Taekwondo in the Media

Apart from its popularity as a competition event and self-defense technique, Taekwondo has enthralled millions of viewers on the silver screen. Taekwondo kicks are particularly dynamic and for that reason many of Hollywood’s and Hong Kong’s most famous kickers have been Taekwondo experts. Taekwondo is most famously depicted in the 80s straight to video classic The Best of The Best (although for western appeal the producers decided to label the martial art in the film as Karate).

For true martial arts movie aficionados however, Hwang Jang Lee (now known as Grand Master Hwang Jang Lee) was Hong Kong’s most formidable kicker for over two decades. He was known as the king of leg-fighters due to his ability to suspend one leg high in the air and strike repeatedly without ever having to place it on the ground again. He utilised this extraordinary talent in scores of fight scenes against the near legendary Jackie Chan. Hwang Jang Lee was also an experienced fighter. Not only was he a martial arts instructor for the Korean and South Vietnamese army before his movie career, after his career he was forced to demonstrate his technique against a man armed with a knife. Sadly Hwang killed the man with a single kick having only intended to neutralise the attacker.

See the Hwang Jang Lee in old-school action in his own Taekwondo kicking showcase.

Hot on the heels of the international box office smash Ong Bak, starring Muay Thai expert Tony Jaa, the new wave of martial arts films now emerging from Bangkok star young martial arts actors who pepper their choreography with liberal doses of Taekwondo. Fighters such as Dean Alexandrou (UK blackbelt TKD Sparring Champion), Jon Foo, Daniel O’Neil, Mark Redmond, Andy Cientista and Ron Smoorenburg combine Taekwondo spinning kicks with Capoeira, Karate and Western Boxing in the new wave action cinema that is taking fight choreography to the next level.

Check this clip from the upcoming martial arts flick Bangkok Adrenaline to see exactly what we’re talking about.