Martial Art Techiniques: Movie vs. Real-Life

My fascination with Martial Art Movies motivated me to read and study more about martial arts itself. Movies were created for entertainment, so it’s not surprising that they tend to make the moves more flashy or exaggerated at some point, and I have nothing against that. That is actually the reason why I enjoy watching it over UFC or other actual fighting tournaments (though there are spectacular moments like when Silva broke his leg during his recent UFC match or Cro-cop’s signature left high kick). I enjoy the uniqueness and the technicalities of a well-thought fight choreography and how they timed each move to utilize a few seconds of fight as opposed to real-life combats that last longer but lesser things happen. So how do the filmed special moves fair with their real-life counterparts? Here are some of the examples.

1) Roundhouse Kick

One of the most-used moves (if not the most-used move) in action movies. Some filmmakers who can’t offer a properly choreographed scene resolve to roundhouse kicks repeated in different camera angles just to force some spectacle to it. Well, the move doesn’t get old if used right. The most exaggerated portrayal of the said kick is when the enemy throws himself/herself  in mid-air, sometimes with a bonus twirl which is fun to look at. However, real roundhouse kicks will just involve some head-shaking and then knock the person cold. It’s totally dangerous nonetheless, but no flying bodies. Watch this video to take a closer look.

2) Knee Kick

More popular in muay thai and MMA themed movies, the knee kick looks devastating both in movies and in real life. The actual move can be equivalent to hitting the chest with a sledgehammer, using the strength from your lower body to create an upward force. An informative video explains how the move builds its strength to deliver a deadly blow. Well, the best way to compare this technique to its real-life counterpart is to use the same actor Tony Jaa for an actual demonstration. See how fast he delivered his knee kick in the video below.

3) Hook Punch

At some point, I thought I should’ve made this the first item for this blog entry due to its simplicity, but then this move is so commonly used in any action movie, it created a film stereotype that humans can survive several minutes of fistfights or significant number of punches before finally getting knocked-out cold. Though it’s not that usual for the actors to deliver the proper hook punch, it’s a type of attack that forces you to use your entire body-weight, which is a lot stronger compared to quicker techniques like a jab or a 45-degree kick. So how many hook punches can a trained boxer survive before his/her lights go out? Well…

4) One-inch Punch

The move that was popularized by the martial arts legend Bruce Lee (no, you shouldn’t need any link about him). This was featured in a scene from the reboot movie of The Green Hornet starring Jay Chou as Kato. The original series starred Bruce Lee himself. It’s needless to say, the scene pays homage to the move that showed Lee’s martial arts superiority. Well maybe not strong enough to blast a guy through a window, but it’s strong enough to knock someone off his feet. You don’t believe me? Here’s a proof for you. No scripts. No camera tricks. No BS. Just pure power.

I really intend to include more moves to this post, but reference images and videos for the other items are just hard to find >_<. For the purists who say the things that action stars do on film are impractical in actual combat, all I can say is it wasn’t made for that in the first place. It’s for entertainment, so calm down, shut up, and enjoy the movie. As for the real martial art, it’s not just for self-defense. It’s a cliche, but it also teaches discipline. Aggression is not always the key to victory. As Mr. Han from Karate Kid once said, the best fights are the ones we avoid. (~^_^)~

Some Insights That I Unexpectedly Learned From Games and Gamers

Video Games are becoming more and more recognized as something beyond children’s past time. Studies have shown the benefits of gaming like improving cognitive abilities and decision-making. Though my primary reason is entertainment, I sometimes find myself gaining some new insights, which may or may not be intended to be conveyed from a game.  Here are some of the things that I learned while playing or watching other people’s gaming moments.

1) You have the capability to overcome the tightest situations as long as you don’t give up. (Daigo on Street Fighter III – Third Strike)

Daigo Umehara is a pro Street Fighter player who competes and wins on several prestigious tournaments. The video shown above proves his exceptional skill. In the footage, Daigo plays as Ken which is hanging by a thread with only one chip damage away from losing. However, the crowd goes wild when he was able to counter the entire super move sequence of Chun-Li unleashed by his opponent Justin Wong. I can’t imagine how I could pull off something like that if I was in that situation. The pressure from the crowd and anxiety from my opponent’s advantage will just drown my motivation to keep fighting. I realized that I have this mindset, even outside of my gaming life which is unhealthy. If I could emulate the tenacity and focus of Daigo, I can overcome more challenges no matter how tough it may be.

2) Passive income is important in earning more money. (Cookie Clicker)

Cookie Clicker is browser-based game where the main aim is to produce as fast and many as possible. You start off with producing a single cookie per click. Once you’ve earned enough number of cookies, you can use it to purchase structures, units, and items that will improve your cookie production. We can make an analogy out of this by comparing the cookie (the currency of the game) to real-world money. We earn our money through our jobs, which focuses on our core skill. This corresponds to producing cookies through clicks (manual production). In the game, it will take some time to have a lot of cookies if you do things by mouse click alone, so you buy the stuff that will increase the pace of your production. This is the same with real-life wherein you have the choice to invest on some type of business or funds that will give you some passive income and in turn will significantly increase your financial resource. Maybe a thing to take note here is that the game doesn’t simulate any risks for purchasing the available items, but at least it’s a good motivation to utilize the resources that you have.

3) Game ideas are cheap until you put it into life. (Game Dev Story)

In game dev story, you’re in the shoes of a CEO of a startup game company. You develop games and make your company grow to hire more capable staff members. Improve the quality of your games to earn more sales and win awards. Part of the game’s mechanics is the possibility that the game you’re currently working is similar to a game that is released while your production is on-going. This will affect the sales of your game once its released. Anyone can easily speak about his/her own game ideas, but it’s probably not as unique as you thought it was and other developers are actually  working on it. So for those who really want to make their own games, take it seriously and study how it’s done or else your ideas will either be materialized by others, or it will just end up in a vapor trail.

4) Nothing can stop you to do what you really want to do. (Broly on Super Street Fighter IV)

When you can’t use your hands, you probably won’t choose to play video games as a hobby, but Broly (gamer tag) took it to the next level by joining fighting game tournaments for Street Fighter IV and Super Smash Bros. Melee. It never fails to amaze me how people with disabilities persevere to do things which may deem challenging to them and at some point perform better than those who are not physically challenged.

5) We can overcome our obstacles based on our perspective. (Echochrome)

Echochrome is a unique puzzle game where you shift the camera perspective to cover holes, join paths, or catch your character in mid-air to shift it to another place. The player will use these rules in order for his or her character to reach a goal point. Sometimes, the worries we have don’t actually exist. In order to avoid negative thoughts, we can change our perspective and focus on our goal. Just like in the game, the holes may represent our imaginary problems and changing the way we look at the situation may reveal that we can actually pass through and such problems were not there on the first place. Joining paths may pertain to finding a solution to get us closer to our goals. Most probably, the designer did not intend to send such message to the players, but I’m still glad I came up with something as deep as this insight out of a game.

Learning these things adds motivation for me to stay as a gamer and a game developer. As someone who is working in the game industry, I’m hoping that someday I can make a game that will touch other people’s lives or at the very least, give a lasting impact to players and make them ponder on something profound or significant. Until then… I’ll continue to enjoy my games. (~^_^)~

A Retrospect on My Goals for 2013

This is my 28th time to write here. You’ll know by the end of this post why I suddenly said that. Anyway, like some of my fellow bloggers, I want to write a review of my goals for the past year. It’s usual to say that a lot of things happened (after all it’s 365 days, it will be pretty sad if you can’t find any significant moments in that span of time), but I can say that a LOT more had happened compared to the previous years. We moved in to a new place twice, I had a new job, I became an educator, and the list goes on. Well tackling all those events will result into a novel if I write about it, so let’s keep things simple and focus on my last year’s goal instead XD.

1) Learn a New Skill

I learned a lot of new things in my field, hobbies, interests and everything in between, but if I have to be strict that it has to be something really new, I should say it’s… swimming. One colleague of mine (actually one of my producers back in Anino Games) patiently taught me how to swim during our last company outing. I’m kinda embarrassed to learn this in a later age (I’m 27 years old and I don’t mind saying that XD) but it’s better than never learning at all. The only problem is, I’m not sure if I’ll remember this the next time I go to a beach or a resort. So to my colleague of mine, thank you very much. You helped me attain one of my goals ^_^.

2) Bring My Ideas To Life

I fulfilled this twice through OneGameAMonth and Global Game Jam. Too bad, I only completed three games for one game a month, please spare my early withdrawal. Being a game, developer, teacher, blogger, gamer won’t cut through for a one-year game development challenge. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the short ride. As for the game jam, it’s a fun experience to meet new amazing developers and witnessing their one-of-a-kind creations. All these works done in 48 hours or less. Sadly, I’ll probably pass for this year since I’m adjusting with my new job. I’m not closing my doors. If I find my groove, I might change my mind. I still have several days to think about it. By the way, anyone willing to volunteer as my 2D artist just in case? 😀

3) Decrease excessive work and increase time for fun

Last year, I significantly decreased my overtime work, which is a good thing. Then, circumstances pushed me to find a second job, and so I craved for free time again (-_-‘). That’s actually the reason why I looked for a job that’s output-based and if possible, work-from-home. I was fortunate enough that my desired job setup found me (yep I got the offer, but the admission was not a “walk in the park”). I definitely enjoyed my previous jobs, it’s just that I reached the point where I want more freedom in handling my time and do stuff in a schedule that I prefer. This is one of the things that I’m most thankful for the past year.

4) Join and Win Some Contests

To be honest, I’m not that convinced that I pulled this off. First contest I joined was the Global Game Jam which I lost. I had a lot of fun though, and the competition was really tough. I’m still happy that I was able to create the game almost all by myself. I asked for help for the sound effects, but other than that, I pushed everything on my own. My colleagues in Anino actually won the jury’s choice, so kudos to them. They really made a well-polished game in the span of 48 hours.  It was totally impressive.
There’s this one contest in Game Career Guide called Game Design Challenge. This happens every two weeks wherein they give a specific theme, and the participants will propose a game idea based on that. I joined twice this year and well… this and this happened. If you’re into making game ideas of your own, I encourage you to try this. Other than the chance to win (no prize at all, mind you), the chosen entries are also fun to read.

5) Start a Blog

Yeah, 28 posts and counting! This blog is actually a product of my goals for 2013. Last year, I thought, “I love to write, and I come up with ideas out of thin air, so why not start a blog?”.  Just like any hobby or activity that you dive into, you experience the peak of your enthusiasm, so I started with a fast pace. Gradually, it slowed down since it takes a lot of time, and I already mentioned the things that I had to attend to last year. This time, I plan to make it more frequent since I have more control of my time now. I actually have a lot of pending posts that I want to publish, but I’ll take it one step at a time so as not to lose the motivation and suffer another slow pace. At the end of 2013, this blog of mine is one of the things that gave me such fulfillment. No matter how few people have read my posts, I’ll continue to write more, so cheers! More ironfiftynine for 2014!

Flix - 8bit Happy New Year