Sunday, July 15, 2007

Human Weapon


Finally, a reality TV show worth watching: Two guys travel the globe in search of martial-art masters to train with, learn their traditions and secretive ways, and then take what they've supposedly learned to challenge them in an actual fight! I kid you not. Human Weapon airs every Friday night on The History Channel and sounds like a winner.

Mixed martial arts fighter Jason Chambers will team up with former wrestler and bodyguard Bill Duff as the two men delve into the back alleys and rural villages of faraway exotic lands to find time honored training halls that teach some of the world renowned classical disciplines. In addition to judo and karate, Chambers and Duff will explore the history and legends behind Escrima stick-fighting (Philippines), Savate (France), Pankration (Greece), and Krav Maga (Israel - see clip below), just to name a few.

Don't forget that each episode concludes with our hosts squaring off against the best from each style. Viewer discretion is probably advised. Enjoy!

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22 Comments:

Blogger Dan Paden said...

I long since passed the point of being utterly sick of MMA and UFC stuff. I paid a visit to the UFC page once and looked at the rules. No small-joint manipulation (finger breaks and locks), no eye-poking, no groin shots, no strikes to the vital points on the back, etc. None of the good stuff that any traditionally trained martial artist would actually use in a real life or death confrontation, none of the stuff that a person would have to actually guard against--and then they so often turn around and disparage the combat effectiveness of those styles. It's enough to really torque you off after a while.

They are awfully strong and fit, though. Gotta give 'em that.

8:17 AM  
Blogger frotoe said...

wow! thanks for posting that~ it looks really interesting.

9:25 AM  
Blogger Windsornot said...

Oh yeah! I saw the TV ads for that too, and when I said I'd have to see that, my husband just groaned. (Just in jest, as he does not practice martial arts, but his wife very much is into it! LOL) Now, how is it that I'm not surprised that you are excited about this program, JV? ;-) This does seem right up your alley. We'll have to get you to do weekly reviews, if this is a regular show or series.

7:08 PM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

Dan:

Aside from the fact that one of the co-hosts of this show has a background in mixed martial arts, realize that this is actually about traditional styles, not MMA, UFC rules or whatever.

It's possible that some of your points will be explored on this program, but that remains to be seen.
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Frotoe:

...it looks really interesting.

Doesn't it? I can't wait to check it out.
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Windsornot:

You bet, oh yeah!

There were TV ads for this? Missed 'em.

This does seem right up your alley.

That sounds like a compliment. Thanks.

We'll have to get you to do weekly reviews, if this is a regular show or series.

Hmm...you know, that's not a bad idea. :-)

8:52 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

The show looks great. I'm really looking forward to it! I heard about it a few weeks back and have been anxiously awaiting it.

I can't wait to see what these guys think of the styles and the training methods. The hosts are athletes who have trained full contact, the shows seem to end with some form of combat, and it looks like the styles chosen are more realistic than some. I hope the show will showcase practicality over the flash and urban legend often highlighted (anyone remember "Fight Science?" That was utter garbage.)

10:59 PM  
Blogger Charles James said...

Hi, All

This is a series that will go over several weeks. The second installment is on Okinawa Karate and they look at Uechi Ryu as one of them.

I am not hopeful of hearing anything worthwhile from these two guys. I realize they are tops in their fields yet I can't help but be jaded as to their opinions as experts. There are a few others out there more qualified to do this although I understand why TV chose these guys.

I believe that because it is the history channel it has a good chance of conveying some decent information. If the preview clips are any indication I think the series will be informative especially for the uninitiated.

As for Fight Science. I disagree only in that there is always something worth learning from the series.

For instance, the scientific analysis of bone density and structure on those guys who are breakers of find inanimate objects.

Look between the fluff and glitter on anything and you can appreciate something that is valued.

Kanpai Karate-ka!

p.s. I am at least glad they were smart enough to wear white belts. I also notice they are not accustomed to wearing the uniform.

9:46 AM  
Blogger Becky said...

I have to agree with Mr. James here. I wonder how much they can learn in such a short period of time. I've been training almost 5 years, and still feel like I don't know anything. I certainly wouldn't feel confident enough to square off against the best from my style.

Still, it would be interesting to see. Too bad I don't get the History Channel.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous blackbeltmama said...

Very cool! Setting the TIVO now!

9:31 PM  
Blogger Miss Chris said...

I'll have to be sure to check that show out. It does sound interesting. After reading Windsornots comment, I think we may be married to the same man!

5:55 PM  
Blogger Eddie 哥哥 said...

Most of these fighting leagues etc is more to do with sport rather then any type of arts, most people don't the difference. But it really pisses me off when they make the association of some stupid league as martial arts.

As expected of the media, what else is new??!?!?

9:38 PM  
Blogger SisterRye said...

I'd like to see this. I wonder how Hollywood it'll seem; I'm skeptical.

It sounds like a fast-food version of something that should be slow-cooked, like a shallow whirlwind tour, or an exoticist safari. Too bad I don't have cable.

2:20 PM  
Blogger Charles James said...

finished the book. reading between the story lines are messages that go further than the movie.

Good read, better than the movie. Both together are great. I recommend reading the book first then watching the movie.

4:31 PM  
Blogger [Mat] said...

well, that's interesting. too bad it won't air around my parts...

hmmmm. Those fights would look sweet on a 110' diag screen. :D

Cheers!

10:09 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

Now you're just rubbing it in, Mat! :D

11:42 PM  
Blogger Steve said...

The show has a lot of potential, but I was disappointed in this first episode.

I like the historical information they try to impart. The sense of culture and tradition is interesting. But I think that the gimmick of the show may be it's downfall. The show would be better served, at least in my early opinion, to not be hinged around a final competition. It's contrived and unrealistic. I'd rather just see them train, frankly, without the silliness of their trying to piece together enough in a week from multiple sources to compete favorably with a champion of the style.

My initial impression is mixed, but hopeful, I guess.

11:28 PM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

Steve:

The show would be better served, at least in my early opinion, to not be hinged around a final competition. It's contrived and unrealistic. I'd rather just see them train, frankly, without the silliness of their trying to piece together enough in a week from multiple sources to compete favorably with a champion of the style.

I understand where you're coming from. The final match thing is an exhibition of sorts.

Like you said, the cultural, historical and traditional aspects of Muay Thai were covered nicely. I agree that the show has a lot of potential.

11:57 PM  
Anonymous blackbeltmama said...

I liked the first episode. I think it was realistic. What really can you hope to learn from studying a style for just one week? Of course they're going to lose to a master as they well should. That's what I like about it. I think there are far too many "martial artists" who think they can pick up a piece here and there and come up with some secret karate, when there's really no such thing. The history, the culture, the reality of Jason getting his butt kicked. . . I loved it all. What did you think John?

4:25 PM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

Black Belt Mama:

I enjoyed the show. Of course it's ridiculous to think that a week of training in a style is going to amount to anything, even for an experienced fighter with a different background.

I believe the sparring matches, including the final one, are held with a certain amount of civility in mind. At least that's how it seemed with the first episode. That's why Chambers got picked by the coach/master to fight the Muay Thai champ. Duff would've used his much larger frame to make for a very lopsided bout; technique and form would've went right out the window. As it was, Chambers was the slightly bigger guy in the ring. The Muay Thai guy was clearly the better man, but I thought Chambers held his own.

Mind you, this is TV, and it's all about ratings. Still, I think the show is good and I'll continue to check it out.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous OwMyEye said...

Can someone with one week,month or year of training be a worthy challenger to someone who has been practicing at a senior or professional level for 10 yrs? Of course not.

It was interesting for me, to learn about the martial roots of Thai boxing and that people are trying to preserve their history. Kali and escrima, which have an even more recent impact on history , are pretty cool too.

So far this show has portrayed martial arts in a positive light, and made the martial arts even more relevant by exploring the historical context of their development.

The History Channel is doing a good job on this one.

12:30 AM  
Blogger John Vesia said...

OwMyEye:

Welcome to my site. I agree wholeheartedly. The show's received some criticism, but by most accounts it's immensely popular.

I really like the idea that they're exploring worldwide martial arts, not just the Asian variety. Most people don't realize that the West has a rich and lengthy history in the martial arts, though they're not commonly referred to by that name.

10:22 AM  
Blogger supergroup7 said...

I have been following this show, and I feel that the two hosts are wonderful. They have an honest open desire to learn what they can in the two weeks that they have. You can see that they are not trying to learn the whole style, but just a few things that they can use to help them in their final confrontation. Their deep respect for the goodness of each art is wonderful. The way that they interact with each other, support each other, and coach each other is fantastic. I believe that they are incredible ambassadors, and present a wholistic, and balanced image of Martial arts to the world.

1:47 PM  
Blogger rcochran said...

Another thing about Jason Chambers and Bill Duff is that they are good ambassadors for the United States. From everything I've seen, they behave with dignity and honor. They narrate much of the show and do an excellent job at that.

The animated illustrations of the moves are excellent.

You get a tour of the world, lessons in history, and a real martial arts education all in one show.

5:11 PM  

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