Ryan Reynolds Samuel L Jackson

Dr. Craig's Martial Arts Movie Lounge

When I watch action films that have martial arts in them, which most action films do these days, including Godzilla vs. King Kong (2021) that used martial arts inspired fights on the monster level, there are three things I always do: within five minutes, take note of my initial impression; after the movie ends, create a short emotional expression; and finally develop an overall view of the action. This sentence reflects the importance of chemistry in a film, three ions. And when it's comedy, my brain goes into overdrive.

Ryan Reynolds broke into Hollywood starring as the namby-pamby Michael Berg who created chaos for his friends in the 1990s cotton candy sitcom, Two Guys and a Girl (TGG). Twenty years later, the of Scottish ancestry Reynolds relives TGG as the derelict, father issue-loaded, bodyguard Michael Bryce in the rugged haggis bladder, whacked out, bullet-riddled, action comedy The Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard (HWB). This time around, the other guy and the girl he's creating chaos for are the homicidal hitman, Kincaid (Samuel L. Jackson), and his frightful, brick house, con-artist wife, Sonia (Salma Hayek), a mother wannabe who uses more fowl language than a coop full of deranged chickens.

As the frenzy builds and the exorbitant symbols of blood, rupture, squirt, artery, good guys, bad guys, explosions, chases and ultra-violent doom splatters the screen, this trio of friends and the triage of dead bodies left in their wake are trying to prevent the psycho Aristotle from destroying Europe with a computer virus. What are my three ions?

Hitman Wife Bodyguard


Since HWB opens in Greece, I'm reminded of Greek mythology's unsolved Cyclops question of is he winking or blinking. The film is a winking rampage of abject ardor loaded with flirtatious cacophony with the emotional premise chaotic insanity with psychotic profanity, which led me to conclude that HWB is good illustration of how to make a flashy martial arts film without martial arts.

To me, that sounds wackier than a British Knight testing cardboard armor in battle where Bryce is the kind of dude that would already bring a proverbial knife to a gunfight.

This film dynamically shows how to shoot a fight scene where even a simple punch, which I'll call the one-two since sometimes there's a block, that in the opening fight is a single punch Bryce throws when he and Sonia rescue Kincaid from the clutches of evildoers. The one-two is shot with crazy chaos cam moves from an extreme close up, with shaky camera tilts that weave around the whole punch in close to medium shots with loud sound effects. That's the fight, and it works great for the film.

Combining other one-two combative skill with chaos cam during a scene makes for an interesting group of what appears to be separate highly stylized fights. This holds true for most non-firearm exchanges in HWB. There are two main fight scenes of particular note.

While Bryce and Kincaid escape Aristotle's dungeon prison that is rife with underground corridors, the two find a mace, an ax and a sword. As the escape alarm blares and they're running through corridors using each weapon as one-two strike fight scenes, it seems the duels are a nod to Bruce Lee's pole, escrima and nunchaku fight against Han's guards near the underground radio headquarters in Enter the Dragon (1973).

There's six separate fights occurring at the same time within the tight set confines of a yacht that are presented by interacting and intercutting all six fights together. Perhaps because audiences will probably recognize the established one-two non-ballistic chaos cam process, viewers won't get lost as to what's going on during each fight.

Which comes to the most crucial component that sells the simplicity of the one-two fights. Director Patrick Hughes' brainy way of once again psychologically manipulating the audience. He did something similar with The Hitman's Bodyguard (2017).

Hitman's Bodyguard


Einstein once noted that everyone's a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it'll believe it's stupid. When Sylvester Stallone made the cops and mobbers Cop Land (1997), he was determined to prove he could do award winning acting without being an action hero and climb that proverbial tree. After all, dolphins and whales are mammalian fish, so to speak. Each time he's getting beaten or roughed up by the baddies, you're waiting for Stallone to come to his senses and go Rambo/Rocky on them. It doesn't happen, he looked like a fish out of water and the film flopped.

Hong Kong filmmakers are genius when it comes to shooting fights using actors who don't know kung fu or how to fight, so they don't need to waste time and money training an actor for three months. It's about using actors whose characters are known to do good fights and knowing how to tap into the audiences' psychology of that expectation.

Reynolds' Bryce is a fish that swims and acts within the waters of his Deadpool character and that connection is made even stronger as Bryce also taunts with gaslighting insults, wisecrack threats and trash talking. Audiences are subconsciously aware of this and all we need to see is a hint of that fighting accessibility to be bamboozled into thinking that Bryce has also made the Deadpool connection on screen. At that point our minds translate that Bryce has become the mammal fish in the martial arts fight tree, even though it's not martial arts. It's the power of transference and Psych. 101.

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Two-Time Black Belt Hall of Famer Hayward Nishioka has been campaigning for judo in the United States to harvest more shodans (1st degree black belts) Shodan literally means student. It's analogous to being a freshman in college. It's not the end but the beginning according to Jigoro Kano, the Founder of Judo.

A very dear friend and sensei of mine the late Allen Johnson, may he rest in peace made a home at Emerald City Judo. In Redmond, Washington.

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Destinee Tartuffe

My friend Destinee Tartuffe a 4th dan and Head Sensei at Good Time Judo in Santa Rosa, CA has always been a pioneer and developer in all her life endeavors. She first took over the judo program at Santa Rosa Junior Collegestarted by my old friend Terry Kelly upon his retirement then went on to complete getting her law degree, JD.

Recently Destinee contacted me about a new training tool she’s invented. Upon my investigation, I was so impressed with this product that I asked her to write something about it for this week’s Black Belt Blog.
Judo Equipment

Members of Good Time Judo using Judo Jaime Training Tools.

As judo practitioners we know judo is an exciting dynamic Olympic or recreational sporting activity that offers social interaction, stress relief, and tons of fun. However, we also know that judo can be a dangerous, and potentially deadly activity when used for self-defense or when not practiced safely.

For all the fun and benefit that judo provides an enthusiast it seems to be the world’s best kept secret from the general populace. My coach and mentor taught me that judo is an inclusive, not an exclusive activity. So, I look for ways to get more people interested.

One of the biggest issues relates to the very idea of inclusiveness, which for me translates to one dojo cannot be everything to everybody. The age old saying jack of all trades, and master of none comes to mind.

Recently, I watched YouTube videos of three respected Judo coaches discussing the state of Judo in the United States. One of their common observations is that students who come to train with them lack the fundamental skills which would allow them to actually help those students reach a level of Judo expertise whereby the student could compete at an elite level of competition.

While I was disappointed to hear their dire opinions, they were similar to what I was experiencing in my college classroom. Honestly, I have been concerned for many years about how to continue when so many of the students come to class with an attitude of being a “super ninja” when in actuality they are often uncoordinated and seemingly unwilling to follow even the simplest of instructions. This creates a situation or environment where “bullies” prevail, injures occur, and students are lost. This attitude seems a direct conflict to the principle of Mutual Benefit and Welfare, and it made me think about hanging up my judogi.

Then, COVID caused programs to close, but as a college Judo instructor I was tasked with creating an online curriculum for my students and doing so within one week! I knew my students did not have the proper safety equipment in their homes to continue with the rolls and falls that we were practicing in class. We spent the last eight weeks finishing out the semester via Zoom class. I found the biggest challenge to be communicating to the student how they needed to correct their postures, or their ability to visualize the skill and apply my instructions for any given lesson.

The last night of class of had a vision of how these issues could be addressed. That’s when I created the Fundamental Directional Movement Mat and a Proximity Training Device that I call Judo Jaime: Your Training Uke. These tools can be used together or separately. The benefits conferred to the user by using the tools together can greatly excel the beginning students understanding of the application of Judo.

These tools are not just for beginners, it is important for even the most experienced judoka to review the fundamental movements regularly. Think about it there are pre-arranged forms (katas) that specifically address movement!

The Fundamental Directional Movement Mat is a durable vinyl mat with an elliptical design (mapping the movement of the Judoka in the plane of applied Judo). The instructor whether in-person or in an online class can assist the student by directing them to orient either along the horizontal or vertical 180 degree lines, which are also used to demonstrate and solidify 90 degree turns/pivots that are important to the fundamental movements for application of Judo. The mat also has indicators for the student to see the 45 degree angle of technique application easier.

Judo Jaime: Your Training Uke is a proximity training device that allows beginning Judoka to develop the proper posture and understanding of the proximity for applying judo techniques without the resistance, frustration, or fear that working with a partner initially brings. My years of teaching adults have shown me that despite what the student says, they often approach contact with another with fear and the mistaken belief that over-powering or resisting their partner is the proper thing to do; however, one-half the goal of Judo is that someone falls down! With Judo Jaime the student has the opportunity to develop the confidence and skills to make an actual attack when they are ready to engage with a person.

The device weighs no more than five pounds and is approximately 53” in height (when assembled). It is easily transportable and fun to use vs. the usual training dummies which are awkward, heavy and unsafe to use without proper instruction or direct supervision. While either product can be used alone we recommend using the tools together. This allows the student to fine-tune visualization skills and apply techniques, here again, without resistance from a partner. The student will develop an understanding and integration of the techniques for proper response timing more quickly.

The Fundamental Directional Movement Mat and Instructional material is copyrighted by Destar Productions, Inc.

Judo Jaime: Your Training Uke is a proximity training device with a patent pending by Destar Productions, Inc. For questions regarding orders and other product descriptions email Destinee Tartuffe at senseidestinee@gmail.com or visit our online store directly.

Judo Jamie

Judo Jaime

Fundamental Direction Training Mat

Fundamental Training Mat

Good Time Judo Outdoor workout with Judo Jaime

Outdoor Judo Jaime2

Judo training Without a Partner/ Introduction of Training Tools for Standing

This video introduces some new training tools for practicing, maintaining and gaining skills for application of Judo technique.Be sure to check out the Demon...

Demonstration of Judo Jaime: Your Training Uke

Demonstration of Judo Jaime: Your Training UkeBe sure to check out our video Judo training while social distancing. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=heSY5VGeA6M

I’m always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to gary@garygoltz.com, thanks.

Gary Goltz
Xiaolin Gruv
Photo Courtesy: Carmichael Simon

Title Image: XiaolinGruv Masters 2005 : Nigel Bolton, Carmichael Simon, Kory Watkins, Anthony Gooch, and Jeriel Bey

During the 1980s as BBoys (Breakers), Poppers, and Lockers share their creative spirits within the New York City transit line, Los Angeles nightlife, and media platforms such as Soul Train, we travel a few miles from Bruce Lee’s nostalgic school where the “Arts & Soul” of Oakland, California harmonize. Orchestrating the culture of their roots, heritage of movement, and diversity of social economics, we find the Alice Arts Center.

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