You planning to travel the world and learn all the worlds most obscure and lethal martial arts? Well now you don’t have! Just get cable. They’re 2 TV shows that have got you covered: Fight Quest and The Human Weapon. FQ is on the Discovery Channel and hosted by Doug Anderson and Jimmy Smith. HW is on the History Channel and hosted by Jason Chambers and Bill Duff. The premise of both shows seems to pretty much be exactly the same, but the execution is worlds apart.
See the dialogue in the fight community for at LEAST 20 years has been this idea of combining or mixing various marital arts. In theory you could even go back to Bruce Lee in the 60’s saying “styles” are over, and “no style” is the way to go. Take what you need to be successful, so along those lines he created Jeet Kune Do. But essentially since the dawn of man, the question in the world of fighting is, what martial art is the best? And I think every new student will say “my” system is the best and every longtime practitioner will tell you to respect EVERYbody’s system has merit; because ultimately it comes down to WHO you’re fighting not HOW you’re fighting. A person with fight knowledge, will and determination is a person to keep your distance from. Trust me when I tell you that because I DID go traveling all over the world to study fighting and how to do violence-but it didn’t matter; I’ve had fights with ZERO trained but desperate, in-and-out of jail, street people who’ve made me have to resort to makeshift weapons on multiple occasions.
The Human Weapon is a more fun show, from a traditional TV show point of view. I mean the guys are slightly wittier than the FQ guys, the tone of the show is a little lighter, and they’ve got computer animations to show you the details. And it’s an informative show, and those guys are doing the work. But it really falls more on the tourist side of the mountain. You know how if you’re not a skier, and you go with some people to a ski resort and you get one of those passes that includes the chair lift and like an hours worth of lesson? Well that’s what this is like. They’re over there and they ARE working pretty hard, but it seems like for shorter periods, and not virtually backpacking like the FQ guys.
So the big innovation for FQ is what we in the anthropology field call “participant observer.” I think I mention somewhere on this blog that I’d gotten an Anthropology degree from Columbia University, but didn’t get a graduate degree. Part of the graduate degree is that you go off and do “field work,“ which typically means you go live among some people in, usually, some remote area and study their lives. But rather than pretending your presence does not affect the local’s behavior you acknowledge the fact by essentially allowing the people to adopt you for while. You observe, but you also participate to a certain degree; to experience their lives from their point of view. And FQ is one of the few shows to ever incorporate that idea. Especially because they actually innovate that innovation by having the guys go off in separate training experiences, so this way you’re not jut getting one outsiders views but two. Very cutting edge. Seriously. Can you think of another show that has that?
I think both programs have some kind of “match” at the end of the show. Or at least some kind of assessment of what they’ve learned. I also think both shows are interesting and informative. One isn’t really better than the other, and 10 years ago you couldn’t have gotten these type of shows on the air, let alone both at the same time. I think when it’s all said and done they’ll both make great DVD collections.
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE
Ok so a couple of nights ago on Fight Quest the guys went to Brazil, and you saw, they got their asses worked over like those Savate guys did to them in France. It’s just a little more intense, y’know. Gracie Jujitsu is where this whole martial arts comparison thing kicked off. I remember in about ’90,’91 when I was in Ninjutsu school some guy got hold of a tape that was from a fight competition in Brazil, and I’m PRETTY sure a very young Chuck Liddell was there to compete and loose. But that’s what the deal was, the UFC was just starting and people were just brawling and there wasn’t any weight classes and people were hearing rumors about something going on in Brazil but hadn’t really seen it yet.
And did you see the preview for them going to Israel to do Krav Maga? The Human Weapon guys did that too, but on Fight Quest the FIRST thing that happens in that preview is that angry Israeli woman punches one of the guys square in the mouth as his first lesson. I think FQ just has more grit . Also here’s some links to their OFFICIAL WEBSITES; Fight Quest and Human Weapon .