OP/ED: Tai Chi Master (2005): Best HK Fight Choreography In A While?

By Santanu Rahman

Some of the best martial arts choreography I’ve seen in the Kung Fu movies in a long time!!!!

After watching Tony Jaa, especially in the fight scene in The Protector where he breaks all those guys’ bones, Hong Kong Kung Fu action started looking really lame in comparison. Too much of the same ‘ol, same ‘ol.

But in The Tai Chi Master, the choreography was conceptually engaging! It made me love Chinese martial arts choreography again! Combat concepts from pushing and sticking hands, joint & body locking, lock reversals, legitimate throwing and takedown techniques, absorbing energy from attacks & redirecting – this stuff added in with the typical punches and kicks took it to a new level that made me a fan.

This had way more “movie Tai Chi applications” than did Jet Li’s Tai Chi Master and Jacky Wu’s Tai Chi 2. This was non-stop action.

I love the nod to Game of Death where he had to fight his way up floors, each floor with a different style fighter:
Level 1 – The Korean Kicker
Level 2 – The Mongolian Wrestler
Level 3 – The Pole Fighter
Level 4 – The Hard Style Qigong Master
Level 5 – The Japanese Ninja
Level 6 – The Drunken Boxer
Level 7 – The Baguazhang Master

That was incredible. Plenty of fight scenes, just like in a Tony Jaa movie where you’re not bogged down too much with story stuff, but enough to keep a thread going.

Speaking of story stuff, this was based on some actual historical events on the development of Yang Style Tai Chi. Yang Lu Chan was eventually accepted as a student in the Chen Village to learn Chen Style Tai Chi, and created his own style out of it, named after himself.

I will be very happy if more Hong Kong films have choreography like this and like what you see in Ip Man. The only unfortunate thing is that films like Ip Man and The Tai Chi Master is very style dependent (Ip Man, of course, being Wing Chun).

Can we expect to see choreography like this in a HK buddy cop comedy-martial arts movie? Hmm. I guess time will tell.

Two Thumbs Up for The Tai Chi Master with Jacky Wu. See it!!


  1. We, female entrepreneurs here at community development of florida are die hard Darren Shahlavi fans. We want to see Mr. Shahlavi as lead actor in films; and, not tossed around. We are going to have to start our own film making company. We like Jackie; but, in our humble opinion Mr. Shahlavi is the “King.”


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