The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers: Martial Arts Study Guide

This article is intended as a companion piece to The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers series. It will provide additional information on the martial arts themes that frequently appear in The LXD.

AntiGravity Heroes

What styles of martial arts are performed on The LXD?

In Episode 2, AntiGravity Heroes, Jimmy and Justin perform a dazzling set with elements of parkour, XMA, and modern wushu. Although the term wushu technically refers to Chinese martial arts in general, the term is most commonly applied these days to theatrical renditions of the arts, tuned for artistic performance rather than for direct combat application. Continue reading The Legion of Extraordinary Dancers: Martial Arts Study Guide

Quiz: Can You Name This Martial Art?

How much do you really know about the history of martial arts? Test your knowledge with this Martial Development interactive quiz.

If you don’t know the answer to any of these questions, you are welcome to look it up first, either online or offline. That’s not cheating, folks–it’s research! Continue reading Quiz: Can You Name This Martial Art?

Mike Tyson: Quotes of Wisdom And Wonderment

On his opponents…

Mike Tyson

Frank Bruno: “How dare these boxers challenge me with their primitive skills? It makes me angry. They’re just as good as dead.”

Tyrell Biggs: “I could have knocked him out in the third round but I wanted to do it slowly, so he would remember this night for a long time.”

Lennox Lewis: “I’m coming for you man. My style is impetuous. My defense is impregnable, and I’m just ferocious. I want your heart. I want to eat his children. Praise be to Allah!”

“It’s ludicrous these mortals even attempt to enter my realm.”

Continue reading Mike Tyson: Quotes of Wisdom And Wonderment

Seattle Says Goodbye to Kung-Fu Banana, Semi-Pro Wrestling?

Seattle Semi-Pro Wrestling

Where do you draw the line between real fake wrestling and phony fake wrestling?

Seattle Semi-Pro (SSP) Wrestling performers and their fans await the answer from the Washington State Department of Licensing. The decision will determine whether their oddball institution goes down for the count.

The man who blew the whistle on them: a former SSP grappler-turned-real-archenemy known as The Banana. Continue reading Seattle Says Goodbye to Kung-Fu Banana, Semi-Pro Wrestling?

Seattle’s World of Martial Arts 2008 – Exhibition Notes

World of Martial Arts 2008 - Tai Chi Sword
Yang Taiji Sword

  • The annual World of Martial Arts Exhibition, sponsored by the Seattle Department of Parks and Recreation, has been held for more than 20 years. Last weekend marked my fourth year of attendance.
  • This year’s event was the best of those four. Whether intentionally or by coincidence, the organizers and participants responded positively to my past observations.

Continue reading Seattle’s World of Martial Arts 2008 – Exhibition Notes

The Rise and Fall of Mesmerism

The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine

The following passage is excerpted from “The Cure Within: A History of Mind-Body Medicine” by Anne Harringtona recent addition to my recommended reading list.

The End of Medical Exorcism in Europe

Appreciating the interweaving religious, philosophical and political stakes [in 18th century medicine] is important, because it can help us make sense of an episode whose significance we might otherwise misinterpret: the showdown between the German exorcist Father Johann Joseph Gassner and the Viennese physician Anton Mesmer.

Johann Joseph Gassner

Gassner was an exorcist whose ability to cast out devils was legendary. People came from all over to be healed, and in dramatic public performances—witnessed by crowds from all sectors of society—Gassner would oblige. Official records were made; competent witnesses testified to the extraordinary happenings. All agreed on the basic facts. On being presented with a supplicant, Gassner would typically wave a crucifix over his or her body and demand in Latin that, if the disease he was seeing had a “preternatural” source, this fact must be made manifest. The patient would then typically collapse into convulsions, and Gassner would proceed to exorcise the offending spirit.

Sometimes he added flourishes to this basic routine: in one dramatic instance, for example, he ordered the demon inside a woman to increase the poor woman’s heartbeat and then to slow it down. Continue reading The Rise and Fall of Mesmerism

Tips for a Successful Martial Arts Demonstration

Last weekend, I attended the third annual World of Martial Arts demonstration in Seattle. The event featured local Karate, Hapkido, Iaido, Tai Chi, and other groups.

Karate demonstration
Karate demonstration

As in previous years, the show had some positive qualities, and a few negative ones. In the spirit of constructive criticism, I would like to offer some suggestions to participants in future demonstrations.

  • Every spectator should have an unobstructed view of the action. Seating your audience in chairs where they cannot actually see the demonstration is obscene. If you are performing in a flat gymnasium or some other ad hoc arena, pay special attention to the seating arrangements.
  • Continue reading Tips for a Successful Martial Arts Demonstration

Qigong Skills of the Vagabonds

Before the days of the strip-mall Kung Fu Dojo, some martial artists earned a living by performing in travelling circus shows.  These artists demonstrated seemingly miraculous feats to entertain their audience, and attributed them to esoteric qigong training.

Truthfully, these “vagabond skills” are mostly cheap parlor tricks.  In this video clip, Wing Chun instructor Leung Ting demonstrates the (relatively) safe and easy way to break bricks with your bare hands, and slice yourself with sharp blades.  Continue reading Qigong Skills of the Vagabonds

‘World of Martial Arts’ Demonstration in Seattle

Watch martial arts experts and masters perform their precision techniques and forms. Various martial arts styles from China, Japan, Okinawa, and Korea will be presented!

Seattle I.D./Chinatown Community Center
Saturday, October 14, 2006
6pm to 8pm
Admission: $10/person

If you decide to attend, please post a review afterwards.