Martial Arts have been around since before civilization, with evidence wrestling, and boxing predating some of the earliest civilizations. Throughout history, people have practiced martial arts for various reasons, including combat training, discipline, self-defense, spirituality, and health and fitness. Today, people most often practice martial arts like wrestling, boxing, aikido, judo, MMA, and karate, and the reasons are not much different than they have been historically.
With the advent of film, martial arts have gained quite a bit of traction with the new genre of martial arts films that gained traction in the 20th century. The genre started out in Asia, with a number of low-budget, Chinese, kung-fu films gaining traction with an American audience. When these films became popular, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood latched on to it, and started producing their own martial arts films, making the genre even more popular.
This popularity increased with the apparition of betting and especially online betting. While most martial arts are not super popular on the betting scene, there are a few which dominate and are just as popular as any other sport. Mixed Martial Arts, especially the United Fighting Championship, as well as boxing and wrestling, are some of the biggest betting sports in the world right now, and definitely the most popular martial arts that people can bet on. Websites like novibet.ie lets users bet on their favorite combat sports, including boxing, judo, MMA, etc.
With this mass appeal, it is not surprising that some of the most highly-regarded martial arts films of all time have become true classics of the art.
All of Bruce Lee’s Kung Fu Films
Perhaps it’s cheating, but it is difficult to single out one of the many films starring one of the biggest Kung Fu stars of all time. Bruce Lee had a fascinating life, chronicled in a biopic, where the famous actor was portrayed by his own son, who unfortunately also met a tragic fate, not dissimilar to his father. Bruce Lee began his career as a martial artist and instructor. He created his own variant of Kung Fu, called JeetKune Do, which is today one of the most popular variants of the form. From 1971 to 1973, Bruce Lee starred in five Kung Fu films, all of which are worth a watch.
In 2008, the Chinese film Ip Man became a worldwide success, because it tells the truth, though surely an exaggerated story, of Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee. Ip Man was a recognized grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chung, a derivation of traditional Kung Fu. The film opens in the years before, and during Japan’s occupation of China, and sees the titular hero fight a number of battles against several, different martial artists. The film stars Donnie Yen, who masterfully portrays the martial artist.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Crouching Tiger is the highest-grossing, non-Hollywood film ever. It is an epic tale of 19th-century warriors, who must face a series of events that throw their loyalty into question and make them reflect on their mistakes. It was directed by Ang Lee and has won several awards, including 4 Oscars.