No offence to Clements and ARMA but while I agree with most of his points with regards of better theatrical representation of swordfighting, he is obviously biased in his (or rather the ARMA's) version of historical western MA. You could almost sense his scorn for "stylistic Chinese Opera kung fu clichés of non-stop twirling and obsessive spinning with extra wide exaggerated motion.", medieval reenactment/SCA groups (which the ARMA is one such groups) and modern day fight directors.
First off, chinese style sword fighting mostly evolved from the lack of protective armour on its practitioner. While it may appear comical or ridiculous to some people with some of its dance-like moves (in certain fighting style/school using the Jian), it hides its deadly intent, and power behind those graceful stylisations. They rely on the subterfuge and agilty to confuse their opponents, seeking for an opening and then exploit it. It is NOT 'operatic kung fu' and practitioners have survived on these techniques for many centuries. People in chinese operatic troupes often have to undergo wushu and acrobatic training since they are mere babes and what you see on stage are highly stylised version of their fighting abilities.
Some pros seem to have problem differentiating what is strictly an art form and what is serious I-want-to-kill-you fighting techniques. Being condescensing about the whole thing doesn't help. While being technically or tactically correct on stage or movie is a good thing as far as I am concerned, it isn't always necessary if your main objective is to entertain. If you are teaching a young padawan to fight, then fine. Real-life techniques do not always translate as good for screen. Chereographed sword fights are there to take full advantage of what the viewer can see and portray what the actors are going through in the shortest and most efficient way possible. Why would anyone want to pay ten bucks to see the backs and flailing arms of two grunting men as the cameraman desperately look for a half decent angle to film for full 10 mins as they really trustle? Yes, while it may please those more experienced in MA of us with its 'authencity', the masses would probably go, 'Um, Okay'. If you really want to see a real fight, go to a ring or one of the reenactment lists/circle... or, start one yourself.
But that doesn't mean fight directors should take advantage of the perceived 'ignorance' of the general audience with martial arts, be it western or eastern. Most people <i>know</i> when they are being taken for a ride. Rather the onus is on them now to provide the most accurate representation they can while maintaining the dramatic element and ability to stir excitement in its audience. The current crop of fight directors are fairly good at this compared to say the chereographers of the 50s who modified modern fencing techniques for stage swordplay. (Ew! ) It is perfectly fine to adopt 'reality first' and still use the age old theater tricks of pulling the blow and aim off distance so that you won't endanger the actors. Clements may scoff a little at pulling blows but not every actor has the time, means and energy to learn up a completely new martial art and constantly practice at it for 6-12 months so that they won't brain each other silly during filming!
The key is knowledge I guess. Certainly in the historical western MA context, we have seen a resurgence in interest in the fighting lists and general medieval life over the last decade which translate to more people knowing what is 'good' fighting and what is wool being pulled over our eyes. A lot of established reenactment groups (at least those I know of) take pains to be as historically accurate as possible but they are also all too aware of their 'entertainment' value to the masses as opposed to information or education value and they scale their dramatic swordplay depending on the audience.
A few things that I do notice lacking in SW and I agree with Clements is their near-obsession with hitting/blocking/parrying their lightsabers. That basically screams 'kendo' and no matter how evenly matched or how good both fighters are, swordfights by its nature can never be that smooth. What I find strangely lacking in the movies is Intent... the chereographed moves are breathtaking and all but it doesn't really relay the intention of the actors/characters. I am not all too comfortable with their body language. They don't show any signs of knowing the risk of fighting with deadly weapons. It is just a series of movements to me. The famed Jedi coolness?
Oh dear, what a long rant... it just irritates me when old-style fighting directors and current historical European Martial Artists try one-up-manship when they should really be working together to make good swordfighting skills available to the mass public instead of bickering my way is better than yours.
You got it! A Jedi is one with the Force, and he shall not know ANGER, nor HATRED, nor LOVE
Until loverboy Anakin came along that is... ;D
Hehehehe... Lov... I mean, Ani would sooo love to have a nice long chat with you. Outside.
But honestly... *muses* I know they are supposed to be 'emotionless' well, at least master their passions, but surely they might show signs of exhaustion etc even when they are using the force. I can't remember where I read about how while the Dark Side of the Force does give you a much more devastating power over your opponents, it drains you physically even more. So, I am wondering if it would work against the Jedi too especially when they are fighting each other and are equally matched in a lot of ways. Of course if you put a Jedi against a common rabble, the poor nong won't stand a chance at all but Jedi vs Jedi or Jedi vs Sith...
Hmmmm... just wondering. It has been a booooring Monday.