Asian stunt/MMA culture

So I had an epiphany on what I should do for my artefact… Hong Kong/Asian stunt culture and martial arts! Basically, because Bruce Lee is a legend and I get to watch Rush Hour again. However, I need to refine if its Asian stunt culture in general or Hong Kong stunt culture, as I am finding a lot Asian mixed martial arts crossing over from different countries. (I want to research into this component as well; the potential research could be: How there is this spread of culture shared by so many countries.)

I found a fantastic Reddit thread about Asian American identity and how this influences how individuals cater their health and fitness towards a cultural avenue.

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This sparked my interest, as I can conduct a bit of a cross cultural examination of Hong Kong and Asian influence on American cinema. I then decided to watch a film that incorporates MMA and cinema as my digital component. I chose Rush Hour (1998). I decided to live tweet as I was watching my reactions. This directly links to my experience while watching the film, I feel I need to do this with at least a few movies so I can gain some primary research regarding my experience and especially how it shifts as I research and understand more about the topic – and it also directly connects to Ellis’ definition of narrative autoethnography:

Narrative ethnographies refer to texts presented in the form of stories that incorporate the ethnographer’s experiences into the ethnographic descriptions and analysis of others. Here the emphasis is on the ethnographic study of others, which is accomplished partly by attending to encounters between the narrator and members of the groups being studied (TEDLOCK, 1991), and the narrative often intersects with analyses of patterns and processes. [17] (Ellis, 2011)

I feel like I took a very cinematic perspective to the film. I automatically started a comparison between American and Hong Kong culture. This could be due to my lack of understanding in Hong Kong martial arts in cinema, and I automatically create connections with what I am comfortable with. It’s important that I clarify potential bias in order to stay transparent to audiences, and I feel while watching Rush Hour (1998).  It may have turned into watching for entertainment purposes, I forgot to live tweet purely because I was enjoying myself so much. I found the same thing with action comedy movies they suck you in. For the next movie, I watch im going to try and keep that barrier up and analyse and see what I pick up on.


Interesting how American cinema slapstick comedy aligns so well to HK stunts and action. The pair fit nicely together. 


Chan struggles culturally in America but his Martial art moves are no match for Americans! 

I then want to compare the film with an older traditional style of film with Bruce Lee in it. And I want to go and experience some martial arts training myself.

Next, I will be looking at how animation has taken martial arts and stunts and research further into that. Watching Kung Fu Panda 2008, and how animation has changed the face of martial arts and stunts. The animation is constantly pushing digital boundaries and is constantly developing and creating a timeless cultural connection between cinema culture and martial arts. The CNN video, allowed me to understand how deeply and culturally rooted MMA and stunts are in Hong Kong entertainment and society. It’s a complex sport that requires precision and acting something i wouldn’t have associated with Hong Kong cinema previously.

Cinema isn’t the only digital means we are seeing MMA in, we can also find direct links between Martial arts and anime. “The martial arts were a central foundation of this iconic anime series. From Master Roshi’s Turtle School, where Goku and many of his compatriots received their martial arts training, to the World Martial Arts Tournament with which the show’s final saga began, Dragon Ball Z was steeped in martial arts culture. Yet the relationship between Dragon Ball Z and the martial arts has been a reciprocal one.” …. Just as martial arts provided the backbone of this beloved show, the show has, in turn, influenced throngs of young people to explore the martial arts, eager to harness their inner Goku, put in some work in the gym, and become the world’s strongest fighter. Some of these DBZ-inspired young people evolved into heroes of the MMA world.

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I want to research more into animation, and how stunt culture is still extremely relevant to Asian entertainment and society due to its cultural and religious roots. As I become more educated on the topic I want my perspective to shift, to be able to analyse the trends and processes surrounding this mass distribution of stunt and MMA film nationally and why it is also so successful internationally.


  1. CNN, n.d. Hong Kong’s Kung fu stunt school viewed: 7th September 2017|
  2. Ellis, C., Adams, T.E., and Bochner, A.P. (2011) ‘Autoethnography: An Overview‘, Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12
  3. self.Asian American, Asian Fitness, Reddit, June 3rd,
  4.  Taylor, T 2017, The Massive Influence of Dragon Ball Z on MMA, Jet Li, viewed: 8th September 2017,

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