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The Martial Arts


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Editorial Reviews

For centuries, only a chosen few learned the closely guarded secrets of the martial arts. Today, millions worldwide practice, from New York lawyers to African villagers-but few know the history of the esoteric disciplines they study. This action-packed program crosses the Orient to uncover the mystic origins of THE MARTIAL ARTS. Witness top masters of karate, judo, kyudo, and hapkido demonstrate their stunning skills and explore the many facets of the varied disciplines, including their rich spiritual heritage. Take an extremely rare glimpse inside China's Shaolin Temple, the birthplace of martial arts: within these ancient walls, monks demonstrate their unique style of kung-fu and perform astonishing feats through a 3,000-year-old practice called qigong. A&E takes an unforgettable journey into the enigmatic world of ancient combat, exposing the fabled origins and evolution of THE MARTIAL ARTS. DVD Features: Interactive Menus; Scene Selection

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Format: Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: A&E Home Video
  • DVD Release Date: December 27, 2005
  • Run Time: 50 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000BF0CSE
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #268,699 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mikal Hauser on May 4, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
This video represents the highest in production quality and content that such videos have to offer. It is a fascinating glimpse into the martial arts for those who have never studied and a challenge to improve for those who have. The Shaolin monks in particular have stunning technique. There is a short demonstration of chi (ki) power as well which is the foundation of hand-healing and of the highest levels of the Asian martial arts. This in itself is worth the price of the video (I would have bought it for fifty or sixty bucks without a second thought). Hand healers are rare and amazing people, whether they come from a healing perspective, a martial one, or both. At this level, there is very little difference.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Berman on February 23, 2007
Format: DVD
This DVD was a terrific survey of the origins of various Far Eastern martial arts that are now seen in the West.

The DVD is about 90 minutes featuring the history of many martial arts forms, how they evolved in the last few hundred years and how they are being practiced in the US today from the popular to the esoteric.

The material is interesting and the production quality is high. No particular martial arts type is emphasized and there is a broad section covered.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 30, 2001
Format: VHS Tape Verified Purchase
This is one of the best documentaries on martial arts, I've seen. And it's not SHORT. Most videos run 60 minutes or less, this is 100 minutes. It shows many of the styles, and history. Gives a good overview for anyone who is interested in taking up a style. Buy this video.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 5, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
Watch closely, Reverend Kensho Furuya indeed uses ki in his throws and takedowns, albeit in a more subtle manner than when master Zhou Ting-Jue demonstrates his qi on the legs of stunned Americans. Michael Tse is also worth seeing. The qi (ki) demonstrations alone are worth the price of the video. Forget everything else you see. The qi stuff is where it is at.
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Format: DVD
I am very disappointed that this film has been discontinued. I have it on VHS but it is incomplete. It is a great survey of the martial arts. It focuses on the cultural and historical, so you will not find any secret techniques, or an in-depth treatment of any particular area. Very basic, yes, but a good start for young practitioners with no background. When you have spent decades immersed in the martial arts it is easy to forget that there are young beginners that just need a simple overview, a broad perspective to help them get started. Yes, there is nothing extraordinary here that I have not seen or heard before, but most new students don't know it, or their perspective of the martial arts is a confusing collage of stilted information, mostly spurious. Before the internet and media explosion of the 1990's made so much (good and bad) information available and changed martial arts forever, it was very difficult to find any material. In a way, it makes me sad the way that has diluted the relationship that a student has with their teacher, but on the other hand myth and misinformation abounded. One way to keep that teacher/student relationship strong is to become a reliable resource of good information, and to start your students out with a strong foundation regarding the cultural and historical background of the art. This film provides an engaging and fundamental source of cultural and historical background for new students, and an interesting review for more experienced practitioners. I hope that it will be released again soon.
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Format: VHS Tape
George Takai ("Sulu" from Star Trek) narrates this fly-by of MA history, focused mostly on far-eastern standards: China, Korea & Japan. If you knew nothing and did a quick internet search on MA and threw together a video doc, this would be it. There is some good focus on "jitsu" vs "do" and the trickle down of all the ancient lineage, but you really get the feeling the producers were learning as they went.
I think the choice of arts and experts is based mainly on production location
(mostly L.A. locals) An odd amount of time is spent on an obscure L.A. "Hwarang Do" school to represent Korea, without much on contemporary Tae Kwon Do. They do venture into Jhoon Rhee's D.C. domain to discuss TKD a bit (which they spelled Tae KWAN Do) not the best example they could've used. The doc begins to fizzle towards the end with emphasis on the "feel good" family fun of today's modern U.S. dojos and "The Bam's" school. They do mention the emergence of the UFC and visit with the Gracie Academy, but no mention of K-1 or Pride or MMA. Anyway- the weirdest thing is that after about 60min thru the peice, they start repeating everything, but faster paced. Perhaps this last 30min was an alternate cut intended for smaller time-slots and they put both on the home video release. Anyway, the whole program is offered on DVD under the alternate title: "THE MARTIAL ARTS"
(I have it, the disk quality is good)
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