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




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Sep 1, 2016

You’ve probably heard me mention our line of NoSweat shirts before. Super lightweight, incredibly comfortable, these go great under your uniform – and we carry black, white and gray just for that purpose – as well as any other time you want a comfortable, lightweight tee. You can also find them in red, blue, green and a few other colors. Check them out at

We’ve talked on this show about competition and its role in martial arts. We ask our guests about their competitive experience and we’ve even done full episodes on martial arts tournaments.

One of the things I’ve seen lately on social media revolves around criticism of the way money is handed out at competitions. Some are calling for equal payouts for men’s and women’s divisions. Others are calling for parity between the adult and senior divisions.

Money is, of course, important. While I would agree with the adage, “money doesn’t buy happiness,” it’s hard to be happy when you don’t have any. Let’s explore the ties between money and competitive martial arts.

Aug 29, 2016

Mr. Gershon Ben Keren is a Krav Maga instructor, author and school owner.

Mr. Gershon Gen Keren - Episode 114

It really doesn't matter how you solve that problem, whether you solve that problem by picking up an improvised weapon, whether you solve that problem through de-escalation or you solve it through disengagement.

Gershon Ben KerenFrequent listeners know that we try to bring on people from different martial arts. It's important to be a well-rounded martial artist, and part of that involves learning about the different perspectives that different martial artists have - especially those that train in less-common arts. While we've had a few guests on the show that trained in Krav Maga, none of them have defined themselves as Krav Maga practitioners. And until recently, I wasn't even aware of how old Krav Maga was. So, when Mr. Gershon Ben Keren came to my attention as Krav Maga practitioner who started training long before the current wave, he seemed the perfect candidate to have on the show.

While Mr. Ben Keren isn't here to represent Krav Maga, being the first person steeped in that art on the show carried a bit of responsibility with it. I was very honest with him of this, but also let him know that the episode was about him and not his chosen art. I think we both did a good job of placing him first but also giving you some information on the history of the style, which was important in giving you context for our guest.

I really enjoyed getting to know Mr. Ben Keren, and with his school only a few hours away, it's just a matter of time before I pop by for a visit. Let's welcome him to the show.

karate shin guards
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For show notes and other episodes, please visit:


Aug 25, 2016

Martial arts training in different locations - and different types of locations - can yield strong benefits.

Different Training Environments - Episode 113

Show transcript below.

What is up everyone? It’s time for another episode of whistlekick Martial Arts Radio, and here we are with episode 113. And today we’re going to talk about training in different environments.

I'm whistlekick’s founder but I’m better known as your host, Jeremy Lesniak. whistlekick, if you don’t know, makes the absolute best sparring gear, apparel, and accessories for practitioners and fans of traditional martial arts.  I'd like to welcome the new listeners and thank everyone that’s come back again.

All of our past podcast episodes, show notes and a lot more are at From that site, you can sign up for our newsletter, and I really suggest you do so, because we offer exclusive content to subscribers, discounts and it's the only place to find out about upcoming guests.

whistlekick-sweatpantsAs the weather starts cooling, you might be in the market for something warmer – whether you’re headed to training, the gym or just looking for something comfortable, our sweatpants are it. Seriously, people love these things. I have a few pairs and through the winter months, they’re pretty much all I wear.

Let’s talk about your training. Specifically, where you train. If you’re like me, like most people, the vast majority of your training is at your dojo, dojang, academy, training hall or whatever you call it at your school. You might have mats or a hardwood floor. But the surface probably doesn’t change. The lighting is probably the same and if you’re like most schools, you always face the same direction.

For some martial artists, this routine can pose a problem. It really comes down to two things – engagement and practicality.

By engagement, I mean that your surroundings have a lot to do with the energy you invest to your training. Different people, different locations and different sights, sounds and smells seem to wake people up and inspire them to train harder.

By practicality, I mean that we adapt to our surroundings and aren’t quite as adept at taking action in strange environments. This doesn’t just go for martial arts, but for anything. It’s not a martial arts problem, it’s a human being problem.

Let’s talk about the engagement challenge first. If you’ve been listening to the show you know that I’m an advocate for training with different instructors, attending seminars and otherwise varying your education. Of course, that will require you to go to different places and you’ll learn differently because of those environments, but what about the rest of the time?

One of the most interesting things I ever saw in a martial arts class was when an instructor had a kid’s class turn 90 degrees and face a different wall. It was like a different group of children. They were suddenly attentive, powerful and really invested in the class.

About 10 minutes later, as the energy level waned, the instructor did it again. Sure, there was likely some benefit from the small break the kids had, but I have no doubt that looking at a different wall was enough to wake up the children’s senses. In fact, I’ve done this myself when I teach children, and even adults, if they seem to be fading.

There are other ways to up the engagement in your regular-old training facility. Changing the lighting can be huge. Adding a colored light or turning off some of the lights completely changes the space. Drawing the shades, kicking parents and visitors out for just one night, and even putting sunglasses on everyone can make a huge impact. Anything that alters the sensory input will prompt a response. The longer someone has been training, chances are, the stronger the response.

Let’s talk about the actual physical space now. You can change it all you want, but at some point, you have to consider that it’s exactly the same space. There’s benefit to training outside that space as we’ve already discussed.

Where, though, can and should you train?

If you want to freak out a younger or newer student, take them to a crowded park and ask them to do a form. Chances are, they’ll panic. Will they panic if they’re attacked in that same place? Chances are they’ll be more willing to use their skills, but that anxiety that comes up from people watching them is still important to address.

Training outside, in different weather conditions, with strangers watching, adds a whole new dynamic to training. If you’ve ever been part of a demonstration, you’ve probably witnessed this whether you realized it or not. People act differently in different environments. Some people seem to draw strength from training in a wooded environment, others do better during a beach training.

My challenge to you is to go out and try training in different environments. In fact, I’m going to give you a checklist right now and I’d urge you to try checking them off in the next month. Even for 15 minutes, try practicing in your car, in a public park, in the woods, at the beach or a pool, in front of your house, in your bedroom and on top of something high-up like a tall building. Try and do at least one of these at night, one during a good rainstorm, one while it’s hot and another while cold. Be present during your training and see what you observe. There are lessons to be learned from each of these and all of them make you a better martial artist.

The elements and locations that you find most challenging are the ones that will yield the greatest benefits if your practice embraces them.

I’d love to see photos of listeners training outside, training in the rain or in other non-conventional places. Do you have a favorite location to train outside of your school? Where is it and why do you like it? Whatever your comments, let us know. You can comment on the show notes at or on social media - we're on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Instagram - all with the username whistlekick.

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, like all of our great shirts, and you can check out our awesome line of sparring gear there or on Amazon.

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


Aug 22, 2016

It was during my time at the Superfoot camp in Florida in March of 2016 that I first met Kyoshi Kevin Hudson. A tall man with a southern accent and a constant smile, he quickly became one of my favorite people I met that weekend. He quickly showed himself to be a skilled and passionate martial artist, which are the two primary criteria for coming on this show. It took a little bit of time to make the scheduling work, but it was worth the wait.

This episode is one where we hear a lot about Kyoshi Hudson's love- not just for Martial Arts, but for people & for life in general. It's hard not to feel good after speaking with him, and that comes through in this episode. Enjoy.


Today's featured products are our sweatshirts - pullovers and zip-ups available. Comfortable, stylish, cozy. What else could you ask for?


For full show notes and other episodes, please visit

Aug 18, 2016

Karate will be in the Olympics in 2020 in Tokyo, Japan. Let's talk about what that means to the martial arts.

During the show we reference the following websites.

Official Tokyo 2020 Olympic Page on Karate -

Official World Karate Federation (WKF) rules -

Black Belt Magazine pieces on how the Olympics have impacted Judo and Taekwondo

Today's featured product is our line of tee shirts. Check them out at our online martial arts store.

For more information, other episodes, an episode transcript and a lot more, please visit:

Aug 15, 2016

We love guest suggestions from the audience. So when one of our listeners suggested Mr. Simon Scher as a guest, it didn't take long for us to realize we had been missing out in not inviting this impressive man on the show.

Once we realized he was only a few hours away from HQ, we ended up attending a Superfoot seminar together and even have some collaborations in the works. Mr. Scher is well known for his prolific social media releases, including photos and video of him kicking everything in sight. He's a kind and thoughtful man, with a great sense of humor.

Enjoy the episode and when you're done, check out some of his videos. They're well done and entertaining. While he does have a Taekwondo background, his instruction offers something for people of all arts. Personally, I've found Mr. Scher to be a great guy and I'm looking forward to more collaborations with him in the future. ~jeremy

Today's featured whistlekick product is our sparring helmet. Our helmet is much more flexible than other brands, which means it's more comfortable to wear. Adequate ventilation means less sweat, too. Check them out on our website.


For show notes please visit:

Aug 11, 2016

There’s nothing fancy or special about today’s episode – but it is the first episode where we’ve told you what’s going on at whistlekick behind the scenes. Like this episode? Hate it? Let us know. It will help us determine whether to do it again. Thanks for listening!

Aug 8, 2016

This is part 2 of our episode with Mr. Tony Blauer. Please listen to part 1 first.

Aug 8, 2016

Mr. Tony Blauer is here to upset the apple cart a bit. Some will claim he's not a martial artist, but if you check our definition of a martial artist, you'll see that he certainly is. What Mr. Blauer has done exceptionally well throughout his career is look at martial arts, combat, and self-defense in a different way. He's not someone who will simply accept the words of another. That's not to say he's not respectful, but he challenges convention when he sees it to be appropriate. In a sense, he's a martial arts researcher.

What follows is our longest show yet. Mr. Blauer gave an incredible amount of his time and geared the conversation to our audience - traditional martial arts & martial artists. You may love this episode, which has been split into two parts, or you may hate it. Regardless, you're going to think about martial arts, your training, self-defense and more. Our intention in bringing you this episode is not to steer you to sign up for anything from anyone. (Disclosure: we have never, and will never, taken any financial incentives from guests for them coming on the show.) Our intention is that you listen, consider Mr. Blauer's words, and look at your life and your training.

For the clean version of this episode, please visit:

Today's featured whistlekick product is our sparring boots. With sizes from the smallest child to the biggest bigfoot, we have something for you. No toe strap, excellent reinforcement, and far better materials than what you're used to. These are the most durable, comfortable foam sparring boots you've ever used.

Aug 4, 2016

Not long after moving the US Demura got a gig doing martial arts demonstrations at the Japanese Deer Park, a local attraction in California. The shows were different from martial arts demonstrations of the day, which showcased martial artists coming close but not making contact. Demura’s demonstrations featured people reacting to this near contact, making it look like a fight. While there were likely others offering demonstrations this way, these demos at the Deer Park were certainly popularized by Fumio Demura and he’s sometimes credited with developing the method.

He was the stunt double for Pat Morita, who played Miyagi, in the karate kid movies. It was Chuck Norris who introduced Demura to the production people for The Karate Kid. He was originally intended to be Miyagi, but he knew his English wasn’t good enough. From there he became the stunt double.

 It’s hard to talk about Fumio Demura without mentioning the amazing movie from 2015, The Real Miyagi. What started as a crowdfunding project really turned into an amazing film. It’s a well-done documentary on the life of Shihan Demura and it’s available on Netflix as well as DVD. The cast is a who’s who of martial artists and martial arts actors, including Billy Blanks, Pat Johnson, Dolph Lundgren, Pat Morita, Christine Bannon Rodriguez, Steven Seagal, Bill Wallace, Michael Jai White and many more.

Aug 1, 2016

Over the course of this show, we've had a few trends with mentions of movies & actors. But when it comes to books, there are only a few we've heard about consistently. Joe Hyams Zen in the Martial Arts, Miyamoto Musashi's The Book of Five Rings and Alex Gillis's A Killing Art. The first two authors have passed away, but Mr. Gillis is alive and well, so we invited him to come on the show.

You can learn a lot about Mr. Gillis from the way he wrote the book, and you can learn about the book from our conversation with the man. Thoughtful, thorough and dedicated are words that you can use to describe either.

For full show notes, please visit:

If you're a hat person, you need a whistlekick hat. There's really no other way to put it. We have a few different styles of both baseball cap-style hats as well as winter beanies. Check them out at the website,

Jul 28, 2016

Lately, I’ve been noticing something that’s really starting to irritate me. Someone will mention their desire to explore martial arts, usually on social media. What comes back is a barrage of “my school is best” and “my art is best” posts.

Now, we’ve talked a lot about that but when we talk about it in the context of a potential martial artist, all we’re doing is turning them off from ever training. See, people don’t like to make bad decisions. And if multiple people that they respect offer contradictory opinions… they’re likely to make no choice.

And if you’ve been listening to the show for a while, you know that one of our goals here at whistlekick is to get more people to train. After all, martial artists make the world a better place.

So it really does all of us a disservice to answer that question – What martial art should I do – with such a direct answer. If you sold cars, houses or even cheese – would you even answer the question, what car, house or cheese should I get?

Of course not. You’d ask questions. In sales, they’re called qualifying questions. And guess what? If you’re even thinking of answering the question, you’re a sales person. And you have a duty to the person asking the question, the people you train with and the martial arts community as a whole to help them correctly.

Just as you shouldn’t teach at a martial arts school if you’re not willing to give your students the best instruction you can, you shouldn’t engage with someone on the question of what art to take.

Let’s now go through the questions you should be asking and how to handle this whole situation.

For full show notes, please visit:


If you’re involved in a school that spars, chances are you’ve clashed shins with someone. Man, does that hurt. There are plenty of shin guards on the market, but ours are the only ones that are comfortable to wear, light-weight, double reinforced and actually shaped to fit your shin. When I’m at events I demo them by shin kicking door frames. Seriously, these things are great. You can learn more at



Jul 25, 2016

Today's episode is with well-known martial artist and ninjitsu practitioner Sensei Ashida Kim. While I had heard his name before, I'll confess that I didn't know a lot about him. When a past guest suggested he would be someone good to speak with, I did a bit of research and found that this man's resume is pretty incredible. While much of the writings on the internet about Sensei Kim are very strongly opinionated - both in his favor and not - I was more concerned with his stories. As we always do on the show, we give our guests the opportunity to speak freely and talk about that which they want to. That's exactly what we did here - and it's a great episode.

Sensei Kim is a prolific author and has written a number of books still available. We discuss a few of them during the episode and you can learn more at his website, linked below.

Today's featured whistlekick product is our line of tee shirts. We have something for everyone, in a variety of styles and sizes. Check them out, and the rest of our martial arts sparring gear and apparel, at

Jul 21, 2016

Muscle memory is when your body does something automatically. Muscles remember what to do by repeating something many times. Sometimes this is called motor learning. In martial arts, this is the ability to, say, throw a punch without thinking about all of the small things required - which knuckles to use, twisting the hand, the retracted hand, etc. 

There's a bad side to motor learning - like when throwing a technique, someone throws it to the same place without thinking. Every time.

There are ways to expand muscle memory and not be locked in to only a few patterns. Practice things differently. Routine is the enemy. It’s not that we don’t want muscle memory, it’s that we don’t want it to limit us. Work different heights, different body placements, different combinations. Strange combinations. Different speeds. When you slow things down you can focus on the movements and make adjustments. That's something we should all be doing anyway.

Jeremy offers his favorite drill for combatting the negative effects of motor learning.

Today's featured product is our sweatpants.

Jul 18, 2016


"Martial arts develops character. Martial sports reveals character."

Welcome to episode 102 of Martial Arts Radio, where today we get to hear from Datu Tim Hartman. Datu Hartman is a living legend in the world of Filipino martial arts and has offered numerous seminars across the globe. As a lifelong practitioner of Filipino arts, Datu Hartman has watched the growth of the various disciplines, including arnis, escrima, kali and the various approaches and styles to these arts. We hear about the man's past, what keeps him inspired to train and why he's still so passionate not only about martial arts, but about passing on what he's learned to newer students.


Today's featured whistlekick product line is our suggestion. They're available in zip-up and pull-over, in quite a few colors and sizes. What do they have in common? Style, comfort and quality, just like everything we make.


For full show notes, including links, photos and video, please visit:

Jul 14, 2016

Necessity of Having Different Styles - Episode 101

Have you ever wondered why some martial artists get into such heated discussions over one style versus another? How about the difference between honoring the style as it was laid out, artistically, and personal progress in your martial arts? We talk about not only the benefit of having different martial arts styles available to those that want to train, but the necessity.

During the episode, we make reference to some past episodes on the definition of a martial art, Bruce Lee and our episode with Grandmaster Victor Moore.

Jul 11, 2016

On episode 100 we hear from the whistlekick founder, and our regular host, Sensei Jeremy Lesniak. Throughout his martial arts career, he has achieved a black belt in no less than three different disciplines. A native to New England, Sensei Jeremy is a friend to many schools. Not just as a great resource for the best sparring gear, but someone you may see at a seminar, or as a guest instructor. Sensei Lesniak started martial arts at a young age but continues to demonstrate his passion for martial arts to this day. I've had the pleasure to work with him as a student in one of my seminars, and as a guest instructor in my home dojo.

~Daniel Hartz, host for Episode 100.

Today's featured product is our noSweat Athletic Shirts. You will notice how comfortable they are, and how they aren't too tight or too loose - they fit just right. They are great for working out, or wearing under your uniform. We have lots of colors and sizes to choose from, so take a look.

Jul 7, 2016

On Episode 99 host Jeremy Lesniak goes over the 9 reasons why he continues to practice martial arts. 

For show notes and other episodes, please visit:

Jul 4, 2016

Today's episode is with Mr. Tom Bisio, a practitioner and instructor of Ba Gua Zhang and Xing Yi Quan. We spend a lot of time discussing the martial arts overall as well as the internal martial arts, Mr. Bisio's focus both as practitioner and instructor. His background is diverse, though, and he's able to tie together a lot of the elements of martial arts, including some we don't typically think about around health and healing. It's clear from speaking with him that he's on an educational mission of sorts, making efforts to bring new and revised knowledge to those that are interested and in various forms.


For show notes and other episodes, please visit:

Jun 30, 2016

On today's episode of Martial Arts Radio we're talking about the legendary martial artist and martial arts movie actor, Steven Seagal. We talk about Seagal's history, including his martial arts training and how he got into the movie industry. We don't pull any punches here, being honest and fair about Steven Seagal with regard to his skills, acting and off-screen actions. You're sure to learn things about him you didn't before, so tune in and check it out. Thanks for listening.


For full show notes and other episodes, please visit:

Jun 27, 2016

On today's show, we talk to Master Amanda Meltzer, a taekwondo practitioner from New Hampshire. Master Meltzer is a less common example of someone who came to martial arts later in life, at least with respect to the guests we have on our show. What's always interesting about these examples is we get a clearer picture as to why someone takes up martial arts as an adult. Here we get a very clear picture and understand how taekwondo has not only become a family affair but also grown her family.

Today's featured product is the design that launched the company, our original sparring boots. No toe strap, extra-reinforcement, better materials. It all combines to give you the best sparring boot on the market. Seriously, check them out!


For other episodes & show notes please visit: 

Jun 23, 2016

Becoming a Better Martial Artist in the Car - Episode 95

Today's episode covers suggestions for reclaiming the time you spend in your vehicle in order to become a better martial artist.

  1. Podcasts - we mentioned the popular blog post we wrote last year on Best Martial Arts Podcasts
  2. Hand Dexterity
  3. Hand Mobility
  4. Cut Your Fingernails
  5. Focus Practice
  6. Hand Conditioning
  7. Driving Barefoot
  8. Anticipation of Other Cars, People & Animals
  9. Electronic Recovery Units
  10. Hand Strengthening
Jun 20, 2016

On episode 94 we get to talk with Sifu Gary Cecil, a Kung Fu instructor who was suggested as a guest by one of his students. We had a great conversation and I found myself really interested in some of the things Sifu Cecil had to say. You might think that, close to 100 episodes in, we've heard everything - every background someone comes from and every way that you can view the martial arts. But that's clearly not the case, as Sifu Cecil gave us plenty to think about.

Today's featured product is our great line of martial arts sparring gloves


For more info and full show notes, please visit

Jun 16, 2016

Over the last few months we've been honing in on a definition for martial arts. Well, on episode 93 we jump in headlong and see if we can flesh it out. This may go down as a controversial episode, but that's okay. We take an academic, thought out approach and apply what we've learned from the many guests we've had on the show. In the end, what we have is good... but could it be better?

Jun 13, 2016

On episode 92 we're joined by a man with an incredible story. Sabumnim Scott Pribyl started martial arts training as a late teenager and really took to it. He credits his professional success to the lessons he learned in the martial arts and also his survival of an incident that literally no other person is known to have survived. He's an incredible man and tells some amazing stories. Enjoy.

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