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. (~^_^)~

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