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Fight Like a Scorpion
So, one of the cool things about Mortal Kombat is that a lot of the styles fighters use, especially the later games, are based upon real world martial arts. Loosely. In theory.
Okay, so they may take some creative liberties but still, it gives us a solid jumping off point for learning how to fight like the characters in question! Scorpion draws from several different styles, and I’m going to give you an overview of all three of them. As always finding a school is dependent upon your area, but starting with a google search never hurts! Make sure when you’re checking out schools to keep my McDojo warnings in mind, to make sure that you’re learning from a legitimate organization!
Hailing from Korea, Hapkido is, in many ways, an old school “mixed martial art.” Incorporating striking, throws, locks, weapons, and even some rudimentary groundwork, Hapkido was developed from multiple other Korean fighting styles, and has morphed into a large, eclectic branch of the martial arts. Some schools are great, others, unfortunately, have degenerated into McDojos. (click the link if you’d like to find out the warning signs!)
Most modern day hapkido schools continue the tradition of folding other styles into their own, and some schools can be quite practical in many ways. I’ve seen more and more hapkido schools opening over the last decade, at least in my area, so your chances for finding one should be pretty good! Just make sure, when you go, that it’s not just a tae kwan do school claiming to be a hapkido school. Remember, a true hapkido school incorporates throws, joint locks, weapons, and rudimentary grappling in addition to striking techniques, so make sure you see the full curriculum on display!
Pi Gua Quan/Pi Guazhang
Pi Gua is a “hard” or “external” martial art, originating in China. External Chinese arts, as opposed to the internal ones, focus on powerful strikes and combat-applicable techniques, as opposed to focusing on internal power (chi.) Pi gua features lots of sweeping, chopping motions in its style, particularly in the hands. The name literally means “chop hanging hand” or “chop hanging fist.”
I’m going to be honest, you’re probably going to have a hard time finding a pi gua instructor if you’re not in China or Taiwan. Pi gua is frequently practiced simultaneously with bajiquan, however, which is a bit more widespread. If you can find a bajiquan instructor, they may know some pi gua as well. At the very least, learning bajiquan would be a good place to start, before you move to China to learn Pi gua! 😉
To round out the regional styles of Scorpion we have Mugai Ryu, from Japan. Mugai Ryu is a strictly weapon art, focusing on the katana (Japanese longsword,) and wakizashi (Japanese shortsword.) Hapkido, which we mentioned above, studies many weapons, but none of them are the classic Japanese-style blades that we see Scorpion use from time to time. For that, we have Mugai Ryu.
Mugai Ryu translates loosely to “outer nothingness school,” and it a very Zen approach to the art of the sword, moreso than other styles of kenjutsu/kendo. You may also see it practiced as Mugai Shinden Kenpo. I’m going to be honest, you’re going to have a hard time finding a mugai ryu/muga shinden kenpo school anywhere. You can try Mugai-Ryu Iai Hyodo, which is a modern spiritual successor and may be a bit more widespread, but you’re going to probably have a had time with any of them.
My advice is, if you’re looking to study japanese swordsmanship, find any school of kenjutsu you can. The specific techniques may very from school to school, but the basics of body mechanics do not. Start with that, and then go from there.
Fortunately, you don’t have to rip the fake skin off your head and expose your skull to breath fire. Fire breathing is something that just about anyone can learn how to do, provided you do it safely. SAFE IS THE KEY WORD, HERE!
The article I’m about to link you to starts off with this warning:
FIRE BREATHING is THE MOST DANGEROUS OF THE FIRE ARTS .
Even done correctly fire breathing can have adverse results on the health and well being of the breather such as, but not limited to:
B. Severe burns
D. Dental Problems
E. Stomach and tissue ulcers
F. Fuel Poisoning
G. Chemical Pnuemonia or Acute Respiratory Distress
H. Dry Cough
I. Headache, dizziness, drunken ill feeling
J. Nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach ache
K. Dry mouth/ Cotton Mouth
L. Dry skin and topical heat burns
If that’s not enough to dissuade you, click here to go learn how to get started in fire breathing!
It’s no secret that I’d love to be able to conjure and throw fireballs/ki balls/energy blasts. Unfortunately, I haven’t quite figured that one out, yet. Until I have, here’s a pretty nifty “fire ball” tutorial that you can play around with, relatively safely, at home:
Get Over Here!
Finally, we have Scorpion’s signature move. Honestly, if you want to get close to this sort of technique, you’re going to need to find a teacher that knows rope dart techniques. Rope darts, chain whips, meteor hammers, and other flexible long-range weapons are used primarily in Chinese martial arts, both traditional and wushu. It is possible to find someone who knows the rope dart, and learn from them, but they may require a level of mastery in their hand-to-hand art and other weapons, first. The rope dart can be a very challenging (and not altogether practical) weapon to master.
My advice would be to look for local kung fu and wushu schools, and ask about whether or not they train in the rope dart, chain whip. There are so many different weapons in the Chinese disciplines that different schools have different weapons focuses, so you may have to ask around a bit. I’ve seen it, even at some local tournaments, so it’s possible if you have the determination to find an instructor!
That’s it for Scorpion’s skill tutorials! I hope you enjoyed it, and that I was able to give you a bit of a road map. Remember, the key to learning any new skill is practice, so get out there and start doing stuff!
I’ll see you again on Thursday, with Driven by Vengeance, the conclusion to our series on Scorpion!
As always, remember to live boldly, change the world, and continue to be awesome!
Dan “DaRatmastah” Wallace