Hello everyone! It’s me Ranton, aka PhD in Shaolin. I mean no PhD in Shaolin, but a real disciple, no monk though. I got something very special for you today. I’ve been working on this for the past three weeks. I am recreating martial arts related intro and victory animations from Mortal Kombat 11.
As many of you know Shaolin culture is almost as fascinating to me as video games. One of my first points of contact with martial arts was Mortal Kombat. Should I have played that at the age of nine? Yes. A lot of martial artists that I met during my three years at Shaolin, even if not gamers themselves at least knew about or even got inspired by games like Mortal Kombat to get into fighting sports. The fascination with the visceral nature of Mortal Kombat’s action is so universal that I even organized little Mortal Kombat X tournaments in my dorm room with the warrior monks. Obviously, I was the best. So, what kind of video can I do to combine these two? The in-game combos are kind of bland and it’s been done before. I wanted to make something more cinematic and over the top. So, I went through every single intro and victory pose of every character. I even bought the [inaudible]. And by the way, at Boon, a Mortal Kombat game without reptile, what were you thinking, man? Most of the stuff you find is more on the cool and funny side but there’s still a lot of glorious kung fu inspired moves that I was eager to recreate.
Before we continue, I made two versions of this video. This is the YouTube version, the making of full video plus explanation and my charming self. And I have a more shareable, accessible, tiki talky, [inaudible] it’s on my Instagram. Check it out. And also, you should watch this video till the end for bonus meme.
Kung Lao. Some people have compared me with Kung Lao. I don’t mind it. This is one of my favorite moves and probably also, one of the reasons why I decided to do this video in the first place. I always love the simple, fist form, combinations. Although, throwing that hat, took way too many attempts.
Liu Kang, Savior of Earth Realm or something like that, very cool move, though. He has some more badass stuff but unfortunately, they’re all nunchaku related, and I don’t own nunchucks and they’re not really a thing at Shaolin. The cartwheel without hands is one of the first real acrobatics moves, I would say, that you learn at the Shaolin temple, because it’s just pretty easy and very impressive to the uninitiated, but we are initiated. Aren’t we? Members of the knights of the roundtable. If you can do a good cartwheel, you can do it without hands. No question. But always practice with care, please? I went through my backlog of videos that I still have left over from Shaolin and I found this video of me and two friends practicing the aerial cartwheel and we put each other right behind the landing mats. So, you’re even more scared of messing it up. It works until it doesn’t.
Johnny Cage. I love this kick. In the beginning of Shaolin classes, right after you go for a warm-up jog, we do something called [inaudible] and this is basically some kicks. There are three variations of it: straight kicks, inside kick, outside kick, and they mostly just serve the purpose of warming up some more and stretching and then the beautiful finish. Outside jump switch kick, I don’t know what it’s called. Gotta love it. Fairly easy move once you got the box split. Of course, that’s easier said than done. [Sings] Pain without love. Pain, I can’t get enough.
Oh! I love how smooth this one looks. Sidekick, [inaudible] then I don’t know what this one’s called and the most important part striking a badass pose.
Ah, yes. Scorpion. The man, the myth, the legend. I love the fact that he’s doing this with his hand. The guy or the people who kept this, really knew what they were doing here. Just as a general differentiation in Shaolin, you have the Tao, and you have the Jian. I practiced Jian. I don’t like Tao. So, in the Tao your other hand doesn’t do this but when you practice the Jian, the other hand usually does this to point at your target or when you strike a pose to look good, like he does. Because him standing like that is a bit of an abbreviation of a very beautiful looking kung fu pose.
Nice and nicer. I love these more fluid motions. So, just check out my version and then we go to the next [inaudible].
As you can see, his moves are a bit slower and less robotic like you see in modern wuxia forms. I know a really good way to illustrate this. In Shaolin kung fu, there is a form called [inaudible]. It’s one of the first forms you usually learn when you start practicing it and what you learn is the modernized version. Now, there is a traditional version and just check out the difference between those two. You can tell the difference, right? Shang Tsung’s moves remind me of the more internal traditional forms. And I love that.
This is one of my favorites. Spawning a second rent-on, who could say no to that? Yeah by the way we used a paint roller as a substitute for a sickle and it did the job. Also love the quick little turn kick he does before he poses. Now we filmed this also about 10 times, but I like this one the most because I couldn’t hold my balance anymore. So, I’m falling backwards in the end. [Laughs] Not funny.
Oh my God! You have no idea. This clip single-handedly delayed this video by at least a week. These are called hook swords, I believe. In Chinese they’re called [inaudible] we have those at home because Sofia is pretty proficient with those but I’m not, I never learned any dual wielding weapon at Shaolin. My specialties that I properly learned were the sword, the whip and the staff, because anyone who practices Shaolin kung fu has to learn the staff, like a signature weapon. So, doing this [inaudible] move, first I had to practice to do the what’s called the [inaudible] using my left hand. I, I, I’m sorry. I can’t do it well. I also bonked myself on the head and started bleeding, that’s right. I spilled blood for this video. I tried it many times with the [inaudible], I couldn’t keep up with his speed. So, I used just two swords which is by the way another thing, they’re double Tao but not double Jian.
I love the marble that Fujin does and in general it’s a fairly easy move to replicate, but one thing that really threw me off here is that he’s doing this with his hands, this I’ve never seen this. I don’t know what this is. I’ve seen this before but never this I don’t know. But, you know, I’m open-minded person, keeping things fresh. [Chuckles]
Well, well, well, Sub-Zero. He actually used to be my main until I realized he’s way too easy to play and freezing people all the time is just boring. Now this animation is very simple. Not much work, right? Wrong! It took me forever to draw this ice ball, but I still chose to do this move because I like the motion in the beginning, which is a very beautiful fluid move.
This one was actually very difficult to recreate because he’s using two [inaudible] now two [inaudible] are not a thing. You have Shuang Dao but not [inaudible]. The only real variation of [inaudible] is the [inaudible] which is a two-handed sword which is a bit heavier. So, I decided to put a belt around my waist, and I stuck one sword inside the belt. We had to film this a lot of times because it always fell out. What you gonna do about it? Overall, I think it’s a very cool move though.
Jacqui Briggs. I put this one in here, not because it’s super interesting or martial artsy but because I thought it would be an interesting little mix up to run towards the camera like in terms of spacing. It was fun to film. And also, with the hand-drawn explosions and animations, looks kind of cool.
Now her second move was quite the challenge because, look at the way she’s throwing her punches. It’s weird because she’s not actually throwing her punches. She’s just like feinting, not really putting any power into it, the little breakdance move in the end looks so cool that I just had to try it. And it’s not that difficult. I’m new to breakdance. I’m getting more into it now, it’s really fun. It’s the same with so many things in Shaolin. It’s just about kind of overcoming the fear. So, this video pushed me to become a better person.
This is definitely my favorite Sub-Zero victory pose because it is again very reminiscent of actual real Shaolin kung fu moves. Slamming your fist into your palm is so common that you’ll basically practice it at least 50 times a day because it’s part of a basic, what you call those, basic routine.
Ah yes. The staff. I’m very sorry if my staff moves look a bit weird. Now, I’m gonna confidently say that this is not my fault this time, because the staffs need to be a certain size. They need to be longer sizes. In this case, does indeed matter. We just found this little stick in our backyard, so, it had to do.
I was thinking is there any way I could do this body double thing, uh, there wasn’t, I’m not that good in aftereffects, but I tried my best to kind of recreate the vibe of it. Noob Saibot. He was my main in MK9.
I would call this like a jibengong. This is a basic move for [inaudible] and for [inaudible]. In fact, I still have a video of my master teaching my wife this move. And it’s also the same move that you use for double whip, which I kinda taught myself, a tiny bit. I’m not good, you know. Shaolin kung fu encompasses so many different styles and skills that one person is not supposed to learn that many disciplines. My first master once told me that I think I mentioned this before in another video, don’t be a little rabbit that picks up one carrot and then he finds the next carrot and he drops the last one. No good. Be a master in one skill not a pleb in a hundred.
Can you believe that Raiden only has one single animation, that is remotely reminiscent of martial arts, and that’s the one. And it’s super disappointing, very simple staff twist. They did my boy dirty.
This is a weird one. Obviously, I don’t know how to teleport, so, that’s sad but attacking with the tip of your fingers like with the palm, is something that I can’t think of in any shaolin form from the top of my shiny don… There are stances that you do right before you pose that have a similar basic movement to it, but he uses it as an attack, unusual, but fun.
Summoning an axe out of thin air is obviously not part of my repertoire. But thanks to my hand-drawn animations, I could still make it happen and also, I kind of prefer my ending. It’s a bit anticlimactic but has a good energy to it.
I wasn’t sure whether to put this one in the list or not because I already tried teleporting once in my Resident Evil 3 review. It took only, the two second teleportation clip took me a whole day to edit. And this time, we didn’t even use a stationary camera. So, there was no way. So, I just sped up the transitions. That looks pretty cool, don’t you think?
This is a very basic move but actually very reminiscent of a basic stance in Shaolin. For instance, when we practice the back sweep, we usually finish from Mabu to Gong Bu and then we strike a similar pose in the end.
I really like this one. Again, looks a bit off because size of the staff but the finishing position is actually really cool. Staff behind your back, palm forward, epic!
Oh, I love this one. His moves are so visceral. They’re not really something you’d see in Shaolin because there are, I don’t know how to describe them, they’re just raw power and they look fantastic. I just had to recreate them.
This one is very quick, very simple, but also just there was no way I could keep up with the speed. If you swing these metal things with full power like him, there’s no way you can recharge and redirect them to start your next diagonal swing. So, I just had to speed up the motion a bit here.
This one is so simple. I don’t even know why we filmed it but here it is.
Now bonus meme. Kitana. She’s using fans. Now fans are a thing in modern wuxia. I’ve never seen them in Shaolin. I think actually I’ve seen them once. Uh, I don’t know how to practice with them. I could have learned the moves by looking at them, but honestly, I just tried to do my own thing. So, check it out.
That was the video, ladies and gentlemen. If you want to share this, I appreciate it. But there’s a compilation video with only the moves and less talking on my Instagram. Follow me there. Also follow me on Twitter if you want to know what’s happening in my life. So, with that being said, bye.
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