Well, I just saw “Ip Man 4” starring Donnie Yen, and honestly, it was a fantastic movie–I really liked it.
The acting in the American scenes were over-dramatic, but the Chinese scenes were more realistic with subtle human emotion. I liked this movie better than the third one.
So yes, as you would all expect, the scene where the hapa girl gets unfairly bullied by that white teenage girl was definitely something I could relate to—being a minority made you a target of that, and you unfortunately were always in situations where you were an army of 1 versus an army of many. Then what made those times worse, was that the teachers back then were so passive and uninvolved with bullying, and they usually sided with the group of (white) mean girls because there were “more witnesses,” and I definitely felt as though there was always a subconscious racial bias. Unfortunately, being a school-teacher myself now, although there is definitely more awareness for bullying compared to the past, a lot of this non-objective behavior from ineffective authority figures still remain today…it irritates me and even today, I still try to find my way to fight back people like them. Honestly, I was really waiting for that hapa girl to fucken kick that girl’s ass!!! Ugh, Ip Man 4!! YOU ROBBED ME OF THE ULTIMATE REVENGE!!
Anyway, but in all seriousness, the scene that really caught my attention was the “Lazy Susan” scene where all the kung fu masters in the San Francisco area were meeting for tea at one of the sifu’s house. The scene was portrayed many times in other movies (I think “Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story” had this same scene), but in those other movies I just thought that it was boring and it didn’t get into much detail about the debate on whether or not to teach martial arts to non-Chinese. Ip Man 4, however, went more into it.
They touched on identity and issues of Chinese-Americans immigrating outside their motherland and how Asians who were born and raised in Asia are not empathetic of the struggles, since they are still the “power race” in their homeland. I was impressed with how they eloquently presented the issues from both perspectives. But the debate that really struck me was the debate on teaching traditional martial arts to “外人.”
My mother always told me about how she hates budo because it’s, “fascist” and has, “the conservative of conservative” people leading it, and that it’s very ‘right wing-like.’ In some ways, I can see where she’s coming from (there’s a long history of that in martial arts anyway), and the other Chinese sifus in the movie had that ‘right wing’ mentality with keeping Chinese martial arts, “with Chinese and ONLY Chinese,” with only Ip Man being the “leftist” and trying to present a more progressive perspective of Bruce Lee’s intentions of spreading the art as a whole. Nevertheless, all the arguments from both sides made sense and it was interesting to hear it
…but what was eerie about it was that I actually..knew what they were talking about…
And that’s when I realized,
That this endless debate about opening classical traditional arts to outsides, still exists today.
…and this film was supposed to take place in the 60’s…
…and this debate still exists today.
…that’s very SAD.
It’s been practically over a half a decade, yet there are still a disproportionate amount of “martial rightists” compared to “leftists.”
And honestly, I do admit that things are a little better now and budo has spread out more than before, but those rightist masters honestly weren’t wrong with some of their arguments.
I guess in some ways, traditional martial arts still keeps this “tradition” alive of debating whether or not it should spread to others 😂 Oh dear, I think unfortunately, there still is no conclusive right answer…