Ong Bak 2 Review (with Exclusive Video Previews)

Tony Jaa in 'Ong Bak 2'

Warning: This post contains spoilers.

With more than two years spent in filming and production, Ong Bak 2 presents Thai martial arts star Tony Jaa’s attempt at an action masterpiece. Jaa shares writing and directing credits, in addition to his leading role as the slave-turned-rebel-hero Tian Continue reading Ong Bak 2 Review (with Exclusive Video Previews)

What are Karate Kata?

Black Belt Karate by Chris Thompson

Excerpted from Chris Thompson’s Black Belt Karate:

Karate kata (formal exercises) was the only way karate was taught up until the 1930s. In the kata, all the elements of correct karate practice are stored. The vast majority of kata that are practiced in the dojo today and used on the tournament circuit can be traced right back to China or Okinawa.

They appear to be dance-like drills, constantly repeated by students, yet hidden in these movements are hundreds of kakushi waza (secret techniques). These appear to be one form of technique, but in fact may be doing something completely different. Continue reading What are Karate Kata?

Spot the Ninja Goofs in KATANA Episode 1

“KATANA” is a martial arts web series that premiered January 7th, 2009, on Strike.TV, an internet network created by Hollywood writers during the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike. It is the first ever martial-arts television series by Hollywood professionals to debut on the internet.

In the pilot episode, John Koyama (The Last Samurai) plays Toshiro Sato, a former Ninja forced out of retirement to do the evil bidding of his older brother Kenji, played by action legend Yuji Okumoto (Karate Kid 2, Johnny Tsunami). “KATANA” is also Yuji Okumoto’s producing and writing debut.

Shot in Seattle, the series pilot stars a host of top A-list stunt and action talent from Hollywood to Hong Kong, including Thai action star Don Tai (Rush Hour 3, Fast & Furious), Al Goto (Letters From Iwo Jima, We Were Soldiers), and Sam Looc (Mask of the Ninja, Tropic Thunder).

Continue reading Spot the Ninja Goofs in KATANA Episode 1

Our Top Martial Arts Blogs – The Year in Review

As recently voted by Martial Development readers…

Most Popular Posts

Totally Nude Tai Chi: A DVD Review With Pictures
After writing this, I learned that Tai Chi is just one disc in an extensive nude martial arts DVD series. Other titles include Judo, Kendo, Karate, and Changquan. I kid you not!

Five Questions With a Nei Kung Expert
My thanks to the Mo-Pai disciples who collaborated with me on publishing this interview.

Top Commenters
Thomas Tan
Rick Matz, Cook Ding’s Kitchen
Bob Patterson, Striking Thoughts
Richard C. Bauer, Dim Mak researcher
“Thunderbird”
“Kungfuguy”, a.k.a. “Cobra-Kai”
“Skeeva”

Me, Chi and Bruce Lee

I have randomly selected one commenter to receive a free gift. Continue reading Our Top Martial Arts Blogs – The Year in Review

Ip Man Goes to Hollywood

Donnie Yen as Ip Man

Grandmaster Ip Man—the man who ushered Wing Chun kung fu out of obscurity, and presided over the instruction of a young Bruce Lee—is the subject of a exciting new Hong Kong biopic. Action star Donnie Yen portrays the petite but powerful Ip in early adulthood, as wealthy playboy and martial arts fanatic. Continue reading Ip Man Goes to Hollywood

Now on DVD: The Best Martial Arts Movies of 2008

Finishing the Game: The Search for a New Bruce Lee

[Amazon] [IMDB] [Netflix]
Starring Dustin Nguyen, Roger Fan, Aiko Tanaka and M.C. Hammer

Loosely based on the true story of Bruce Lee’s “lost footage”, Finishing the Game is a dry, sharply written satire of 70’s era Kung Fu filmmaking. Martial artists and genre fans will enjoy it immensely, but newcomers may not appreciate its subtle humor.
My rating: A-

Finishing the Game

Fist Foot Way

Continue reading Now on DVD: The Best Martial Arts Movies of 2008

Seattle’s “World of Martial Arts 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 Exhibition” Notes

Jet Li and Jackie Chan Rescued by Awkward Caucasian Teen

A Review of The Forbidden Kingdom DVD

Recipe for Forbidden Kingdom: Take one part Harry Potter, one part Lord of the Rings, and one part Karate Kid; mix and heat until lukewarm; label as “Asian fusion” cuisine. Serves five hundred million.

Jet Li in Forbidden Kingdom
Young Jason struggles in a low horse stance, building kungfu as his teacher Lu Yan stands by. “Go deeper,” Lu demands, “You must taste bitter before sweet.”

Your reaction to this single training scene, will most likely mirror your opinion of The Forbidden Kingdom as a whole. Continue reading Jet Li and Jackie Chan Rescued by Awkward Caucasian Teen

James Barton’s Virtuous Science of Self-Defense

James Barton writes in,

I thought that you might be interested in the alternative martial art that I am developing. It is quite unusual and has a strong focus on character improvement. I would value your questions, comments and criticisms.

Readers, I encourage you to visit the Virtue Science website, read some of James’ material, and formulate your own opinions before proceeding to my commentary below. Continue reading James Barton’s Virtuous Science of Self-Defense

The Best Martial Arts Movies of 2007

Edison Chen in Dog Bite Dog

Dog Bite Dog [Amazon.com] [Netflix] [IMDB]
After a Cambodian child slave turned assassin completes his assignment, he in turn becomes the target of a vengeful Hong Kong cop. There are no heroic figures in Dog Bite Dog, and no glorification of violence. This stunningly brutal film illustrates an unfortunate truth: the fight isn’t over until everyone is satisfied, and nobody is content with a loss. Continue reading The Best Martial Arts Movies of 2007