• Jackie Bradbury

Martial Arts Ruins Everything

Updated: Oct 27

You're watching an " action" show on tv.


Y'know, like "Into the Badlands" or "Daredevil".


They fight, and then you spot something that can't work, and is only there to look cool, and you know it. You can see it because you're a little more educated in how fighting works, thanks to your martial arts training.


And you get yanked straight out of the story and you find yourself annoyed. In fact, you start realizing you can't enjoy the show as much as you'd like, because you aren't a fan of the fight choreography.


It's just not as... fun... for you. Because you can't unsee those holes in the fights.


This happened to me with the show "Arrow". Long-time readers of the blog have listened to me complain about this specific scene for years now:



I was so happy to see Arnis in a big-time show. And they do... that.


I'm sure it looks very cool and badass to people who don't know better, but that's Double Sinawali (Heaven 6), which we often teach to people within their first year of training. Hell, I learned it probably in the first month of my training.


Children do it. It's not hard at all.


Don't get me started - again - on how training with metal bars is a terrible idea and how there's no way in hell Diggle can take a shot to the head like he does and just shake it off and keep training.


I simply can't suspend my disbelief and just enjoy the show like a normal person would.


Another example...


One time, my teacher and I went on a long, convoluted nerd-rage over this cover image for this book:


My teacher comments that the artist obviously has never held or used a sword in his life, because if he had, he would not have painted this picture of this guy holding that sword that way.


I look at the image, and agree with him.


My teacher notes the edge is up against the underside of the arm, and if that's supposed to be a block, that's not only going to not work, but you're going to cut your own arm with your own sword.  Also, that grip sucks because that block is going to pop the sword out of the weakest part of his hand if he holds it that way.


I then say that I hate it when people use long swords in reverse grip - it usually leads to "Conan the Barbarian" style twirling, and you guys know how I feel about that.


Then, after finding out the character lost a hand, I note that holding it in reverse grip is especially dumb, because if you've ever tried to go from reverse to standard grip (there's a reason why it's standard grip, people) one handed with a long weapon, it's hard to do and you might end up dropping the thing in a bad moment.


Then my teacher notes that maybe that's where the XMA-style sword tossing comes into play, as that's the only reasonable way to switch to standard grip - he has to toss it in the air and catch it in proper grip.


And note that dude has more than one weapon hitched at his hip. If dude has to get to that (presumably) magic sword he's holding in a hurry, he's got a lot of risk of grabbing another weapon by mistake.


Yeah, we riffed on all this for about fifteen minutes.  All of this from one silly painting on a fantasy book that neither of us have even read, painted by a guy who made the image the way he did because it looks cool and that's all.


And then a friend who's a fan of the books tells me later that that thing the guy is isn't a sword at all.




Television, movies, books, works of art... I'm telling y'all...


Martial arts ruins everything, man.


What has your training ruined for YOU? Let us know in the comments!

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