4 minutes reading time (712 words)

Martial Arts in the Movies

Hey there,

Its been awhile I know, I am not good with computers so bare with me. I also started in a butchering job, which to be honest makes me want to go back to my vege ways.

So the last few weeks I have been watching a few martial art movies (and yes I loved Black Belt) and I saw a strange timeline of the martial arts movies of old through to the martial arts movies of today. But to understand this we must do a bit of history.

All martial arts are formalized combative techniques. This means someone in history once punched someone in the face and saw the effectiveness of his particular punch and wanted to show someone else how to punch this way. But as the ways of war became more and more effective (guns) the unarmed combat techniques lost their importance, so to survive they found new purpose in sport, self defense for non-military types and display.

Enter chinese opera!!!

Chinese opera is a old school mix of music (classical Chinese style), crazy costumes and traditional kung fu. The martial style in Peking Opera used a lot of acrobatics, dance like posing timed to music and large movements easy to read and usually missing there target.

This style was the foundation of all chinese kung fu movies and this leads to the first movie I saw, The Five Shaolin Monks. Following the tale of the last monks kicking ass and taking names after the destruction of the temple by the meng army?? (I can't remember). This movie was a classic, based on principals of defeat by bad guy, escape, training montage then beat the crap out of the bad guy. Great times if you know and understand chinese opera you will know why the fighting is the way it is.

Next movie, Timecop 2 or 3 (I don't know which one), this movie is interesting for a few reasons. The first is that Jason Lee Scott is the lead (the guy who played Bruce Lee in the Bruce Lee movie his wife co-wrote or something). So before we get to the second point we need to know about Bruce Lee. Bruce Lee brought about a change in martial arts opening up Chinese martial arts to the West. Japanese styles were brought by the Americans who were in Japan after the WWII. He also changed the way fight choreography was done in chinese martial arts movies. More realistic (I hate this word by the way), the fights were short, less acrobatic, using powerful kicks but like the chinese opera still one person at a time. So Jason Lee Scott brings Bruce's style to the foreground as it is seen in his movements.

The second factor that comes into play is the American late 80's\90's action\martial arts movie. The worst and yet best kind of movie in the world, completely miss informed and with some of the most crazy story lines (excluding the first karate kid). I still love Best of the Best.

So this movie is just funny on that level but unlike Bruce has no element of realism (I really hate that word).

The last movie I wanted to talk about is a recent one and follows the new school of thought. The more realistic the better, this is in at the moment, like UFC. Its called Chocolate by the same guys who did Ong Bak and its really cool. Its story follows a woman in a gang and she has a lover in another gang and they have a baby who has autism and learns to fight. Anyways, the interesting point of this movie is that once again it tries to be real. But unlike Kuro Obi (Black Belt) which uses real martial artists, in this movie they  actually hit each other, and I mean really hard.

I know Jackie Chan has done it, but there was something about the amount of injuries to this lady that made me go,"wow was that worth it?". But this is what happens when you're going for realism (sigh).

Anyway I love all martial arts movies, let me know what you think, and I wish I had the writing power to talk about realism but it's a big topic.




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Monday, 05 December 2022

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