"As quickly as you can...snatch
the pebble from my hand." [Caine tries and fails]
"When you can take the pebble from my hand, it will be time for
you to leave."
Chang Caine (David Carradine) played the young grasshopper asking
Master Kan (played by Philip Ah )
Martial arts are now found in the
TV series of the West. The origin of martial arts influence can be traced
to Bruce Lee. He displayed his fighting skills in episodes of the Green
Hornet and Longstreet in the late 1960's. Howver, he was ahead of his
time and none of his efforts resulted in a television using the martial
arts. This was soon change with the warming of Sino-US relations in
the 1970's, bring the interest of Chinese culture and chinese martial
arts to the American public.
October 14, 1972, Warner Brothers release the series "Kung Fu" featuring
a Shaolin priest - Kwai Chang Caine (David Carradine) and his journey
through the old West. What was new to the American public was not only
the fighting but the philosophy that was presented with each show. In
each episode, Kwai Chang Caine recalls a memorable moment when his wise
teachers, Master Kan (Philip Ahn) or Master Po (Keye Luke), taught him
a lesson which provides an insight to his current problem. For many,
this was a new experience and sparked an interest in Chinese Martial
Arts and Chinese culture. Unfortunately, the show was cancelled after
63 episodes,on March, 1975. The series was brought back as "Kung Fu
- the Legend Continues" in 1993 and lasted for another 88 episodes (4
seasons) but the second series never approached the sentiments of the
In April, 2004, Warner Brothers finally released the complete first
season complete with two original behind the scene documentaries, fifteen
complete digitally remastered episodes and the ninety minute pilot.
For more information, check the official
site of the DVD.
Other major television series that incorporates martial arts include
Hong Kong Phoey (1974) - this canine kung fu master only had 16 episodes.
starred in Martial law
- The Master starring Lee Van Cleef (1984) - a ninja master doing
the right thing
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle - TV series, comic books and movies
- a fad involving fighting turtles.
- Walker, Texas Ranger stars Chuck Norris as modern-day Texas Ranger,
Cordell Walker. Always use his trade mark side kick.
- Xena, Warrior Princess - taking advantage of some niffty fighting
skills of the East - especially the dreaded death touch.
- Martial Law - Sammo Hung directs and stars in this modern day police
action drama. The series lasted for two seasons on CBS. There were
some great action scenes produced by Sammo. This series also stars
Kelly Hu - who is also featured in X-men 2.