Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

Dec 19, 2021

Chris and Jonathan speak to coach René Dreifuss, the founder of Radical MMA in New York City and the co-host of the Martial Culture podcast, which has been described as “NPR for mixed martial arts nerds.” Medicine has had to wrestle with figuring out what works and what doesn’t over the years; so have the martial arts. From claims of manipulating your opponent’s qi in a fight to no-holds-barred Krav Maga self-defence, there are things that work in real life and things that really don’t. There are parallels to be drawn with the mystical alternative healings in wellness communities and with cult-like mentalities that move us away from evidence and into the predatory arms of eminence. René also addresses the physical risks and unhealthy side of martial arts, namely weight cutting and brain trauma.


Our patrons will have access to a bonus segment with René on Christmas Eve. It’s about ninjas and Chris’ desire to fight Jonathan.


5:07 The cultural underpinning of energy-based martial arts

11:10 Scientific versus non-scientific thinking

18:18 Groin hits and eye pokes aren’t effective

24:30 Sports improve over time

29:03 Mixed martial arts as an open source science

38:25 Myths about self-defence

47:09 Brain trauma

55:24 Weight cutting is very dangerous

1:10:16 The misunderstood rear naked choke

1:08:54 The Vulcan nerve pinch and Hollywood fights

1:13:55 Weapons-based martial arts: what works?



* Theme music: “Fall of the Ocean Queen“ by Joseph Hackl.


To contribute to The Body of Evidence, go to our Patreon page at:


Patrons get a bonus show on Patreon called “Digressions”! Check it out!




1) The Martial Culture podcast:

2) René’s mixed martial arts gym:

3) René’s YouTube channel:

4) Martial Culture episode on woo in martial arts:

5) Martial Culture episode on self-defence: