66 episodes

Where history and epic collide--"History on Fire" is a podcast by author and university professor Daniele Bolelli.

History on Fire Daniele Bolelli

    • Society & Culture
    • 4.7 • 5.1K Ratings

Where history and epic collide--"History on Fire" is a podcast by author and university professor Daniele Bolelli.

    [RERUN] EPISODE 50 Philosophers and Thugs: Jigoro Kano (Part 2)

    [RERUN] EPISODE 50 Philosophers and Thugs: Jigoro Kano (Part 2)

    “I teach Kodokan judo as a way of life.” — Jigoro Kano 
    “Even though he was drunker than usual, Saigo came to the driver’s aid. The burly sailors laughed out loud: “Scram, midget!” Much to their great surprise and considerable pain, in a flash, the pocket Hercules subsequently hurled each of them into the river.” — John Stevens 
    “I have not been able to transmit my ideals to many students, and there are unfortunately few instructors who can impart proper Kodokan values.” — Jigoro Kano 
    “The teaching of one virtuous person can influence many.” — Jigoro Kano 
    In the second half of the 1800s, after the United States made Japan an offer it couldn’t refuse, Japan experienced a period of crisis and extremely fast modernization. Swept by efforts to copy everything that made the West powerful, Japan turned its back on much of its traditional culture. Martial arts were considered anachronistic and irrelevant, and looked well on their way to disappear into the dustbin of history—much in the same way as they had done in other parts of the world. In 1882, a small, nerdy man named Jigoro Kano made his stand to reverse this process. Kano was only 22 years old, and had only little over 5 years of martial arts practice. But what 22-year old Kano started in some spare rooms in a Buddhist temple was going to affect the lives of millions of people.
    This story is about martial arts, but is also about much more. This story is about the dramatic transformations in Japanese history in the 1800s (and without understanding them, it’s pretty much impossible to understand the role played by Japan in WWII.) It is a story about how one individual can radically impact millions. It’s about how cultural traditions that are seemingly anachronistic can be reinvented to provide value in a modern context. It’s a story about Taoist philosophy, Olympic Games and U.S. presidents, pro-wrestling and helping society, the tension between globalization and nationalism, the role that physical education can play in shaping a person’s character, and a bunch of other things that have only marginally to do with martial arts per se. Among other things, in this episode: 
    Shiro Saigo, Kano’s pocket-sized enforcer
    Blood oaths
    History’s first black belts
    The four ‘heavenly lords’ of the Kodokan 
    Judo gaining a reputation through challenge fights
    Leglocks
    Shiro Saigo and his NWA attitude
    Akira Kurosawa movies
    Kano clashing with nationalism and militarism
    Theodore Roosevelt
    Mitsuyo Maeda
    The origins of pro-wrestling 
    The Olympic Games
    So, with this in mind, let’s get rolling. 
    If you feel generous and enjoy History on Fire, please consider joining my Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/historyonfire to access plenty of bonus content. 
    If you’d like to go to Japan for a historical tour with yours truly as a guide, please check out https://geeknationtours.com/tours/signature-battlefield-series-classic-samurai-from-the-gempei-war-to-the-mongol-invasions-2023/
    Big thank you to Athletic Greens for sponsoring this episode. Athletic Greens is going to give you a FREE 1 year supply of immune-supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit https://athleticgreens.com/HOF 
    Also a big thank you to Trade Coffee. Trade is offering our listeners a total of $30 off your subscription plus free shipping at https://www.drinktrade.com/historyonfire 
    History on Fire is sponsored by BetterHelp. Visit https://www.BetterHelp.com/HOF to get 10% off your first month. 

    • 2 hr 25 min
    Feed Drop For ‘This Job Is History’

    Feed Drop For ‘This Job Is History’

    Where the oddest jobs from the past meet a comedian from the present… and it’s awkward! On this weekly show, Chris Parnell (SNL, Rick and Morty) welcomes guests who have held some of human history’s most unexpected and downright bizarre jobs: funeral clowns, garden hermits, VHS clerks, and everything in between. With the help of his tireless producer, Chris hears from the essential workers from decades and centuries past. Because before there were actual medical doctors, there were barber surgeons. And before there was Instacart, there were milkmen. Wondery’s This Job Is History is a funny, absurd, and informative look into how time can change the way we live and work.

    • 5 min
    EPISODE 49 The Father of Martial Arts: Jigoro Kano (Part 1)

    EPISODE 49 The Father of Martial Arts: Jigoro Kano (Part 1)

    “It was a period of stupendous change and immense challenge; the entire social, political, and economic landscape of Japan would be transformed within a few decades. Just as this new era was dawning in Japan, Jigoro Kano was born, on October 28, 1860.” — John Stevens 
    “In my childhood, I had heard that there was a thing called jujutsu thanks to which even a weak person could defeat a strong person. I definitely thought about learning it.” — Jigoro Kano 
    “Some people believe that Judo means simply practicing at the dojo. This is applying the principle of judo at the dojo when practicing defense against attack, and through it is certainly one aspect of judo, it is only a small part of it.” — Jigoro Kano 
    In the second half of the 1800s, after the United States made Japan an offer it couldn’t refuse, Japan experienced a period of crisis and extremely fast modernization. Swept by efforts to copy everything that made the West powerful, Japan turned its back on much of its traditional culture. Martial arts were considered anachronistic and irrelevant, and looked well on their way to disappear into the dustbin of history much in the same way as they had done in other parts of the world. In 1882, a small, nerdy man named Jigoro Kano made his stand to reverse this process. Kano was only 22 years old, and had only little over 5 years of martial arts practice. But what 22-year old Kano started in some spare rooms in a Buddhist temple was going to affect the lives of millions of people.
    This story is about martial arts, but is also about much more. This story is about the dramatic transformations in Japanese history in the 1800s (and without understanding them, it’s pretty much impossible to understand the role played by Japan in WWII.) It is a story about how one individual can radically impact millions. It’s about how cultural traditions that are seemingly anachronistic can be reinvented to provide value in a modern context. It’s a story about Taoist philosophy, Olympic Games and U.S. presidents, pro-wrestling and helping society, the tension between globalization and nationalism, the role that physical education can play in shaping a person’s character, and a bunch of other things that have only marginally to do with martial arts per se. So, with this in mind, let’s get rolling. 

    If you feel generous and enjoy History on Fire, please consider joining my Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/historyonfire to access plenty of bonus content. 
    If you’d like to go to Japan for a historical tour with yours truly as a guide, please check out https://geeknationtours.com/tours/signature-battlefield-series-classic-samurai-from-the-gempei-war-to-the-mongol-invasions-2023/
    Big thank you to Athletic Greens for sponsoring this episode. Athletic Greens is going to give you a FREE 1 year supply of immune-supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit https://athleticgreens.com/HOF 
    Also a big thank you to Trade Coffee. Trade is offering our listeners a total of $30 off your subscription plus free shipping at https://www.drinktrade.com/historyonfire 
    History on Fire is sponsored by BetterHelp. Visit https://www.BetterHelp.com/HOF to get 10% off your first month. 

    • 1 hr 52 min
    EPISODE 95: Tom Le Forge: The Real Dances with Wolves

    EPISODE 95: Tom Le Forge: The Real Dances with Wolves

    “The adopted father gave away many presents to the people, and these in turn gave presents to me. Thus I became a Crow Indian, a brother of Three Irons and a son of Yellow Leggings, who was a leading counselor of Blackbird, chief of the Mountain Crow tribe.” — Tom Le Forge 
    “Cherry was utterly cool… under fire. She was as brave as the bravest. She liked to sing and pray, she was jolly and amiable, but on proper occasion she would stand her ground and fight bravely if that were necessary.” — Tom Le Forge about his wife Cherry
    “The white-man system of continual struggle for money began to pall upon me. My thoughts dwelt more and more upon the simplicity of Crow Indian life, where I had acquired moderate wealth without special effort, or by efforts entirely to my liking. In fact, among them, great accumulation of material wealth was not of importance. Nobody having an amiable disposition ever came to dire want among them.” — Tom Le Forge 
    “I worship the Sun and the Bighorn Mountains. The towering range just south of my present home is to me both father and mother. My stomach craves meat cooked in the Indian way… I was born an Ohio American. I shall die a Crow Indian American. My last white wife, in Seattle, got a divorce from me, because of my desertion of her. She was a good woman, but I could not live any longer the life of a white man. When comes the time for me to leave this earth I want to dwell wherever are the spirits of my wives—my Indian wives—both of them.” — Tom Le Forge

    I am fascinated by tales of people who lived across cultures—particularly back in the day when knowledge of different ways of living was severely limited. The tale of Tom Le Forge reads like a real-life Dances with Wolves story. Born as an Anglo-American in 1850, when he was still a teenager he was adopted by a family from the Crow nation, and for all intents and purposes became a Crow, marrying into the tribe, living as one of them, and going to war with them against their traditional enemies. Le Forge also joined the ranks of Crow scouts that helped the U.S. army during the last phase of the Plains Indian wars. His story is a love letter to a way of life that disappeared once the buffalo were gone and the frontier was no more. 

    If you feel generous and enjoy History on Fire, please consider joining my Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/historyonfire to access plenty of bonus content. 

    If you’d like to go to Japan for a historical tour with yours truly as a guide, please check out https://geeknationtours.com/tours/signature-battlefield-series-classic-samurai-from-the-gempei-war-to-the-mongol-invasions-2023/

    Big thank you to BetterHelp for sponsoring this episode. Visit https://www.BetterHelp.com/HOF to get 10% off your first month. 

    Also a big thank you to Trade Coffee. Trade is offering our listeners a total of $30 off your subscription plus free shipping at https://www.drinktrade.com/historyonfire 

    • 1 hr 43 min
    [RERUN] EPISODE 48: Give Me Back My Legions! (Part 2)

    [RERUN] EPISODE 48: Give Me Back My Legions! (Part 2)

    “In order to depict a battle, there is required one of those powerful painters who have chaos in their brushes” — Victor Hugo 
    “Inconceivable!” — From The Princess Bride 
    A little over 2,000 years ago, Rome was a well-oiled war machine crushing everything in its path. At that time, the Roman legions were the most deadly military force in the Western world, and possibly in the whole world. Every year, they conquered new peoples and pushed the boundaries of their empire. Rape and pillage was the name of the game, and they were masters at it. But in the year 9 CE, something happened in the forests of Germany that was going to have a profound impact on the destiny of the world. Some historians go so far as to suggest that both the German and English languages may not exist as we know them, had things gone differently. News arriving from Germany, along with a severed head delivered by courier, threw Emperor Augustus in a deep depression. 
    In this second and final part of the series (for the first part you can check Episode 47)about the clash between Rome’s power with Germanic tribesmen, we’ll consider topics such as how suicide post-defeat in battle was a family tradition for one of the key characters in our story, when Varus ordered 2,000 people crucified, the training of the Roman army, Arminius’ skill at playing the long con, the battle that changed history, having to cut your friends’ throat out of kindness, the German passion for human sacrifice, Roman vengeance, how these events may be tied to the creation of the English language, and much more. 

    If you feel generous and enjoy History on Fire, please consider joining my Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/historyonfire to access plenty of bonus content. 
    If you’d like to go to Japan for a historical tour with yours truly as a guide, please check out https://geeknationtours.com/tours/signature-battlefield-series-classic-samurai-from-the-gempei-war-to-the-mongol-invasions-2023/
    Big thank you to Athletic Greens for sponsoring this episode. Athletic Greens is going to give you a FREE 1 year supply of immune-supporting Vitamin D AND 5 FREE travel packs with your first purchase. All you have to do is visit https://athleticgreens.com/HOF 

    • 1 hr 57 min
    EPISODE 94: The Last War Chief

    EPISODE 94: The Last War Chief

    “Reflecting upon the chiefs I had known, I realized that here had never been one who was very well off. Poverty was part of a chief’s obligations…” — Frank Bird Linderman  
    “While we painted ourselves the drums kept beating, and our women sang war-songs. No man can feel himself a coward at such a time. Every man that lives will welcome battle while brave men and women sing war-songs. I would have willingly gone alone against our enemies that day.”  — Plenty Coups
    “To be alone with our war-horses at such a time teaches them to understand us, and us to understand them. My horse fights with me and fasts with me, because if he is to carry me in battle he must know my heart and I must know his or we shall never become brothers. I have been told that the white man, who is almost a god, and yet a great fool, does not believe that the horse has a spirit. This cannot be true. I have many times seen my horse’s soul in his eyes.” — Plenty Coups
    "The story of Joseph Medicine Crow is something I've wanted to tell for 20 years." — Ken Burns 
    “I felt good. I was a Crow warrior. My grandfathers would have been proud of me.” — Joe Medicine Crow 
    Lakota history has been the subject of many episodes of History on Fire. Today, however, we’ll see history through the eye of their traditional enemies, the Crow. Part of the episode will cover the history and culture of the Crow nation up to the late 1800s. The other part will move into the 1900s and follow the tale of Joe Medicine Crow, the last man to achieve the status of war chief of the Crow Nation thanks to the coups he counted during WWII against the Nazi. The fact that Joe Medicine Crow’s story has not been made into a movie is a crime. I can’t fix that, but at least I can dedicate a podcast to him. 

    If you feel generous and enjoy History on Fire, please consider joining my Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/historyonfire to access plenty of bonus content. 
    If you’d like to go to Japan for a historical tour with yours truly as a guide, please check out https://geeknationtours.com/tours/signature-battlefield-series-classic-samurai-from-the-gempei-war-to-the-mongol-invasions-2023/
    Big thank you to True Classic for sponsoring this episode. For incredibly soft, great-fitting t-shirts, please enjoy a 25% discount at @trueclassic with promo code HISTORYONFIRE at trueclassictees.com/HISTORYONFIRE 
    Also, to thank you to Magic Mind for sponsoring this episode. For an incredible energy drink that will keep you alert through the day go to https://www.magicmind.co/hof for 20% off. And for the first 10 days, use code HOF20 for a 40% off a subscription. 
    And for some of my favorite CBD products on the market, check out https://palomaverdecbd.com/ and use the promo code history for a 20% discount. 

    • 2 hr 37 min

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5
5.1K Ratings

5.1K Ratings

cse_mte ,

Favorite History Podcast

This is the history podcast I’ve always come back to after trying others. Very interesting and fun to listen to and hosted by a history professor

Camden (Clam) ,

Good

Like the telling of db

Blaseking ,

Great History Pod

This is a great pod full of great stories and info. I’m really glad it’s back from behind the paywall.
And no, Daniele doesn’t have an accent, you do.

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