Re: Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

From: Russell Whitaker (
Date: Wed Jan 03 2001 - 02:52:03 MST

>I've been trying to think of an Extropian angle on this film, but I
>haven't had much luck.

Nor have I. I enjoyed some aspects of the film, but
there was no take-home Extropian value to it for me.
I agree with Phil Osborn's general assessment of the
odious Chinese cultural values celebrated in the movie,
particularly the emphasis on duty.

>This movie takes martial arts action to the next level.

Substitute "martial dance" for "martial arts" and I'll
agree with you. The title "Fight Choreographer" is the
well-chosen role for the person in charge of the "fight"
scenes in this movie and The Matrix. Remember, most of
these actors come from a background in Peking or Cantonese
Opera, both of which train young children in a panoply
of show skills, of which stage fighting is but one.
Jackie Chan, Sammo Hung, and a number of other notables
in HK cinema (and recently, Taiwanese) come from this
culture of very well trained entertainers. Michelle Yeoh
is primarily a dancer with some southern Hung Gar, some northern
temple style, and lots of recent grounding in stage fighting.
Not bad for a former Miss Malaysia, but not a fighter.

Folks, fight scenes on screen are _choreographed_ to show as
much flash as possible. I saw _so_ many particular instances
in the "fight" scenes in this movie (and the Matrix, another
strange favorite of some of you here) where, at any particular
point, a _real_ version of the blow received by the opponent
would have ended the fight, right then and there. Makes for
a dull movie, though, to end the fight so quickly.

I do recommend the movie, though, if you bear in mind that
attempting most of the non-wirework fighting techniques
showcased in the film will get you killed, with a quickness.
Incredibly entertaining.

Now, if you're still trying to get something Extropian
out of the film, though, here's this: take what Dean Tribble
calls "grace training". I'd recommend ballroom dancing and
Tai Chi Chuan, together. Don't take the emasculated Mainland
style of Tai Chi; find yourself an old Taiwanese person to
teach you. If you're in the Bay area, I recommend Adam Hsu
(my old Shaolin teacher), who teaches Tai Chi as well as
northern style Long Fist. Not sure if he's spending more
time in Taipei nowadays, though. Decades ago, the really
good Chinese martial artists fled the Communists for homes
in Taipei and San Francisco.

If you're wanting to learn how to fight, I recommend
Bujinkan Budo Taijutsu, what I practice now. Email me.

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