After reviewing the training methods of Qi Dao, Kumar Frantzis suggested that such material would be more precisely labeled as shen gong, or spiritual cultivation, rather than as qi gong (energy cultivation). While I cannot disagree with his observation, it seems to me that most English-speaking qigong enthusiasts are in fact seeking self-realization, harmony and peace of mind—not merely a vehicle for increased physical vitality—so some imprecision can be forgiven here.
Qi Dao: The Art of Being in the Flow is (to my knowledge) the first English book on the obscure Tibetan art of Shamanic Qigong, or trul khor. Written by Lama Somananda Tantrapa, an ordained Buddhist monk and longtime martial artist, Being in the Flow introduces the basics of this unique brand of Tibetan Yoga.
Musashi duels on the beach
Samurai Trilogy: Musashi Miyamoto (3 films)
Based on a true story, Samurai chronicles the transformation of a violent, headstrong youth (played by Toshiro Mifune) into one of history’s greatest swordsmen. Samurai won the Academy Award for best foreign film in 1955, and is regarded by many as Japan’s own Gone With the Wind.
If you know Jackie Chan strictly from his American films—The Tuxedo, Shanghai Knights, and other assorted stinkers—then you don’t know Jackie Chan at all. To appreciate the brilliant physical ability that made him an international action hero, you need to see his earlier work. Here are a few of his best movies, from his prime years in the 80s and early 90s.
The old master role is a staple of the kungfu movie genre. This wise sensei or sifu embodies the qualities of wisdom, experience and restraint, tempering the young hero’s reckless energy and guiding them in their fight against injustice.
Some of the actors portraying old-school masters were trained only in movie-fu—the art of looking good on camera—but others were accomplished martial artists and opera performers in their own right. Those in the latter category executed difficult fight choreography with speed and grace; like fine wines, they grow more impressive with age.
The world as seen by Netflix
Sea monsters block DVD imports
2006 was a great year for martial arts movie enthusiasts like us. Unfortunately, many of this year’s best films will never be released to US audiences.
No, you won’t see these movies in a local theatre, or at Blockbuster Video. Even Netflix seems unaware of Asia’s existence. As a kung fu fanatic, your only alternative is to order them directly on DVD.
If Jet Li’s Fearless and Tony Jaa’s The Protector didn’t scratch your itch, try these others:
In this installment of our series on the greatest kung fu movies ever made, we consider the samurai genre.
The characteristics of the samurai ethic include courage, loyalty, and honor. The greatest samurai movies not only illustrate these virtues, but present them in a novel, unexpected, and ultimately enlightening way.
These three movies examine the relevance of martial arts to everyday life. Even though they are all comedies, they may change your perspective on the value and meaning of kung fu.
Shaolin Soccer [IMDB]
Stephen Chow’s classic film shows the secret applications of Shaolin wushu: baking, tree trimming, and parallel parking.
I was recently reading wujimon’s Taijiquan blog, and was a little surprised to find Top 5 Martial Arts Movies in his list of most popular posts.
Surely, I thought, such lowbrow pursuits are beneath the true “internal martial artist”? But it seems I was wrong; a fortuitous circumstance, because I know more about kung fu movies than John Hodgman knows about hoboes.