Latest martial arts news, features and opinion, covering movie icons Bruce Lee, Jet Li, Jackie Chan and Donnie Yen, as well as the debate surrounding the practicality of traditional martial arts as a

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New documentary shows the vulnerable side of Bruce Lee
What can we expect in a new Bruce Lee documentary that we haven’t already seen in previous productions? By drawing on his own personal experience, Vietnamese-American director Bao Nguyen (Live from New York!), who lives between Los Angeles and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, has delivered something fresh with Be Water, a personal take on the challenges the martial arts superstar faced as he lived between Hong Kong and America. Having gained the family’s permission, Nguyen benefited from unprecedented access to archival material, which was essential, as it is primarily a film told in the past.  Several of Lee’s old friends appear in interviews; hearing from his widow, Linda Lee Cadwell, and daug
‘The Matrix’ can thank this man for its iconic fight scenes
Hong Kong martial arts director Yuen Woo-ping’s action scenes are the defining feature of The Matrix trilogy, yet Yuen himself never sought to work in Hollywood. When the films’ sibling directors, the Wachowskis, were preparing the first in the trilogy, a producer for the film had to track Yuen down in Hong Kong and convince him to go to Los Angeles to discuss choreographing the martial arts scenes in The Matrix. “I’d already been asked to work in Hollywood a couple of times, and I’d said no. I didn’t feel that my English was good enough to work there,” Yuen said. “What happened then was that one of the producers of The Matrix contacted Shaw Brothers [a Hong Kong production company] to find
China’s ‘Mad Dog’ fighter enters the battle of his life
The 41-year-old mixed martial arts fighter Xu Xiaodong has been a controversial figure in China ever since he became famous for beating up what he called “fake” kung fu masters. Unafraid to talk about almost anything, his brash attitude has brought him stardom but also unexpected – and unwelcome – knocks on his door. In November, he set out to prove that he’s more than a tough guy who dared to challenge a cherished Chinese tradition. In the video above, Inkstone follows Xu, nicknamed “Mad Dog,” as he fights the biggest fights of his career, for fame and freedom.  Subscribe to our YouTube channel for more stories about life, culture and politics in China.
Kung fu nuns break stereotypes
Training with swords and machetes, these nuns from Druk Amitabha Mountain Nunnery in Nepal are challenging gender stereotypes with martial arts. Watch the video, above, to see them in action.
It’s time to admit most traditional martial arts don’t teach you how to fight
I still remember my first ice hockey fight. All the movies I’d watched as a kid, where highly choreographed fight scenes looked like expertly planned dance routines, had horribly lied to me. By the time I realized I was in a fight, at the tender age of 16, it was already half over and I’d taken three or four solid shots to the face and my jersey had been pulled well over my head, rendering me blind. The experience was jarring: unfiltered chaos, blurred vision in one eye from an errant thumb poke, a ringing eardrum from getting punched in the side of the head, the taste of my own blood and swallowing a tooth. There was just disorganized, violent confusion with a skyrocketing heart rate and bu
Drugs, sex and gambling: a tour of Bruce Lee’s San Francisco
Martial arts icon Bruce Lee was born in San Francisco’s Chinatown.  Now, thanks to his daughter, Shannon, and her producing partners, his long-fabled passion project, the TV series Warrior, set in his birthplace, has completed its first season.  In the show, our Bruce-esque protagonist, played by British actor Andrew Koji, is a young martial arts prodigy called Ah Sahm, who arrives from China in 1878. The series follows him as he looks for his estranged sister in San Francisco’s Chinatown – then a den of iniquity, specifically: opium, gambling and prostitution – and dealing with violence and racism. Warrior has been praised by critics and fans alike for its gritty realism and depiction of pe
Bruce Lee’s last home is being demolished
The former Hong Kong mansion of Bruce Lee is now being torn down, despite calls from Lee’s fans to preserve the property known as “Crane’s Nest” as a museum.  The two-story, 5,700 square-foot townhouse, located in the upscale district of Kowloon Tong, was where the martial arts legend spent his final years. But it will soon be demolished to make way for a Chinese cultural studies center.  The demolition work kicked off on Tuesday. In the morning, the entrance to the compound was locked, while several construction workers worked around the main building, which was surrounded by bamboo scaffolds.  The owner of the property said the existing building had fallen into disrepair. But the decision
Another Chinese MMA fighter knocks out ‘fake’ kung fu master
Chinese mixed-martial arts fighter Xuan Wu has followed in the footsteps of his friend and fellow MMA fighter Xu Xiaodong by knocking out a “fake” kung fu master – in 12 seconds. Xu, 41, has made a name for himself in the past few years by winning bouts against self-proclaimed practitioners of kung fu, or Chinese martial arts, in high-profile matches. His challenge to old-school kung fu masters was interpreted in China as an act of defiance against traditional martial arts. This time, the challenger was a man called Tan Long. He said he was representing the wing chun style of fighting. He was dressed in a yellow jumpsuit similar to the one martial arts icon Bruce Lee wore in the film Game o
‘There are no rioters’: Chinese fighter breaks ranks to defend Hongkongers
Over the past week, nationalist fury has enveloped China’s internet, prompting actors, musicians and other public figures in the mainland to criticize the continuing anti-government protests in Hong Kong. Against this backdrop, outspoken Chinese mixed martial arts fighter Xu Xiaodong has bucked the trend by speaking up for Hongkongers on social media. On Sunday, Xu, who has controversially made a name for himself by challenging what he calls “fake” kung fu masters, wrote on Twitter that Hong Kong is a world-class free market with quality higher education and a robust entertainment industry. He condemned some violent clashes between protesters and police as illegal acts that must be punished
Kung fu star Jet Li shocks fans with youthful looks
What a difference a year makes. Jet Li is looking “really good” these days in a photo one fan recently shared of himself with the martial arts star.  The 56-year-old Chinese star of The Expendables 3 and Lethal Weapon 4 has been battling hyperthyroidism for years. More than a year ago he made headlines around the world when he appeared in a photo that showed him looking extremely frail.  Last year, the Beijing-born actor said he had been diagnosed with an overactive thyroid and has been taking medication to help him keep his illness in check. Hyperthyroidism causes changes in a person’s metabolism and heart rate. However, Li appears to have done a 180-degree turn and looks rejuvenated to suc