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Martial Arts

September 25, 1995 | JOHN POPE, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
When Quoc Huy Ha explains the karate style he developed, he could be describing his life. " Quyen dao is like a river," the grand master said, using the Vietnamese name for the martial art, rather than the Japanese karate more familiar to Americans. "The river is always running, always moving, even if there is an obstacle," he said through an interpreter.
April 1, 2014 | By Mark Olsen
The history of action cinema has a long tradition of international cross-cultural pollination, as films from one country inspire filmmakers from another. Directors such as Sam Peckinpah, Akira Kurosawa, Sergio Leone, John Woo and Quentin Tarantino learned and borrowed from one another, adding to the vibrancy of the genre. So why shouldn't one of the freshest, most exciting new voices in martial arts action be a Welshman living and working in Indonesia? With his new film "The Raid 2," filmmaker Gareth Evans - credited as director, writer, co-editor and action choreographer - confirms himself as a force in international action cinema.
April 20, 1986
Just as in baseball, you can't tell the key martial arts players without a scorecard. The following names and terms are essential if you're to become a martial arts aficionado: BRUCE LEE: He towers over anyone else in martial arts. His "Fists of Fury" (1971) was the first big hit in the genre, and his "Enter the Dragon" (1973) remains the martial arts film to which all others aspire. Lee became the first (and only) Chinese-American film superstar.
March 27, 2014 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
There is a scene midway through Gareth Evans' action-crime thriller "The Raid 2" that exemplifies the excruciating and exhilarating experience of this gripping paean to the ballet, brutality and blood that courses through martial arts films. The players are not the key ones, but the action is exquisite as two attractive 20-ish Indonesian assassins, a brother-sister team, identify their target in a subway car. Amid tight space and other passengers, Hammer Girl, a mesmerizing Julie Estelle, her long hair swinging in time with the claw hammers she wields, approaches the prey; her brother, Baseball Bat Man (Very Tri Yulisman)
June 10, 1996 | CHARLES CRELLIN, Charles Crellin is a black-belt aikido instructor at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo and a freelance writer. His e-mail address is:
I recently saw "The Quest," a martial arts movie directed by, and starring, Jean-Claude Van Damme. The basis of this outlandish story is that the best fighters in the world are summoned by an old, demented master of a Himalayas kingdom to fight a no-holds-barred match. In this savage Olympics, the winner is awarded an immensely valuable solid gold dragon. Van Damme, of course, performs in predictable heroic style.
June 17, 2011 | By Jeannine Stein, Los Angeles Times / For the Booster Shots blog
Mixed martial arts competitions are becoming increasingly popular, spawning an interest in MMA training. Join a live Web chat with MMA coach Mike Van Arsdale Monday, June 20, at noon Pacific time (2 p.m. CT, 3 p.m. ET) and find out the benefits of the sport for all levels of athlete, from recreational to pro. Van Arsdale won the gold medal in World Cup freestyle wrestling and is a former UFC fighter. In 1998 he made his mixed martial arts debut in Brazil, winning three consecutive fights in one night and the title of the International Vale Tudo Championships.
August 19, 2011 | By Meg James, Los Angeles Times
Fox Sports no longer is pulling any punches with Ultimate Fighting Championship, announcing a seven-year deal that brings mixed martial arts fights to the Fox broadcast network and Friday night events to the company's FX cable channel. Fox declined to disclose financial terms, but Sports Business Daily reported the multiyear package was worth as much as $90 million. The deal, announced Thursday, is significant because it elevates the sport of mixed martial arts to the television mainstream.
March 29, 2006 | From Times Staff Reports
A Santa Ana martial arts instructor was charged Tuesday with repeatedly molesting two of his students. Jose Felipe Velasco, 45, is the owner of the Kung Fu Martial Arts Assn., on South Main Street. The alleged crimes occurred in the back seat of his car in secluded spots such as a parking structure. The girls were 13 and 16 when the crimes allegedly began. Velasco has been charged with nine counts of child molestation. He is being held on $500,000 bail.
August 7, 1994
Local martial arts students have won five gold medals and one bronze in the National Junior Olympic Tae Kwon Do Championships. Eight youngsters from the Marina Tae Kwon Do School of Martial Arts competed in the national championships, held in Chicago last month, putting in the best showing ever for the Marina del Rey school, according to instructor Keith Jones. "This was the best year for us," Jones said.
December 17, 1993
The body of a Canyon Country woman was found by searchers Thursday after she was reported missing earlier that morning, authorities said. The victim was identified as Veronica Estrada, a 29-year-old Tae Kwan Do instructor, who was last seen walking home from work on Soledad Canyon Road near Camp Plenty Road about 9:30 Wednesday night, said Deputy Angie McLaughlin, a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman. Estrada's body was found about 12:15 p.m.
September 21, 2013 | By Clarissa Sebag-Montefiore
HONG KONG - There is a scene near the beginning of Wong Kar Wai's "The Grandmaster" in which the main character, the martial arts expert Ip Man, expounds on the ethos of his practice. "Kung fu: two words. One horizontal, one vertical - if you're wrong, you'll be left lying down. If you're right, you're left standing - and only the ones who stand have the right to talk. " Lately it seems filmmakers can't talk enough about Ip Man. Born in southern China in 1893, he was notable for having taught the iconic Bruce Lee and popularizing the Wing Chun school of kung fu. Though he died in poverty and exile in Hong Kong in 1972, Ip has become an almost mythical figure featuring in multiple films in recent years.
September 12, 2013 | By Gary Goldstein
Sometimes, you just need a little help. That saying certainly holds true for Hector Chavez, the proud but beleaguered mixed martial arts fighter facing a hugely stacked deck in the action melodrama "Chavez: Cage of Glory. " More important, it also applies to Hector Echavarria, the film's writer, director and star (he was also an executive producer), who could have used a serious assist with each of his creative roles before striking up his one-man band and going all "Rocky. " Echavarria, a martial arts champion in his native Argentina, takes an über-earnest approach here.
August 23, 2013 | By Mark Olsen
Wong Kar Wai is known as an international master of moody romance, making films filled with a yearning melancholy. His "In the Mood for Love" was the only film from this century to make the Top 25 of a recent Sight & Sound poll of the greatest films of all time. So news that he was making a kung fu film tracing the life of Ip Man, who would famously go on to train Bruce Lee, caught many of his fans off-guard. Playing now in Los Angeles, the long-awaited film has already been the biggest commercial hit of Wong's career in China, even with its unlikely combination of a rousing martial arts story and a moving tale of romantic longing.
August 22, 2013 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"The Grandmaster" is like a meal of all desserts, with maybe the tiniest bit of protein thrown in. You'll feel decadent enjoying it, but everything is so tasty, it would be foolish to object. An exercise in pure cinematic style filled with the most ravishing images, "The Grandmaster" finds director Wong Kar-wai applying his impeccable visual style to the mass-market martial arts genre with potent results. He's found a way to join the romantic languor of his earlier films like "In the Mood for Love" with the fury of Bruce Lee. Working with his alter ego, actor Tony Leung, and an impressive Ziyi Zhang - and leaving the action choreography to the masterful Yuen Woo-ping ("The Matrix," "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon")
July 28, 2013 | By Victoria Looseleaf
Melissa McCarthy and Sandra Bullock aren't the only ones packing heat.  L.A.-based Viver Brasil scorched the Ford Amphitheatre on Saturday with its hybrid moves that mix Bahian Candomblé (white magic) folklorico and modern dance.  Founded and directed by husband-and-wife team Luiz Badaró and Linda Yudin, the Afro-Brazilian troupe celebrated its 15 th season with six works in a program dubbed “Intersections/Ajê.” Even Badaró, normally heard (on percussion) and not seen strutting, sashayed alongside guest artist Dona Marivalda, his king to her decked-out queen (huge hoop skirt, crown, velvet cape)
July 19, 2013 | By Lance Pugmire
The Bee Gees are playing on Roy Englebrecht's office radio, but the 67-year-old sports promoter has a saying taped on his wall to assure he's not stuck in days gone by. "Don't judge me by my past. I don't live there anymore. " Southland boxing fans know Englebrecht's name. From 1985 until 2010 he promoted a grass-roots staple of the sport, the "Battle in the Ballroom" club shows at the Irvine Marriott. Future champions Shane Mosley, Genaro Hernandez, Johnny Tapia and Carlos "El Famoso" Hernandez all won there - Englebrecht claiming victories too, by routinely pocketing profits that climbed to about $15,000 per show at the end. But the staying power of the quick-thinking entrepreneur - who still works 80-hour weeks in staging more fight promotions in California than anyone else - is about more than just placing a blood sport in a swanky venue.
October 31, 2012 | By Dawn C. Chmielewski, Los Angeles Times
Kay D'Arcy didn't expect what Hollywood had in store for her. At an age when others have been relegated to playing invalids and dowagers, D'Arcy will appear as Agent 88, an assassin who keeps the deadly tools of her trade tucked into her hair bun. The octogenarian avenger dispenses evildoers with acrobatic moves that would impress Jackie Chan. In the opening episode of the Web series "Agent 88," D'Arcy demonstrates her martial arts skills in an encounter with thugs surrounding the bloodied body of their victim.
December 26, 2011 | By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
Buddhist monk Ando remembers the toil of all those years, trying to satisfy the training demands of an aging martial arts master who could never be pleased. Silent and impassive, monk Yang-ik perched in the lotus position on a platform above his young proteges, who leaped from mats, kicking two impossibly high bags one after the other, the best adding aerial somersaults before landing gracefully, like big cats. When they finished, panting and sweating, the master dismissed them.
July 1, 2013
Jim Kelly, who said he was the first African American martial arts expert to star in movies but later left the industry to become a tennis coach, died Saturday. His death at 67 was confirmed by his former wife, Marilyn Dishman. No cause was disclosed. Born May 5, 1946, and raised in Millersburg, Ky., and San Diego, Kelly attended the University of Louisville on a football scholarship but quit to protest the racist treatment of another player, he told The Times in 2010. He took up karate in the mid-1960s and ran a school in Los Angeles.
June 17, 2013 | By Frank Shyong, Los Angeles Times
Officials in Chinatown unveiled a 7-foot bronze statue of Bruce Lee to a crowd of several hundred in the historical Central Plaza on Saturday night. The unveiling caps a five-year effort to bring the statue to Chinatown, said Shannon Lee, Bruce's daughter and the president of the Bruce Lee Foundation. The statue, created by an artist in Guangzhou, China, is the first such statue of her father in the United States, Shannon Lee said. Though the statue will not be permanently installed until business leaders can raise $150,000 to put in seating and a concrete plinth, the timing was right for the unveiling, she said.
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