Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Fighting Black Kings

Here's a trailer from one of my favorite martial arts flicks: "Fighting Black Kings".
This documentary movie is about the first International Karate tournament run by Mas Oyama's brutal Kyokushinkai Karate system, and if you haven't seen it, rent it. I actually bought a VHS copy years ago, and have a few thoughts about this 1975 production that follows the harsh training of an American team that goes to compete in Japan.
My first thought is that this film is overtly Japan-centric. I believe it was definately produced to introduce Oyama's Kyokushinkai to an American market. I have wondered if there isn't a strictly Japanese version of this movie that displays the pre-WW2 Japanese superman image. For instance, while they give a fair representation of the American and European fighters, they totally diss on the Chinese guys. Almost with a historical vengence. It seems like they picked the wimpyist Chinese fighters they could find, just to show how the Japanese fighters were ultimately superior.
Now, with that said, the Japanese fighters are definately superior. They are well trained, they measure their opponents in a systematic and scientific precision and then generally beat the crap out of them.
The American team does fairly well, with some very big guys that can really kick ass. One American fighter is a boxer, and still wins with one hand broken and wrapped up.
This documentary movie is a must-see for tournament point-fighters, to let them see how it's really done. No pads. Few rules, though no punching to the head.
This is the kind of Karate I grew up with, before Mixed-Martial-Arts was even a glimmer in Kimbo Slice's eye.
Kyokushinkai is probably the most brutal of all traditional Karate styles, and this 1975 documentary represents the most powerful fighters of the era...
-- With one exception: There are no Koreans... I think the Koreans, under Kyokushinkai rules would have kicked their ass and embarrassed the Japanese.
This movie is valuable for historical perspective, and will remind us older Dojo Rats how we got'er done back then. Get a copy and enjoy...


Hand2Hand said...

Great point about Koreans. It's especially signification when you consider that Oyama was Korean.

Even though Kyokushinkai was a Japanese martial art, my Tang Soo Do instructors claimed Oyama as one of their own.

Formosa Neijia said...

That was my favorite flick when I was 14. It totally destroyed my impression of Chinese styles for years. I grew up with the kungfu films and read Inside Kungfu every month. But after watching every single Chinese fighter get the crap kicked out of them, all I wanted was to be one of the "hard men" of karate.

In retrospect, they clearly got wushu guys to compete in the tourney. Very strategic of the Japanese.

You're right about the sparring. That how we sparred in the old days. Except we could and did get punched in the mouth.

I still can't believe that guy caught the sword in mid-air.

Dojo Rat said...

My Tae Kwon Do master, Tae Hong Choi (Korean)- told us Oyama was one of his cousins.
Chris Pieshalla, A master in Chicago seems to have confirmed part of this. Oyama was definately Korean in a Japanese world.

The Koreans can be tougher than shit when they have their backs against the wall.
Writer P.J. O'Rourke called them "The Irish of Asia".

Bob Patterson said...

I need to rent this one. I remember when Human Weapon had their episode on Kyokushinkai. It ain't fancy, it ain't pretty, and it almost looked like two guys beating the hell out of each other!

Then again, I found This Video which shows some riskier high kicks that I'd expect to see in TKD.

Only difference is NO protective gear!

MARKS said...

I just found a copy of it. Been looking for it for years. Cant wait untill it arrives