The Death of a Kung Fu Legend

Kung Fu is something that I simply do not understand. One of my best friends does something similar in taekwondo, but do not ask me to explain the difference. Based on what I know he does has nothing to do with fighting what so ever. He explains what he does by saying things like, “mixed martial arts” and “weapons” but yet the weapons are repetitive motions that he does while dancing around a in a square pattern. (I do not want you to think that I am knocking kung fu or any other form of martial arts. I do not practice it, I do not watch it on TV, and I will never call myself a master at anything that has anything to do with fighting. This is all simply an observation and an option based on the things that I see from day to day. I play golf. Have fun with that.)

These marital arts are a sport, I will give you that. I mean, Jordan (that’s my friend) could kick the crap out of me. And Jordan is an anorexic computer geek. (He would take that as a compliment.) But this kid could be sitting on the couch and kick me in the face twenty feet away. He has reach and and the reaction speed of a puma. (Have you ever seen a puma react?) But the reason I call it a sport is because there are competitions for it. There are meets and rankings and tournaments for it. (Jordan is currently ranked in the top ten in the world. Even though he bounces in and out, he is in my top ten.) He practices, he travels to events, and he is upset if he does not show well. That to me is a sport. So is cheer leading. And if NASCAR can be considered a sport, anything can be. (Go fast and turn left is all there is to that “sport”.)

But toady in the martial arts world, and even the world of cinema buffs, there was a great loss. David Carradine, who was born John Arthur Carradine, passed away in Bangkok, Thailand. David was seventy-two years old and is best known for his roles in teh TV show Kung Fu (see the connection here) and the hit movies made by film superstar Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill. (That was an amazing series of movies and I watch them every time they are on TV. However, I do not agree that they are censored for TV but that is a topic that I can touch on at a later date. I have some pretty harsh opinions on censorship.)

But as we take a look back at his impressive career I am curious as to what impresses you most. Is it the fact that he was a kung fu master as well as an amazing actor. I have seen him im many roles and every one seems to be just as good as the last. But being born in Hollywood, California makes me wonder what in the heck he has in him. You run the stereotype that only Asians are talented in martial art. But then you see this man, who seems to be Caucasian (is it ironic that the word Asian appears in that word?) and you can not help but wonder where he in fact comes from. Carradine actually is a melting pot of ethnicity. He had Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, German, Spanish, Italian, Ukrainian and Cherokee ancestry. Yeah, how in the world do you ever keep that straight? “Hi, my name is David and I am from (insert all that junk again.)”

So how did David die? Is anyone talking about that? Was it old age? Was it a drug overdose (we have seen that too often in movie stars). Or was it something more serious? Well in fact it was something more serious. It was something that shocks me someone would ever bring themselves to do. David was found in his hotel room hanging from a rope in a closet. (Yeah, you heard me correctly.)

But did he do this on his own will? When he missed a scheduled dinner on the 3rd his friends and fellow actors began to worry. However, based on police reports (which I never agree with anyway and something you can not trust) claims that there was nothing that made them think it was suicide. Excuse me? I am sorry but is that the exact definition of suicide? The guy was hanging from a rope in his closet. That is story book “I hate my life” suicide. It would take a crazy imagination to be able to see that happening and it not be intentional. And granted, he was seventy-two years old, but he was a kung fu champion. I am sure he could swing himself or pull himself to safety.

So is this another attempt of the media to control what we believe? (See a trend here? I talk about the media a lot. Even more so the more we move to an online market.) Why would they need to hide it? The only time that media should, out of pure respect of the families, should be until the families are informed first. Imagine loosing a relative (in a circle that would require media attention) and you hear about it first on the news. But why would the media need to lie and tell us it was an accident if it was in fact suicide. I was not there in that hotel room in Thailand, but I have an eerie feeling that this was not an accident.

So take a moment today, if you can find the time, to reflect on his career. Grab a copy of Kill Bill at Blockbuster (and you better hurry because they are about to file for bankruptcy) and watch his amazing skills in action. Who knows, you might even figure out how to perfect that five finger death punch.