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THE-GREATEST-EVER – favorite martial art films pt.4

May 20, 2009

Part of a whole group of posts that have either a little bit to do with jiu-jitsu or not a whole lot. This one is a Bit Off Topic.

There are martial art films, and then there is the one to rule them all.

ENTER THE DRAGON!!!

Yes, the movie is so kick ass it demands that I cap all the letters in its title and center it and give it three exclamation points so that it doesn’t blast kick the other sentences in the liver for being too close to it.

The movie is so kick ass, I don’t even need to post up a clip of it, instead I’ll just post the theme song and you’ll immediately feel the need to headbutt the nearest person within armbar distance. That or you’ll boogie the night away. Whatever comes first.

See?

It’s so kick ass, it’s like Scarface for Hip Hop artists, it’s a must have for the DVD library, yaknowhatimsayin!

On a serious note, there’s so much I could write about this film, it really is ridiculous because I don’t think I could do it justice. But I’ll try.

The plot bares a striking similarity to a certain Bond film – 10 points if you know, another 10 if you’ve seen it, 50 points if you dig it just as much as Bruce’s movie– the production value is dated as is any movie shot over 10 years ago, and the action sequences aren’t Hong Kong flashy, 80s ninja flipping action or complex as the films of today’s fight scenes are.

However, they all lack one undeniable aspect – Bruce Lee.

So ahead of his time, already a Hong Kong star, it comes as no surprise that – like many of the other great superstars gone before their prime, just before their foray into greatness – Enter the Dragon was Bruce’s launching pad into Hollywood and his last completed film before his death in 1973 at the age of 32.

His legacy remains strong. Bruce Lee is still an influential and highly recognized figure even today. He is sited as the father of MMA by Dana White. The Tekken video game series characters of Martial and Forest Law bare an overwhelming resemblance to Bruce Lee. The martial art, Jeet Kung Do and its philosophy are still practiced today – some of its terms and notions are even applicable to jiu-jitsu – as Matt Thorthon’s concept of “Aliveness” stems directly from Bruce’s thoughts on fighting.

The film is also a treasure chest of easter eggs for martial art or Hong Kong film fans. Some Hong Kong film stars seen in Enter the Dragon include Bolo Yeung, Sammo Hung, Jackie Chan, Yuen Wah and Yuen Biao.

Personally, Enter the Dragon is like gold to me. From my childhood, when I first saw it and had my eyeballs blasted away by Bruce Lee’s undeniable awesomeness to the time when I first started my on-going training in the martial arts 13 years ago, this movie has been such a major influence in my life.

As a child, more than wanting to be a ninja, I wanted to be Bruce Lee. More directly it’s because of Bruce Lee that I dove deeper into the study of martial arts 13 years ago. I know tons and tons of behind-the-scenes trivia because of that in-depth study. Once I pulled off the “Come Kill Ya” (behind the scenes trivia, heheh) and got so good at it I could end it by hitting a bottle in mid-air. And I can honestly track the pursuit of my own martial truth by my reactions to the film in various times of my life.

The “finger pointing away to the moon” scene, especially the quote, comes to mind as an example of a scene in the movie that has had multiple meanings to me.

My most recent memory is an all-nighter I spent with my good friend Sam in Hawaii just a few days before I came to Japan. I consider Sam to be my hanai brother (a Hawaiian term stating a bond just as strong as the ties of blood). We spent years training together and shared many adventures (crazy ones included) on the streets of Hawaii (and on different islands too).

So there I am, standing in the porch a few feet away from our training garage in the middle of the night. Our makeshift punching bags, our mat space for grappling which was really just several layers of old rugs piled up on each other, and our follow up 7-11 trips after our training sessions, all of those things I was leaving behind for a life I was unsure of at the time.

But not only that I’d leave my friends and was already missing our countless BBQ parties and friendly get-togethers, our late night discussions and debates on martial arts, movies, love life updates and drunken rescues. I still miss them terribly.

Yet that night, more than five years ago, I was lost in thought and Sam walked up beside me. He must have sensed the emotions I was going through, at the step I was about to take. The step away from all things familiar, from home. He told me, “Don’t concentrate on the finger.” I looked at Sam and he nodded upward.

There was a full moon that night. “Heavenly glory…” I answered. And I got it. I really got it. I was too caught up in the life I was leaving behind to see the limitless potential of my life to come in Japan.

I didn’t know it that night, but Japan turned out to be a good experience. One I’m still enjoying.

And people think Enter the Dragon is just a really cool movie… Not to me. It’s so much more.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 29, 2009 5:26 pm

    Nice collection of kung fu movies video’s, keep adding new one.

  2. September 29, 2009 5:28 pm

    Nice collection of kung fu moviesvideo’s, keep adding new one.

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