Great Anti-Imperialist Scenes in Gong Fu Cinema

As a practitioner of Gong Fu (Chinese martial arts)* I’ve always been a great fan of Gong Fu cinema, not only for the great action sequences, but also because I deeply appreciate the skill involved (yes, I do realize that the films are full of cinematic flourishes). Further, because many films of the genre are set during the late Qing period or during the first half of the 20th century (the time of China’s subjugation to White and Japanese imperialist power) and involve the portrayal of folk heroes like Wong Fei-Hung, Huo Yuanjia and others I have long appreciated the portrayal of the national struggles of Chinese people in those periods within these films.

Whether corrupt Qing Dynasty officials, oppressive feudal lords or Western and Japanese imperialists often feature as the central plot-line of many of these films. Because of my love of martial arts and these films I am posting some of my favourite scenes from gong fu cinema that express the desire of the people for self-determination.

From Ip Man

From Ip Man 2

From Way of the Dragon

From Fist of Fury

From Fist of Legend (Jet Li’s remake of Bruce Lee’s Fist of Fury)

From Legend of the Fist: The Return of Chen Zhen (A sequel to Fist of Fury/Fist of Legend staring Donnie Yen as the character Chen Zhen)

From Legend of Drunken Master

*For the curious I practice Classical Yang Style Taijiquan (T’ai Chi Ch’uan), Xingyiquan (Hsing I Ch’uan), Emei Baguazhang (Pakua Chang) and Su He Quan (Ancestral White Crane). In the near future I hope to be able to begin training in Wing Chun. I have also trained in the art of San Shou Kuai Jiao, or Chinese fast wrestling. I have trained in Chin Na, which is the Chinese the art of controlling an opponent through joint locks and cavity strikes.

While I lapsed on my practice for some time due to a back injury and the time consumption of my university studies, I have recently begun my practice again. Gong Fu for me is part of an attempt to move into a generally more healthy lifestyle. Along with Gong Fu practice this includes qigong and meditation, exercise and physical fitness, and nutrition and diet.

 Other than health and fitness, Gong Fu practice is also part of self-determination


Posted on May 6, 2012, in Imperialism & Colonialism, National Liberation and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. geiheiscollectivewordsoundvisionpower

    Nice Post! For Wing Chun have you checked Prodical Son? I thought it raised some nice thoughts around gender and class construction. Also why did you not include the end scene in the Big Boss,w here Sifu Lee breaks the bird cage and then proceeds to rearange the bodly form of his fascist boss? This movie profided me with endless inspiration when I was a factory worker trying to unionise my fellow workers in Cape Town, South Africa.

  2. I didn’t include Big Boss (or many other movies I enjoy greatly) because I was posting about anti-imperialist themes. I focused on the struggle between the Chinese people and compradors and their Western and Japanese imperial masters. You question though does give me a good idea for a future post.

  3. geiheiscollectivewordsoundvisionpower

    Yes of course, apologies for misreading you brother. It was 3am in South Africa and I just returned from Cuba. The time zone difference caught up to me. Looking forward to the future post.

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