telophase: (Near/Mello - overlords. Quote from matil)
Episode 5 of the martial-arts thing is showing a lot of aristocratic Japanese archery-from-horseback, which is definitely very impressive. Major change from the "OoooOOOoOOO I shall push you over from the back with my MASSIVE CHI!!!" that's been going on.

And damn those archers have them some funky hats )
telophase: (Mello - bite my ass)
So I'm watching, off and on, this British show on martial arts that a friend downloaded for me, and it's your absolutely typical mix of information and misinformation about the martial arts. The host is some sort of kung fu guy and he's all "OOoOOOoooOOO teH mYstIcAL PowAh of cHI!!!1!!!!!1!!" and going around various bits of the world interviewing various martial arts guys and - the best part - getting beaten up by various masters. There's some wacky arts and some serious ones as well; primarily played for sensationalism, but OTOH that's how they've always been played, even in the areas they originated.

I am lucky in my anthropological training, because I can switch off the bits of me that know a little about martial arts and are curled up in the corner whimpering, and instead view the cultural context that the host is in and how it borrows from all these various things.

I couldn't quite restrain that part of myself during the fourth episode, which I just watched. The host was in a bowling alley watching some break dancers (an Enligsh bowling alley and English dancers, BTW) and was all "You see, this can be made into an effective martial art with just a little bit of adjustment" and I actually screamed "THAT'S BECAUSE BREAK DANCING DEVELOPED FROM CAPOEIRA YOU NIMROD!!!" at the monitor. Not a word about capoeira did he give, just mentioned the similarity of some of the moves to kung fu moves. Nimrod.

There's a certain amount of "martial art" tricks meant to impress the rubes shown as well, and taken seriously, but they're really tricks that just about anybody can perform and just look impressive.

And then the host gets beat up again and I cheer up.

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