A Fact-Check for the Four-Color World

Thursday, February 24, 2005

The Royal Report: Judomaster.

Throughout the years, martial arts has been seen as some sort of mystical, magical vundun throughout all media. It has spanned the range of accurate (Ong Bak) to very ridiculous (Enough). The same can be said with comics. Back in the Golden Age, Yoga was considered THE fighting art. Men like Chandu, The Shadow & even Batman all were practioners. I still laugh when I think about how an art that trains you to be flexible & breathing was ever considered a "fighting" art. After World War Two, comics turned to more traditional japanese arts. More & more characters were masters of Karate & Judo by the start of the 60's. The notoriety was nice, but the actual understanding wasn't there. Let me give you an example.

Here we have Judomaster, one of the riculous martial artist created by Frank McLaughlin, who is said to have been a Judo enthusiast, but was probably getting his tips from a cereal box. First off that costume is a definite bullseye. I mean...it literally screams out "Kick Me In The Cash & Prizes!" Most japanese martial arts emphasis avoiding conflict by any means. The costume breaks that rule by being loud & outlandish. The mask doesn't do anything either because he's only seeing in one direction. Straight. His Peref. Vision is totally blocked by cloth so multiple attackers are pretty much hard to defend. He makes it easy for attackers to defeat him. If I was in CQC (Close Quarter Combat) with him, my options is to either get in a clinch, grab that ponytail of his & just knee his nose in & his jaw off OR go for a takedown, get on top of him & neck crank his head off his body using the 'tail as leverage. Either way, that ponytail just screams "Grab Me!" And who can forget the shoes. Judomaster does have some very sensible footwear. Too bad he tightly binds his ankles. It definitely makes it easy to break them with a couple heelhooks.

But enough about the costume, let's look at his meat & potatoes of his heroism, his martial art technique. Says here he holds "Judo's highest honor--The Coveted Black Belt". Sure, you got black belts in Judo, but the belts don't stop there. The highest belt in Judo is Red &White. Yep, Judomaster is an underachiever. He's also master of Zero-G by the looks of the panel in the upper right. His follow through doesn't match the throw. It's not a shoulder throw because he's holding the arm too high. It's not a hip throw because uki (the throwee) is too high & far out in the air. Definitely not a sweep because the foot position isn't right. This proves that his Judo is dodgy (or he's a mutant of some sort. Take your pick.). His karate seems dodgy as well by the looks of the lower right & upper left panels. Besides "Walls...don't hit back.", his punches are big & loopy. Now, it would be understandable if he was setting up a backfist, but he connects. Karate strikes are usually tight looped & they wouldn't leave their other arm hanging out like that, it would be tight and close in case of retaliation. Very sloppy Judomaster.

Finally we see his "stance" in the bottom left panel. Oh boy. Where to start? First of all, leaning forward with your chin out is a good way to lose you head. All it takes is a good kick or punch to the head. Secondly, his arms are really too wide. He must want to lose ribs too. Here's what happens when you leave you arms wide.

Yep. You lose a whole side of ribs...bad. Finally, his legs are too open. If I was a striker, I would definitely aim to kick the crap out of the knees & shins. If I was a grappler, I'd go for a single leg. The reason for that is even if he sprawled I'd still have his leg. I would then work a leg submission of some sort. Most likely a heelhook.

RESULT: Royal by KO & he gets to take the funny mask to parties.