Afghan Paralympic TKD Player
The International Paralympic Committee confirmed on Saturday that Afghan women's taekwondo competitor Zakia Khudadadi, along with track athlete Hossain Rasouli, have arrived safely in Tokyo and will be competing in their respective sports at the ongoing Paralympic Games. It had seemed the pair, Afghanistan's only scheduled participants, would not be able to get to Japan when, earlier this month, their nation fell to the Taliban in the wake of American withdrawal.

But nearly two weeks ago Khudadadi aroused worldwide sympathies with a moving video message detailing her plight being a virtual captive in her home and asking for help on behalf of all Afghan women. Her plea ignited international action by several human rights groups, as well as the French and British Paralympic Associations and World Taekwondo, who helped spirit Khudadadi and Rasouli out of the country and bring them to Japan. On Thursday, Khudadadi is scheduled to be the first Afghan woman to compete at the Paralympics since 2004 when she fights in the women's 49 kg taekwondo competition.

That a director of my city's opera company would call me seemed a little odd. There are probably some monkeys who know more about opera than I do. But the director was inviting me to lunch, so of course I went.

It turned out the company was producing a performance of Madame Butterfly, the Puccini opera that tells the story of a doomed love between a French military officer and a geisha in early 19th-century Japan. The opera has come under fire for its stereotyped, utterly fanciful depictions of Japanese culture. The local company was trying to anticipate such criticism, and the director asked me, since I serve on the board of some organizations related to Japanese culture, what I thought.
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Apologies in advance for the title if it gives impressions that this is going to be all that poetic. It's not this presentation that is all that literary, but something else. Haikus and pentameter aside, MMA has moments that are nothing less than poetic on a pretty astral level. Not long ago, irony at the nauseating level (unless you are a psychopath) happened when former UFC Middleweight Champion Chris Weidman broke his leg on Uriah Hall's leg in an eerily similar way as the other former champ Anderson Silva did on Chris's in their title rematch. If you know anything at all about MMA and did not know this story, you have to have been living under a rock. Save your energy and do not go look at pictures of either event as it is nightmare material.
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Dr. Craig's Martial Arts Movie Lounge

Have you ever watched a film that was just so amazing that when the sequel came out, your mind started developing great expectations and that it would be a pip, which has nothing to do with a Charles Dicken's novel, yet a movie that could be a real humdinger?

In 2017, one of the most engaging and exciting elements of the Sammo Hung and Vincent Zhao starring God of War is that it was a remake of Jimmy Wang Yu's classic kung fu flick Beach of the War Gods (BWG; 1973). This gave me the perfect opportunity to see how a film on the same subject was handled by two Chinese filmmaking eras 44 years apart and how the fight choreography was used to tell the hero's story.

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