Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Guide to the martial arts

About twelve years ago, my friends and I had a weird informative/humor website called Expo Extra and I wrote an article making fun of Kungfu around Taiwan. It was just for fun and was kind of an inside joke so I didn't expect many people to read it. Well, this being the internet, it seems that stuff never goes away. I made a couple of jokes at the expense of various kungfu teachers which I would never do now. I have nothing but respect for any of the people I named in the article so I hope no one took offense. Just a little folly of youth. I took out all the direct comments about particular teachers and left in the jokes. Here it is. I apologize if anyone takes offense because at the time, I thought martial arts were often pretty ridiculous....I still do, but could probably make better jokes. 

Kung Fu is Kung Fu, It's Not Child's Play 
by Will Mounger

The reasons why Western folks come to Asia are myriad (well, there's at least three or four, does that count as myriad?), but one of the most interesting and pathetic reasons is to study martial arts. Unfortunately, inscrutable Asians rarely reveal their secrets to outsiders, and finding the right art and teacher can be as difficult as finding a clean shirt on laundry day. So to expedite you on your quest, Expo Extra offers the following as an introduction to the world of martial arts.

Aikido is the art of semi-circular dwarf tossing, except that regular sized people are used instead of dwarves. The art was created by Morihei Ueshiba after he became such a proficient martial artist that he declared, "I'm such a badass, I don't even have to hit people anymore. I'll create a martial art just to rub it in everyone's faces." Aikido became popular worldwide after Steven Segal hit the silver screen and threw more people than have been thrown since BA Barracus' stint on the A-team. 


Boxing is a man's sport and a great way to get in shape. It's also a lot of fun until you get hit. We here at Expo Extra had big plans in the past to have some boxing matches. The problem was that we are a bunch of wusses and should have chosen a different combat art more suitable for wusses such as Tai Chi, Tae Kwon Do, or archery. After we forget how bad it hurts to get hit, we may start boxing yet again, so give us a call if you are interested, tiny and frail.


In response to arts like Aikido and Judo, where you flip your opponents, Capoeira is content to say, "I can flip my own damn ass, thank you very much." You don't really learn to fight from Copoeira as much as jump around and boogie. If you do it for a long time, however, your muscles get bigger and people will probably not mess with you quite as much, unless of course you are short.

Drunken Fist 

Insert your own drunken bar brawl joke here.
Gracie Jujitsu

Damn, those Gracies are baaaaad. Not only that, they're good looking too, especially Hickson and Hoyce. This family is almost single-handedly responsible for turning the exciting and wholesome pastime of fighting into two guys just rolling around on the floor for an hour.

Jeet Kune Do 

The style of no styles was created by the one and only, Bruce Lee. What a great idea! If you want to create a martial art, just make up a name and say it combines all the different martial arts. Nothing can defeat Jeet Kune Do! It's invincible! Why didn't we think of that?


Don't bitch-slap your woman, bitch-ippon sonagi her ass. See how long it takes her to get you a damn beer after that. What I'm saying is, if you want to flip people, Judo's the way to go. If you don't want to flip people, perhaps you should broaden your mind, you punch-happy fool. We haven't seen too many places to study Judo around Taiwan. That seems odd given all the Tae Kwon Do places. I mean, where the hell was Korea while Japan was occupying Taiwan. I tell you, some people have no sense of history.


Known as Krotty to its practitioners, this martial art involves a lot of standing around in uniforms, bowing and performing useless rituals called "forms". After you waste enough time and money, you get a different belt color. Whoopee-freakin-do! Luckily, this martial art also teaches discipline and focus to hyperactive little kids. Hasn't anyone ever heard of a little something called Ridilin for gosh sakes! How come every little Karate gi wearing little kid in Taiwan has a black belt? Do they even have reds, blue, and yellow belts? If I studied karate, I wouldn't let my sensei promote me. I would become a badass yellow belt and kick all those black belts' asses. Think you're so cool in your black belt. Bam! Don't mess with the yellow belts, baby. They rule!


You remember when you were a kid around Christmas time, and you would take those wrapping paper cardboard tubes and fence with your brother or friend until you actually hit him and were left with this useless floppy dick thing. Well, in primitive places like Taiwan, they don't have those tubes (or Christmas!) and so are forced to use bamboo. Bamboo hurts so they have to wear all this expensive armor that looks pretty cool. They can sit there for hours just whacking each other in the head, back and forth, back and forth. Damn we're glad we were born in a developed country!

Muay Thai 

Oh those silly, primitive Thais. They are so backward as to think that learning to fight is merely a matter of training hard and hitting hard. Where are the pressure points, the forms, the grandmasters, we ask. It is fun to laugh at their childlike understanding, but not if there is an actual Thai boxer present. If you are interested in this sport, you should rent Kickboxer or Kickboxer II to watch Jean-Claude Van Damme and that guy from that Suzanne Summers sitcom (Step by Step?) to show you how it's done.


Little is known about this secretive art and we certainly wouldn't want to spoil that. It is a well-known fact, however, that only a ninja can kill a ninja.

No Holds Barred Wrestling 

The UFC, vale tudo and other no holds barred events have proven that if two big wrestlers who can punch and kick go at it in the ring, one will surely win.


We're not quite sure how to make fun of a French martial art, but we'll try. It's sissified…uhhh…brie…we saved your asses in WWII…rude, kickin bastards…aw crap, I can't do it. I love the French and I always will.


Sumo is the most useful of all martial arts in that it teaches you how to get people out of your way. This is a skill that comes in handy every day, especially in a city like Taipei. The principles on which the sport is based are also irrefutably logical: if you want to get people out of your way, get fat, wear a diaper and push real hard. Expo Extra will continue to sponsor beach sumo matches whenever we are at the beach, drunk and bored.

Tae Kwon-Do 

This is the retarded neighbor kid of martial arts. People feel sorry for it, but are not above giving it a slap or two on the head if it gets in their way. Tae Kwon Do originated in Korea and spread all over the world because, heck, people love to kick! We were going to imply that only homosexuals studied Tae Kwon Do, but a lot those gay fellas fight pretty good, and they certainly couldn't have learned that from Tae Kwon Do. If you want to study this martial art, extend your finger and ram it in your eye until the urge goes away.

Tai Chi 

Even though Tai Chi is slow and practiced mostly by old people, it's a really effective martial art. No, really, you just don't understand the principles, man. You should try push hands with some of those old masters, dude, they will kick your ass. They would kick some ass in that UFC thing, but they're above that, man. You just don't get it, you use your opponent's energy against him, man. I don't even know why I talk about this stuff with you Neanderthals-you just don't get it.

Tiger, Crane, Snake, Dragon, Monkey, Eagle, Mantis, etc. (Kung Fu) 

Didn't you ever hear that expression, "Fight like a man, dammit?" Maybe, you should take it to heart. Seriously though, don't you think it's a bit much when one of those monkey fu guys does a form and pretends to pull a bug out of his hair and eat it? Do we really need that? I mean, you get the idea that it is supposed to be a monkey from all that jumping and rolling around. Do we really need the little "grooming" move.

Wing Chun 

Wing Chun is the style that Bruce Lee studied before he became a squealing martial arts legend. It can best be described as an advanced form of slap boxing or perhaps patty cake. According to legend, it was invented by a girl. According to reality, it is practiced by girls.


Wushu is the "Lord of the Dance" of kung fu. Its practitioners are on a never-ending quest to find the perfect pair of aqua and/or magenta pajamas.


  1. But I loved your comment about Sifu Lo using the time honored teaching method of yelling "stupid!"

  2. Yeah, me too, know...I am trying to be all serious and stuff so I don't won't to ruffle anyone's feathers. Martial arts people aren't generallly known for their senses of humor.

  3. I like your blurb on Thai boxing. No grand-masters, no forms - so silly! Hehe. One time I was on an organized hike (aka trek) in Thailand and with this group of Danes. One of them knew Karate and me and him were sparring a bit after dinner.

    One of our our trek guides had been a Thai boxer in the Bangkok circuit in his earlier days. MF looked like he was made of iron. He just sat there watching us two fools sparring. Can only imagine what he was thinking.