Martial Arts Movies of 2010: The Best, and the Rest

Last year was a good year for martial arts movies. With more than two dozen releases to theater and DVD, few people will have the time and interest to screen them all–myself included! Rather than writing a review for each, I have decided to simply list those you cannot afford to miss.

The Best

Bodyguards and Assassins
Winner: 2010 Hong Kong Film Award, Best Film

Bodyguards and Assassins [IMDB rating: 6.9/10]
Starring Donnie Yen, Nicholas Tse, Cung Le

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All Red Ninjas Are Evil!

Clayton Prince is: The Black Ninja

Reviewer Mark Pollard says:

THE BLACK NINJA is one of those “should have” films. It should have been marketed as the no budget, amateur project that it is, rather than as a potentially gratifying B-grade exploitation piece in order to keep expectations to a minimum. It should have been a short film, omitting overlong dialogue while making better use of limited resources. It should have been campier. A vigilante ninja clad in black while riding a Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle should not be taken seriously. Finally, it should have had nothing to do with ninjas to begin with since the martial arts action is miserably weak. And last but not least, it should have never been made.

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An Interview with the Founder of Shinjido Budo

Shinjido inventor Danny Da Costa says:

Shinjido literally means Danny’s Way, a label given by one of my students to the variety of techniques that I have developed for martial art. I attempt to find the easiest solution to a problem either in attack or defence. My work is based on sound principles and the techniques serve to demonstrate the principles. I have applied this approach to judo starting from the premise that our sport is fighting within specific rules and limitations…

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.

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Combat Judo in the Cobra-Kai

From the 2008 reptile documentary Life in Cold Blood:

Cobras grapple not only with their prey, but with one another, in dispute over mates and territory. This is one of the most formidable: the King Cobra, highly venomous, and about four meters (fourteen feet) long. Disputes between rival male King Cobras are potentially very dangerous indeed, for this species specializes in eating other kinds of snakes. So they observe strict rules in their fights, which prohibit the use of their lethal bite.

Slowed down, it’s a performance full of grace, as each contestant strives not to kill his opponent, but simply to slam him to the ground.

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Busty Heart Splits Planks With Cans, Smashes Fruits With Melons

Some Martial Development readers have alleged that I am overly critical of breaking practices in the martial arts. To be fair, it is not all vanity and deceit, and if I’ve previously implied that its adherents are all boobs, then I must apologize.

Busty Heart

Yes, hitting bags alone isn’t much fun. And when properly executed, breaking can build power, control, and self-confidence. With diligent practice, you can bust an entire rack of melons, or a nicely stacked set of boards.

In the following videos, model and stripper Busty Heart shows her breaking talent. Continue reading Busty Heart Splits Planks With Cans, Smashes Fruits With Melons