The Martial Arts in ‘Kung Fu Panda’

Sifu David Law

Po the Panda wanted to do martial arts because it was cool. It is a very cool thing, but it takes a lot of hard work, dedication and discipline. In the film, you actually see Po and his progress in the martial arts.

The big kick Po is portrayed doing in the poster is a staple of martial arts. It’s called the “side kick.” Po is big, bubbly and round, so for him to do that kick — to animate it, to make it look so fluid — was extremely exciting to see. All the flips and the jumping over the buildings were exaggerated, but some of the stuff they did when they were on the ground — the blocks, the punches and the kicks — those were more believable.

Po really used his size to his advantage. He’s a really big guy with a really big belly. It was funny that he used his belly and his butt in fighting the villain. I can actually imagine using my butt to take someone down, but not my belly.

Sifu David Law is a chief instructor at San Francisco’s Tat Wong Kung Fu Academy. His students range from ages 3 to 70.

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