UPDATE 2022: The Martial Man webpage has changed and updated a lot since I wrote this, the review is not up-to-date and should not be confused with how the Martial Man community works today.
The Martial Man webpage (themartialman.com) created by Kieren Krygier, is a place where you can find exclusive membership videos, with the same teacher’s and masters featured in the Martial Man’s very popular and well visited YouTube Channel focusing mainly on exoteric and “internal” Martial Arts with interviews and demonstrations.
On the martialman.com membership page you’ll find additional videos with deeper subjects and more detailed instructions than on the YouTube Channel. In total until this date, there are more than 120 videos on the page as well as articles and some other stuff for premium members. Kieren is still uploading videos, so the content is growing every month. The current price is $7.99/month for basic membership and $9.99/month for premium membership.
If you don’t want to take time to read my general thoughts or about why I joined the page, head straight down to “Review: The Martial Man Membership Page” below.
First – a general notice about reviews on this blog
This article will be a sort of review of the Martial Man dot com. But before I get deeper into the subject, I would like you to know something more about how I regard reviews in general. For a year ago or so, I started to read new books and planned to do a review series on this blog. I was sent requests and tips on books to review. But then I’ve decided to not continue with this project and do as little reviews as possible. But I thought that I will do something occasionally if I really enjoy something, or if I believe that someone deserves a heads up.
So why did I decide to not to do many reviews? The thing is that I don’t want any negativity in the content I write here on this blog. In general, I don’t want to criticize writers, books, styles or practitioners. We all like and enjoy different things for different reasons in life and I don’t believe in telling people what they should enjoy. One taste is just as good as any other. Reviewing or judging things is not the reasons why I started this blog and I would rather want to keep all sorts of negativity away from it.
But honesty is another thing and something equally important for me. I don’t want to sell things or appreciate something without really believing in something. So I would rather not review books, videos or anything else if I don’t believe in it 100%.
But still, even if I don’t find a 100% fit, I also like to give tips and heads ups to things like books or videos that I find could be of interest or helpful in one way or another. Because of these crazy times, I believe that it is especially important to help people finding inspiration in their practice and in their lives. So I thought that checking out The Martial Man membership page would be a good idea.
When it comes to reviewing something as The Martial Man’s page, it’s a little bit different than reviewing a book or a video. I can’t say that I agree with every video or that I like every person that is featured in them. How you would appreciate the content in the should be a most individual thing, as the clips are mostly pretty short and covers a range of different styles, schools, and traditions. But I like the YouTube channel, and the idea with this page, and I do understand that Kieren must have some kind of income to continue doing this project.
Why I joined The Martial Man’s membership
So why did I even join the page? The reason is simple. Not because I believe that I would be able to find any secrets there. It’s just the fact that I’ve enjoyed watching many of Kieren’s YouTube videos. And if you do enjoy something, I believe that it’s good to show some kind if appreciation. Buying a book is easy, you pay something and then you can read it. Then you give something in advance. But all of those channels you follow on YouTube, blogs you enjoy reading and so on. How do you show appreciation for what they do? If you really like what someone does, I would suggest that you join their groups, their Patreon accounts, or their memberships on their homepages. It’s a small thing to do, but together we help those creating the content to continue and make them aware that what they do is in fact appreciated.
So there is the main reason to join the page, it doesn’t have to be more complicated than this. But then, if you do join the page and pay for a monthly membership, what should you expect?
Review: The Martial Man Membership Page
For the page in general, it’s a very simple and clear page. You’ll find everything directly and there’s no need to search for anything. When I started have had some trouble in tablet view (watching it on an iPad Pro), as the menu to the left disturbed the view of the content. But this issue has been taken care of, which I appreciate. (This post has been updated as the problem has been fixed.) It has always worked perfectly good on desktop and viewing it on my cellphone.
The video clips on The Martial Man’s homepage are varied. They are deepened discussions from the same people you already have seen on his YouTube page. You’ll find ideas, principles, partner drills and training methods that could be interesting to try out yourself. The value of what is in those clips depends on your own level. If you are a beginner in Chinese Martial arts, and is interested in the Internal Martial arts especially, I would suspect that you would find many inspiring videos and see things as principles and ideas that you would have no idea that they existed.
Some of the videos seen on the YouTube channel have been criticized for being controversial. Some of the demonstrations can look a bit overly cooperative. But from my own +30 years of experience of Tai Chi practice and Chinese Martial Arts in general, I would say that at least most of what is in the video clips, in the membership area, are genuine and honest. What you can watch here are things from teachers that are generous in their sharing and willing to share. Some of the ideas and principles are quite advanced. But even if you are not an advanced practitioner yourself, what you learn should still be useful. There are things that you could try, practice, and the skills shown are things you could try to develop by yourself.
And even if you cannot do it by your own, at least you know that those skills are out there. You will have something to aim for, something to look for when you search a new teacher. Or things you see here could be something you can at least aim for in your own development. Maybe later, when you have practiced 10, 20 or 30 years, you might understand some of those things you look at now as almost impossible to achieve and find that you can do it by yourself. Having clear, specific goals is something I believe in very strongly. If you are a person who is wandering and searching, this might be a place where you find things to focus on.
Pros & Cons
The Pros: I think I’ve already said what needs to be said. But I could sum up this as the content being interesting and varied. You’ll find ideas that might work as inspiration and you might find new ideas. And again, you might find things to look after and search for when you try looking for teachers.
There are teachers that I enjoy watching and listen to more than others. Richard Huang gives away some really important and practical principles to work on. And Adam Hsu’s enthusiasm and honesty in his sharing is a joy to watch. Throughout the videos you’ll become acquainted with many different ideas and principles from different styles. And you’ll get a handful of practical things as vulnerable points to attacks.
All of this is good. And again, just supporting someone you believe does a good job is a cause in itself to join the page. The monthly price is reasonable as well.
The Cons: So where are the downfalls or cons? The simple fact is that the very most of what you can access in the basic membership is not very much. Until this date, you can find more than 120 exclusive videos in the membership section. Approximately 100 videos are available for the basic membership. If you pay the premium membership you can access an Okinawan series and also get a so called “Kung Fu Recipe,” which is a lineament, Dit Da How kind of recipe. You can also find an article’s section, but up till today, there’s been quite few articles published here.
120 videos might sound as a lot to watch. But I doubt that everyone is equally interested in every style featured on The Martial Man webpage. So if you only have an interest for one or a couple of styles, you might not find all as interesting. And also, you will watch everything pretty fast. But on the other hand and again, if you have a general interest in martial arts, but don’t know much about different styles, and the Chinese Kung Fu styles especially, you might find everything on the page intriguing.
What to expect in the future?
Kieren is still uploading new video clips. And he has promised to move around again and to film more seasons when the pandemic have been controlled and it’s safe and open again to travel. So if you just hang in there, you should expect a lot of more membership content in the future.
And a final thought… : My own advice to Kieren, what I would suggest for the future, is to create a forum/discussion board in the member’s section and maybe even a chat. It would be a good thing to develop it more into a community where people could discuss and share their thoughts. If people felt that they joined a community and could keep reach and keep in touch with other members, I would suspect that they would have more reasons to stay and continue to pay the monthly fee.
What do you think? Have you visited the membership area and do you become interested joining it by reading this post? If you have any thoughts, please feel free to share them in the comments below.
Tip: Have a look at 8 Youtube Channels worth following (List updated 2020)