Black Belt's resident film critic examines the Netflix original series that everyone is raving about.

When was the last time you heard of a TV show being renewed for its second season just 10 days after it premiered? Practically never. Yet that was the situation with Daredevil, a Netflix original series that's become wildly popular almost overnight. But wait — there's more! According to Netflix, Daredevil is but the first of four epic live-action adventure series. It will be joined by Marvel's A.K.A. Jessica Jones, Iron Fist and Luke Cage. The multiple launches will culminate with the title characters appearing in Marvel's The Defenders. Daredevil diabolically digs into the backstory of how the low-key, ethical and blind lawyer Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox, above, with Deborah Ann Woll, who plays Karen Page) evolves into the law-breaking, morally gray and remorsefully ferocious Daredevil, guardian angel of New York City's Hell's Kitchen. At the center of Hell's Kitchen's plumbing gone wrong is bald and bellicose madman Wilson Fisk, aka Kingpin (Vincent D'Onofrio, shown below), who's trying to remodel the Kitchen by first destroying it.


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In addition to the gripping story, which features superb caricatures of characters created by Stan Lee in 1964, Daredevil benefits immensely from top-notch martial arts. In fact, many regard the fights as the main event — even the mainstream press has chimed in on the subject. The brains behind Daredevil opted not to cast actors with a track record of doing swashbuckling adventure films. In fact, Cox and D'Onofrio don't fit the bill in any way, shape or form. Yet their action sequences deliver real gut punches and shock value to the show's demented dark side. The man responsible for all this belligerent brouhaha is stunt coordinator Philip Silvera. Although Daredevil is the centerpiece for the martial arts fights, Silvera said that when Fisk gets to a certain point, he likes to have the character lose control and let brutality take over. "When he's in rage mode, he just keeps going until he's done," Silvera said. "That is Kingpin, that is D’Onofrio. He's a very smooth, calculating individual, but when you bring out his rage, he's like a bulldozer." Whenever I'm watching Daredevil and see Fisk violently take apart his opponents with his sledgehammer fists, I find myself thinking, "It's clobbering time!" Hmm, now where have we heard that line?

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The fights in Daredevil aren't just stuck into the story lines for the hell of it. Apart from moving the plots forward, each fight contributes to Daredevil and Fisk's character development. Depending on the unique circumstances that lead up to each altercation, it can reveal a weakness or a strength. Either way, we know there's going to be a major showdown between Daredevil and Fisk. In my April 3, 2015 blog, I examined what was supposed to be Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D's flagship fight, but it turned out to be like the French loss at the Battle of Trafalgar. Everything that the fight should've had to make it superiorly smashing was done in what's considered the defining fight moment of Daredevil's first season — and it was done with panache by Colin Firth in Kingsman, as described in my March 13, 2015 blog. What battle am I referring to? The three-minute, single-shot fight scene highlighted in the second episode, which is titled “Cut Man.” In it, Daredevil viciously defeats a gang of Russian thugs. It's the first of its kind for television — so noteworthy, in fact, that I'll save it and the rest of my combat commentary for the second half of Black Belt's Daredevil analysis. Read Part 2 of this article here. (Photos by Barry Wetcher, Courtesy of Netflix) 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.
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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

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When it comes to grappling arts most people have heard of Judo, Ju-Jitsu, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Sambo, and Sumo. The dynamic art of Shuaijiao, though it is not as well known as the others, should be.

What is Shuaijiao?

Shuaijiao (also spelled Shuai-Chiao) is a Chinese martial art that is approximately four thousand years old. Shuaijiao was born in a time of warfare long ago when to fall on the battlefield meant likely to never get up, and in that spirit, the curriculum of Shuaijiao focuses on throwing in a variety of ways. It is a standup grappling style, meaning that although there are hip throws, leg sweeps, and hand techniques, like many other arts, there is no ground grappling. The goal of Shuaijiao is to end up in a dominant position standing.

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ONE Championship's first event of 2021 is on the horizon as the company returns to the Singapore Indoor Stadium for ONE: Unbreakable on January 22.

In the main event, bantamweight kickboxer Capitan Petchyindee Academy challenges ONE Bantamweight Kickboxing World Champion Alaverdi "Babyface Killer" Ramazanov for his crown.

The Thai challenger has a chip on his shoulder for this contest. Capitan mentioned that he wants to prove all of his doubters wrong with a title-winning performance on Friday in a video detailing the matchup.

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