I have been a habitual reader of Black Belt Magazine since the 1980's when they ran The Shadow Warrior column by Darryl Caldwell. Back then, the Internet wasn't really well known outside DARPA and Al Gore, and BBM was the leading edge in martial arts media.
Things have changed, and although BBM has tried to keep up, they haven't always been successful. Obviously, they caught onto the MMA craze and have been riding that since the mid-90's. Then, after 9/11, they plunged headfirst into so-called reality-based self defense arts (RBSD). of course, in both cases, they had been printing stories all-along. What changed was an editorial stance to actively push the topics to the forefront.
Now, however, the magazine suffers from three-way multiple personality disorder. Do they cater to traditional martial arts, MMA, or RBSD? Although I've never seen an "official" editorial stance, BBM seems to take the commercially prudent stance that all three are a continuum in a martial arts spectrum. That's fine by me, but it seems to lead to some writer or another printing an apology for (fill in the blank) at least once a month.
Also, they haven't been too discriminating in their editorial picks for what gets printed. So I've got back issues filled with BS from traditional martial artists, or trash-talking MMA fans, and of course the RBSD guys who seem to be professional paranoids. Yes, I know it's possible I'll be involved in a grenade attack... But I have better odds of hitting the lottery -- and I don't generally play.
Still, I've been fortunate enough to have a number of training partners who depended on their skills to keep themselves safe. So I have a healthy respect for RBSD-types who genuinely know their stuff. Unfortunately, BBM seemed to be promoting an RBSD instructor with a massive ego that was getting in the way of the useful information. I found myself counting the number of times the man used a personal pronoun and recommended his own (expensive) seminar series, books, and videos in the column.
But this week, I got my latest BBM, and found they had replaced the old RBSD column with a new column by Kelly McCann. I've been hearing great things about Mr. McCann for sometime now. People I respect have recommended his material to me. I finally got his basic book (see image above) a couple of months ago and devoured it. It is full of practical experience from a man who has been around the block a few times. Can he tell you how to survive a grenade attack? Oh, yes; and his credentials in that area are pretty tight. But his advice is more likely to be applicable to a bad night in the local pub. I have high hopes for this column.
Black Belt Magazine, please accept this round of applause for adding Kelly McCann to your list of columnists. I just might renew my subscription again this year now...