I once had this really annoying experience while training in boxing. The instructor was trying to show us how to use footwork and core muscles to add more power to our punch, and one guy said “I’ll just pull out a gun and shoot you” or something like that. Basically, he was having trouble learning the technique and needed to say something stupid like this to make himself feel better. Clearly, everyone else in class thought he was pretty stupid for saying something totally irrellevant to what we were doing. I mean, if you’re trying to learn how to play basketball, you wouldn’t say, “Oh yeah, well, I’m really good at riding horses so I’ll just slam dunk while riding my horse.” We’re in a boxing ring, not at a shooting range.
Anyways, the point of the story is that one of the most annoying things people can do is to watch a martial arts movie and then say “that’s not real fighting”. Of course it’s not real fighting, it’s a movie. Duh. Thank you Captain Obvious for that insightful observation.
Having become a pretty big fan of mixed martial arts and combat sports in general over the last few years, I’ve been watching a lot of fight camp videos and features of fighters and their struggles as they prepare for their bouts. Despite my interest in combat sports today, my love for martial arts really started with watching martial arts and kung fu movies as a child and teenager. Fist of Legend, Drunken Fist, Ip Man, you name it, I probably not only watched it, I watched it more than once.
So when I watched this little featurette series on the Into the Badlands “fight camp”, I had to change my cognitive martial arts mode. This fight camp is not martial arts training for street fighting (grab a chair) or for combat sports (no hitting back of the head), it’s martial arts for the screen (strike a pose, literally).
In terms of being kung fu movie legit, Into the Badlands‘ martial arts action is as classically legit as it gets. There’s definitely that old school flavor to the sequences and moves, and you see a lot of throwbacks to some of the seminal kung fu films. Martial arts T.V. shows are prolific in Asia. In America and the western world, not so much. Hopefully for martial arts film fans everywhere, Into The Badlands will change that landscape.
You can watch episode 2 and episode 3 of this web series on AMC’s website here: