• The new B5TV.COM is here. We've replaced our 16 year old software with flashy new XenForo install. Registration is open again. Password resets will work again. More info here.

Martial arts on B5LR


One thing that I honestly don't know whether I should be happy or creeped out by, is the rumors about extensive use of martial arts in "Rangers".

I was always a big fan of martial arts, and I love shows that use it well like Buffy and Angel. In movies, of course, I admire films like The Matrix or Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, which combine top notch, artistic Kung Fu fights with excellent plot, direction and acting.

The problem: martial art fights on B5 were always... how should I put it... kinda crappy. It was mostly just a bunch of guys flailing unconvincing punches at each other. Subsequent attempts to make it seem more professional and interesting, like the introduction of the Fighting Pikes and alien fighting styles, although fine in theory, mostly turned out even worse then before. It was always too artificial, exaggereted, and ultimately, unconvincing.

(Note I said mostly. I can remeber one or two which were passing, but nothing extraordinary).

I desperately hope the people making LotR will learn from their previous mistakes in this field and that this is the reason behind the stressing out of the 'Arts in the movie in the first place.
Because if it isn't... then we have a lot of reeeeaaaally bad fights to wade through.

Here's to hopin'...


[This message has been edited by Hostile17 (edited December 18, 2001).]

[This message has been edited by Hostile17 (edited December 18, 2001).]
Yeah I hear ya... Most of B5's fights were very Shatner-esque - clumsy and awkward. Do they have an expert working specifically on fight choreography for rangers?

Well, when you come down to it, Babylon 5 Never Had any "Martial Arts" scenes except for Marcus and Neroon's little tussle with the pikes.

What B5 had were Bar Brawls and most of even those took place Off Screen.

JMS doesn't Like writing fight sequences, so he avoids them.

In fact, he once posted that he is Incapable of writing a scene where a Woman gets hit.
That's why in the Ivanova bar fight and in Gropos, where Dodger gets into it, all you see is the Woman hitting some guy, never the woman getting Hit.

Almost all the B5 fights take place off screen and what you see is the wreckage After the fight is Over.

Even the "repel boarders" scenes are truncated.

The 3 most common elements in the Universe:
Hydrogen, Greed, Stupidity!
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by bakana:
JMS doesn't Like writing fight sequences, so he avoids them.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>I don't know where you got that from. Jms likes action and fighting, and uses it where he feels it serves the story. He wouldn't have stayed on Captain Power for a full season if he was uncofortable with fights. He just realizes that there has to be more to the story for the fighting to have some meaning. <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>In fact, he once posted that he is Incapable of writing a scene where a Woman gets hit.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>I'm pretty sure you're confusing his comments with Jerry Doyle's refusal to have Garibaldi hit a woman on camera. Otherwise, you wouldn't have the Ivanova/Trent fight in Thirdspace, or his Twilight Zone episode about a wife beater.

"Where? I don't see any guys; Just perverts!" (hear it)
-- Akane Tendo, "School is a Battlefield!", Ranma 1/2


[This message has been edited by drakh (edited December 18, 2001).]
Don't confuse "action" with "fighting". There's really very little fighting in the movie, which is good because I agree it often looks ridiculous on TV.

I want to see some fellow Minbari kick ass, I really miss Neroon and since he doesn't seem to be coming back I need a strong Minbari role model or I might do something utterly stupid and switch over to Narns *winks at Kribu*

My name: Solaris5....
My mission: to burst the bubble of idiocy that has enveloped everyone and bring common sense back from beyond the rim.
I'm pretty sure, that if there's actual fighting in the movie (I've heard Martel and Sasaki get a few frames), it's been made to look real. B5 never was billed as an "action" series - it was all about political intrigue. A show that's billed "action" will have to probably be a little more careful.

The writer's life is not meant to be a happy one. We all accept that going in. -JMS
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by solaris5:
I need a strong Minbari role model or I might do something utterly stupid and switch over to Narns *winks at Kribu*


That would be the smartest thing you have ever done, my dear.

I never thought that the "fighting" in B5 was cringeworthy. As pointed out earlier, there were actually only a handful of "martial arts" fighting scenes, such as the one between Marcus and Neroon.

Most of the fighting was probably not meant to look incredibly cool. It was brawling, not one-on-one fights with rules and pre-learned moves.

When ordinary folks - who usually have no training in flashy martial arts - fight, they try and swirl hits at each other, they miss, they lose balance, they are clumsy, they don't really know how to defend themselves.

An ordinary brawl doesn't look incredibly cool - to be frank, it looks silly. That's exactly what's to be expected.

As for fighting and action in general - I certainly won't mind a bit of cool martial arts in the Rangers series (being hopeful here!) if the situation calls for it.

Same goes for action. Again, I won't mind it if the situation calls for it, and in the somewhat more adventurous storyline that the Rangers story seems to be, there will probably be plenty of that stuff. It would be strange if there weren't.

As long as there is a good story and character development - which JMS obviously can do - a bit of action and/or fighting will be just fine.

"Isn't the universe an amazing place? I wouldn't live anywhere else." - G'Kar, B5: Rangers
Kribu's Lounge | kribu@ranger.b5lr.com
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by channe:
A show that's billed "action" will have to probably be a little more careful.


Not necessarily.

Given the time constraints of production, inventive fight scenes are very difficult to do.

You have to create them, set up safety procedures (if they're unusual that may mean different ones from the norm), and train/rehearse. The more complicated the stunt fight is, the more time.

There are exceptions out there, but the exceptions only prove the rule, imo.

Also, since none of you asked
I'll share my view of fan desire for "different" fight scenes. That's strictly about the boredom factor (which is legitimate in a storytelling meeting). Anyone who's complaining it isn't "realistic" to have the same moves in every fight has never really been in one.

If you're up against it, and facing physical harm, you're most likely to use the moves you're trained on and familiar with. Innovation can be necessary, but that's when you've exhausted your tried and true options.

So actually, those fights are very realistic, just not dramatically interesting. Only one of my problems with most action series.



A ship in a port is safe, but that's not what ships are for.

Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper
JMS has admitted to the fights being pretty erm... well bad.
But I thought there was a martial arts trainer in this, like from kendo or something. What annoys me however is the Minbari, they're supposed to be undefeatable in fights yet Dylan easily takes one down to prove a point. I won't even bother to mention Neroon getting his ass handed to him by Sinclair. Although explained a bit better in to dream in a city of sorrows, didn't really convince me however. I mean you don't just lose your ability to fight because the other guy is 'the one'.

I am sure there are b5 fans (with martial arts training) who would be more than willing to come down if there was a series and make sure every fight is good.
*wink wink*

Ro - Actually, not many of those fights are realistic. Such as Sheriden vs the GROPO, in the time it took Sheriden to punch the Gropo... he'd be dead. They do not teach you how to hit people in the military, they teach you how to kill them. Punching and kicking is NOT a good idea, they open up your guard and leave yourself exposed and off balance... making it easy to throw, lock you up and various other moves. Simple hip throw for instance, you throw a right hook, the other guy swan blocks (make a swan head shape with you hand) at your elbow joint and you're now off balance and can be thrown easily. So in basic terms, Sheriden should be dead. And the TKO episode always makes me cringe, HE is Earths best fighter? In dreams maybe... against the best fighter on earth you'd last the time it takes to blink.

But the pike fighting looks pretty cool for the few seconds we see it... so I am hopeful that will get better.

Marc Cosgrove

"From chaos, order came. As was inevitable." -Summoning light
I agree with most of the views expressed here, and have no doubt that B5LR will have great writing, which is much more important, and space fighting scenes, which B5 always did well (I'm still waiting for Farscape to use their kickass CGI and finally deliver a good fight). But as Mr. Neal pointed out, there's action and there's fighting, and where fighting (at least, the hand-to-hand kind) is concerened, B5 was found lacking.

Also, brawl scenes are NOT what I meant by "fighting". They do seem clumsy and even comic by their very nature, and that's why they should only be used for that or similar effects.

Good idea: having a brawl in Point of No Return to ironically offset the Martial Law declaration and its supposed "order".

Bad idea: having a brawl scene in GROPOS. Well, just having GROPOS was a bad idea...

Hand to hand, though, there were quite a few fight scenes throughout the show, like the Sinclair/Neroon fight, Marcus/Neroon fight, Ivavnova/Trent fight, the fights in Learning Curve, Sheridan/Minbari Warrior/Nightwatch Assassin/a-bunch-of-other-guys fight and the riot scenes in Thirdspace, A View From The Gallery, Severed Dreams and The Long, Twilight Struggle which tended to be multiple one-on-one fights, and that's to name but a few. So the "B5 had only brawl fights" claim is incorrect.

BTW, all of the above fights, except perhaps for the Marcus/Neroon one and one in Learning Curve were bad, and the exceptions aren't too good either.


[This message has been edited by Hostile17 (edited December 19, 2001).]
I never want to see a Centauri civilian do a spinning drop-kick again.


It's one of those few horrific cases of misjudgement on "The Long Twilight Struggle".

"Draal gave Zathras list of things not to say.
This was one. No.... *tsk tsk*
No. Not good.
Not supposed to mention... "one", or... THE one.
You never heard that."
<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, arial">quote:</font><HR> On Twilight Zone, I wrote an episode called "Acts of Terror" that concerned wife beating ... something with which I'm more familiar than I ever wanted to be, due to some things in my family's history.
It was a terrible and painful experience to write that script; it hurt and angered me beyond the capacity to explain it to you. I fought desperately to make it true.

Flash forward. That episode is now used in many counseling sessions for battered wives, to help them deal with their anger and find their own self- worth.
I've received literally dozens of letters from people about that one episode, many from women who finally found it in their hearts to leave an abusive situation.

Actually, no, you're right, there isn't that much direct, personal violence in the show. My feeling is that if you do that a lot, it loses any potential for impact. You only pull out that card when you really need it, to best effect... don't waste it. It's like harsh language, after you've heard someone going on using all the more remarkable Anglo-Saxon words for a while, it loses all impact.

The 3 most common elements in the Universe:
Hydrogen, Greed, Stupidity!

Latest posts

Members online

No members online now.