I was watching an episode of Kung Fu Quest (the Chinese version of Discovery Channel’s Fight Quest and History Channel’s Human Weapon [I personally prefer Fight Quest over Human Weapon, jury still out on how Kung Fu Quest stacks up in comparison]) and I had a really strong sense of deja vu after the appearance of this man:
He teaches Mongolian Wrestling which, according to the show is locally known as Bokh and (like a bunch of martial arts) looks kinda simple but is probably really tough as nails to learn to do well. He’s a pretty mean looking dude even in regular street clothes. Got a nice scowl on him.
Also pretty imposing when he’s actually wrestling.
Which apparently usually involves him winning and leaving his opponents in various states of abject. Also, as far as I’m aware, it’s freezing on the Mongolian steppes in any season but summer but they all go ahead and fight barechested anyway. Kinda cool, kinda crazy.
Anyway, I was watching this segment of the show and found that this man, Ha’te (which I think it how his name is romanized) reminded me very strongly of a certain other martial arts master.
For those unfamiliar, this is Chiba Kazuo, also called T.K. Chiba (though I’ve no idea where T.K. comes from) a well-known teacher of Aikido famed for his particularly unforgiving style of training and perhaps less well known for his exquisite timing and commitment to martiality and his students in general.
I don’t have much to say about this apart from that these two men who both have a penchant for dropping people on their asses, also both have slightly similar faces and the same moustache (even though Chiba shaved his off later in his career I can’t really imagine him without it).
They both seem to me to be the type who are absolutely committed to everything they do, a feeling which is embodied in their martial arts. They’re unyielding characters with unyielding techniques.
And winning smiles. I like to think that these men, who know what it means to commit to wounding and being wounded by another, who might consider it a disservice rather than a mercy to hold back in a fight, also know what it means to commit to and enjoy moments of calm, of rejoicing and celebration and what it means to share those with other people.
I like to think that these men who live with nothing held back and with sincerity in all things are able to do so because of the spirit of martial arts which they embody and believe in and that if all martial artists, or more individuals generally could be given the opportunity to do this it would be a great thing.
Alternatively, they might just be two men who like beating people up who happen to look the same.
Anyway, this has been a completely aimless ramble really, but thanks for reading!