The Close Combat of Star Trek

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Although we rarely recognize it, mythology continues to be strong part of our culture. Folklore has evolved significantly, as America’s legendary heroes have been frontier trappers,
cowboys, policemen, soldiers, masked men, caped
superheroes and science fiction men-of-action
such as Buck Rodgers, Flash Gordon, Han Solo, and
of course…Captain Kirk of the Starship

Replacing Indians (the Native American kind), “commies”, and Nazis with Aliens as the bad-guys, and foreign lands as undiscovered planets, from September 8, 1966 – September 2, 1969, Bill Shatner kicked extraterrestrial ass for 79 episodes using World War II Judo and Jujutsu.

Amazingly, with all the far-out and high-tech
phasers, photons, and other assorted high tech
junk they could have used to save the day, Kirk
and his boys often reverted back to the
hand-to-hand combat moves they must have learned
from their great-great-great-great-great-grandfathers.
(That, or in the future the military actually
bought a clue and decided to start teaching what
actually works again!)

Now, whether you’re a pointy-ear-wearin’
“Trekkie” or not, definitely check out an episode
or two next time your surfin’ by the Sci-Fi

You’ll notice that the aliens that the crew
encountered were often physically dominating and
at times much larger and stronger, therefore
calling for a smarter and more effective approach
to combat than the wildly thrown “haymaker”

While actual terms like close-combat, martial
arts, Jujutsu or Judo were left out of the
script, the knowledgeable observer will
immediately recognize where the devastating edge
of hand strikes, brutal kicks, and ferocious
throws come from. In the famous episode “Arena”, Captain Kirk has
to fight the reptilian commander of an enemy
vessel in one-on-one combat. Kirk attacks the
alien with a flurry of blows including all those
found in the WWII military combative systems we

In “Day of the Dove”, Kirk and the rest of his
crew are pitted against Klingon warriors in
close-combat as both sides are restricted to only
their own respective warrior codes for guidance.

My own personal favorite, “Bread and Circuses”,
Kirk, Spock, and McCoy use fists, swords, and
anything and everything else they can get their
hands on to battle technologically advanced

Although there is no real Vulcan neck pinch, Gene
Roddenberry and the others who helped to create
Star Trek were products of a generation that knew
how to fight. In fact, Roddenberry himself had
law enforcement experience and piloted a B-17 in
the Pacific during WWII.

During this time, the United States military
practiced hand-to-hand combat training based off
of what was taught by W.E. Fairbairn and other
pioneers of REAL close-combat. After the war,
many military veterans became Hollywood stunt men
and when fight sequences were setup, did what
came natural to win a fight…Their training from
actual combat.

While many fight sequences of the 60’s were still
choreographed in the classic style of the Western
barroom brawl, only Star Trek utilized these
authentic, proven combat methods in the majority
of its scenes.

As time marched on, and the world became
“sissified”, martial arts shown in TV shows and
films changed dramatically in order to appear
more impressive to the audience. After all,
nobody likes to see the hero drop his opponent in
only a few “ugly” moves (Except for maybe Austin
Power’s recent “Judo Chop”…Edge of hand anyone?).

No, they want high-flyin’ wirework, drunken
monkey foolishness, and ridiculous
split-the-crotch-of-my-pants high kicks.

But given a real, drag out, no-holds-barred,
fight for your life, I’d put my money on Kirk and
his “Crew” as opposed to Neo, Morpheus and the
rest of those Matrix computer geeks any day of
the week. (And Kirk would have beat the snot out
of that flashlight-wielding sissy Vader too)

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