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Old 12-12-2004, 06:52 PM   #1
Aikidoiain
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Martial Arts in the movies.

I've noticed that more and more action/adventure movies these days seem to include fight scenes which employ Martial Arts.

Apart from actual known practitioners, like Seagal, Van Damme and Jet Li, I've even seen "actors" such as Tom Cruise, Sean Bean, Nicolas Cage and of course, Keanu Reeves, apparently displaying Martial Arts' skills.

My question is: are any of these actors actually trained in a particular Art, or are they merely following choreographed moves?

In "The Matrix", the kung fu certainly looks real enough - or is it? Considering the years of training it takes to reach such a high level in any Martial Art, I wonder if these actors have simply done a short course of some kind.

Another noticeable scarcity in movies, is the use of Aikido. As far as I'm aware, only Sensei Seagal uses this.

I'd be interested to know if anyone can enlighten me on this subject. Also - is it ethically correct for an actor to employ such skills if they are not fully trained Martial Artists? In fact, does it matter? Afterall, the movies are purely about entertainment. I'm just curious.


Iain.
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Old 12-12-2004, 09:31 PM   #2
xuzen
 
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

Quote:
Iain Smith wrote:
I've noticed that more and more action/adventure movies these days seem to include fight scenes which employ Martial Arts.
There are? In the Asian Context, we practically grew up on staple diet of Kung-Fu movie. Maybe it is due to more cross cultural exposure and the shrinking of the world. OTOH, I can see more intimacy and kissing scenes in Asian movies these days compared say to the seventies and early eighties. An Hollywood import, no doubt.

Quote:
Apart from actual known practitioners, like Seagal, Van Damme and Jet Li, I've even seen "actors" such as Tom Cruise, Sean Bean, Nicolas Cage and of course, Keanu Reeves, apparently displaying Martial Arts' skills. My question is: are any of these actors actually trained in a particular Art, or are they merely following choreographed moves?
A couple of months of training with a coach will make the actor/actress be able to execute basic moves. Harder sequence may require body double. These actors are... just acting... whether they know the real stuff is not required in their job description.

Quote:
In "The Matrix", the kung fu certainly looks real enough - or is it? Considering the years of training it takes to reach such a high level in any Martial Art, I wonder if these actors have simply done a short course of some kind.
Strap on Wire, springboard, Digital Imaging... ring a bell?

Quote:
Another noticeable scarcity in movies, is the use of Aikido. As far as I'm aware, only Sensei Seagal uses this.
This is debatable, but my opinion is aikido doesn't look pretty on movie. The sequence is too fast and joint manipulation is difficult to capture on film whilst maintaning the integrity of the movieline. A muscle bound Van-Damme lookalike doing high sprung round house kick looks anytime more sexilicious than say Mr Miyagi-san doing ikkajo.

Quote:
Also - is it ethically correct for an actor to employ such skills if they are not fully trained Martial Artists? In fact, does it matter? Afterall, the movies are purely about entertainment. I'm just curious.
IMO, it doesn't matter if they are trained MArtist. They are paid to do a job, acting out a pre-written fantasy or based on real events script. To me it matters most is that they are able to entertain (that being their primary objective), whether if the are real stuff or not... not important. Technology will make up the deficiencies. Ok, I think I off to see another kung-fu movie.

Boon.

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Old 12-13-2004, 01:18 AM   #3
Aikidoiain
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

Thanks Boon,

Pretty obvious question really when I think about it. I think you answered all the points as well!

I guess I've just been living in my cave too long!



Thanks,
Iain.
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Old 12-13-2004, 05:34 AM   #4
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

As for Aikido in movies - I think Sensei Seagal's fight scenes are some of the best I've seen. Apparently, he does all the stunts himself (and gets a double in for the "acting" parts!). Just a joke! I love his movies.

I think Jackie Chan has to be the epitome of a Martial Artist who makes his movies both entertaining for the masses, while still satisfying the Kung Fu enthusiasts. His stunts are both ingenious and sometimes, quite unbelievable! He still does all his own stunts, and has the injuries to prove it.


Iain.
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Old 12-13-2004, 04:27 PM   #5
senseimike
 
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

I have heard interviews with Jackie Chan where he says that actors such as himself and Sammo Hung, among others, actually started their training in ballet schools. He also mentioned that his fight scenes are unrealistic, and made to be entertaining. I've heard him, and several others say, that he is more of a comedic actor in Asia and more of a MA action star in the rest of the world. He's entertaining and does some awesome stunt work. So long as I'm entertained with a movie, I'm happy.

Mike Taylor
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Old 12-13-2004, 07:18 PM   #6
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

In Hong Kong, Jackie Chan is a god. Having the fortune to have visited that marvelous city, I found that most Hong Kong folks, virtually worship Jackie Chan. Whether or not it is for his martial arts skills, or just his entertainment accomplishments, I don't know, but I do know that his house in Hong Kong is one of the tour bus stops.....
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Old 12-17-2004, 07:47 PM   #7
Lan Powers
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

The late, great James Coburn was an aikidoka.
I personally, enjoy well presented movie-fu as well....lots of action, ever-so-flashy
better for entertainment value than the real thing, FOR THAT PURPOSE.

Actors are just people like everyone else, with the same range of interests, so some are into martial arts, some "dabble" and some just do what the choreographer says, fluff their hair, and look "Mahvelous, Dahling"

I love Jackie Chan too.
Lan

Play nice, practice hard, but remember, this is a MARTIAL art!
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Old 12-18-2004, 04:26 AM   #8
Aikidoiain
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

I also remember seeing a documentary about Bruce Lee, where he was giving James Coburn a lesson. I didn't know he was an Aikidoka though.

Yes, Jackie Chan's great! He's strongly influenced by the physical comedy actors in the old black and white silent movies. In those days, they didn't have the technology to fake stunts, so the actors had to do them for real, often risking their lives! I know Jackie liked Charlie Chaplin.

Both Jackie and Sammo Hung are into this idea of comic use of their MA skills when they choreograph a fight scene. For a "large" man, Sammo is amazing flexible and athletic - he's also extremely funny. Did Sammo also appear as a bad guy in one of Bruce Lee's films? It was just a minor role. I think Lee just kicked him to the ground, while fending off a constant stream of attackers.

There was a Jackie Chan movie I saw years ago which featured a lengthy fight with an elderly Hapkido Master. It had English subtitles, and was made long before Jackie became the Hollywood icon he is now. In this particular fight scene, the old Master had Jackie in all manner of joint locks, and it was fascinating to watch such skill. I'd love to know the name of that movie just to see that scene again.


Iain.

Last edited by Aikidoiain : 12-18-2004 at 04:29 AM.
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Old 01-08-2005, 04:39 AM   #9
eyrie
 
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

Quote:
Iain Smith wrote:
...

Apart from actual known practitioners, like Seagal, Van Damme and Jet Li, I've even seen "actors" such as Tom Cruise, Sean Bean, Nicolas Cage and of course, Keanu Reeves, apparently displaying Martial Arts' skills.

My question is: are any of these actors actually trained in a particular Art, or are they merely following choreographed moves?
...
You left out Wesley Snipes (karate) AND Dolph Lundgren (Kyokushinkai)!!!!

I would leave out Van Damme though...(kickboxing is not a real martial art)

And it's ALL choreographed by someone with traditional MA skills, even Jet Li's stuff - see the bonus stuff at the end of the "Kiss of the Dragon" DVD for the police dojo fight scene....(although I suspect they have some technical and artistic input).

A bit of trivia... Pat McCarthy showed Steve Martin how to throw a punch for a scene in "Roxanne".

Last edited by eyrie : 01-08-2005 at 04:43 AM.

Ignatius
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Old 01-08-2005, 06:48 AM   #10
Keith_k
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

Quote:
Iain Smith wrote:
There was a Jackie Chan movie I saw years ago which featured a lengthy fight with an elderly Hapkido Master. It had English subtitles, and was made long before Jackie became the Hollywood icon he is now. In this particular fight scene, the old Master had Jackie in all manner of joint locks, and it was fascinating to watch such skill. I'd love to know the name of that movie just to see that scene again.


Iain.
Do you know which movie that might have been? Being that I train in Hapkido, I would like to see it.

Jackie Chan was also in Enter the Dragon. He was one of the horde of extras attacking Bruce. He got a tad bit more screen time than most, but not by much. Bruce got Jackie in some kind of choke hold I believe, dispatched two other attackers with punches and kicks, then broke Jackie's neck.
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Old 01-24-2005, 07:07 AM   #11
Aikidoiain
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

Hi Keith,

It's good to meet another Hapkido student! I thought I was the only one!

I studied for a couple of years under the instruction of one of Grandmaster Fred Adams 8th Dan's first students here in Scotland. He was a very formidable 2nd Dan.

I loved Hapkido. It was quick to learn and extremely effective in real fight situations. I was going for my green tab when I had to leave due to illness. I still remember all that great stuff though.

Re: that movie - like I said, this Hapkido Master had Jackie in all sorts of locks! It truly was amazing to watch. The Master just never let him go!!

Good luck with your training. I must admit, I do often wish I could go back to Hapkido.

Best wishes,
Iain.
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Old 01-26-2005, 09:23 PM   #12
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

Quote:
Iain Smith wrote:
Another noticeable scarcity in movies, is the use of Aikido. As far as I'm aware, only Sensei Seagal uses this.
Aikido (and other real martial arts) doesn't give that prolonged ego-rush that the movie arts offer. Martial Arts, as I understand it, were developed to kill quickly. That takes half a second. Where as killing a person with 100 strikes is exhilerating
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Old 01-27-2005, 12:28 AM   #13
eyrie
 
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

Quote:
Iain Smith wrote:
There was a Jackie Chan movie I saw years ago which featured a lengthy fight with an elderly Hapkido Master. It had English subtitles, and was made long before Jackie became the Hollywood icon he is now. In this particular fight scene, the old Master had Jackie in all manner of joint locks, and it was fascinating to watch such skill. I'd love to know the name of that movie just to see that scene again.

Iain.
It was "Game of Death" and had Kareem Abdul Jabar in it as well. Yep, I'm not sure who the hapkido master was (I think it might have been one of Master Bong Soo Han's students - not sure).

But if I can move half as well as Samo when I'm at his age now, I'd be really rapt.

Ignatius
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Old 01-27-2005, 04:37 AM   #14
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

I'm not sure about the training other non-martial artists endure, but I read several articles on Tom Cruise's training for Last Samurai and it seems he attempted to learn as much as he could (aside from actually spending his life devoted to the art) to make the movie authentic. This article gives a little background, http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2004/...in600792.shtml, seems he did eight months of physical training and countless hours of reading to be able to accurately do the fight and stunt scenes.

Greg Makuch

Gregory Makuch
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Old 01-27-2005, 11:42 PM   #15
Keith_k
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

Quote:
Ignatius Teo wrote:
It was "Game of Death" and had Kareem Abdul Jabar in it as well. Yep, I'm not sure who the hapkido master was (I think it might have been one of Master Bong Soo Han's students - not sure).

But if I can move half as well as Samo when I'm at his age now, I'd be really rapt.
In Game of Death Bruce Lee and co. fought (now) 10th degree Hapkido Grand Master Jae Han Ji (he was 7th degree at the time). You got it backwards, GM Bong Soo Han was actually GM Jae's student. Jackie Chan fought another Hapkido master named Hwang Inn-sik (I don't know his exact ranking) in The Young Master and in Dragon Lord. Jackie Chan himself is also a ranked black belt in Hapkido, but I don't know what level.
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Old 01-28-2005, 09:03 PM   #16
danae oaks
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

hello my name is danae
I wanted you to know that in fact some of those actors do train in the martial arts.Take jet li for instance he does,i actually went to china to train with his insructor wu bin in his style of wushu.Thats why it looks really cool because he is using some of his techniques.But now you have to relize that wushu at one point was a true syle but now became flashy.I wouldnt utemt eny of those moves in a street fight but even on the screen things become exadurated from eny style.For other actors they can pull in stunt men or women who study in that field.then if that doesnt work they have coreographers that put moves together .so all in all there is some real martial arts styles used but the producers modify the tech. to there likeing were if you were to do it the way they show you would probably injure yourself in the process.
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Old 01-29-2005, 06:23 PM   #17
garry cantrell
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

man, i loved billy jack. for several reasons. but one was that tom laughlin actually did hapkido and another was that he featured a well known hapkido instructor (i want to say it was bong soo han - but it was a long long time ago) in a scene or two. the hapkido seemed way way cooler than the karate i was doing at the time (no disrespect to the karate folks - they were awesome, but the fit just wasn't as good - my excursions into karate later in life have always been fun) - and i credit billy jack with guiding me toward aikido.

a very good friend of mine from college (an isshin ryu practitioner) ending up writing MA movies for a living and i tried and tried to convince him that aikido would be a great MA for the movies - and that i would be the obvious movie star to present aikido to the masses. did he believe me??? nooooo. it could've been me that married the gorgeous co-star!! well, o.k., not having the movie star good looks might've been a problem, and those were the days before a lot of computer animation and i would've had to have relied on my actual aikido skills, and that might've been a problem, and another problem might've been.....oh.......never mind.
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Old 01-30-2005, 07:54 AM   #18
Adam Alexander
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

Billy Jack was AWFUL!! His technique of choice was a kick to the head...and he used it 90% of the time. I'd of thought he would of showcased his art in that movie.
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Old 01-30-2005, 02:45 PM   #19
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

jean,

was not, was not!! *sticks out tongue and pouts*

hey, it was 1971, before "enter the dragon" hit the u.s. and it wasn't until, what, 1979 maybe, that "good guys wear black" came out. it had an incredible effect. the scene where he tells the guy he's going to kick him in the head and there's nothing he can do about it - priceless, especially to a 13 y.o. who also got a glimpse of brief nudity in the same movie. as an aside, i think bong soo han didn't appear or choreograph until "trial of billy jack"
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Old 01-30-2005, 03:10 PM   #20
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

Lol. Alright, that was the cool part of the movie and she did have a nice body--but that's all!

Actually, I saw that movie about a year and a half ago on someone's recommendation. It was hilarious--a lot of motorcycle riding, but I guess that wasthe 70's.
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Old 02-03-2005, 05:58 PM   #21
Aikidoiain
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

Thanks for all the replies.

So the movie I'm thinking of could be "The Young Master"?

Wesley Snipes was mentioned earlier. He starred with Sean Connery in a movie called "The Rising Sun". There's a scene in that where Sean's character executes a sternal notch strike to one of the big bad guys - flooring him immediately. I thought those into Hapkido would've noticed that (I think it's a yellow belt technique). Whether Sean has actually had any training I wouldn't know. It's a pretty good movie. There's a fight scene near the end where Sean looks like he's using some Aikido moves - afterall, he did get some coaching many years ago from Steven Seagal (for a Bond film).

"The Game of Death" was definitely a Bruce Lee movie, so that wasn't the one I was on about.

Thanks to all.
Iain.

Last edited by Aikidoiain : 02-03-2005 at 06:05 PM.
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Old 02-06-2005, 07:33 PM   #22
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Re: Martial Arts in the movies.

Quote:
Lan Powers wrote:
The late, great James Coburn was an aikidoka.
I personally, enjoy well presented movie-fu as well....lots of action, ever-so-flashy
better for entertainment value than the real thing, FOR THAT PURPOSE.

Actors are just people like everyone else, with the same range of interests, so some are into martial arts, some "dabble" and some just do what the choreographer says, fluff their hair, and look "Mahvelous, Dahling"

I love Jackie Chan too.
Lan

From what I remember, James Coburn was a private student of Seagal Sensei. I also remember that he had some part in getting the studios to notice Seagal's Aikido skills.

I no longer participate in or read the discussion forums here on AikiWeb due to the unfair and uneven treatment of people by the owner/administrator.
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