Black Belt Magazine Hall of Famer Jackson Rudolph reviews some of his favorite forms that he mentioned all the way back in episode 3 of his podcast, before videos were included. Enjoy these classic sport karate performances from the early 2000's through the 2010's!
Dr. Craig's Martial Arts Movie Lounge
When The Fast and the Furious (2001) sped into the psyche's of illegal street racing enthusiasts, with a penchant for danger and the psychotic insanity of arrant automotive adventure, the brusque bearish, quasi-hero rebel, Dominic "Dom" Toretto was caustic yet salvationally portrayed with the power of a train using a Vin Diesel engine.
Justin Lin's climb up the Fast & Furious ladder matches the film titles, fast and furious. He's the only director to shoot five sequels (3, 4, 5, 6, 9) with F10 on the way. The resulting action composition in F9: The Last Saga (F9) has been brewing since his intro to Bruce Lee and Lin's early subliminal and now obvious influences from Jackie Chan.
When I first discussed Bruce Lee with the Taiwanese-born, Los Angeles-raised Lin in 1997, he shared, "Whether Asian Americans like it or not, they all have a relationship with Bruce. When I was 10, I was deeply disturbed watching Bruce's Game of Death (1979). There was a guy who vaguely looked like Lee interspersed with shots of the real Lee, right down to a photo of Lee pasted onto a mirror to make us believe the guy in front of the mirror was Bruce. Yet when I first saw Bruce Lee on screen, I felt his power, he gave me the strength to strive for something. After learning about the film's freaky news, I thought, how in the hell did the double get that job?"
Lin addressed this question in his first martial arts film, Finishing the Game (2007). Co-starring Sung Kang, Lin also hired fight choreographer Don Thai, who at the time was a close associate and one of Jackie Chan's protégés.
Years earlier, Jackie Chan's Opera brother Corey Yuen directed Jason Statham's breakout martial arts film Transporter(2002). Around the same time, Jackie Chan's stunt double/fight choreographer, Andy Cheng, was priming Dwayne Johnson in Chan's style of action too as the fight coordinator on Johnson's first martial arts film Rundown (2003).
The Fast & Furious films began as street drag-racing movies, perhaps influenced by the demented driving antics of Steve McQueen in real life and in his movie Getaway (1972). Yet with the addition of Dwayne Johnson as CIA agent Luke Hobbs in Fast Five (2011), whose job was to track down and capture Dom, the franchise morphed into a car-llection of visceral flicks filled with over-the-top, outrageous, literal high-octane car stunts.
Then just as you think there's no more juice in the engines, apart from flashing red buttons connected to newfangled fuel-injection systems, which are attached to nitrous oxide canisters capable of giving short bursts of Star Wars light speed, Furious 7 (2015) arrived. F7 upped the martial arts ante by casting legitimate martial artist Jason Statham as the rogue assassin Deckard Shaw who ran pugilistic mayhem around Dom and Hobbs.
Yet with F9, Lin translated Lee's power into his action sequences and saw how Chan's fights used the tangible qualities of space and how Chan continually transforms it from the confines of small rooms, alleys or a high-rise's narrow ledge to the vastness of a castle, mountaintop, or rooftops of big towering buildings. Like Chan, Lin achieves these transformations via extended chase sequences where each unpredictable redefinition of space adds to the scene's momentum by creating a giddy farce. As his characters move through new environments, they confront new circumstances and possibilities.
With F9, Lin goes beyond these confines. Dom learns that his long-lost renegade brother Jacob (John Cena) has become a deadly assassin who's in cahoots with Dom's mortal enemy Cipher from The Fate and the Furious (2017) and her new psychotic partner Otto. Their aim is to find two halves of a top-secret gadget that can control the world's security network. It's time for Dom and his speedster band of brothers/sisters to unite to save the world from this terminally ruthless trio while dealing with family secrets.
In 1999, Diesel told about his bouncer and boxing background in New York, and his love for the 1970's Shaw Brother kung fu films adding with a bellowing calm voice, "It would've been cool to be in one of those movies, the weapons, the wires, the fights."
By a strange twist of fate, Diesel is doing a kung fu film that's as close to being a 1970s, Shaw Brothers wuxia movie than he could ever have imagined. His weapon of choice isn't fists, knives or kung fu, but a 1968 Dodge Charger with car fufight choreography.
Dom can maneuver his cars to block, deflect and parry oncoming forces of sideswiping and head on attacks from other autos, armored vehicles, giant transporter trucks and even a flying wing. His car fu has skills that can catch and intercept flying members of his team out of mid-air death plummets that are more radical than a square route.
The wire-fu car fu is as outrageous as it sounds. In one moment Dom can be speeding along then he pulls of this dodgy move that's akin to maniacal spider falling from a ceiling toward your unsuspecting head on the end of a single strand of silk thread.
Stunt coordinator J.J. Perry who was into Hong Kong stylized action since his beginnings, choreographed a handful of unique fights that are well worth the watch and there are two particular fights that take into account the yin and yang balance of combat.
One is Dom's rough and tumble, smash and crash brawl as he becomes a human muscle car in a wide-open underground warehouse where he takes on droves of heavily armed punch and crunch security forces. The opposing energy is a powerful light focusing on the F9's fighting women, Letty, Mia and newcomer Elle taking on a team of marauding mercenaries within the tight confines of a small Tokyo apartment. It's a close quarters, tag-team action fray using medium shots, where each lady does 2-6 techniques per take.
In Chinese numerology, nine represents longevity and so it's no wonder that F9 will continue the franchise's staying power where breaking the speed limit is a way of life.
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Serbia's Milica Mandic won her second career gold medal in Olympic taekwondo Tuesday defeating South Korea's Lee Dabin 10-7 in the women's +67 kg category. Mandic had previously won gold at the 2012 London Games. For South Korea, this was the first Olympics in which they failed to win at least one gold medal in their native sport of taekwondo. In men's action, Vladislav Larin, representing the Russian Olympic Committee, defeated North Macedonia's Dejan Georgievski 15-9 to win the men's +80 kg division.
In judo Takanori Nagase won host country Japan's fifth judo gold defeating Mongolia's Saeid Mollaei hitting a tai otoshi (body drop) throw in overtime. On the women's side, Clarisse Agbegnenou of France faced off against Slovenia's Tina Trstenjak who defeated her in the 2016 Olympic finals. This time Agbegnenou got her revenge claiming the gold in the 63 kg class with a kouchi gari, inside trip, in overtime.
Standing across the Circle will be Aung La N Sang, who he will meet in a pivotal clash to see who can make their case for a rematch against ONE Middleweight and Light Heavyweight World Champion Reinier De Ridder.
The Brazilian has shown his skills inside the Circle on numerous occasions and posts a 73% finishing rate.
Most would expect the majority of those finishes to come by way of submissions. After all, Ataides is a gold medalist in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in 2005. However, the amazing athlete has instead shown his power more often than not when the bell rings.
That power brought him close to taking on Aung La N Sang for the gold, but De Ridder edged out the Brazilian on the scorecards to steal his spot.
After coming so close to a second title shot, Ataides will be prepared to get his coveted rematch with the now-champion. But first will be a meeting with "The Burmese Python."
The clash between two veterans will be sure to test both men. In a volatile middleweight division, one highlight-reel victory could be enough to earn either contender that coveted spot as the top contender.
Ahead of his co-main event clash, re-live Ataides' spectacular flying knee knockout against Mohamed Ali.
ONE: Battleground airs live on Friday, July 30, at 8:30 a.m. EST/5:30 a.m. PST on Bleacher Report, Bleacher Report YouTube, and the Bleacher Report app.
INSANE FLYING KNEE 🤯 Leandro Ataides CRUSHES Mohamed AliBefore Brazilian juggernaut Leandro Ataides squares off with former two-division king Aung La N Sang at ONE: BATTLEGROUND, relive "Wolf's" EXPLOSIVE middlewe...
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