Bourne That Way

on July 26, 2011 in Misc

Last week I said that I’d write about the self-defense/fighting skills Layla would use and I’d like to get into.  I also said I’m not too wild about going back to regular martial arts.  Instead, the more real world-style of Krav Maga is a possibility, especially since it deals with the realistic situations of an attacker having a weapon or pinning you to the ground or a wall.  But you know what I also wouldn’t mind checking out?

The fighting style Matt Damon uses in the Bourne movies.

I mean, are those fights scenes scary good or what?  Especially in the first Bourne film, when Matt Damon takes on the guy in his apartment and uses a pen like a knife (okay, so that’s also an “eww gross” moment).  Then there’s the one when he’s asleep on the park bench, two cops wake him, and you can see how in an instant he sizes up where each of the two men are in relation to him and in — what, three seconds? — he’s knocked them down and out.

For me what makes these scenes so compelling is that they don’t look choreographed.  Of course in reality they are — right down to the smallest step and punch.  Still, unlike movie scenes involving a pure martial art form, the fighting style looks like something a person in merely reasonably good shape could use. There are no flips or running up walls or flying splits or other fancy-schmancy tricks.

Anyway, it turns out that what Damon and the other Bourne actors trained in is Filipino Martial Arts, apparently also called Kali or Escrima/Kali.  Being a fencer I instantly noticed the similarity to the French word escrime, which means fencing.  And yes, the art uses not only a lot of fencing moves but similar footwork.  That makes sense to me.  I’ve seen guys in fencing do blindingly fast and far-reaching lunges with simultaneous blade thrusts that are deadly.  And in fencing you learn to WATCH your opponent’s every move, including his footwork.

So this was good news for me!  It means I already have some background in the basics of Kali.  There are even a couple Kali schools here in Denver, which is kind’ve a moot point, since I can’t afford squat for a while.

What I’m gonna have to do instead is take the ultra cheap route and see if I can get some Kali and Krav Maga books and DVDs.  Turns out the library has some books, and on Ebay there are a few semi-affordable DVDs.  So in the next few weeks I should be able to start learning more basics on my own and maybe practice moves with a friend.

Sounds rinky-dink, I know. But hey, if the guys in Limitless and Chuck can suddenly start doing fantastic self-defense moves by merely accessing parts of their brains that’s recorded books and movies on the subject, then there’s some hope for me.

4 Responses to “Bourne That Way”

  1. Ciara Knight says:

    I agree. the Bourne movies were done well. I can’t stand poorly choreographed fight scenes.

  2. Helena says:

    Ciara — Those scenes make me cringe even as I relish them. Weird.

  3. Gerry says:

    Good post! I definitely suggest you check out the local Eskrima/Kali/Arnis schools in your area. Don’t let the rattan sticks give you the impression its only a weapons based art, most of the counters can directly translate to empty hand defenses.

  4. Helena says:

    Gerry — There are one or two, so I might indeed do that soon.