These days, traditional karate doesn’t often make it into the movies. I suppose our simplistic style of fighting doesn’t compare that favourably to our more 'impressive looking' Kung Fu cousins. Add to that the whole principal of ‘ending a fight immediately’ and I guess you haven’t got much material for long action-packed fight scenes.
A little while ago I did see a flick however that managed to make realistic traditional karate work on screen. The film’s called Kuro Obi (Black Belt).
Like all good martial arts movies, the plot’s a little melodramatic in parts but the fight scenes are pretty great. Simple. Realistic. And, I think pretty true of traditional karate. It really comes as no surprise that two of the main characters Akihito Yagi (who plays Giryu) and Tatsuya Naka (who plays Taikan) and are 5th and 6th dan karate instructors. As an interesting side note, Sensei Yagi (pictured above) is President of the International Meibukan Gojyu Ryu Karate Association and actually teaches at a dojo in Naha’s Kume district (barely 10 minutes away by bike). The martial arts world really is a small place.
In any case, I've included a few clips from one of the earlier fight scenes below and short video with some behind-the-scenes footage. If you haven’t seen it, it’s worth a peak – especially for anyone interested in traditional karate, what it looks like, and how it differs from other more cinematic styles of fighting. After all, there’s nothing like a good martial arts movie to get you fired up for some training.
Fight Scene Part 1
Fight Scene Part 2
And some behind the scenes...