Are Action Movies Ruining Martial Arts?

In New York Magazine, Kyle Buchanan laments the decline of the modern action movie:

…Actors often brag about how much Krav Maga or karate or capoeira they had to learn for their roles, but to judge from the onscreen world of modern action movies, that kind of skill set is hardly rare: A built-in understanding of martial arts is instilled in everyone, be they hero, villain, or mere henchman. (Fortunately, heroes always get to fight off bad guys who somehow know the exact same form of martial arts they do.) Too often, it seems like movies grind to a halt for obligatory hand-to-hand combat with low stakes and little invention, as though the screenwriter typed, “A fight breaks out,” and the director left it up to the second unit and fight coordinator to fill three minutes.

With little in the way of stakes, a sameness in presentation, and no blood or bruises, martial arts have turned action scenes into dance scenes…Gone are the days when a fight might involve a gun, a makeshift weapon, or a hit that actually hurts.

Mr. Buchanan misremembers the history of violence in cinema. Continue reading Are Action Movies Ruining Martial Arts?

A Letter to Zangief Kid, the Bully Crusher

Zangief

Hey, Zangief Kid. Millions of people are talking about you these days. They are talking about that final bullying event, captured on video two weeks ago, that made you Internet famous. Reporters, school officials, and other so-called experts are discussing how such events should be “handled” or “managed,” as if they indicated a simple policy failure.

I think you know better, Little Zangief, and so do I. Now, rather than adding to the punditry, I’d like to say a few words to you directly. But first, a quick recap, and please correct me if I am wrong…

School bullies hounded you for years. They tormented you daily, to such an extent that others were reluctant to be seen as your friend, lest they be forced to share in your suffering.

When a group of bullies ambushed you, their scrawny leader throwing punches while the rest stood by in approval, you finally snapped. They had your back against the wall, both figuratively and literally, Zangief. So, on the fifth punch, Continue reading A Letter to Zangief Kid, the Bully Crusher

The Origin of Phoenix Jones, Seattle’s Real-Life Superhero

By day, he is a professional mixed martial arts fighter, with multiple black belts and a winning record. By night, he is Seattle’s own neighborhood crime fighter, operating under the costumed alias Phoenix Jones.

Phoenix recently shared his origin story, methods and motivations Continue reading The Origin of Phoenix Jones, Seattle’s Real-Life Superhero

Seattle MMA “Superhero” Fights Street Crime

First reported by KOMO News:

Phoenix Jones is a superhero.

He has a day job but wears a costume underneath his street clothes in case he encounters crime. He carries a “net gun” and has a sidekick named Buster Doe.

But this isn’t the plot from a Hollywood movie. There are no special effects. This is real-life and Phoenix patrols Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood every week- stopping fights, feeding the homeless and helping folks who have run out of gas.

Continue reading Seattle MMA “Superhero” Fights Street Crime

James Arthur Ray: Downfall of a “Spiritual Warrior”

March 2009

Times have been tough for Matthew Smith. A self-proclaimed “Star Wars” fanatic from Clifton, N.J., Mr. Smith, 38, was laid off from his job as a retail manager five months ago and has been living on unemployment ever since. His dream of starting his own business fizzled along with his marriage — one was directly tied to the other, he says. And his efforts to find a new job have so far been futile.

“My life has not been working,” he said, as he stood inside a huge ballroom at the Westin Hotel on Saturday along with 500 other people, many of them also unemployed and looking for something better.

But this was not a job fair. They were here to see a motivational speaker and self-help guru, and paying a hefty price to do so: $1,297 for a high-decibel, two-day seminar. In this case, the speaker was James Arthur Ray, one of the emerging names in the $11 billion self-improvement industry, and the event was called the Harmonic Wealth Weekend.

Continue reading James Arthur Ray: Downfall of a “Spiritual Warrior”

SlowFlo: The Christian Alternative to Tai Chi?

Are you feeling run down? Suffering from tired blood? Do encounters with foreign cultures leave you confused and angry?

WholyFit SlowFlo Christian Tai Chi

If so, then we have a solution for you. It’s called SlowFlo, the Christian alternative to Tai Chi.

Inspired by Chuck Norris, the art of SlowFlo reforms the inscrutable pagan art of Tai Chi Chuan into a safe and guilt-free form of Christian exercise. Continue reading SlowFlo: The Christian Alternative to Tai Chi?

When Animals Counterattack…

Toddler vs. Tiger

More dangerous animal news of the weird…

Toddler versus Tiger

A 2-year-old girl survived a stare-down with a 500-pound Bengal tiger after the tiger escaped its enclosure—with the help of a gibbon, of course—at a Florida exotic animal park.

Officials at Jungle Island in Miami called the incident a “freak accident.” First, a White-Handed Gibbon escaped its enclosure and wandered to the tiger exhibit, where he riled up the massive Bengal tiger.

“With the momentum and the excitement he had from seeing the gibbon, (the tiger) was able to get over the fence,” Jungle Island’s Ashley Serrate said.

That’s where the tiger met 2-year-old Dianita Barratt, who was spending the day at Jungle Island with her mom, Diana… [continued]

WINNER: Toddler Continue reading When Animals Counterattack…

Crossing The Pond – Martial Expo 2010 Review

Crossing The Pond
  • The inaugural Crossing The Pond Martial Expo was held last weekend in West Seattle. This seminar brought together five six well-known and highly skilled instructors of martial arts and self-defense from across the United States and United Kingdom.
  • Over the weekend, two one-hour workshops were held by instructors Al Peasland, Nicholas Yang, Kris Wilder, Rory Miller, Marc “Animal” MacYoung, and Iain “Tuna Fish Pizza” Abernethy.
  • Approximately thirty-five people were in attendance. Among the students, at least one third appeared to be black belts and/or instructors themselves.
  • Participants were open-minded, polite, and patient–especially with this author, who hadn’t done any Karate training since elementary school. Egoism, inappropriate competition, and input from self-declared “assistant instructors” was minimal. This is a credit to the affable seminar host, Kris Wilder, and the other teachers as well, who together set the right tone for the event.

Continue reading Crossing The Pond – Martial Expo 2010 Review

Would You Choke a Deaf Shoplifter?

Home video showing security guards from a Hollywood store in a scuffle with two men who appear to be deaf has become the talk of the Internet. Police said one of the men apprehended by the security guards, Alejandro Rea, was charged with robbery.

Joshua Fountain shot this video of the physical altercation outside of the Forever 21 clothing store at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue.

Two security guards are seen in the video, with one of them on the ground holding one of the Rea brothers in a choke hold. Meanwhile, the other brother is circling frantically trying to help. The two men are making sounds and gesturing but they aren’t speaking. [continued at KABC]

If you were a plainclothes security guard, and someone walked out of your store with stolen merchandise, what would you have done? Continue reading Would You Choke a Deaf Shoplifter?