Kung Fu and Love

Kung Fu and Love
A great gift for Valentine's day or Chinese New Year

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Origins of Cobra Kai. Cobra Kai 2

Finally watched the fianle with Garce and argued about what they should do on season 2. In Karate Kid 2 they travel back to Okinawa to discover if Origins of Miyagi Do Karate. I think they should travel to South Korea (Kreese's teacher is supposed to be South Korean.)

But who would play good Chozen or Miyagi tyoe characters. Just as Karate Kid 2 played with a dark side of Miyagi Do, maybe the light side if Cobra Kai should be played by Stand Up Comedian Eliot Chang. But the tole should be serious, just like Pat Morita played a serious Miyagi... well not too serious, which was the criticism of Toshiro Mifune's audition.

Would be cool to have an Chloe Kim be in there as the star of Cobra Kai's good branch. I mean they suggested Sam Larusso would be stepping onto the mat ans snow boarding is a perfect foil to Robbie's skateboarding.

Bur what about the origins of Cobra Kai? I would suggest a non traditional origin. For instabce I heard a story of a Korean Martial Artist who hot wired a Japanese plabe during the occupation and flew to Japan wanting to be a Kamikaze pilot....he didnt know how to fly a plane, he just did it.

He then was put into some prison camp or something with a group of other Korean men who had all bad assedly done the same thing. He read Musashi's book taught himself martial arts, shaved iff one eyebrow and isolated himself in training and later challenged all the Dojos in Japan and won. They made him a Japanese hero even though he is Korean because he is so bad ass. They made movies based on him (with nods to Bruce Lee's Chen Jen) but I think that would be the perfect origin story yo Cobra Kai, and a perfect way ti show the positive aspects of a way of thinking that comes out as strike hard strike fast no mercy.

Some kind of Zen intervention is needed to bring the Hawk and Miguel characters bacj to the light side and to fight Kreese and Terry Silver.

Like I sais, Elliot Chang would he a good mentor and Chloe Kim a great easy going fighter that is competetive but fun as well and maybe focuses on snowboarding and maybe might even lose well, similar to how Robin Hood loses to Little John... fighting with no mercy, losing, but then recruiting Little John.

The tree and the serpent

Grace finally agreed to watch Cobra Kai properly. The date of the all vallry tournament was yesterday so the creators jokingly apologized for upstaging the royal wedding.
Simultaneously I was looking up stuff online for this lion dance ritual I wanted to make my own but draw from  older sources and probably mix it with western stuff because I am mixed....in any case, I was looking in ancient places.

The story of the nian suggests an ancient origin because it suggests the origin of the word for year... nian. Han writing is from the north, but ask a northern Chinese person about the story of the nian and they will look at you funny.

Tell them the story well enough and they will believe that you just taught them something about their own culture. By try to actually trace the story and think about what really makes sense.... and you might come to a conclusion that the traditions, in the form they are, are newer than yoy are... and draw from older traditions....much like what I am doing now.

Cobra Kai, Karate Kid, and Martial Arts in general all do this.

Miyagi Do Karate comes from a fisherman who gets lost and learns Kung Fu on China (this is similar to the actual story of Karate, which is Fukianese White Crane and was once called Chinese hand instead of empty hand) it is practuced by the Miyagi Family in Okinawa. (actual Karate becomes widespread in Japan when an educator makes it part if the curriculum, interestingly at around the same time Suzuki develops his method of violin teaching. The goals are similar and the Karate educator is a pacifist.)

In Karate kid they play with these ideas through Mr. Miyagi, the teacher and then his friend and nephew who represent Modern Japan in the 80s.

In Cobra Kai, Danny is the American who grew up with the Karate kid movies and loves the symbolism, but ultimately is not Mr. Miyagi, and all Larusso has are the teachings.

Simitlarly Johnny is getting his teachings from an 80s movie, from his students, and from people around him. The women in the story, whether it is Danny's wife, Miguel's mom, seem to be the adult voices. The voices of reason. The grandmothers both have more pugilistic views. Aisha often has rational interpretations of strike first that bring the Cobra Kais away from acting too crazy.

My point with all this is that even though Cobra Kai is fictional, it toys with old stories that are ancient.... but one of the symbolic and ancient stories it may be destined to toy with intentionally or subconsciously...has its orugins bot in the east but in the west. After all, the Cobra, snakes, nagas, dragons, these are holy things in the east... in the west too before Christianity. Arthur used the serpent but that is a pagan symbol.

The symbol of Cobra Kai is obviously the snake. What is the symbol of Miyagi Do? It is the Bonsai... the tree. Cobra Kai, is telling the story from the Serpent's point of view.... you see whete I am going here? In fact this symbolism is the only thing that is good about Karate Kid 3.

Hopefully Cobra Kai 2 will draw from the plethora of Kung Fu movies. I mean. Robbie is easily  Yang Guo from Condor heroes...

But the "blueprints", as Larusso would say, of these movies is more easily seen in Genesis. Which makes sense given which culture is actually writing the story.

In fact in an interview they compare Ally to Helen of Troy.

Grace was asking me what the point of Cobra Kai is, and why not keep Miguel with Danny. Keep it formulaic.

The point is two countries fighting and that there is always another side to the story.

The point for me is, story tellers are so creatuve and imaginitive that they can make something new and awesome that draws so well from ancient rituals that you believe that they are older than they are. Instead of getting mad about this... get inspired.








Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Cobra Kai

I binged watched this series already, and talking about it, yes most likely I will have spoilers... so don't read on if you plan to watch it! The thing is, the original movies are formulaic and I have to see this series, in terms of plot,  really has the others beat. Even though you are watching within the Karate kid formula and with many of the same themes... you really don't know what to expect exactly... or even who to cheer for!

The only flaw is that there is no Mr. Miyagi type character, because nobody can replace Pat Morita. Some people thought that the Mr. Miyagi asian master character was racist, some embraced it. All I will say it is a shame that there is no Asian hero... but I like how they played with the Asian stereotypes.

Again spoiler alert..l but the Asian guy (who is a minor villain) is an Alpha male jock who is a love interest. In other words... he is the new Johnny.

Daniel's character is split in two... and basically we learn that life is not as simple as good and bad. This plot is more complicated.

There is also that feeling of 80's verses the modern generation, and how i some ways you can bond more with your enemy than your own family at times, because you are more similar.


It made me rewatch Karate Kid 2 and 3 (you should just read the recap for 3, some good ideas but not worth the time) with Noah. I guess we should rewatch one but Noah was adamant that he remembered everything.



And so...although there will be much written and has been much written about these movies, I will talk about it from my Martial Arts perspective.


Even though Johnny is depicted as a "loser" for having a strip mall Karate Dojo... that is my freakin dream. And yes, Cobra Kai is a bad ass form of martial art. Although they make the following lines seem sort of evil, I am going to compare it to White Crane.... two styles of White Crane.


Here is what Johnny posts on the wall of his Dojo.


1. Strike first
2.Strike Hard
3. No Mercy



This is considered the unsportsmanlike dark side in Karate kid one. Larusso (Being in NJ, we actuall know some Larusso's now lol) any way, Larusso tells Johnny, "Why would you bring this back to the valley."

Johnny, "Because the lessons worked."

Larusso sarcastically, "Strike hard strike first no mercy? Yeah that's really the lessons that kids need."


In truth. Johnny seems to be learning more from his students than the other way around. And I have to say, I really empathize with him. And Danny Larrusso can't really say shit because he hasn't been teaching Karate! He basically left a void this whole time which Johnny does his best to fill. He steps in as a leader to these youth who are outsiders like Larusso and whom Danny's daughter even left for more popular kids. And by reawakening a rival for Danny, in a way, Johnny is showing Danny (inadvertantly) that he has gone astray. Danny needs Johnny in order to be Danny. And this time around. Danny pulls some inexcusable asshole shit and shows that he has some character flaws he needs to work on as well.


Anyway, here are four words of philosophy from Tibetan White Crane. (My style of Kung Fu is not fully this form... but my basics are essentially this. I don't teach kids the philosophy (no time) but I do teach them the moves, which in and of themselves aren't savage, or even useful if they are only practiced once a week, something I have to remedy...


I might not even have the order right but.

1. Jeet
2.Chuen
3.Seem
4. Chan


Bruce Lee took Jeet and created Jeet kuen do. It is an intercepting fist that is able to start second but finish first. In other words, dun du dun!!!! Strike First!


Yes, Tibetan White Crane is an OFFENSIVE Martial Art. The Crane.. .is an Offensive animal. It is a predator. And there are Snake and Crane forms. But the Tibetan White Crane has it's origin story in Ape and Crane. Where a wild Ape attacks the crane with cups and the crane "defends" itself by attacking. It avoids the moves and strikes the eye. Tibetan white crane incorporates both animals, the the systems outside of my school that I have seen are heavier on the ape than the crane in my opinion. But maybe that's like a level thing and the Crane moves are more hidden.


Chuen gum paw saec... or penetrating gold and destroying rock... an exagerated and mythical allegory that says... Strike Hard!  Yes if you are going to strike than strike hard. A crane is a peaceful animal, but it strikes the fish (not an enemy but prey) to kill it and then eat it.

Fai yuet Seem deen.... just like the song...  "And they were fast as lighnin".....Obviously, in any sport or skill, after you are smooth and good.... being fast is helpful and cool looking, and when fighting... important.


Chan Fai... handicap.... in other words, cripple the opponent. ie. NO MERCY!


Ok, so is this evil or too much?

I would argue not. And Even when Johnny teaches Xolo or I think the character's name is Miguel... Danny 2.0... the throat strike... or the bite of the Cobra, he explains that the throat strike is only for extreme situations. In other words, even Johnny in all his aggression does hold back.


And the thing is.... if you are going to fight, then yes no mercy. Because you will show mercy, the other person doesn't, and your dead. As much as I would like to believe that I would have the skill to put someone into a BJJ choke hold and simply put them to sleep as seen on many a youtube video...I don't believe I am that good to hold back. What if you do that, because you are trying to be nice and then they stab you?


As some of my Si Hings in China said, who were unfortunately separated from our Sifu when he came to the states, they said, there are two options. 1. don't fight. 2.You fight (because there is no choice, or you feel you have no choice, or in many cases you can choose not to but for whatever reason you are decding to fight) Lau sei kui. Basically kill or maim or at least knock them out.

Why?

If you take this approach to martial arts instead of treating fighting like a game, you will probably get into less fights. That is a problem  sometimes because you get many Martial Artists, probably myself included, who don't fight much, for better or worse. In terms of developing your art? Probably worse.  But then if you fight all the time and get injured or whatever or beat the crap out of people who don't make you better.... well that doesn't help you get better either. Maybe it makes you worse.

If you fight and you are merciless in the fight and that gets around. As long as you don't force the situation up, people are less willing to fight you... even if you kind of suck at Kung Fu.

It wasn't until I rewatched Karate Kid 3 that I realized that Miyagi Do Karate is about the Kata and the roots and improving yourself inside and from there you will always know what to do. In fact, there is a lot in the movies that portray it as an internal art, more like Tai Chi. And it is defensive. Wax on Wax off is like Fujianese White Crane... but there is still the secret Drum counter punch of Karate Kid 2, much like the been ngow... actually exactly like Been ngow, which is an attack.

The Crane kick is an attack two when you think of it, and although Wikepedia says its not a real move Teen Gong Kuen has many a version of it, and it is done in a charging aggressive manner, with follow up punches.
   

Cobra Kai, is more about changing your outside, flipping the switch, like Lip transforming into Hawk, and then later you discover yourself (or maybe not) It isn't exactly evil... the truth is, you need both. Which makes me excited for future seasons... will the two forms of Karate be reconciled and become one in future generations?


The Cobra.


The Cobra is portrayed as something badass but evil.

But lets take a look at one of the jokes in Cobra Kai.


Johnny has to sublet to a Yoga class, which covers up the three lessons of Cobra Kai.... but then they get into... Cobra pose!

In fact, the idea of unleashing the serpent is all over Yoga.. watch Wild Wild Country....

Also there is a Buddhist story where Buddha as a child i meditating and the Cobra fans out it's body to provide shade for him....

Also the Tibetan White Crane body is like Bruce Lee's with the back like an iron fan... is like the Cobra's back.


Mein Lei jum and many of the forms are full of snake strikes, and BJJs chokes are like that of a boa constrictor....a gentle form of attack that is slow... but deadly.


There really isn't a lot of snake techniques in Cobra Kai in Karate Kid one... but you see more about the origins in Cobra Kai the youtube sereis, and from Karate Kid 3 and training methods in Cobra Kai the series, you get the sense that it has origins and history in the military. John Kreese's Sensei was South Korean and Kreese and Terry Silver served in Vietnam together. Kreese is racist against Asians calling Miyagi "slope" *this does not happen in the Youtube series, and Kreese's racsim  is bizarre since his sensei is Asian though we never meet him or learn about his personality. But I suppose he is supposed to be like that from the war. There is also a seen in Cobra Kai, where Johnny trains Miguel... which looks similar to a Navy Seal drill.


In other words, it would be really cool to learn in Season 2 of Cobra Kai, what we learned in Karate Kid part 2.... the origins of Cobra Kai. Is it part of US military training? Did Kreese take the wrong path or was his Sensei also an asshole?

There is a legendary fight which supposedly took place between Tae Kwon Do Master  who was the Drunken Master Villain. A Knife martial artist from Vietnam challenged him in South Korea and the Tae Kwon Do Master refused. Then when attacked, he killed him with a heel kick. or so says Wikipedia somewhere. In any case.... that would be cool to tie into this story... perhaps show a peaceful version of "Strike First, Strike Hard, No mercy" 


Yeah if you can't tell, I freaking love the series and the approach they took and it got me into practicing my basics again. I'm going to try to do Basics and Mein lei jum everyday on my own, and then also teach my kids on the schedule I have them, which involves more play... but I really want them to do the basics and mein lei jum endurance training too eventually.

I want to have a group that practices several times a week and is into the Martial Arts part of Kung Fu.


The series draws you in and you totally cheer for Cobra Kai and you also realize that there are flaws to being too pacifist. Even though the movies pretty much toy with that, and then show that ultimately you should be pacifist except when defending life, or a village. But not for honor or a plastic trophy.


But even still Miyagi said in p[art three, "it's ok to lose to your opponent, but not to fear." Not fighting out of fear is different than not fighting out of principle.


Ultimately, at the end though, and even throughout, you get the sense that Johnny is very close to something...a higher way of Karate, but always something is thrown in to throw him off that path, and more and more it seems like, if Miyagi could step in at that moment.... that Johnny would be able to achieve that mental enlightenment or be set right. Can he learn from Daniel or his students? The truth is that Daniel is also not really quite Miyagi and has a lot to learn as well. It almost seems like they can learn from each other... but then the plot throws a wrench in reconciliation... which shows true mastery of story telling.


And in the end.... Pandora's box is opened in terms of possibilities for Season two.


This is the best stuff I've seen in a long time... would be nice to see some more Asian characters though for season two. 

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Media cartels

If you haven't seen Netflix's "Bright" with Will Smith or "The Week Of" with Chris Rock and Adam Sandler and many other SNL stard you must. They are the best movies you will see in terms of action for "Bright" and  "Comedy" for "The week of."

I almost had a heart attack watching the situational comdedy of Sandler and Rock put together. It was like the office on steroids adding 10 years of pent up political incorect ethnic humor that is usually filtered through a stand uo comedian talking, but instead you are in the moment. I was more than rolling on the floor. I was in fetal position running parrallel to the floor in circles, eyes vlised and ears covered shouting, " No no no!" But still unable to stop watching.

Grace said they should have released it in the theaters. One could argue the same if bright. And for not releasing it in the theaters, as Amazon's "Manchester by the Sea" was, these direct to Netflix feature films (not series like "Stranger Things") with real blockbuster actors and real scripts and directors were attcked by rotten tomatoes and "real" movie critics abd the "real" movie industry like a shark out of water thrashing on land or on deck, attacking whatever it can knowing it will die and taking whatever it can with it.

Like Spielberg bitching at the Oscars.

Like monkeys bitching about this new primate that learned to control fire.

And its because they are threatened. Especially with #metoo effecting established media mire than up and coming organizations who may have the sane accusations, but are more capable of quickly rebranding themselves.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Savagery999

Ok, so in a lot of comic books and agents of shield etc. The worst thing us nit jyst sacrificing life , but especially children. Agent Mei has to kill an inhuman child to save everyone else and she is a hero, but it kind of destroys her.

So what am I gettubg at?

Well I was watching proud smiking wanderer and there is a scene where the sun moon cult (manachaeists) are killing this giys entire family. The guy is a hero trying to retire from Jianghu the martial world, gangsta life, whatever....

The point is, they are going to let one kid live if he will denounce his family. So the kid does. The hero the father then curses that child as being an animal, not having human qualities like honor etc.

And this is not the only example. Many times on British shows like Sharpe's rifles you will see children die and the characters value an idea or a flag over life.

But in modern American comics this is usually not the case.

Even though in practice we constantly sacrifice life for ideals, ammendments, rights, business money and other interests.  Just thought it was interesting.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Defining heroes and villains

I have been watching Marvel's Agents if shield, and between that, Black Panther, and all the Netflix Marvel series abiut the Hand, I not only noticed the evil Asian villain theme... but if you compare those stories with the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, the 108 heroes, the journey to the west, or Louis Cha's novels, you will notice that the modern western villains tend to dhare more in common with the heroes in older Chinese culture. And you cab flip that around too.

Heroes like Coulson, or Tchalla are more similar to the villains in the old Chinese stories.

Here are some examples I will talk about.

In ancient China, and ancient other places, heroes can eat human flesh, require that their children die and other horrific things, and still be the heroes.

Villains like Cho Cho, seem to be good leaders and have their stuff together and obey the laws.

More specifics on this later.




Friday, April 13, 2018

The sun

Im up to the point in agents of shield where simmons gets back from the planet where there is hardly any sunrise... err I guess because she is at one of the poles. My kids were asking during some dramatic scene why they were going crazy because thete is no sun.

Today in Nj the sun is out amd it actually feeks like summet and I can say
that has had a huge effect on my outlook on life.

In the city it woukd be i even mire so I am sure because young women will be dressing accordingly in bright colors and happy attitudes. 

My kids will be playing outside l8bger today I am sure. Though with the joy comes allergies for all of us.

Yesterday I watered the plants and it well more on my story about turninh my head another time. For now, posituve thoughts and vibes.