Times started life as an experiment, a market survey tool if you like, designed
to discover if a serious martial arts publication could survive, let alone
prosper in the North American market where fantasy publications had for
so long held sway.
was initially rejected by all the large book distributors because it was
produced on newsprint and was considered too serious for the martial arts
public they knew. It lacked controversy we were told (we never compared
one spurious fighting art with its equally spurious competitors), had no
star power (Bruce Lee never appeared on the cover), and was too rigid in
its outlook (we insist on publishing the truth and nothing but the truth).
Clearly Dragon Times did not have much of a future if the "experts" were
to be believed.
against the odds, little by little, it made headway. Dragon Times attracted
the strongest team of martial arts writers ever assembled, developed a core
of readers who were almost fanatical in their support, and while doing so,
won the approval of the upper echelon of senior karate masters.
Hooper, Ph.D. Mario McKenna, Charles Swift, Dr. Robert Dohrenwend, Brian
Kennedy and Elizabeth Guo, joined our writing team, strengthening it immeasurably.
With their help, each issue of Dragon Times grew larger in size and stronger
in content, helping us to strengthen our hold on the legitimate US martial
arts community while developing an expanded readership in Canada, Europe
the time issue ten came off the press, we knew that we had a chance of surviving.
By issue eighteen we felt we might someday prosper. Issue twenty saw us
pass the magic 60% sell through point in the stores and actually start to
sell out certain issues completely.
important break through came when frustrated Dragon Times readers persuaded
the Borders Books company to try their favorite publication in a few of
their larger stores. Sales were spectacular! They added a few more stores
and it sold even better. Borders then offered it in every one of their 300+
stores and it sold like no other martial arts publication before it. This
convinced the company that there were martial arts readers out there who
were interested in reality, comfortable with the structure of the English
sentence, and undaunted by words of more than two syllables.
spread and before long Dragon Times became a feature in many Barnes and
Noble, Bookstar and Bookstop stores as well as branches of Hastings and
Tower Books. In the magazine industry where a sell-through (ratio of copies
printed to copies actually sold) of 50% is considered very good, and where
increases of 1-2% cause great excitement among sales executives, Dragon
Times never sold less than 55% — since 2001 it has always exceeded 60%.
year we reached a point where, to maintain momentum, we needed to add some
of the many thousands of newsstands around the country as outlets for our
magazine. Ironically, the distributor who services this market was unwilling
to handle Dragon Times because of its tabloid newspaper format and we therefore
found ourselves with arguably the best martial arts publication on the market,
but no way of servicing our growing readership. Drastic measures were called
the support of our contributing editors, the staff and volunteers who produce
Dragon Times, and our primary distributor, Dragon Times will, from this
issue, evolve into a magazine format publication called Classical Fighting
Arts, the debut issue of which will be published in March 2003. This is
purely a cosmetic change. The publisher, writers and design staff will remain
the same, as will the basic role of the magazine, to publish only the best
and most accurate material by the best and most highly respected writers.
you are a paid subscriber to Dragon Times you will receive Classical Fighting
Arts for the entire balance of your subscription. Despite the difference
in cover price there is nothing extra to pay — we appreciate your support
in the past and wish to acknowledge it by continuing your subscription.
The new magazine's cover price will be $5.95 per issue, a subscription for
one year (4 issues) costs $20.00 and for 2 years (8 issues) $35.00.
benefits of the new format beyond those already stated above are very obvious.
Better paper will mean the quality of the images and text in Classical Fighting
Arts will be greatly improved. We will have a new style binding and a glossy
color cover. The increased sales volume that should result from greater
exposure will allow us to spend more time on production and graphics, extend
the editorial reach of the magazine, and attract even greater numbers of
the best writers and instructors. In other words we plan to bring you more
of the same, only better!
twenty three issues we have produced since Dragon Times first saw the light
of day have proven that there is a market for a quality martial arts publication
in North America and elsewhere. It has also confirmed that the vast majority
of martial artists are not the illiterate morons portrayed in the "popular"
magazines but increasingly sophisticated consumers looking for quality publications
and equipment, and perhaps, more importantly, a way of communicating with
other serious enthusiasts.
is not to say that the world of martial arts is fast approaching perfection.
Karate is still without credible leadership in North America. Over-emphasis
on karate competition is producing a generation that cannot defend itself
in the absence of a referee and four corner judges. Kata in many dojo has
degenerated to a point where it is irrelevant in a self-defense context.
Most relevant information on the internet is largely irrelevant as well
as wildly inaccurate and Karate chat rooms are bursting at the seams with
self-appointed experts willing to share their ignorance with anyone, for
on the positive side, real karate has never been more popular, nor have
its standards been higher. We have many of the best and most talented karate
teachers in the world living in North America, they are willing to teach
any serious student and often charge significantly less than the charlatans
years ago while dining with Henri Pleé the father of European karate, he
said something that made a strong impression on me. He stated quite simply
that he admired the United States because it had the best and the worst
in the world and was rarely mediocre. The best medical care and the highest
number of violent crime victims; the highest standard of living side by
side with abject poverty of the caliber only normally found in the most
impoverished parts of the third world. The world of American karate is the
same, we have the very best and the very worst available to us — the choice
is the last issue of Dragon Times and from its ashes, like the phoenix of
Chinese mythology Classical Fighting Arts will be born. A brand new publication
but one with an established reputation, an experienced team of international
writers, a strong graphic design staff, and a martial arts related photo
and document archive without equal.
thank those readers who have so loyally supported Dragon Times in the past,
and look forward to welcoming them to Classical Fighting Arts. You have
made our success possible and to you we dedicate America's newest and best
martial arts magazine!