Count Dante (previously at Boing Boing) was the greatest, but he was far from the only one. Dante and others feature in Super Eyepatch Wolf's compendium of kung-fu crooks, bullshit black-belts and the mysticism-tinged genre of no-touch knock-outs.
I think there's a good case to be made that much of this is a form of theater. As with debunking western psychics and televangelists and whatnot, there's the necessary exposure of people using it as a vehicle for fraud or to trap people in a cult -- and then there's skeptics ranting about end-of-the-pier fortune tellers. Or enjoying watching old men get punched in the face for their sins (previously). Read the rest
This fella devotes eleven years to way of life more difficult than many of us will ever understand. Meanwhile, I get upset when I have to wait more than three minutes for my coffee at the drive-thru. Read the rest
I mean, holy shit. Read the rest
Isao Machii is a Iaido master from Kawanishi, Hyōgo, Japan. His skills as a master swordsman have landed him a number of Guinness World Records: fastest tennis ball (820 km/h) cut by sword and "fastest 1,000 martial arts sword cuts" to name just two.
His speed and accuracy with a katana is a thing of wonder. Put on display once again in this video, after watching two speeding baseballs whiz past him, he non-nonchalantly cuts a third ball in half, fired at him at 161 kilometers per hour. Amazing. Read the rest
According to his website, Ryan Hayashi is the "world's most famous samurai entertainer." He's also a helluva magician, as evidenced by this video. In it, he performs a mind-blowing coin trick act (at times one handed!) that leaves both Penn and Teller left wondering what they just watched. The best part of the video might be when Hayashi, a fan of the magic duo since he was a boy, is given the big F.U. award at the end. I don't think he can believe that his childhood heroes have just acknowledged his skill.
I've got nothing. Just... just watch this. Read the rest
Ah, that classic party trick! Can you punch a bear trap and withdraw your hand before it closes? Read the rest
The BBC reports a quick outcome to a televised bout fought between Xu Xiaodong, a practitioner of modern mixed martial arts, and Wei Lei, a Tai Chi master. It was over in a few seconds, with a few more of the traditionalist, hopelessly outmatched, shielding himself on the ground.
Millions of people have since watched video footage of the competition, and it has triggered a huge discussion in China on whether traditional martial arts - or wushu - can ever truly be effective in combat. Tai chi is now associated by many with older people, who use the series of movements to improve posture and release stress and anxiety. They can often be seen in Chinese public parks in the morning, slowly stretching out their arms.
But it has been part of Chinese martial arts culture since the 16th Century. Films and TV dramas have historically portrayed martial arts masters as great heroes in conflict, with almost supernatural strength.
Here's the infamous video of Aikido master and telekineticist Yanagi Ryuken, whose (partially apocryphal) $5000 challenge to fight anyone was taken up by an MMA fighter.
The website Bullshido focuses mostly on Westerners exploiting Asian concepts to sell quack fighting techniques to Americans, and has many amusing don't-read-the-comments videos of them at work. The resemblance to Christian revival shows is often uncanny.
A Chinese national flag flies as students practice Tai Chi on a high school playground during a Guinness World Record attempt of the largest martial arts display ever. Read the rest