matt martin

the manchu or qing invaded china from manchuria in 1644      their dynasty ruled until 1912            over this long period they militarily subdued the han chinese      but at the same time the manchu were culturally absorbed      this fraught time is documented in films by the shaw brothers      here manchu tend to be villains      oppressing the han with superior kung fu until han heroes train up to defeat them      a common trope in these films is use of ‘chi’      metaphysical energy flowing in lines through the land and via human bodies      in real life it’s a sophisticated philosophy      the basis for cultural practices from landscape gardening to acupuncture      but in these films chi achieves fantastic effects      several shaw brothers villains harness it to become invulnerable      no sword cuts their skin      heroes’ fists can’t bruise them      there’s only one weak spot where lines of power converge      maybe the eyes or the top of the head      a blow here can disrupt the whole network      this lets the bad guy be vanquished      how will you attack this story’s villain

     •    punch him between the eyes
     •    organise a demonstration