Martial Arts

Captain America 2 and the Martial Arts

I’m on travel for work this week, and we’re slammed. So, this will be short and sweet.

Last night, I saw Captain America 2 instead of getting sleep like a smart person. Totally worth it. George St. Pierre has a role in it. How can you not love that? The movie was filled with excellent martial arts, beautifully choreographed action sequences, and, as a friend on Facebook said, violence more reminiscent of ballet than fighting. Movies are why I got into the martial arts as a kid, and probably a lot of children got their start in the martial arts the same way. I learned early on that I was not capable of doing the martial arts that existed in the movies. To be clear, I’m not talking about the wire fighting or the acrobatic flipping. It never occurred me that I could ever do any of that. I knew that I was incapable of kicking dudes in the head. If you fall a lot when kicking over your waist, then it’s just not a good idea to try to learn the head kick.

If you say that me falling meant I wasn’t taught the correct technique, I have to say that’s untrue. My childhood instructor was patient, knowledgeable, and flexible. I was none of those things. It is entirely on me that I am not a skilled kicker, and I could blame my genetics for the lack of flexibility but that ignores my lack of effort at intense stretching. I made the choice early on to focus on other aspects of martial arts than kicking. It just isn’t my thing. I am learning some kicking combinations as part of the Counterpoint Tactical System curriculum, and I do teach them to my students. However, the Thai style thigh kick and the front push kick are the only ones that make a regular appearance in my shadow boxing.

But damn do I love watching movies where people kick like kangaroos. Movie martial arts are essential because they show the capability of the human body just as much as mixed martial arts does. MMA, movie martial arts, and self defense all focus their different goals on maximizing certain qualities of the human body. Movie martial arts show the athletic ballet performances that the human body is capable of achieving; mixed martial arts pursue the pinnacle of human performance in the arena of minimal rules competition; and self defense, in general, and Counterpoint Tactical System, specifically, focus on perfecting the ability to defend and escape violent criminal confrontations. Each of these are united in the effort to maximize the output of the human body.

Movie martial arts are gorgeous to watch, and Captain America 2 is worth seeing. The movie pairs action and character driven story together very well. It is intelligent, and the actors play each character sincerely. It was well worth missing some sleep over.

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