as well as some great apparel and accessories for practitioners and fans of traditional martial arts.  I'd like to welcome all of you new listeners and thank everyone that’s come back.

All our past episodes, show notes, and some other good stuff is at From that site, you can sign up for our newsletter, and I hope you do because we offer exclusive content to subscribers, discounts and it's the only place to find out about upcoming guests.

Today’s episode has a full transcript available on the website.

Short Summary of Zen in the Martial Arts

Zen in the Martial Arts, for all of the impact it has had on several generations of martial artists, is short. It’s 140 pages of a small book, and it’s not small font. That might make you think that it’s incomplete, or otherwise lacking, but that isn’t the case.

Reviews for the book continue nearly 40 years later, and on the popular book review sites, the poorest rating I could find was 4.1 out of 5. Amazon, which is known for having the most reviews, shows it as 4.6 of 5.

There are 28 chapters, each one with a title that seems ripped from a classic kung fu movie – Empty your cup, Active Inactvitiy, Extend Your Ki. The chapters are short, most around 5 or 6 pages, and begin with a relevant photo. Most end with a bit of wisdom, like this one: “Life unfolds on a great sheet called Time, and once finished it is gone forever.”

The book discusses some great names from our history, including Ed Parker & Bruce Lee. The chapters tell stories from the author’s time training.

About the Author of Zen in the Martial Arts

Joe Hyams, while beloved by martial artists for the book he wrote, was not best known as a martial artist or martial arts author. He was a writer, sure, but primarily a celebrity writer. During his career, he wrote or co-wrote books on Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Katharine Hepburn, Frank Sinatra and Chuck Norris.

He studied martial arts for more than 50 years. Beginning with fencing and then, through an introduction by music composer Bronislau Kaper, met Ed Parker. He became one of Parker’s first private students, then soon after, one of his first black belts.

He trained privately with Bruce Lee for two years and introduced him to Hollywood. Hyams was a big piece of Bruce Lee’s start in films. It’s hard to believe that as big of an impact as this book has had, Joe Hyams’ contributions to the martial arts community, via Bruce Lee, were so much greater.

He died in 2008 at age 85.

Why Zen in the Martial Arts is Special

Most martial arts books are about martial arts or some metaphysical subject. Often times they’re written by people who really know martial arts, but aren’t so good at writing.

Mr. Hyams was a writer and a skilled one at that. He wrote newspaper columns, books, movie scripts… Clearly a varied and masterful writer.

He was also very good at conveying his point simply, something that the very best martial artists seem able to do. This book is 140 pages because Mr. Hyams didn’t need more.

While it has a tremendous amount of martial arts content, it’s not a book exclusively for martial artists. According to Melissa Hyams, his wife at the time he passed in 2008, said the book “isn't really about martial arts. It's about life and philosophy, and how to turn a negative into a positive, how to defuse a situation by the way you handle it. That's what he'll most be remembered for."

To illustrate this, I’ll read to you one of the shortest chapters, “Anger without Action,” which is just over one page:

My History with Zen in the Martial Arts

I don’t remember when my Mother first picked up the book. I have vague memories of it being a gift, and it was likely a gift to her. She started training in 1985, so I’d guess it was in our home between 1985 and 1987. I would have been between 6 and 8, which seems about right.

It was always out. Sometimes on the coffee table, sometimes in the bathroom. It was the first nonchildren's book I read and it’s certainly the book I read most. I’d guess I’ve read it all the way through a dozen times.

It was the bits of wisdom that struck me most. I memorized them before I understood most of them, and as I grew up, life and martial arts showed me what these parables meant. “When you seek it, you cannot find it,” “The angry man will defeat himself in battle as well as in life,” and other sayings had a tremendous influence on me.

In fact, as I think back on my life and my time in the martial arts, behind my instructors and my Mother, this book was the third most influential element.

The copy I have now sits on my bookshelf, unread. Which is ironic and something I plan to change. I think it will end up in the same place in my home that it did when I was a child.

Wrapping Up

Have you, like many of our guests, read this classic? It’s still available in new copies, and it’s pretty inexpensive. You can find used copies for a few dollars, digital copies or audiobook versions if that’s your think. If you haven’t read it, you should.

I want to know what you think, and you can post your thoughts in the comments at the website - You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram – just search whistlekick. Or, just leave us a comment on the show notes page at

If you want to be a guest on the show or maybe you have an idea for a show topic, go ahead and fill out the form on the website. And don't forget to subscribe to our newsletter so you can stay up on everything we do. You can learn more about our products at

That’s all for today. Until next time, Train hard, smile and have a great day.


Dec 19, 2016

Mr. Kevin Galloway is a passionate martial arts instructor, school owner and tournament promoter. His stories show an immense dedication to the arts and his students.

Mr. Kevin Galloway - Episode 145

You can tell a real black belt. They don't get too excited, they don't get too low, don't get too high. But what they have is the confidence to resolve any conflict, up until, "I'm just going to walk away."

Way back on Episode 31 we had the chance to hear from a good friend of the show, Mr. Cory Rose. Since then he's been every bit as good of a friend, and today's guest comes from that friendship. Mr. Kevin Galloway is a longtime practitioner of both karate and taekwondo, now operating a school and hosting a competition in Oklahoma.

Mr. Galloway opens up about life, his family, his students and what makes a good instructor. The stories range from the emotional to the humorous, and you'll probably find yourself laughing along - and maybe even tearing up.

Today we're announcing a brand new colorway for our gear - Horizon. This is our first colorway using our exclusive UniqueDip color process, which guarantees that every single piece of gear is a little different from the rest, just as you are. Horizon is a slick blue and white blend that is sure to be a hit. Read more at the official announcement, here. Check it out, or the rest of our colors, at

For full show notes, please visit:

Dec 15, 2016

Conversation and Strategies on Handling Challenging Martial Arts Students - Adults & Children

Difficult Students - Episode 144

Today's episode is completely off the cuff - no notes, no transcript no guest - just host Jeremy giving you his thoughts on handling challenging individuals in your martial arts school. These tips apply whether you're an instructor, school owner or student. Thanks for listening.

Dec 12, 2016

Mrs. April Pettengill is an ITF Taekwondo practitioner & school owner from Northern Vermont who started training later in life.

Mrs. April Pettengill - Episode 143

The whole idea that you learn in martial arts, that you have integrity, and you do what you have to do and take responsibility for that, that...that's a big deal.

Mrs. April Pettengill is not our typical guest. While she's a passionate martial artist, like everyone that comes on the show, she's not a lifelong practitioner. In her own words, she came to taekwondo later in life and originally didn't think it was for her. As time passed she realized that she'd found her calling, eventually taking over her instructor's school. She now teaches adults and children and seems to enjoy every minute of it.

Today's product of note is our super-comfy sweatpants - Cloud9. Check 'em out!

For full show notes and other episodes, please visit:


Dec 8, 2016

James Mitose (Profile) - Episode 142

It’s time for episode 142 of whistlekick Martial Arts radio, and we’re going to profile a man who’s come up in several conversations over the last few months, James Mitose.

Let me introduce myself. I'm whistlekick’s founder but I’m better known as your host on this show. My name is Jeremy Lesniak. whistlekick makes the best sparring gear you can buy as well as some great apparel and accessories for practitioners and fans of traditional martial arts.  I'd like to welcome all of you new listeners and thank everyone that’s come back.

All our past episodes, show notes, and some other good stuff is at From that site, you can sign up for our newsletter, and I hope you do because we offer exclusive content to subscribers, discounts and it's the only place to find out about upcoming guests. Today’s episode has a full transcript and some old photos of our subject.

For transcript, photos, show notes & more, please visit:

Dec 5, 2016

Grandmaster Rick Alemany is a prominent figure in the world of American Kenpo Karate.

Grandmaster Rick Alemany - Episode 141

"I just set a goal that I wanted to be the best that I could be."

It was from the efforts of two past guests that we get to hear from Grandmaster Rick Alemany today. Both Professor Brannon Beliso and Mr. Daniel Hartz coordinated with each other and with our guest. They then reached out to us to coordinate it. Personally, I'm glad they did, because I truly enjoyed my conversations with him. Prior to the episode recording, I had a few calls with him, to coordinate schedule and talk about the show. Each time I came away feeling that this man is someone special, and someone I was honored to speak with. I hope that you enjoy hearing what he says and that your reaction is as positive.


For full show notes and other episodes, please visit:

Dec 1, 2016

...That doesn’t mean the training of weapons is only for practical purposes, but for this episode, we are going to limit the conversation to that. We’re actually going to restrict our conversation to non-obvious self-defense tools, which excludes firearms, stun guns and pepper sprays. While these are great tools, and I carry two of the three often, they’re definitely weapons. It’s hard to claim otherwise, which makes them a bit less appropriate for a martial arts conversation.


For a full transcript, photos & show notes, please visit:

Nov 28, 2016

Past guest Master Brendan Goodall returned to chat with Jeremy about a variety of martial arts topics.

Conversations with Master Brendan Goodall - Episode 139

For today's episode I had a chat with Master Goodall as we drove out to evening plans on Thanksgiving Day. We talk about a variety of martial arts subjects from motivation to instruction, to working with kids. You can check out our previous episode with Master Brendan Goodall, all the way back on Episode 10.

Check out the show notes at

Nov 24, 2016

We're all part of a martial arts family, simply by sharing the common bond of training for self-improvement.

Martial Arts Family - Episode 138

For a full transcript and other episodes, please visit

Nov 21, 2016

Sensei Brandon Benenati - Episode 137

I've known Sensei Brandon Benenati for a couple years, first introduced to him by Master Adam Grogin, from all the way back on episode 5. I had the chance to attend 2015's Super Summer Seminars with him and really enjoyed his personality and approach to martial arts. He's a dedicated, passionate martial artist who truly enjoys his life - and his training.

On today' episode, we talk about where he's come from, where he's headed, and why martial arts continues as something he's pursuing.

Our featured product today is our Original Sparring Gloves - the lightest, most durable (and comfortable!) sparring glove you can get your hands on. (Get it!) Available in several colors, find them over at

For more show notes and other episodes, please visit:

Nov 14, 2016

Sensei Katie Jordan is a Shotokan karate practitioner from Maine, now living in Massachusetts.

Sensei Katie Jordan - Episode 136

I really think competition makes people better. You see different fighters, you see different styles, you see what works for people and what doesn't.

I first met Sensei Katie Jordan in 2015 at a competition. Since that time I've had the opportunity to watch her referee, compete and otherwise embody martial arts. Sensei Jordan is a woman who had dedicated her life to martial arts training, and that dedication shows. On today's episode, we hear about her deep love for the arts, for her instructor and for the many people she's met along the way. What we hear today is insight and passion that shows a tremendous level of maturity. Enjoy.

Did you know all whistlekick products ship for free from Every single item you buy comes with free shipping - even exchanges. That means that even if you get the wrong size or color, we'll send you a replacement for free. We want to be sure that you love your whistlekick stuff, and free shipping makes it easier to love. Check out everything we have today at

For the rest of the show notes and other episodes, please visit:

Nov 10, 2016

Most of our guests are men, it's true. Some have even accused the martial arts realm of being inherently sexist. We talk about this and more today.

Women in Martial Arts - Episode 135

On today's episode, we discuss why there are so few women on the show, sexism, the case against mandatory white training pants and a lot more. While this episode is not the grand conversation of women's issues in martial arts that we hope to have, it is the primer to set the stage for that conversation. 


Nov 7, 2016

Kyoshi Jose Dimacali - Episode 134

I'm not your friend, I say. I'm better than your friend - I'm your instructor. Because friends sometimes steer you the wrong way. Instructors are going to try to bring you to the right path.

I first met Kyoshi Jose Dimacali in 2015 at the Twin State Martial Arts Championships. We were still offering the 60-Second Pushup Challenge, and Kyoshi was encouraged to participate by his instructor, Hanshi Richard Bernard. He absolutely dominated the men's division that day (74), and it was one of the few times that Hanshi Bernard didn't take away the victory.

However, that was not the first time I had heard of Kyoshi. People spoke very highly of his skill and his dominance when it came to his forms performances. Over the next year, I had the opportunity to speak with him several times and I realized that not only is Kyoshi Dimacali an excellent competitor, but an excellent martial artist and a great person. Today's episode solidifies my opinions of him as he tells an emotional tale of martial arts, family, and motivation. I hope you enjoy it.


Today's featured product is our pullover sweatshirt. Available in 5 colors, these cotton-blend hoodies hold up amazingly well and keep you cozy whether it's a bit chilly at the house or help you warm up before training. Find them at

Nov 3, 2016

You can find lots of photos, a full transcript and other episodes at:

Oct 31, 2016

Mr. Daniel Hartz - Episode 132

Daniel Hartz Earl Smith
Mr. Hartz just after having Sensei Smith demonstrate a choke. Wearing a NoSweat Tee.

You may recognize the name of today's guest from his appearance on Episode 100. Mr. Daniel Hartz was the interviewer for my episode of the show, and it's been an honor to have him back for his turn at the table. While there are no firm rules about who we have on the show, we generally only extend the invitation to black belts. Mr. Hartz recently earned his black belt at a weekend-long testing ceremony I was fortunate enough to participate in.

On today's episode, we learn a lot about not only Mr. Hartz, but about what it is that draws people to martial arts and keeps them there. As a recent black belt, Mr. Hartz doesn't have the decades of training many of our guests do, which gives him a different perspective on training. He's very open about himself and his love for the arts, which I suspect will resonate for most listeners. It certainly did for me.


Today's featured product is our polyester, base-layer shirt - NoSweat. They come in a variety of bright colors as well as traditional colors, like black, white & gray, which are great for wearing under your uniform while training. They help keep you more comfortable by wicking the sweat from your skin and letting it evaporate. Get yours at

For full show notes and other episodes, please visit:

Oct 27, 2016

On today's episode, we discuss the important of etiquette in a martial arts class. We also tackle how to handle attending class with a different group of people, where martial arts etiquette might be different.

Martial Arts Etiquette - Episode 131

For a full transcript and other episodes, please visit:

Oct 24, 2016

On episode 107 we released a profile of Sensei Fumio Demura. After several conversations with people that knew Sensei, it didn't seem likely that we'd be able to have him on the show. It's no secret that his health isn't great and, despite that, he's still very busy. So we went ahead and released our profile episode to honor him and all of his accomplishments. He's certainly a figure that martial artists should know.

From that episode, the folks at The Real Miyagi, the documentary outlining Sensei's life, reached out to us. After some back and forth they were able to put us in touch with Demura Sensei by email... and the rest is (now) history. What follows is an uncut discussion between Sensei Fumio Demura and host Jeremy Lesniak.


Oct 20, 2016

Advice on how to handle martial arts related setbacks.

Dealing with Setbacks - Episode 129

For more episodes, and a full transcript, please visit:

Oct 17, 2016

But that front kick that's done on a bag isn't truly owned by the student until they're in a free-thinking, sparring situation and they see the opening and they're like "Oh, now it's time for a front kick."

Renshi Lisa Magiera occupies an interesting place in the martial arts world, at least for listeners to this show. Over the episodes, we've spoken of various guests in a familial sense, as they tie to my place in the martial arts world. We've heard from older siblings, Uncles, and others. Renshi Lisa Magiera is best described as my sister.

Just a short time after I left Maine for College, Renshi moved to the area and starting training at the karate school I grew up in. She ultimately purchased it and continues to operate it today. She learned the same things by the same people, and we have many things in common because of that. Interestingly, we had very little overlap as my College visits to home rarely involved martial arts, as I was there for holidays and weekends. We've built a strong friendship over the last few years, though.

This episode is a lot of fun, for both of us, and hopefully, everyone else enjoys it, too.


Today's whistlekick product of note is our shin guards - pre-formed to the shape of your shin, comfortable, double-layered and very easy to clean. Check them out at or on Amazon.


For full show notes and other episodes, please visit:

Oct 10, 2016

Mr. Dale Frye, aka "Sunshine," is a world champion kickboxer turned actor and stuntman.

Mr. Dale Frye - Episode 126

I said, wait a minute. We just sat here and beat on each other for six rounds, and it was fun. And it's like, maybe we need to be looked at or something.

Mr Dale Frye has done a lot. From winning world-titles in kickboxing to an acting resume that's been impressive for decades. Whether it's kicks or stunts or acting, Mr. Frye, also known by his fighting name, Sunshine, has left his mark. We had a good chat and I think you'll enjoy it.  Let's welcome him to the show.

Today we're featuring our awesomely-comfortable sweatpants. They're perfect for anyone that has legs and gets cold. Available at




For full show notes, please visit:


Dale Frye

Oct 6, 2016

For full show notes, including a transcript, please visit:

Oct 3, 2016

I first met Shihan Grant Campbell during the March 2016 Superfoot black belt gathering in Florida. It was during this same assembly that I met Kyoshi Kevin Hudson, and, of course, Sensei Terry Dow and Bill Wallace were there. I met a lot of people that weekend, and everyone was very skilled, and a great person to work with. There was one person, though, that stood out for me in the way he helped me through that weekend.

We've all worked with martial arts practitioners that seem to understand us, to know our journey, and to make us better. Shihan Campbell was that person for me, at least on that weekend. I enjoyed his help with the physical aspects of our training, but also really appreciated his humor and stories during meals and downtime. I knew that he was someone we needed to have on the show.

The scheduling took some time, as he's very busy with training, teaching, and travelling, but we made it happen. Listen in, you'll see that it was worth the wait.

Today's featured whistlekick product is our full line of shirts. Quite a few different styles to choose from, including large and youth sizes. With something for everyone, there's no reason not to have a few whistlekick shirts in your drawer or closet.


For full show notes and other episodes, please visit:

1 2 3 4 5 Next »