Saturday, April 22, 2017

PCP's Movie Pick of the Month for April: Ninja Assassin (2009)

Ninja Assassin has a little something for everybody. And by that I mean it has a several scenes where a group of army guys fight a group of ninjas. I would suggest this movie to anybody who likes big dumb martial arts movies. It's by no means a "good" movie. It didn't exactly get robbed at the Oscars that year, if you catch what my dogs are barking at. It probably doesn't have the strongest Rotten Tomatoes score. But if they made it into a TV show, I wouldn't miss an episode. It's pretty awesome.
Warning: if you think the first 5 minutes has too many dismemberments then you probably shouldn't watch the whole thing.

Ninja Assassin (2009)

"Weakness compels strength. Betrayal begets blood. This is the law of the Nine Clans." - Lord Ozunu

 Ninja Assassin stars Korean pop star Rain as Japanese ninja assassin Raizo who spends his off time training in his underwear in his apartment, sharpening his throwing stars and doing handstand push-ups.The plot has something to do with a Europol analyst, Mika, getting in over her head investigating the existence of the Ozunu Clan, a centuries old ninja clan that hasn't updated their assassination-pricing packages, and Raizo deciding to protect her because reasons. You see, Raizo was raised from childhood and trained to be a ninja by the Ozunu Clan. However, he became disenfranchised when their leader, Lord Ozunu (Sho Kosugi), had his sort-of girlfriend publicly executed when she refused to cut a guy's face with a knife after she defeated him at ninja sparring (as is customary at the Ozunu training centre), even though she had already given him a pretty serious concussion. He continued to live and train with the Clan after this, but he was really grumpy about it. He eventually left the clan after refusing to execute an innocent criminal, an act that offended his ninja assassin sensibilities. This eventually leads to him fighting the clan in laundromats, warehouses, and burning buildings. Also there's a car chase with ninjas jumping around between cars. Every word in that last sentence should sell this movie to you.
Depicted: delicate sensibilities. 

 If there's a parallel to be drawn between our training and Ninja Assassin, it's the theme of holding your trainers accountable. In the martial arts, the relationship between an instructor and a student can be a powerful one, and should certainly never be taken advantage of. Ninja Assassin illustrates this idea on a slightly different scale. I, for one, probably won't ask any of the students in my class to commit murder, and Kru Cam likely won't command his kids class to take revenge on the kid who decided to play soccer for the summer. There's a pretty big difference between PCD yelling at you to gut out the last couple push-ups, and Lord Ozunu punishing you by whipping the bottoms of your feet when you make too much noise in a sneaking around drill. 

 Train like PCD is watching you.

  However, it is important to hold us instructors accountable as martial artists, as our responsibility is to improving our students and not to serve our own interests. We need to keep our egos in check and never to ask our students to do anything that may be against their principles. To be clear, I have never heard of anything like this happening at YMT, but it's not unheard of in the martial arts for instructors to take advantage of the trust that their students have developed in them. This could manifest itself in different ways: financially (i.e. ripping their students off, overcharging for "mandatory" equipment or seminars), emotional (i.e. encouraging students to bully the "weaker" students, using fear or intimidation to ensure "loyalty ") or even sexually (i.e. instructors using their seniority to hit on their students, showing preferential treatment to the students whom they find attractive, or just generally being creepers). So the lesson to learn here is simply that your martial arts instructors should be as accountable to you as you are to them. For without you, they would not be instructors and without them, you would not be students.

So Ninja Assassin for its deep themes.... *cough*.....

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