• Martial Law

    Japanese martial arts

    I wrote a story a while back about pirates and militias, and the role of the martial artist, in certain time periods, as a guardian. This idea has been with me for a very long time, due perhaps to my love of fantasy novels. The story of the hero who protects the village, or slays the dragon, is an old one, and I also touched on that cycle in a post on this blog, “Mixed Martial Arts and the Hero’s Journey.”

    I wrote the former essay during the media frenzy following the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. After that shooting, it seemed as if every day another report about police shooting unarmed men – mostly black, a few white – came tumbling through my social media feeds. In each report, police aggression was clear and apparent. The police seemed eager to pull the trigger, eager to escalate the situation. As if they had been waiting for this opportunity for some time, and now finally had the chance to “fuck someone up” – I found myself more and more drawn to the fantasy of a militia with morals, with a code, with the discipline of a master, or an MMA fighter … a force made up of people who used force so often, in controlled settings, that the tendency to escalate a situation has been beaten out of them so to say.

    Continue Reading


    September 3, 2014 • MMA, Modern Kung Fu • Views: 84

  • New Masters Documentary

    This is a teaser for a documentary film I am involved with, featuring Ning Guangyou, a fighter in the UFC.


    September 1, 2014 • MMA, Video • Views: 138

  • Chen Taiji Video

    Here is a video that Chen Jia posted on her Wechat feed. It features the four current masters of Chen Style Taiji, Chen Xiaowang, Chen Xiaoxing, Chen Ziqiang, and Su Jianping. It’s beautifully shot, but the music is horrible. The song, I believe, was written for this video. I will have a translation here in a bit of the song, just for kicks.

    For my take on Chenjiagou, the village where this style originates, check out “The Birthplace of Chen Style Taiji.”


    August 31, 2014 • Kung Fu People, Kung Fu Places, Video • Views: 532

  • Translation of Wong Kar Wai’s Grandmaster Documentary

    A while back, I posted Wong Kar Wai’s behind the scenes documentary of the “The Grandmaster,” and then promised to transcribe and translate the text for those of you who are interested. I have finally finished that small, but annoyingly difficult project. For those who don’t know, there were several dialects in this documentary, and that wasn’t the hard part. The hard part was just finding the time to sit and do this. My time management needs management.

    So I haven’t popped the subtitles into the Youtube clip, I just provide the text here. Feel free to mish and mash as you will. I have included the original Chinese text so you can do your own translation if you like, or just refer to the source whenever something seems a bit off. I have also placed time-markers at intervals, to allow you to skip ahead. Enjoy!

    Continue Reading


    August 28, 2014 • Kung Fu History, Kung Fu People, Video • Views: 404

  • Mixed Martial Artists and the Hero’s Journey

    Hero Kungfu

    Martial artists, as they have been depicted in media for decades, follow the classic Hero’s Journey. From the wuxia novels out of Hong Kong to any movie since Bruce Lee made kungfu movies cool, the plot is familiar: the martial artist starts out ordinary, is called to action by the arrival of an implacable enemy, goes through trials and tribulations before eventually defeating the End Boss in an epic fight. Sometimes, the last battle also results in a lesson for all of humanity.

    The Hero’s Journey seems like a logical chain of events to us, because we’ve seen it so many times. In 1949, Joseph Campbell published his famous book, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, tracing this arc out for us across societies and time. Campbell compared cultural hero myths from around the world, as well as the archetypes found within, and through his research we learn that there may be nothing new under the sun. At least where heroes are concerned. According to Campbell’s research, the myths of the world are contained in a few basic fairy tales that differ little from those told in Bhutan, Kansas, southern Italy, or the Kalahari.

    Continue Reading


    July 28, 2014 • Kung Fu Lore, MMA, Modern Kung Fu • Views: 629