Tag Archives: Martial Arts

The Silliness of BlackBelt TV Live-Action | Moving Pictures Notes 22 DEC 2012

“Kicks, Flicks, and Chicks”. Oh dear, what a terrible, terrible channel DSTV has deemed fit to shove upon us unsuspecting, paying subscribers, nestling it in at spot 129 in our channels list. BlackBelt TV bills itself as a 24/7 martial arts television network, which in theory could actually be quite a great thing, until you actually take a look at the programming that we get over on this side of the pond.

mma grapple headlock takedown

Flicks are mostly made up of what seems to be hundreds of truly horrendously bad Chinese, American and Hong Kong kung fu action movies, all from the late 70’s and 80’s. So nothing worth mentioning there. The kicks are made up of 90% MMA fights, which as we all know by now is actually pretty boring to watch once it goes to the ground – which is pretty much 99% of the time! Outside of that, the only other fights they seem to screen is kickboxing, meaning variety isn’t exactly the name of the game here. And then don’t forget the fact that because most of this stuff is pretty amateur, visuals are for the most part poor for a good chunk of this stuff.

And then there is the ridiculous Chicks. BlackBelt TV couldn’t possibly get any more sleazier it would seem, basically throwing as many good looking women in as skimpy as possible outfits in front of the screen as what they can possibly find. Even poor Don “The Dragon” Wilson has to show off his move of the day against a skinny blonde girl in shorts and a crop top!

Rockin' Raquel Pomplun on BlackBelt TV green screen set

Verdict? It’s bad, very bad. Avoid unless you have an affinity for old kung fu movies. (Which as it turns out, I don’t).

Review: Air Master (2003) Anime | My Reviews 23 NOV 2012

Present day Tokyo. The word out on the street is that a new talented street fighter has appeared. She’s calling herself Air Master, and so far she’s proving to be pretty invincible…

Super tall 16-year old Maki Aikawa was once one of the top gymnasts in Japan. Now, living on her own and attending a new school as a freshman student, Maki is trying to recapture those feelings of tension and pressure by fighting. She seeks to revive the legend of “Airborne Street Fighting”, a style based on jumping strength and airborne maneuvering.

To find her happiness while fighting, Maki continues to search for an opponent stronger than her. Now, her new friends can only watch on and support her as Maki continues to battle on, making new friends and even more enemies.

After all, the legend of the Air Master has begun!

Air Master is a 27 episode long 2003 action comedy martial arts anime series, directed by Nishio Daisuke and produced by Toei Animation.

The story revolves around an exceptionally strong girl who fights to try and recapture the feelings of her past. Unfortunately, the quality of the series just about ends with that sentence. Although Air Master has some cool fighting ideas and some good characters, it just can’t establish any serious dramatic sort of tone. Even the humour it employs often devolves into little more than pretty crude toilet laughs rather than anything actually funny.

In addition to this, it also manages to score bonus negative points for having two of the worse characters ever designed. The extrememly large-breasted Mina who is made to run ever so often, and the extremely short, child-like Renge who is so irritating it is almost impossible to describe.

The series is pretty episodic in nature, with Maki meeting up with new fighters and taking them on, though a few recurring characters are eventually formed, and they do go on to appear throughout the show. Maki’s personal history is kept pretty shrouded, with bits and pieces revealed as the series progresses, so at least some sense of enigma is maintained.

The animation is not bad, movements are fluid, the fighting is good and the colours are vibrant, and apart from Renge’s voice, the voice acting is also not that bad. There is an especially enjoyable end track for the series now that I think about it.

This title won’t evoke much emotion from you, except perhaps for a few cheap laughs here and there. The fighting is okay, especially Maki’s airborne fighting style, but apart from that, you can probably give this one a miss.

If you are looking for something similar, and which is probably (marginally) a little better, try Ikkitousen instead.

(Historic Note of interest: This review was written back in 2004)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_Master

My Karate Training Dilemma Martial Arts | My Life 20 OCT 2011

I sit with a bit of a dilemma on my hands with regards to my karate training, and the decision is a big one – should I continue or should I stop?

It’s important to understand why this dilemma has arisen. First, you must understand that I still enjoy practicing my karate and certainly enjoy training, but simply put, the reality of family life has had a big impact on my extramural activities – and this is a cold hard fact.

Last week was a little special – due to circumstances with Chantelle’s work, I was actually able to attend both training sessions for a change, but believe me, this is a pretty rare thing to be able to do.

Chantelle and Andy share the duties as managers of Gordon’s Beach Lodge, and this of course means shift work, covering both morning, evening and weekend shifts. Previously this obviously wasn’t such a big thing because I would simply continue doing my own thing if Chantelle was on duty, but obviously with Jessie around, this has completely changed.

In terms of my training, I am guaranteed at least one late shift a week that falls either on the Monday or Wednesday, meaning that I can now only attend one karate training session a week – which is only a hour long and thus computes to a measly 4 hours of karate a month! (Not to mention all the events I find myself having to withdraw from!)

Needless to say this is not nearly enough in order for me to keep up with the rest of the group, and subsequently I am well behind in my syllabus necessary for the upcoming grading come early December.

And this simply isn’t fair on Sensei Birgitt or the rest of the class as far as I’m concerned.

So now I sit with the question as to whether or not I continue to limp along as I have for the last couple of months, or throw in the towel for now, until Jessica is old enough for me to cart along to the venue, and pick it up later again?

Sigh, I guess I can’t really complain about this though. One knows that there will be a lot of sacrifices which need to be made if you want to bring a child into this world and more importantly, raise them properly! Decisions, decisions, decisions…

Funakoshi Karate International Syllabus: Brown Belt 3rd Kyu to Brown Belt 2nd Kyu Martial Arts 13 OCT 2011

The following items make up the required syllabus in order to grade up from a brown belt 3rd kyu to a brown belt 2nd kyu level. The items are divided up into Saiten Kentai Waza (Grading Forms), Katas, Basic Kihon and Jiyu Kumite. Note that a set amount of classroom time is also required to have been completed in order to grade.

These requirements have been laid out by Dai Hanchi Edwin Ward (2011).

Grading Forms

  1. F7A Mae Tobi Geri
  2. Shi-ho Geri Waza – Mae geri / Yoko geri / Mawashi geri / Ushiro geri (4 Way Kicking)

Katas

  1. Naihanchi Kata 1 (Tekki Shodan)
  2. Kamae Kata 1
  3. Kamae Kata 2
  4. Kamae Kata 3

Basic Kihon

(From Kamae stepping 3x forwards and 3x backwards)

  1. Chudan oi zuki in zenkutsu dachi
  2. Sanbon zuki (jodan/chudan/chudan) in zenkutsu dachi
  3. Jodan age uke / chudan gyaku zuki in zenkutsu dachi
  4. Chudan soto uke / jodan uraken /chudan gyaku zuki in zenkutsu dachi
  5. Chudan uchi uke / kizami mae geri / kizami zuki / chudan gyaku zuki in zenkutsu dachi
  6. Jodan yoko geri keage / jodan uraken in zenkutsu dachi
  7. Chudan mae geri kekomi / jodan taisho in zenkutsu dachi
  8. Chudan mawashi geri in zenkutsu dachi
  9. Chudan ushiro geri in zenkutsu dachi
  10. Jodan mae tobi geri in zenkutsu dachi mate in kamae

Jiyu Kumite

(predetermined one point attack)

One point attack, the attacker only calls the area (jodan, chudan, gedan). They are free to choose any attack they wish from the list below, as long as they deliver it to the announced target area. The defender may use any uke block to deflect the attack.

Available attacks:

...

Martial Arts in Action: One Hand Plant Reverse High Kick Martial Arts 27 APR 2011

The only real thing the one hand plant reverse or forward high kick has going for it is the element of surprise, mainly due to the fact it isn’t a commonly used technique and so your opponent might not react in the correct manner.

However, that is about all it has going for it. Not only does it completely destroy your center of balance thanks to your leaning over on one hand, it robs you of any defence against a counterattack, as your hands are now completely misplaced and worse still, you have left the back of your stationary leg and buttocks area completely wide open.

In other words, do it fast, land the blow and hope to heaven that your opponent is caught easily by surprise and has mercy on you by not planting his foot squarely in your buttocks!

Martial Arts in Action: Delivering an Axe Kick Martial Arts 25 APR 2011

Axe kicks are a little debatable as to whether or not they are actually effective as an offensive technique, and you often only really find them coming out towards the end of bouts as the combatants tire and their opponent’s defence lowers a little.

Because of the flexibility required to perform an effective axe kick, in other words striking directly on the collar bone, this kick is most associated with female fighters and the young, though there is nothing stopping a full grown man doing it every now and then.

Simple note though, don’t try it on someone who is taller than you, and most important of all, remember that this kick leaves you particularly vulnerable against someone who likes to move in to disrupt your techniques.

In other words, if you are too slow, expect to be lying flat on your back!

Hats Off to… Rogue Assassin My Reviews 20 JAN 2010

I caught Rogue Assassin on DSTV the other day and I’ve got to give kudos to the writers – they seriously caught me off guard with some serious twists in the tale for this ultra violent action fliek.

And this is one of the least violent scenes...

I must admit, I can’t actually fault the movie on the story as I found myself actually compelled to sit through and watch just about the whole movie (ignoring Chantelle’s pleas for coffee at least twice) and the action sequences were pretty intense and well choreographed – if a little on the bloody side. But you can’t say any of the violence was unrealistic though, come to think of it.

Jason Statham is his usual tough guy self (I don’t think he knows how to play any other type of role to be honest), and he pulls his weight pretty well throughout the movie. Unfortunately on the other side of the main character list, Jet Li once again delivered an absolutely horrible performance in terms of acting – thank goodness his martial arts form is still top notch though.

I see it scored pretty low on Rotten Tomatoes, averaging around 14%, but those guys don’t usually give straight action movies much of a chance anyway. It’s not cute, it’s not romantic, it doesn’t have many laughs – but it does have plenty of yakuza and triads, plenty of gunfights, sword fights, hand to hand combat and explosions and one mean twist of the tale in the end.

And based on that twist in the tale alone, I’ve got to take my hat off to the scriptwriters on this blood-soaked, explosive tale. Well done boys, it’s not often someone catches me out like you guys did! :)

Related Link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_assassin

Four Stages of Competency in Kung Fu Martial Arts 28 NOV 2008

Tie Hou QuanOn the way to mastering any particular skill, four definite phases of competency have been identified. These phases are applicable to all daily life and not just martial arts.

The phases that have been identified classify a person as either being a complete newcomer to a skill right up to being a master of that skill. The different phases are as follows:

1. Unconsciously Incompetent

The fighter is unaware that he is unable to fight effectively. Thus he does not strive to improve his skills to a higher level.

e.g. A newcomer to Kung fu would be unaware of Center-Line philosophy and therefore fight without attempting to manipulate his opponent’s body position.

2. Consciously Incompetent

The fighter is aware that his skills are at a very low level and actively tries to improve his skill level.

e.g. A Kung fu student would learn about Center-line philosophy and actively try to apply it to his training. He knows about it but is unable to practice it properly.

3. Consciously Competent

The fighter has learnt his techniques and can actively apply them in battles

e.g. A skilled student will have learned Center-line philosophy and studied how to apply it properly in combat. He is now able to actively apply it during his training. However he is only able to apply if he thinks about applying it – thus it needs to be a conscious effort on his behalf to apply these techniques.

4. Unconsciously Competent

The fighter has such a high degree of mastery of his techniques that he can apply them in battle without even thinking about it.

e.g. A highly-skilled student or master would have mastered the Center-line techniques and without thinking about it, be able to correctly apply them in fights.

—-

As mentioned before, these four phases apply to any skill in life. An easy real-life example to think about is that of driving a car. In the beginning, a person sees cars and thinks it should be easy to drive without ever sitting behind the wheel of one. He is currently in the Unconsciously Incompetent phase. Once he realizes it is not that easy to do, he gets his learner’s license and attempts to learn how to drive correctly. He is currently consciously incompetent. Once he has learnt how to drive, he can now apply for and get his driver’s license. The first few weeks after getting his license he is driving, but is actively driving. This means that it hasn’t become second nature yet. This is the consciously competent phase. Finally, when driving becomes second nature, meaning you drive a car without focusing your full attention on it, you have reached the unconsciously competent phase.

Another example that can be thought of a computer programming in a particular style, say Object-oriented Programming. Again, without knowing about Object-orientated programming, a programmer will simply continue programming in a linear style. If he learns about the style but is unable to apply it, then he has moved up to the consciously incompetent phase. Once he has studied the object-orientated programming paradigm and can successfully apply it to his programs, then he has again moved up, this time to the consciously competent phase of understanding. Lastly, when programming in this paradigm is second nature to him, then he will be in the unconsciously competent phase of understanding.

In Kung Fu, the goal is to reach the level of the unconsciously competent phase of understanding in everything that you do. Because fighting should be second nature to you, you need to have undergone intense training such that you understand your techniques and movements inside out. Because of the focus that is required in becoming adept at these skills, you will have needed to go through all four phases of competencies in order to become a master.

Five Moral Pillars of Martial Arts Martial Arts 31 OCT 2008

Tie Hou QuanWithout controls, teaching a person a martial art is dangerous. That person, with just a little bit of training, immediately becomes a more dangerous member of society. Without proper restrictions placed on that student, it is possible that they may end up using their training and hurting other members of their community.

It is imperative to ensure that some sort of controls is set in place to ensure this newfound power is not abused. The only real way of achieving this is by allowing a martial arts practitioner to accept a strict moral code in such a way that it becomes a way of life to them. Gong Fu (Kung Fu) in particular is based on the following five moral pillars: Effort, Etiquette, Sincerity, Control and Respect. If this code is accepted and practiced, then society should not have to fear the martial arts practitioner, but rather be joyful to have such a valuable member of society in their midst.

These five aspects that form the moral code should be visible in every aspect of the student’s everyday life.

1. Effort

Gong Fu literally means hard work, or a skill learned over time. Nothing can be achieved or mastered without hard work, or rather without effort. From nothing must come something, but something cannot come from nothing. To achieve one’s goals and perform some sort of action, one needs to put n the required effort. A student must put their all into everything they do so that one day they may master that very action.

2. Etiquette

A Gong Fu student must be humble and courteous all of the time. A student does not learn his skill to impress his worth upon others – rather it is a skill learned to better one’s self and to help the rest of society. In all manners of life, a student should act humbly and nobly, knowing right from wrong and respecting society’s traditions.

3. Sincerity

A Gong Fu student should be sincere in all their actions. This applies to both their actions untoward other people as well as themselves. By sincere it is meant that actions should not be undertaken without the purest of intent. There should not be any foreign intent or hidden agenda in a student’s actions.

4. Control

A good student should at all times be in control of their actions. They should never be allowed to use the excuse that something happened simply because they lost control. Because of the dangerous techniques that a student is subjected to and learns to master, utmost care has to be taken that these skills are never used incorrectly. A student must learn to control their emotions as well as their bodies.

5. Respect

Society is built upon respect for other people. In martial arts, respect applies to the student’s respect for other people and martial arts practitioners as well as respect for their own bodies. Students must respect their peers and elders.