Does this martial arts style have any basis in reality?

Behold the training montage from Desert Kickboxer.

The hero is doing what appears to be a form of “kata”, motions designed to focus the body’s energy, from what little I remember of the martial arts I dabbled in. But is it at all realistic for what someone trained in kickboxing might actually do? Some of the motions look like a broad parody of what karate moves are supposed to look like, and others appear to be bodybuilding poses.

I’ve long thought that scene to be one of the silliest of all time. It is in fact complete hokum, bogus moves made up out of whole cloth by an untrained actor who is doing what he imagines martial arts might look like?

I have no idea - I just wanted to point out that that scene is considerably less silly than the final fight.

Based on the vague way the OP is couched I can only respond by saying that based on my MA history I don’t recognize the kata/style. Nor do I think the “art” has any practical street value.

John Newton claims to have begun studying martial arts in 1985; “Desert Kickboxer” was made in 1992. However, aside from two episodes of Walker: Texas Ranger, he hasn’t done any other martial arts work.

The writer/director, Isaac Florentine, has done a fair amount of low-budget and TV action stuff, but at the time his only credit was writer/director/actor in a 28-minute dystopian future/action movie. In Hebrew.

I trained in Muay Thai for a couple of years. That does not resemble in any shape or form any of the training. Almost all of the training was:

You wrapped and gloved up, and paired with a partner who held pads on both arms.
Instructor gave a particular drill, eg. jab, jab, cross, cut kick.
Work in 2 or 3 min rounds then swap roles with partner.

Once a week you would practice sparring, developing specific attacking and defending techniques/strategies, even if you didn’t intend to fight in the ring.

This was generally interspersed with specific skills training, eg muay thai style grappling, or blocking drills, footwork etc.

If you were a fighter you were generally responsible for you own physical training eg running, strength training. They would do much the same as the above, but in larger volumes.

For an idea of what the pad drills look like see this youtube clip Link

To answer the question specifically: No, you did no kata or forms or anything of that nature. There were no belts or grading either. As they say, the only belt that mattered was the one you won in the ring.

[ul][li]Is this something a kickboxer would do? In a word, no. As others mention, kickboxers don’t do kata. Is this something a karate stylist would do? Not without inspiring giggles. [/ul] The movements appear to be a mishmash of various other styles. Some of it is similar to sanchin, which is found in some Japanese styles. A bit of it looks like wing chun’s *bil jee* form, with some of the hand traps. The wide arm movements look vaguely like hung gar or something similar, which is a Chinese style. [/li]
The problem is he does not involve his hips in any of the movements, which robs them of any power (especially in the absence of footwork). And he is awfully damn slow, which is fine in stylized disciplines like tai chi ch’uan but a Bad Idea in real fighting. As you noticed, he appears to be mostly doing bodybuilding posing with some semi-karate related arm movements.

And, fortunately or otherwise - [ul]Is this the silliest scene of martial arts in recent memory? God be thanked, no. One need look no further than the irreplaceable Project Grizzly to savor the scene of the movie’s protagonist practicing to fight a grizzly bear by doing katas in the forest at dawn, in his long underwear. [/ul]

I may have to rent this movie when it hits DVD. I was nearly as fascinated by its preposterousness as the eagle seemed to be in the clip you provided.


It of course has nothing to do with modern kickboxing. Kickboxing training is mostly the same as standard boxing, with kicks from Muay Thai thrown in for good measure, as are the actual matches.

What he’s doing in the film is just silly. Shouldn’t there be a dude and two robots in the foreground?

Also, it’s poor form in most martial arts to stand like you’re waiting in line for the toilet :smiley:

I agree with all of the above posters, unless I missed one that called this anything other than the mating dance at a gay bar.

It looks like he is making it up as he goes along.


Let’s see what we can find in The Big Hollywood Recipe Book Of Hokey Movie-Fu:

  1. Add in some hand movements that are basically kung-fu oriented.
  2. Add in some strange looking stances.
  3. Add in some more hand movements that are basically karate or Taekwondo oriented.
  4. Oops, didn’t add in enough stances. Let’s get one or two that actually look like real stances from martial arts, though.
  5. Hmmm…still lacking something. Ah, let’s toss in a handful of scenes of a hawk flying around.
  6. And let’s top it off by locating it in the mountains or hills somewhere.

Stir, simmer, then pour it out and see if the dog will eat it.

I never dreamed that in my adult life I would get to witness Ricky Steamboat kung fu fight the President of Scientology, David Miscaviage in a gay porno.

Most martial arts is bullshit. If you have to kick me to kick my ass, you aren’t a real man. That said, it’s pretty well established that Krav Maga, Muay Thai Boxing, and Brazilian Ju Jitsu are the tops when it comes to the top martial arts.

Look, all I want to know is, did he fight with the eagle after that display?

Please tell me this movie is a parody. The training scene wasn’t good – I’m pretty sure that somewhere near the beginning he was doing the pelvic thrust (that really drives them insaa-aya-ane) and the end seemed to be “mime grouting a wall” – but for a sort of throwaway training montage kind of low-budget acceptable.
But that final fight scene! I’ve scene more believeable fights staged by fourth graders at a pool doing “OK, now fake punch me and I’ll fall into the water”. Really? That’s a serious attempt at portraying a kickboxing fight? Is the rest of the movie that bad?

Things that maybe I don’t really want to know, I suspect.

If I have to use the most powerful and dangerous weapons I have, I’m not a real man? :dubious:

The only way to make this less authentic would be to toss in a three-wolf t-shirt.

As loathe as I am to say this, I agree with Shodan. :smiley:

Some of it does look a little like Hung Gar, and may be a slurry of related Shaolin styles. Also, that Hung Gar set you quoted to is phenomenal. That said, I’m pretty sure the douchebag in the movie is doing a random mishmash of what he was instructed to by whoever did the fight choreography in that film.

Only girls kick in fights.

If you are a real man, step outside and take me one on one, bareknuckle and takedowns. No kicking, no hair pulling, no eyes, no ballshots. When its all over, we shake hands, and the loser buys a beer. The winner buys one back. Then we call it even.

That is profoundly homoerotic. You aren’t describing a fight, you’re describing some sort of ritual dance.

Katas are not really to focus energy or any such spiritualistic goal, though I’m sure that many teachers advertise them as such to build up the mysticism of the martial art. Katas are really just showing off/demonstrations of form. At best, a kata serves to build muscle memory for proper form.

Cung Le and Lyoto Machida would probably dispute that. Prejudices abound, however.