Fanart Friday returns, and we don't charge extra for belt tests. Last week, we brought sexy back with a look at some of the hottest (fictional) guys around, but this week we're loosening up, stretching out and kicking ass with our favorite martial artists! Not just any martial artists, either, since characters with martial arts training show up in just about everything these days.
My unpopular opinion #4- this song is the only good thing about the original Karate Kid movie
No, I'm looking for specific practitioners of real-world martial arts, martial sports, and martial systems (or at least styles that are based on real-world theories or mechanics)--unfortunately, this meant that a few requests couldn't be met this week. Sorry, folks, you are not forgotten--I promise I'll use them in a future installment! Now, are you ready? LET'S GET IT ON!
DISCLAIMER: None of the art presented is the property of myself or Crunchyroll. All characters and series are tm and © their respective creators and corporate owners. All art is the creative property of their respective artists. Any artists who wish to have their work removed from this article may contact me, and appropriate action will be immediately taken.
Put simply, martial arts in cinema (and later, comics, manga, and anime) wouldn't exist the way they do without Bruce Lee. Not just a gifted athlete and charismatic performer, Bruce Lee's philosophies on streamlining martial arts and only focusing on "what worked" helped--in part--to create the modern-day sport of mixed martial arts. I'm always a little sad that he wasn't able to see the public acceptance and understanding of martial arts that we have today.
It's honestly kinda weird seeing these two all cuddly. Haruki Hanai was easily my favorite character in School Rumble, and one of the few aikidoka characters who's not spacey or (as my old sensei would say) aiki-fruity, all about harmony and love and shit. The understandably-popular Mikoto (who's about ten seconds away from murdering Hanai) is on their school's karate team (among other teams), and has known and trained with Hanai since they were kids.
This request kinda came out of left field for me--I hadn't heard of Girls of the Wild's, or taekwondo practitioner Choi Dal Dal, until the comments of last week's Fanart Friday! Taekwondo is a combination of classical Korean martial arts that focuses on (but does not solely use) surprisingly accurate high kicks.
Speaking of hard kicks, capoeira is a Brazilian style that was designed by slaves, who masked their practice as dance. Tekken's Christie Monteiro is actually unusual for a fictional capoeira practitioner in that 1- she's female and 2- she doesn't have dreads. When a friend of mine had dreads, we teased him mercilessly and kept wondering if he'd bust out his mad capoeira skills on us. The problem is that even without his dreads, we still tease him about it, and one day he's gonna kick all of us in the face repeatedly.
by sayo tanku
I try not to be too hard on Bleach, but it's criminal how much a great character like Tatsuki is underused. Sure, you have Chad to punch holes in guys and get Worfed, but why not use Orihime's best friend to take on some Hollows with hand-to-hand combat? On that note, it's kind of cool to see so many female characters being given practical martial arts, like Tatsuki's traditional karate.
HOW CONVENIENT! Yawara! is a classic manga and anime that focuses on judo--specifically, women's judo. It makes sense--judo is about leverage, not strength, and some of the best practitioners in the world are tiny women. Another martial sport, judo is basically wrestling with much more spectacular throws... and some chokes... and some armbars. Also, if you don't know how to fall right, you'll get the wind knocked out of you. Fun stuff!
Colonello's assault rifle is not really part of what we're talking about here, but it is mentioned in REBORN! that he's a master of sambo, a Russian martial art that has elements of judo and various Russian wrestling styles.
Apologies go to the five people who still think some Shaolin monk is going to descend upon the next UFC and kick everybody's asses--mixed martial arts are the real deal. Even with rules in place, they show what techniques do and do not work in a combat setting. All-Rounder Meguru goes pretty far to show this, and focuses on techniques what I call the Holy Five of MMA--boxing, judo, wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and muay thai.
On boxing, a lot of people think that boxers have it easy, because they're wearing big, soft gloves. Truth is, boxers hit harder because the gloves protect their hands so effectively. In my opinion, getting hit with a boxing glove is more of a pounding sensation over a larger area, while getting hit with a bare fist (or a 4oz MMA "baby" glove) is more of a crashing sensation over a slightly smaller area. On that painful note, who's looking forward to Hajime no Ippo: Rising?
While Ryo Hazuki mentioned competing in karate during the first Shenmue game, he's actually a practitioner of his family's jujutsu style. Not as groundfighting-focused as Brazilian jiu-jitsu (but still with plenty of ne-waza, or ground techniques), traditional Japanese jujutsu was designed to defeat armed and armored opponents with your bare hands. I just like to think of it as "folding somebody's laundry while they're still wearing it."
Rurouni Kenshin goes absolutely bonkers with its depiction of Japanese sword technique, but it does go out of its way to explain some interesting nuances of stance, the nine basic attacks of kenjutsu, and battoujutsu (sword drawing, called iai today) as an assassin's technique.
I talked about this in a previous Natestalgia--not all martial artist characters are pure or heroic, like Shamo's Narushima Ryo. Training in everything from a Kyokushin-like karate system to kung-fu to a well-rounded mixed martial arts program, each new style just makes Ryo stronger... and in my opinion, more evil.
Japanese swordsmanship lives on in kendo, a martial sport where practitioners wear armor and fight with bamboo swords. There are only four targets in kendo--men (the forehead), dou (side of the body), kote (the wrist, or gauntlet), and tsuki (a thrust to the throat). Bamboo Blade covers a lot of what makes kendo fun--the excitement of team sports, and the discipline and combat of martial arts!
by Soraax3 READER SUBMISSION!
If there's one thing that Yasuhiro Imagawa loves, it's movies, and G Gundam's Master Asia and his "Undefeated of the East" style of kung-fu embodies a lot of the classic masters of Shaw Bros. films. Oddly enough, a lot of his poses are very recognizable--Crane, Tiger, some classic Long Fist--meaning that a lot of reference went into what would otherwise be a generic fighting style. Good job, Imagawa!
Yes, Hokuto Shinken is incredibly fake, but hear me out! Fist of the North Star's insane martial arts style is based off the Chinese martial arts concept of Dim Mak, which (supposedly) deals in a laser-accurate "death touch" to the body's pressure points. Now, I believe that Dim Mak is a gigantic load of crap, but the idea of using pressure points extends to a lot of more practical fighting styles, and even modern police and military techniques, so you could technically say that they're using a non-lethal Hokuto Shinken? I guess?
I mean, if you want a real "death touch," just look at Muay Thai (if you want to count an elbow dropped on your head as a "touch"). History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi takes quite a few liberties with its depiction of martial arts, but at least the fight between Apachai Hopachai and Agaard Jum Sai was appropriately vicious.
For me, the best martial arts manga running right now isn't even available in the States--Karate Shoukoushi Kohinata Minoru makes a pretty successful transition from bare-knuckle karate competitions to mixed martial arts, even making its characters learn groundfighting and kickboxing to be more competitive. If this ever came Stateside, I'd buy the volumes in a heartbeat.
Medaka Box's Akune uses judo, but the real star of this pic is lead male protagonist Zenkichi, who practices savate, a French fighting style also known as boxe francaise. Plenty of martial arts combine punches and kicks, but few do it with shoes on--also, savate's kicks only use the feet, so there are no strikes with the knees or shins.
Tenjou Tenge isn't very clear on what style the main characters of the Juuken Club practice (except for Bob and his capoeira, because he's a black guy with dreads), but lead antagonist Takayanagi Mitsuomi states, plain as day, that he borrows and adapts the best techniques from a variety of styles to suit his purposes. This is one series that I really need to finish.
Kyudo is classical Japanese archery, and is considered one of the more refined martial arts that a person can practice. Originally I was going to put Inuyasha's Kagome here, but the only reason she does it is because of her ancestor Kikyo--she was never on the school's archery team or anything! Besides, with her shrine maiden outfit, Kikyo looks the part of a kyudo practitioner.
Dragonball and Dragonball Z eventually distill martial arts into an "everybody actually has the same style" blender, but Krillin/Kuririn/Ku Li Lin/whatever is the only character distinctly patterned after an actual fighting style: Shaolin! Okay, "kuri" is just Japanese for "chestnut," and "rin" comes from the Japanese pronunciation of Shaolin (Shourin), but the fact that he's bald, originally wore monk's robes, and had the circular "vow scars" from ceremonial incense on his forehead, Krillin is the only character in all of Dragonball to actually fit in this installment.
Awright, back to your corners--that's all for this week!
There's no way I could have included every martial artist character--who are your favorites? Remember, no "generic fighting ability"--distinct fighting styles and callouts to real martial arts, so I did miss a few requests this time around!
Your work is always welcome here on Fanart Friday--I will always include your submissions, so don't feel any pressure! For those of you wanting to get a submission together, here are the next three Fanart Fridays:
-Next week, on AUGUST 30th, we close out the season with a trip through JAPANESE SUMMERTIME! Fireworks, ghost stories, watermelon, baseball, shaved ice, and cicadas are all part of this theme, but here's an important question--are there any characters you want to see in a yukata? THIS IS THE ONLY THEME I'M TAKING REQUESTS FOR THIS WEEK!
-On SEPTEMBER 6th, we head BACK TO SCHOOL! Lots of anime take place in schools, but you might see a few familiar faces show up in school settings (that they normally aren't a part of).
-On SEPTEMBER 13th, we're celebrating The Wonderful 101 and practicing our best team poses for fighting rubber-suited bad guys with a SUPER SENTAI and TOKUSATSU edition! VIEWTIFUL!
Thanks again for dropping by, and we hope to see you next time! Now, if you'll excuse me, The World's End is out, and I cannot say no to more Edgar Wright/Simon Pegg/Nick Frost silliness. Have a great weekend, everybody!