This is the first in a ten post series following the use of Eskrima fighting styles in famous films. Each article will focus on one of the scenes listed at insights.looloo.com. Eskrima’s brutal system of minimal effort and lethal techniques make it ideal for many movie fight scenes, particularly those that wish to appear swift and brutal. Eskrima is also used for adding variety to more stylized martial arts films. This article is an example of the latter, and will examine Bruce Lee’s use of Eskrima stick techniques in his best known film Enter the Dragon.
Still one of the best known martial artists in all of cinema more than three decades after his death, Bruce Lee was well known for practicing a wide variety of martial arts and fighting systems, including some studies under the tutelage of American Judo legend Gene Lebell. It is therefore unsurprising that Bruce Lee would find a way to incorporate the Filipino Martial Arts into his films, particularly when it works so well with the storyline.
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In the scene listed as number ten at the above link, Bruce Lee is cornered by a seemingly endless wave of enemy combatants who are guarding the building he has broken into. As an elite martial artist and hand-to-hand combat expert, Lee easily overcomes the first few guards with his lightning-quick Jeet Kune Do and Wing Chun techniques. However as the battle progresses and more men arrive armed with staves, Lee is forced to follow Eskrima’s simple path to victory. He disarms one opponent and uses the captured stave to ward off enemies until he finds room to exchange one weapon for two. Armed with a pair of kalis he is able to strike at twice as many targets with double the speed, quickly dispatching a number of guards.
Top Eskrima Fight # 10: Enter The Dragon
In the final moments of the scene Lee truly embodies the principles of Eskrima for self defense. He claims a nunchaku, a weapon with which he has specialized training. With the surprising range and devastating speed and power of the nunchaku, Lee finishes the last of the guards. In a more traditional Eskrima setting, the final weapon claimed most likely would have been a sword or other long blade, but the foundation of Filipino Martial Arts remain strong in this film.