This is something that i have pondered since i was young and i’ve never quite understood how it has been this way, without change, for so long.
Martial arts on TV (and in movies) is absolutely great – this is something i don’t want people to forget; i genuinely think it is great, it’s what sparked an interest in this marvelous world of militant training and internal personal journies for me…
… But it is so old and out dated – I understand that martial arts first invaded our culture and exploded onto our screens around the 1960’s and, on top of developing it’s own genre, has been an intergral part of action and adventure films since. Since this time (the 1960’s) martial arts in movies has barely changed – people do generally jump a little higher and spin a tad faster, but it is still; good guy vs a bad guy/s, super highly athletic (unobtainably so), violent and epic.
Again, i think this is fun, engaging and inspirational but this martial arts is particularly inaccessible to the audience. I think the biggest issue i have with it is that the people/people using martial arts on the other side of the screen are different, they are special – the hero. It is a person who many certainly can (and do) look up to, but not a character that is relatable to ‘everyman’.
All practitioners know that martial arts club, schools and academies are full or regular people because that’s all there is – a load of regular people, doing regular things, making the world continue to spin. Even the super stars and monarchs of the world have 8 pints of blood and have to cut their toe nails every two weeks (unless, of course, they have some irregular toe nail contidition that increases the rate of growth – which would just make them even more real and down-to-earth). *I’m just trying to demonstrate that martial arts is regular practice for all people, but somehow ended up creating a new toe nail disorder: toenailsupergrowthitous.*
With all the explosions, flying through the air, six packs, super powers, high speed chases, epic fight scenes, mystical masters, young grasshoppers, bullet dodgers, matrix manipulators, and wise wise cracking martial arts heros on TV and in the movies – it becomes hard for old toe-nail-Joe (this is a phrase i’ve coined to signify a normal person) to relate to these outdated and cliched stereotypes.
If you see how developed love stories have developed from ‘girl loves boy’ – there are; third wheels, love triangle, deaths, over coming obsticles, forbidden loves, homosexual relationships, even warewolves and vampires! The same with heroes and villians, comdey, CGI and most other aspects of TV and film.
Basically i think we are way over due a renovation to how martial arts are used in the media, displaying what they really are – an all emcompassing way of life that helps people reach their golas and self actualise. Time to strip away all these cliches and, seemingly, mystical powers of the martial art utilizing heros. Toe-nail-Joe (who trains at his local martial arts academy – probably in hackney or somewhere particularly un-exotic) is way more than capable of saving the world using his command of martial arts.
*And on top of that, let’s show that martial arts is damn cool – more cool than playing a guitar on a stage, or kicking a ball around a rectangle of short cut grass.*
But, as a more serious way to end this, it is time people see the world of martial arts as it really is as well as (not instead of) the high-flying and one-million-punch-throwing world that is currently on our screens. People will be able to imerse themselves in: the ancient origin stories, the many wars and politics that have shaped the arts, the real life training, the super strong communities where support and development is fundamental, and, of course, the epic things that can be achieved when somebody follows their journey in such a focused, positive and disciplined manner. (I’m sure we can still include some of the explosions as well as a pinch of over-the-topness – my ego isn’t going to feed itself.. actually it probably will.)
If ‘The Real World of Martial Arts’ is something you (or others) would like to see represented on TV and in movies then please share this with your friends and communities.
Let’s get some more toe-nail-Joes and martial arts pros on TV shows.
Let’s break free of cliches with no delays, and praise the newdays of the martial arts craze.
Let’s reach the majority, an make real martial arts the priority.
All images are from Titan Academy
Master Luke Robinson