PENN & TELLER: BULLSHIT! “Martial Arts”

Penn & Teller: Bullshit! “Martial Arts” is  the latest episode of this dynamic duo’s myth-busting series. As you can guess from the name, it covers some of the myths you find in martial arts. Before you look at the video below, some thoughts:

To a certain extent, this episode confirms some clichés:

  • There is bullshit in the martial arts. Just look at the tai chi/chi kung lady. Let’s just say I think she has strayed from the path…
  • There is some good stuff too. Marc gives sound advice, as usual. Though I do think Dianna should have worn the T-shirt I gave her for her board breaking demo… :-)
  • Nekkid women always liven up a show, even if the topic doesn’t justify their presence. I’m not complaining though…

On the other hand, I get the feeling Mike Reeves and Damian Ross have been made to look bad due to some fancy editing.  If you didn’t know already: TV-producers can make you look either great or like a total, flaming asshole just by how they edit the raw footage. That’s just how it works. Depending on the purpose of the show and the script, they’ll pick a certain role for you and make sure you look the part. They’ll even steer you in a certain direction during filming to make sure they get the footage they need to twist things around on what you actually showed or said.

So I’m not convinced these other people actually are as bad as the show paints them. Maybe I’m wrong, who knows? Regardless of that, you have to agree it makes for some good TV.

PENN & TELLER: BULLSHIT! take on the Martial Arts

Now you might wonder why I don’t cut the tai chi lady the same slack. Well, I’ve been training in Chinese arts for over two decades now and don’t really appreciate “her kind” of teachers. Every time I start to teach somebody tai chi chuan, I have to go up against the bullshit ideas such people spread. It’s a losing battle and it annoys me.

Another point is how they overemphasize certain aspects. The board breaking is taken totally out of context and made to look like it’s retarded as hell. Personally, I’m not into it but that doesn’t make it useless. It has it’s time and place. But Penn & Teller made sure it didn’t come off that way, which makes me wonder about the research they put into the shows.

So all in all, not the greatest show on martial arts ever. But not the worst one either.  Anyway, here’s the video.

.

Become a Patron and get access to unique content: my newsletter, instructional videos, violence analysis and much more!

Comments

  1. Well let me start my comment off by saying that I am a HUGE fan of Penn & Teller and that still hasn’t changed after this particular episode on martial arts. However, talked about a one-sided skewed reporting of the topic. I was very disappointed in this particular episode, not because of what they reported, but more on the way they reported it. Here are a few of my problems with this episode.

    1. Who is this lady representing Tai Chi? Where in the hell did they find her at? From the same place as the “martial arts instructor” from the movie Bruno?

    This lady was about as accurate representation of a Tai Chi instructor as I am on instructing pregnant women on childbirth (I am 100% American male). You can make anything or group of people look bad by picking the lowest common denominator, which is exactly what they did with this lady.

    What is the barking, and quacking, and so forth supposed to do for you other than make you look like a complete and total idiot, which she did accomplish quite well.

    2. Damian’s segment was actually quite good and I would have to say “spot on” with the reality of true self-defense. When it comes down to life and death, there are no rules except to be victorious and make your opponent stop living so that you may continue to. Yes, I am sure that there are some people that misuse what they are taught. Happens in absolutely everything and no body, organization, profession, etc. is immune.

    Perhaps Penn & Teller need to have someone actually proceed to start kicking the shit out of them in order for them to get the proper perspective. Believe you me things look a lot different after you have been the victim of a violent crime. The world no longer looks like rainbows and unicorn.s

    3. Mike was very unfairly portrayed. He seems to me to be a very good martial arts instructor and although I may find a few issues with the self-defense aspect of what he teaches, I am sure that it would be minimal and any suggestions would be looked upon with appreciation.

    If every school would have a good solid traditional martial arts program in place for students throughout 1st through 12th grade, you would see a dramatic decrease in the number of crimes and problems with today’s children. Who would one day grow into tomorrows adults and I think you can see where this is going.

    4. Board breaking is a very useful component of the martial arts and I use it quite frequently to demonstrate the proper principles behind effective and efficient striking. I don’t put on demonstrations or attempt to break dozens upon dozens of boards, but I do break a few from time to time in order to be a more effective instructor. And guess what? It works!

    5. Marc MacYoung is a well respected member of the self-defense community and I was thrilled to see him on the show. However, I don’t agree with all of Marc’s comments and I don’t know if it was taken out of context or not, but …

    a. Stomping a down opponent on the back of the neck is not murder! It is a technique, and one that I teach as well, that if misused and resulted in the unjustified death of another human being would be the means in which the alleged murder took place.

    For example; you and your family are alone in your home when three violent criminals break into your home and announce their intention to rape and kill everyone in the house. You proceed to kill all three attackers by any means necessary, one of which is to stomp on the neck of a downed opponent in order to keep him from attacking your family while you contend with the other two attackers. SELF-DEFENSE!

    Now if you are walking down the street with your lady and some guy comes up and grabs her ass and you proceed to kick him to death, then guess what folks? MURDER?

    See the difference!

  2. Well let me start my comment off by saying that I am a HUGE fan of Penn & Teller and that still hasn’t changed after this particular episode on martial arts. However, talked about a one-sided skewed reporting of the topic. I was very disappointed in this particular episode, not because of what they reported, but more on the way they reported it. Here are a few of my problems with this episode.

    1. Who is this lady representing Tai Chi? Where in the hell did they find her at? From the same place as the “martial arts instructor” from the movie Bruno?

    This lady was about as accurate representation of a Tai Chi instructor as I am on instructing pregnant women on childbirth (I am 100% American male). You can make anything or group of people look bad by picking the lowest common denominator, which is exactly what they did with this lady.

    What is the barking, and quacking, and so forth supposed to do for you other than make you look like a complete and total idiot, which she did accomplish quite well.

    2. Damian’s segment was actually quite good and I would have to say “spot on” with the reality of true self-defense. When it comes down to life and death, there are no rules except to be victorious and make your opponent stop living so that you may continue to. Yes, I am sure that there are some people that misuse what they are taught. Happens in absolutely everything and no body, organization, profession, etc. is immune.

    Perhaps Penn & Teller need to have someone actually proceed to start kicking the shit out of them in order for them to get the proper perspective. Believe you me things look a lot different after you have been the victim of a violent crime. The world no longer looks like rainbows and unicorn.s

    3. Mike was very unfairly portrayed. He seems to me to be a very good martial arts instructor and although I may find a few issues with the self-defense aspect of what he teaches, I am sure that it would be minimal and any suggestions would be looked upon with appreciation.

    If every school would have a good solid traditional martial arts program in place for students throughout 1st through 12th grade, you would see a dramatic decrease in the number of crimes and problems with today’s children. Who would one day grow into tomorrows adults and I think you can see where this is going.

    4. Board breaking is a very useful component of the martial arts and I use it quite frequently to demonstrate the proper principles behind effective and efficient striking. I don’t put on demonstrations or attempt to break dozens upon dozens of boards, but I do break a few from time to time in order to be a more effective instructor. And guess what? It works!

    5. Marc MacYoung is a well respected member of the self-defense community and I was thrilled to see him on the show. However, I don’t agree with all of Marc’s comments and I don’t know if it was taken out of context or not, but …

    a. Stomping a down opponent on the back of the neck is not murder! It is a technique, and one that I teach as well, that if misused and resulted in the unjustified death of another human being would be the means in which the alleged murder took place.

    For example; you and your family are alone in your home when three violent criminals break into your home and announce their intention to rape and kill everyone in the house. You proceed to kill all three attackers by any means necessary, one of which is to stomp on the neck of a downed opponent in order to keep him from attacking your family while you contend with the other two attackers. SELF-DEFENSE!

    Now if you are walking down the street with your lady and some guy comes up and grabs her ass and you proceed to kick him to death, then guess what folks? MURDER?

    See the difference!

  3. Oh and before I forget …

    KICK THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF THEM UNTIL THEY BLEED FROM THEIR ASSHOLE!

    Gotta love that line!

  4. Oh and before I forget …

    KICK THE LIVING SHIT OUT OF THEM UNTIL THEY BLEED FROM THEIR ASSHOLE!

    Gotta love that line!

  5. Danny Young says

    I give it a luke warm rating. It is so slanted and leaves out so much of what MA is about, it’s ridiculous. Sure, there a many frauds in MA, like the Thi Chi lady, and others, but there is also so much more good that is being over looked here. Shows like this make it very difficult for people who truly teach the entire aspect of what training really is about.

  6. Danny Young says

    I give it a luke warm rating. It is so slanted and leaves out so much of what MA is about, it’s ridiculous. Sure, there a many frauds in MA, like the Thi Chi lady, and others, but there is also so much more good that is being over looked here. Shows like this make it very difficult for people who truly teach the entire aspect of what training really is about.

  7. Neat seeing Marc Macyoung on there.

    Penn and Teller did a nice job busting some myths, like the methods of board breaking and rank-for-money. Although, as Penn has a tendency to do, he makes gigantic broad cutting statements that willingly overlook the finer points of a subject.

    For example, there are periodic reports of martial artists holding off attackers, intruders, etc. I guess they didn’t do much research there. http://www.examiner.com/x-29343-Orlando-Martial-Arts-Examiner~y2010m3d15-Gainesville-martial-arts-instructor-foils-home-intruder, http://www.mmafighting.com/2008/10/01/mma-fighter-benji-radach-used-a-wrist-lock-and-a-punch-to-disarm/, etc etc.

    They also didn’t bother to piece each aspect of the martial arts together as a whole. They paid some lip service to discipline and fitness but never brought it together with the actual value of self defense along with cultural study and spirit building. A practice that is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Ohh well – such is entertainment.

  8. Neat seeing Marc Macyoung on there.

    Penn and Teller did a nice job busting some myths, like the methods of board breaking and rank-for-money. Although, as Penn has a tendency to do, he makes gigantic broad cutting statements that willingly overlook the finer points of a subject.

    For example, there are periodic reports of martial artists holding off attackers, intruders, etc. I guess they didn’t do much research there. http://www.examiner.com/x-29343-Orlando-Martial-Arts-Examiner~y2010m3d15-Gainesville-martial-arts-instructor-foils-home-intruder, http://www.mmafighting.com/2008/10/01/mma-fighter-benji-radach-used-a-wrist-lock-and-a-punch-to-disarm/, etc etc.

    They also didn’t bother to piece each aspect of the martial arts together as a whole. They paid some lip service to discipline and fitness but never brought it together with the actual value of self defense along with cultural study and spirit building. A practice that is greater than the sum of its parts.

    Ohh well – such is entertainment.

  9. shugyosha says

    Uhm… the karate guy seems to be leaking. Some time ago, I decided to judge systems on their brown / 1st dan belts. This guy’s students lack control. Their moves don’t do quite what they should and they miss some details –not particularly difficult ones– they should be doing. Unless I’m very much mistaken, one of the kata is Naihanchi… there are flavours of it, but… I’m not convinced of this one.

    Yes, they’re better than some McDojo I’ve seen –much more, at points–, but… Even though they don’t rollercoast –up-down-up-d…– while doing kata, they seem to lose their focus between moves, for example. Not convinced. Also, I can’t recall the name of this kind of test, but when the instructor is testing stance / concentration, it’s not quite kosher either –both student and tester–.

    And, yes, they paint with a wide brush. 30 minutes on TV don’t allow for much more. Do we want in MA anyone who doesn’t take TV with a grain of salt?

    Take care

    PS: you’re being quite soft with the Flower chi woman.

  10. shugyosha says

    Uhm… the karate guy seems to be leaking. Some time ago, I decided to judge systems on their brown / 1st dan belts. This guy’s students lack control. Their moves don’t do quite what they should and they miss some details –not particularly difficult ones– they should be doing. Unless I’m very much mistaken, one of the kata is Naihanchi… there are flavours of it, but… I’m not convinced of this one.

    Yes, they’re better than some McDojo I’ve seen –much more, at points–, but… Even though they don’t rollercoast –up-down-up-d…– while doing kata, they seem to lose their focus between moves, for example. Not convinced. Also, I can’t recall the name of this kind of test, but when the instructor is testing stance / concentration, it’s not quite kosher either –both student and tester–.

    And, yes, they paint with a wide brush. 30 minutes on TV don’t allow for much more. Do we want in MA anyone who doesn’t take TV with a grain of salt?

    Take care

    PS: you’re being quite soft with the Flower chi woman.

  11. I get the feeling that they picked the most egregious examples they could find (and also used creative editing like you said). I found the show pretty funny overall, but I can’t say I agreed with the overall “all martial arts are crap” message they were trying to push.

    • That’s also how I saw it Johnny. I understand they have to cram everything in a 30min. show but a little more nuance would have been nice.

  12. I get the feeling that they picked the most egregious examples they could find (and also used creative editing like you said). I found the show pretty funny overall, but I can’t say I agreed with the overall “all martial arts are crap” message they were trying to push.

    • That’s also how I saw it Johnny. I understand they have to cram everything in a 30min. show but a little more nuance would have been nice.

  13. Jeff Tulley says

    Yeah, “Research” — “None of us could remember any headlines about a martial artist saving the day”. I think their standard for research is to ask around the office. Really scientific.

    There IS some BS in the martial arts, but their handling of it was BS as well.

    Oh, one more thing — it is always better to just give in to the mugger? What if they are a rapist and not a mugger? A female in our martial arts style was able to save herself and 2-3 other women from a rapist who broke into her apartment in Nigeria. Not by “running away” (though P&T are right that this is often the best option), or by “giving them what they want”. And no, this didn’t make the news, but it was a clear example of training saving lives.

  14. Jeff Tulley says

    Yeah, “Research” — “None of us could remember any headlines about a martial artist saving the day”. I think their standard for research is to ask around the office. Really scientific.

    There IS some BS in the martial arts, but their handling of it was BS as well.

    Oh, one more thing — it is always better to just give in to the mugger? What if they are a rapist and not a mugger? A female in our martial arts style was able to save herself and 2-3 other women from a rapist who broke into her apartment in Nigeria. Not by “running away” (though P&T are right that this is often the best option), or by “giving them what they want”. And no, this didn’t make the news, but it was a clear example of training saving lives.

  15. Wim, you said this isn’t the worst martial arts exposé ever made. Can you name a worse one? I certainly cannot. Even those breathless XMA “documentaries”, with all their worthless computer animation, are closer to reality in my opinion.

    I am fully prepared to defend the Tai Chi instructor too–but I know it will take more than a blog comment to successfully accomplish that. ;)

    • There were some really bad ones here in Belgium when MMA got started. Painted all MAs with the same brush.
      As for the tai chi instructor, feel free to defend her but I won’t attack her. Her organs might start arguing with me. :-)

  16. Wim, you said this isn’t the worst martial arts exposé ever made. Can you name a worse one? I certainly cannot. Even those breathless XMA “documentaries”, with all their worthless computer animation, are closer to reality in my opinion.

    I am fully prepared to defend the Tai Chi instructor too–but I know it will take more than a blog comment to successfully accomplish that. ;)

    • There were some really bad ones here in Belgium when MMA got started. Painted all MAs with the same brush.
      As for the tai chi instructor, feel free to defend her but I won’t attack her. Her organs might start arguing with me. :-)

  17. Little Tigress says

    My biggest concern was that they were not only going to trash martial arts as a whole, but that they would make The Greats look like complete morons, too.

    Glad they know when to shut their mouths and not speak ill of the dead. (And/or the living…depend on who you define as The Greats.)

  18. Little Tigress says

    My biggest concern was that they were not only going to trash martial arts as a whole, but that they would make The Greats look like complete morons, too.

    Glad they know when to shut their mouths and not speak ill of the dead. (And/or the living…depend on who you define as The Greats.)

  19. I’ve worked with Mike Reeves (the karate instructor profiled) for many years now, and the show did an amusing hack job on him. Very funny, I’ll give them that. I can tell you that Mike is a guy who watches little television, and knew just enough about the premise to expect some teasing, but I don’t believe he was under the impression that he and what he represents would be made to look quite as silly as it was portrayed on the episode. Nevertheless, he was featured, they did what they did, and it was good for a few laughs. Mike was sincerely good-natured after seeing the episode, admitting that he was amused by much of it, and understands that first and foremost, the show is about entertainment. The fact is that Mike is loaded with humility and far too decent of a person to say anything about the show or about his portrayal, but I cannot claim to be quite so evolved, so here I am.

    I am not going to address at all the matter of martial arts as taught to children, nor the issue of fighting people who possess loaded firearms when you have a decent survival alternative (which is not always the case, actually – contrary to the scenario portrayed in the very beginning of the episode, our society is increasingly plagued by criminals who seriously injure or kill those who fully comply with them); all of us in our right minds can agree that the training of young people in fighting arts should be measured, and that only a very reckless person would opt to fight an assailant who has a firearm, assuming the victim has genuine survival options.

    What the show did NOT portray is that Sensei Reeves is renowned within the MA community as a superbly conditioned martial artist, one whose level of physical conditioning is every bit as good as his technical skill. This is a guy who, each week, in addition to the many hours of technical style training he both teaches and studies, runs endless numbers of miles, lifts tens of thousands of pounds, and subjects his hands and limbs to hours of the sort of specialized, nerve-deadening impact conditioning that has been a part of classical, “old school” martial arts since its recorded inception. Little-to-none of that was conveyed on the show, of course, because it wouldn’t serve the ends of the producers, which were in part to embarrass Reeves and marginalize classical martial arts, in general.

    For those who know Mike’s reputation, his specialization is in the realm of tameshiwari, or breaking, and while no reasonable person would dispute that the breaking of a single board is a very minor accomplishment, breaking over 400 of them in 60 seconds, among Mike’s many other substantial feats of achievement in tameshiwari, cannot be dismissed as mere “parlor tricks,” as suggested by the show’s chosen skeptic, Marc MacYoung. To accomplish them requires a great deal of general fitness, a very high level of impact conditioning, and superior mental focus, all components of the classical martial arts derided by the Penn and Teller episode, and the ability to perform them speaks to the aforementioned effort at top-flight conditioning in which few others among us choose to engage.

    If you want to talk in terms of “bullshit,” then let’s cut through some, or all, of it; noticeably absent from the piece was any challenge issued by any of the show’s detractors of classical martial arts to Mike Reeves…to a full-contact, no-protection match. Why is that? After all, a perfectly reasonable test of whether the classical martial arts, here represented by Reeves, are bullshit, is the engagement of one of its long-time practitioners by one of the “accusers.” Surely if the system and lifestyle practiced by Reeves for several decades now is “bullshit,” then he should get his ass handed to him by any (and all) of these guys in a combat forum.

    Setting aside the tedious, societal inclinations toward political correctness for a moment, as well as the oft-made whiny distinctions that “this is about self-defense, not fighting,” martial arts ARE fighting arts, and if you want to denigrate a martial artist or a martial art, then you should be willing to put your money where your mouth is and fight him, or at least challenge him and put the ball in his court. Those unwilling to do that are without credibility, and should keep their yaps shut.

    Marc MacYoung seems like a nice enough guy, and has found some professional traction by configuring himself as a sort of Michael Moore of the organized martial arts scene. He’s done well with that, and from a marketing standpoint, I say, “good for him.” Nevertheless, he also markets himself as an instructor in the area of combatives, and given that, it is reasonable to wonder how he would fare in a hand-to-hand matchup against a classically trained martial artist with the training and conditioning level of a Sensei Reeves. Personally, I have serious doubts as to MacYoung’s ability to prevail, and also wonder how long Penn, Teller, or both would last in a similar contest. MacYoung has written a lot of tough guy books with tough guy titles, ostensibly on the basis that he himself is no one with whom to be messed, but I didn’t see him or either of our Showtime heroes volunteer to engage the episode’s featured classical martial arts whipping boy, Reeves, in any combat contest to prove that what the Sensei represents is “bullshit.”

    After all, with a nickname like “Animal,” one, according to his own bio, acquired from “growing up on the gang-infested streets of Los Angeles” and which is obviously meant to imply fighting savagery, surely MacYoung would be able to mop the floor with a “bullshit” martial artist like Mike Reeves, whose biggest claim to fame is apparently little more than a bagful of “parlor tricks.”

    Should these contests take place, then we can better ascertain to whom or what the term “bullshit” most fairly applies.

    • Bob,

      Thanks for giving some more information on Mr. Reeves. I don’t know him personally, only that he’s a fellow Paladin Press author though I haven’t seen any of his videos yet. Like I said, I think he got treated unfairly in the show. I don’t know why P&T did it but that’s how I interpreted their characterization of him. Which is a pity because he seems like a well trained martial artist.

      Re. Marc: Just like Mr. Reeves is a friend of yours, Marc is a friend of mine. Let’s get that clear up front. You’re taking a (slightly veiled) stab at him in your comment here and are suggesting a challenge. I really don’t see the point but that’s your prerogative. I’d like to respond with two things:
      – Have you considered that Marc’s words may have been twisted and taken out of context just as much as how they did a job on Mr. Reeves?
      – Regardless if you’re right or wrong in who would come out on top in such a “contest” as you put it: Marc is my friend. My blog is not the place to offer challenges or to slam his name. That’s just as tasteless as somebody going to Mr. Reeves’s site and leaving negative comments on him there. Anything you would like to say to Marc, please do so directly instead of here.
      I understand you feel Mr. Reeves has been treated unfairly and want to set the record straight. I respect that. But it would have been much more effective had you not written those last couple paragraphs.

      Wim Demeere

  20. I’ve worked with Mike Reeves (the karate instructor profiled) for many years now, and the show did an amusing hack job on him. Very funny, I’ll give them that. I can tell you that Mike is a guy who watches little television, and knew just enough about the premise to expect some teasing, but I don’t believe he was under the impression that he and what he represents would be made to look quite as silly as it was portrayed on the episode. Nevertheless, he was featured, they did what they did, and it was good for a few laughs. Mike was sincerely good-natured after seeing the episode, admitting that he was amused by much of it, and understands that first and foremost, the show is about entertainment. The fact is that Mike is loaded with humility and far too decent of a person to say anything about the show or about his portrayal, but I cannot claim to be quite so evolved, so here I am.

    I am not going to address at all the matter of martial arts as taught to children, nor the issue of fighting people who possess loaded firearms when you have a decent survival alternative (which is not always the case, actually – contrary to the scenario portrayed in the very beginning of the episode, our society is increasingly plagued by criminals who seriously injure or kill those who fully comply with them); all of us in our right minds can agree that the training of young people in fighting arts should be measured, and that only a very reckless person would opt to fight an assailant who has a firearm, assuming the victim has genuine survival options.

    What the show did NOT portray is that Sensei Reeves is renowned within the MA community as a superbly conditioned martial artist, one whose level of physical conditioning is every bit as good as his technical skill. This is a guy who, each week, in addition to the many hours of technical style training he both teaches and studies, runs endless numbers of miles, lifts tens of thousands of pounds, and subjects his hands and limbs to hours of the sort of specialized, nerve-deadening impact conditioning that has been a part of classical, “old school” martial arts since its recorded inception. Little-to-none of that was conveyed on the show, of course, because it wouldn’t serve the ends of the producers, which were in part to embarrass Reeves and marginalize classical martial arts, in general.

    For those who know Mike’s reputation, his specialization is in the realm of tameshiwari, or breaking, and while no reasonable person would dispute that the breaking of a single board is a very minor accomplishment, breaking over 400 of them in 60 seconds, among Mike’s many other substantial feats of achievement in tameshiwari, cannot be dismissed as mere “parlor tricks,” as suggested by the show’s chosen skeptic, Marc MacYoung. To accomplish them requires a great deal of general fitness, a very high level of impact conditioning, and superior mental focus, all components of the classical martial arts derided by the Penn and Teller episode, and the ability to perform them speaks to the aforementioned effort at top-flight conditioning in which few others among us choose to engage.

    If you want to talk in terms of “bullshit,” then let’s cut through some, or all, of it; noticeably absent from the piece was any challenge issued by any of the show’s detractors of classical martial arts to Mike Reeves…to a full-contact, no-protection match. Why is that? After all, a perfectly reasonable test of whether the classical martial arts, here represented by Reeves, are bullshit, is the engagement of one of its long-time practitioners by one of the “accusers.” Surely if the system and lifestyle practiced by Reeves for several decades now is “bullshit,” then he should get his ass handed to him by any (and all) of these guys in a combat forum.

    Setting aside the tedious, societal inclinations toward political correctness for a moment, as well as the oft-made whiny distinctions that “this is about self-defense, not fighting,” martial arts ARE fighting arts, and if you want to denigrate a martial artist or a martial art, then you should be willing to put your money where your mouth is and fight him, or at least challenge him and put the ball in his court. Those unwilling to do that are without credibility, and should keep their yaps shut.

    Marc MacYoung seems like a nice enough guy, and has found some professional traction by configuring himself as a sort of Michael Moore of the organized martial arts scene. He’s done well with that, and from a marketing standpoint, I say, “good for him.” Nevertheless, he also markets himself as an instructor in the area of combatives, and given that, it is reasonable to wonder how he would fare in a hand-to-hand matchup against a classically trained martial artist with the training and conditioning level of a Sensei Reeves. Personally, I have serious doubts as to MacYoung’s ability to prevail, and also wonder how long Penn, Teller, or both would last in a similar contest. MacYoung has written a lot of tough guy books with tough guy titles, ostensibly on the basis that he himself is no one with whom to be messed, but I didn’t see him or either of our Showtime heroes volunteer to engage the episode’s featured classical martial arts whipping boy, Reeves, in any combat contest to prove that what the Sensei represents is “bullshit.”

    After all, with a nickname like “Animal,” one, according to his own bio, acquired from “growing up on the gang-infested streets of Los Angeles” and which is obviously meant to imply fighting savagery, surely MacYoung would be able to mop the floor with a “bullshit” martial artist like Mike Reeves, whose biggest claim to fame is apparently little more than a bagful of “parlor tricks.”

    Should these contests take place, then we can better ascertain to whom or what the term “bullshit” most fairly applies.

    • Bob,

      Thanks for giving some more information on Mr. Reeves. I don’t know him personally, only that he’s a fellow Paladin Press author though I haven’t seen any of his videos yet. Like I said, I think he got treated unfairly in the show. I don’t know why P&T did it but that’s how I interpreted their characterization of him. Which is a pity because he seems like a well trained martial artist.

      Re. Marc: Just like Mr. Reeves is a friend of yours, Marc is a friend of mine. Let’s get that clear up front. You’re taking a (slightly veiled) stab at him in your comment here and are suggesting a challenge. I really don’t see the point but that’s your prerogative. I’d like to respond with two things:
      – Have you considered that Marc’s words may have been twisted and taken out of context just as much as how they did a job on Mr. Reeves?
      – Regardless if you’re right or wrong in who would come out on top in such a “contest” as you put it: Marc is my friend. My blog is not the place to offer challenges or to slam his name. That’s just as tasteless as somebody going to Mr. Reeves’s site and leaving negative comments on him there. Anything you would like to say to Marc, please do so directly instead of here.
      I understand you feel Mr. Reeves has been treated unfairly and want to set the record straight. I respect that. But it would have been much more effective had you not written those last couple paragraphs.

      Wim Demeere

  21. Thank goodness for the Internet. Damian Ross has also published the unedited version of his interview, which is much longer, and more balanced than what P&T chose to show.

    I have a feeling that they collected more than 5 seconds of Tai Chi footage too, but they cut it out, because it didn’t look silly enough to advance their argument. They showed her chi gong warmup instead, despite the fact that nobody is calling it a martial art. Who cares, right? May as well show her sitting on the toilet, and Photoshop an armed robber behind the shower curtain. It’s all just “entertainment”.

  22. Thank goodness for the Internet. Damian Ross has also published the unedited version of his interview, which is much longer, and more balanced than what P&T chose to show.

    I have a feeling that they collected more than 5 seconds of Tai Chi footage too, but they cut it out, because it didn’t look silly enough to advance their argument. They showed her chi gong warmup instead, despite the fact that nobody is calling it a martial art. Who cares, right? May as well show her sitting on the toilet, and Photoshop an armed robber behind the shower curtain. It’s all just “entertainment”.

  23. Shawn,

    With respect, but you are wrong. If you kill someone, it is murder. The only difference is if you have an affirmative defense against prosecution. To simplify, it’s allowable murder. Additionally, the standard for lethal force is that force which will or is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. “Likely to” is very important part of that statement, as us serious bodily injury.

    Also remember you can only legally use lethal force to defend yourself or someone else against lethal force.

    In short, do what needs to be done but know what the red are. If you don’t know, don’t go.

  24. Shawn,

    With respect, but you are wrong. If you kill someone, it is murder. The only difference is if you have an affirmative defense against prosecution. To simplify, it’s allowable murder. Additionally, the standard for lethal force is that force which will or is likely to cause death or serious bodily injury. “Likely to” is very important part of that statement, as us serious bodily injury.

    Also remember you can only legally use lethal force to defend yourself or someone else against lethal force.

    In short, do what needs to be done but know what the red are. If you don’t know, don’t go.

  25. I meant to say know what the “rules” are. Sorry mr.

  26. I meant to say know what the “rules” are. Sorry mr.

  27. I am disappointed Penn & Teller did not cover Shaolin Iron Egg training, as this often neglected aspect of traditional martial arts training is not only more practical than tameshiwari for self defense, but is also a far more impressive display of physical conditioning. Iron Egg training is quite likely the ultimate measure of one’s martial abilities. One must be a real man – literally – to even attempt it!

    • No Iron egg on this blog, thank you very much. Showing it on Facebook was enough. There’s only so far a man can go with this stuff. :-)

  28. I am disappointed Penn & Teller did not cover Shaolin Iron Egg training, as this often neglected aspect of traditional martial arts training is not only more practical than tameshiwari for self defense, but is also a far more impressive display of physical conditioning. Iron Egg training is quite likely the ultimate measure of one’s martial abilities. One must be a real man – literally – to even attempt it!

    • No Iron egg on this blog, thank you very much. Showing it on Facebook was enough. There’s only so far a man can go with this stuff. :-)

  29. Interesting to note they didn’t even touch on H.E.M.A or WMA which is period reconstruction of actual martial and killing arts used at times of war in europe. But meh, no one cares right?

  30. Interesting to note they didn’t even touch on H.E.M.A or WMA which is period reconstruction of actual martial and killing arts used at times of war in europe. But meh, no one cares right?

  31. Peter Hansen says

    ok, they really found a nice bullshit example to represent the tai chi/qigong part..

  32. Peter Hansen says

    ok, they really found a nice bullshit example to represent the tai chi/qigong part..

  33. Ah: the whole thing is fun. I wonder…Dina may be the only one who laughed at her segments.

    Fight grime: nice.

    Mark MacYoung as the authority…that’s a great role, and his points about self-defense are worth a watch.

  34. Well said. A producer have full control over how to portray someone that they filmed and with editing software and techniques, they can totally paint a completely different picture of yourself.

    It’s how they get their ratings, and they are darn good at it.

    In the case of the taichi lady, she’s only half bucket full and decided to add rocks to make it full.

Speak Your Mind

*