What do you get when you give a cat a hat, an attitude and a fencing foil? Just the kind of hero you need when ninja pigs are threatening!

The first kung fu film widely seen in American theaters was a feature-length Japanese anime work titled Alakazam the Great (aka Saiyu-ki). Released in 1961, it was based on Wu Cheng-en's 1580s kung fu novel Journey to the West, which highlighted the Monkey King as he used martial arts to protect a traveling Buddhist monk. The latest example of an animal using Chinese-style martial arts to protect others is the Netflix original series The Adventures of Puss in Boots. It’s based on a French fairy tale written by Charles Perrault almost 100 years after the Monkey King. The hero is not a monkey but a sword-wielding, swashbuckling cat. Produced by DreamWorks Animation Television, Puss in Boots revolves around the compact character that was introduced in 2004’s Shrek 2 (voiced by Antonio Banderas). The feisty feline has been cat-apulted into Netflix land, where he protects the fabled treasure and townspeople of the mythical settlement of San Lorenzo from thieves, vagabonds and ninja pigs. Shrek (2001) was the first animated film to tap into the Hong Kong-stylized action genre by using the kinds of sight gags and fight scenes made popular in “fant-Asia” flicks and The Matrix (1999). DreamWorks continued to borrow Chinese film flash while making its Kung Fu Panda movies. The process entailed having cartoon fight choreographer Rodolphe Guenoden watch 1980s and '90s period-piece Hong Kong movies so martial artists could perform real kung fu for the animators.


“KARATE SENSEI: SHOULD THEY BE RESPECTED OR FEARED BY STUDENTS?” GET THIS FREE REPORT TODAY!

Although Puss in Boots is comedy-driven, it’s also focused on physical action, says executive producer Doug Langdale, who also wrote for the series Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness. “Technology has improved so much in such a short time that we’re able to do some truly amazing things in television animation. “Puss is in physical danger and fights a lot more than in the movies, so we like to amp up the adventure, and we play him more as a master swordsman with lots of swordplay [and] extra punching, kicking and action.” As a protagonist, Puss is similar to the lone swordsman and knight-errant heroes in Chinese wuxia films. He selflessly protects the weak from evildoers, but he does it with a code of ethics. In particular, Puss righteously defends the honor of ladies, remains loyal to his friends and sacrifices personal gain to save downtrodden orphans — all with humor, swagger and, ideally, a bowl of milk afterward.

“BILLY JACK FLASHBACK: HOW TOM LAUGHLIN AND HAPKIDO TECHNIQUES MASTER BONG SOO HAN MADE A MARTIAL ARTS CULT CLASSIC” — FREE DOWNLOAD!

Without ever taking a life, Puss tries to win over the ne'er-do-wells and put them on the straight and narrow. Of course, not all the baddies in Puss in Boots are willing to change; in fact, some vow that they’ll be back. This leads to recurring miscreants who resurface with more anger in their hearts and more mischief on their minds. Despite the never-ending nature of the challenge, Puss proves he’s always up to the task. After all, a cat's gotta do what a cat's gotta do. So with his sharp wit and sharper epee, the fencing feline foils every scoundrel who’s foolish enough to cross paths with him. (Illustrations © 2015 DreamWorks Animation, All Rights Reserved) Go here to order Dr. Craig D. Reid’s book The Ultimate Guide to Martial Arts Movies of the 1970s: 500+ Films Loaded With Action, Weapons and Warriors.
SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

The UFC returned to American network television for the first time in more than two years Saturday on ABC while former featherweight champion Max Holloway returned to his winning ways following two straight losses, earning a unanimous decision over Calvin Kattar in Abu Dhabi. Holloway showed he still has plenty left as a fighter dominating Kattar from the opening bell of the main event with a mix of punches and low kicks.

It appeared as if the former champion might stop his opponent in the fourth round landing a series of vicious body blows followed by hard elbows to the head as a bloodied Kattar sagged against the fence. But Kattar somehow survived managing to keep himself upright through the fifth stanza as well, only to lose a lopsided decision. After dropping his title to Alexander Volkanovski and then losing a controversial rematch, Holloway may have put himself in position for one more crack at the championship following Saturday's impressive performance.

The Legendary Black Belt Magazine Hall of Fame has never before been documented in a single location. Now, you can learn about all the icons that have achieved one of the greatest honors in all of martial arts.

Black Belt Magazine is proud to announce the NEW Member Profiles feature for the Hall of Fame. At the time of this article, the online records account for every inductee from the inaugural year of 1968 all the way through 1990 (upwards of 200 martial artists). The page will be updated continuously and will include every inductee through 2020 in the near future. For now, you can enjoy images and facts about the legendary members for each induction they received before 1991. Take advantage of this never-before-seen opportunity to learn about many of the martial artists who contributed to the lifestyle, culture, and community that every martial artist experiences today.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE BLACK BELT HALL OF FAME

Black Belt Magazine Subscriptions

ONE Championship kicked off their 2021 campaign in Singapore on Friday, January 22, with ONE: Unbreakable.

The six-bout card featured five finishes including in the main event as Capitan Petchyindee Academy ousted Alaverdi Ramazanov for the ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Championship.

See how all of the action went down in The Lion City with this recap of ONE: Unbreakable.

Keep Reading Show less

These three simple ways will make you more flexible instantly!

Fighters need to have an optimal amount of flexibility to kick, punch, takedown their opponent and even to escape submission holds. Your body has to be able to move through ranges of motion effectively, and that requires your muscles to stretch and contract functionally. In order to create flexibility, you have to wrap your mind around that it is more than just stretching a muscle.

Keep Reading Show less
Sign up for our weekly newsletter!
Stay up to date in the martial arts community with news from around the world, techniques of all styles and all around guiding you in your martial arts journey
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter