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Martial Arts: Why Life that Imitates Art Can Be Deadly

It’s hard not to be impressed by the grace, beauty of martial arts stars like Bruce Lee, Jet Li and Jackie Chan. And it is natural for fans and martial arts enthusiasts to check out their movies to discover their latest fight scenes and cool moves, but one thing people have to keep in mind is that its based on fantasy and that play-fighting is really just a way to mimic real self defense moves.

Remember, these actors risk life and limb doing what they are doing and imitating these movie techniques could get you seriously injured so its best to avoid risking life and limb for the sake of imitating your favorite movie star. And if this disclaimer is not enough to sway you, then I’ll give you a few reasons why it isn’t such a good idea

First, almost all movie directors emphasize high and leaping kicks. While these moves are impressive and nice for tournaments, they’re rarely used in a confrontation because opponents are constantly on the move. Chances are the opponent will be ready for your move and intercept it quite easily for a throw or worse.

Would be movie martial artists should also be aware that directors usually telegraph their blows so that the audience can follow. Any beginning martial artist know that it’s unwise to telegraph a strike, but directors have to show where a strike begins and ends or the fight will not look very impressive. On the same note, both actors also know what moves their fellow fighters will make ahead of time. It would be unwise to fight on the streets with moves that are based on an actor’s predictability.

The final reason is the fact that movies go for flash rather than substance. When real martial artists start out as movie actors, techniques that they would normally perform in a particular fight would be substituted for ones the director chooses. Most of the time it’s for a move that would impress a naïve and native audience and not a seasoned street fighter.

That’s not to say that watching martial artist fight on the big screen, but treat this as a reminder that movie fights are not meant to be audio-visual instruction for fighting. On that note, I can assure you that Jet Li, Jackie Chan or Bruce Lee would not fight on the street as they do in the movies. And neither should you.