A Real Martial Artist's Take On Video Game Fighting Moves

Sometimes you see a cool fight scene in a game and think, "I could do that." Let's be honest: you probably couldn't. But thanks to YouTube, you can at least learn about some badarse moves from someone who can. Martial Gamer is a YouTuber who reenacts and analyses martial arts moves from video games. Inspired by his love of games and movies and his own martial arts practice, Martial Gamer investigates the history and techniques behind these scenes "without being diluted by my own personal opinions of [their] practicality". His videos are brief, comprehensive and fascinating to watch, whatever your interest in martial arts.

The most recent video, for instance, breaks down a scene from Metal Gear Solid 3.

More than just reenacting the move, Martial Gamer goes into its history and walks through the throw step-by-step, giving you everything you need to pull it off yourself (but you probably shouldn't. Neither Martial Gamer nor Kotaku are advising you to do that).

Here's Street Fighter IV's Abel, put in the context of the move in various grappling arts:

And a scene from Mass Effect 3 where Shepard and James fight, in which Shepard's brief throw is explored through its place as a fundamental move in judo.

I don't know a ton about martial arts, nor am I particularly interested in fighting in general, but I was fascinated by the level of detail that went into each video. I was especially intrigued by the history of the moves Martial Gamer analysed, which introduced me to a wealth of ideas I'd never heard before.

Martial Gamer says he hopes these videos inspire others to get into martial arts. These videos, alongside footage from jitsu meetups, probably won't get me on the mat any time soon, but they're pretty damn cool.


    I've been doing judo for over seven years, I think these videos are really cool and are quite accurate. These videos are a great idea and made me wish I thought of it in the first place. :P

    When I first played Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, I thought all the martial arts that Naked Snake did was so awesome. Then when I started doing judo, I recognized some of the throwing techniques that Snake was using, such as the ones in that video.

    I then started recognizing even more judo techniques in video games, such as Ryu from Street Fighter, who uses a shoulder throw called morote seoi nage, as well as the sacrifice throw tomoe nage, the one where he throws the enemy over him using his leg, Ken does a very stylish but very unrealistic variation.

    I also got excited when I saw Commander Shepard throw James Vega with Ogoshi, the hip throw. That was cool at the time.

    The only thing that I noticed that doesn't seem quite technically correct, is the conclusion of each throw. Personally, I've been taught that at the end of most of those throws (Hane Goshi, Ogoshi etc.), tori (the person doing the throw) should be turning their head, as if they're trying to look over their own shoulder.

    This helps to have more control over uke (the person being thrown) and basically deliver a cleaner, smoother throw. If you throw someone and just end up looking down at them from above, it's almost like you're throwing a sack of potatoes over your shoulder and onto the ground below, which can cause harm to uke if they don't do their break fall correctly. Even with a correct break fall, being thrown like this can be uncomfortable.

    Last edited 16/03/16 9:26 am

      isnt the idea to cause harm to the person being thrown?
      i mean i get in a sparing match, you dont wanna jar someones skeleton from big impacts, hence you want a smooth fluid motion. but if someone was coming at you in the street and you managed to get in close on them, surely you want them to feel it and hopefully not get up again.

        In judo, the idea is that your throws must be controlled. You don't want to "hurt" the person, you want to stop them (which yeah, may and will probably still "hurt" them, but not cripple them). In a controlled environment, such as these videos, the techniques should be well, technically correct. Judo is about mutual welfare and benefit. The idea of learning judo is not to hurt people, but to better yourself through intensive physical training, mental discipline and learning.

        To give you an example, there's a video on the Internet (taken by mobile phone) of two men in Japan on a subway train, one is trying to start on the other, the other doesn't want to fight. Suddenly, the other person (who doesn't want to fight) grabs the guy and throws him very fast with a throw called tai otoshi ("body drop"). As soon as he throws the guy, he immediately begins to help him up. The provoker, looks completely stunned, probably hurt, but not severely. The thrower also had a lot of control and restrained himself, so the throw was conducted with great technique and control, to not severely harm his provoker.

        Furthermore, if you threw someone "on the street" with a throw that's fast and technically correct, you are probably going to hurt them, unless your control and technique is really good. Why? Because your attacker may not know how to break fall. You're probably going to be throwing them down on cement. They're may bang their head on the concrete, which can potentially cause a concussion, unconsciousness, maybe a cracked skull or even death. Their arms may try to stop themselves from falling, which is a natural, instinctive reaction to those who can't break fall, which can cause harm to your fingers, hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders.

        If you -really- wanted to throw someone with the intention to hurt them, then you very well can, even with "correct" technique. For example, let's say you threw someone with Ogoshi (that hip throw, e.g. Commander Shepard and James Vega). How would you hurt them? Fall down with them. Not only are they going to hit the concrete and possibly hurt their head, back, hips, limbs etc. but you will fall down in a controlled manner on top of them, essentially using their body as a crash mat, while their body takes the weight of your body and impact, which can result in broken ribs, damaged organs etc.

        Last edited 16/03/16 12:56 pm

          i have seen that video on the subway. it blew me away. thanks for the break down. martial art philosophy intrigues me. ive always been a fan of martial arts movies for the last 25 years, and i like learning about the processes behind the intentions in various styles.

            You should look into training in a martial art. It can be seriously life changing.

            Here's some history for you about judo, if you have time. :)

            While judo can be applied for self defense, it wasn't quite developed for that purpose. Judo is based off traditional Japanese jujitsu, which was used as a form of self defense and empty hand combat. The samurai would use jujitsu in real life and death combat.

            Judo has no striking, jujitsu does, however attempting to punch or kick someone who is wearing armor is pretty much useless. Body armor can't protect you though against throws (which leaves you vulnerable on the ground), strangles and attacks on your joints, e.g. an armbar. Basically, a samurai would able to throw his enemy on the ground and either break their limbs, strangle them to death or draw their short sword to deliver a fatal point blank blow.

            Judo was created by Kano Jigaro in the 1800s. Kano was a former jujitsu practitioner whom wanted to create more of a sport that could benefit young people. The idea of judo was to give young people something to do, to better themselves physically, mentally, to develop discipline and respect and thus be able to benefit their society as a whole.

            In regards to judo technique, Kano was a small man, so he removed all the jujitsu techniques that required you to be bigger/stronger than your opponent. He also implemented the idea of using physics and leverage, so that a smaller person could potentially defeat a larger person by using their own force and momentum against them. Kano's philosophy and theories proved very effective.

            The police of Tokyo were trying to determine a martial art its police force could employ, so to decide, they had a tournament. Fifteen judo practitioners from Kano Jigaro, fifteen jujitsu practitioners. The results included one draw, two wins to jujitsu and twelve wins to judo. So today, the Japanese police force train in judo, albeit a modified version.

            There you go. :)

              thats a great history. thanks for sharing.

          It probably looks better from a "i just did a bad ass move" point of view to have them looking at the person they throw at the end. Also as much as the martial art is not to hurt them, lets be honest when ronda rousey throws people in a fight she intends to hurt them as much as possible and so should the video game peeps.

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