at Donnie Yen IP Man 2 transported to a battle arena of Jet Li’s Without fear, albeit in a modified form. In IP Man 2the continuation of the Ip-Man series of martial arts films, Yen returned as Wing Chun master Ip Man, renowned for his role as a mentor to young Bruce Lee. A fight sequence in IP Man 2 sees the heroic sifu having to prove himself against other Hong Kong kung fu masters, including Master Hung, played by Sammo Hung, with Ip Man facing Hung and several other opponents on a large upturned table.
It’s actually a modified version of a Chinese battle rig that dates back to ages known as “lei tai.” This rig has been featured in many kung fu movies over the years, but it was arguably made most famous in the West in Jet Li’s 2006 film. Without fear. However Without fear depicts the lei tai in a much more traditional context, IP Man 2The version of works the same way.
As seen in several of Jet Li’s fight scenes in the darker first half of Without fear, when engaged in combat on a lei tai, both combatants can achieve victory by a number of different means, including knocking their opponent down, making them submit, or forcing them off the platform . This latter method of victory makes fighting on a lei tai very different from a contemporary boxing ring or MMA cage, with both fighters having to remain fully aware of their place on the platform at all times. The lei tai steps remain in use to this day in modern kung fu sanda fighting, and both Without fear and IP Man 2 make great use of it distinctly.
Fearless & Ip Man 2 both use a Lei Tai (but differently)
In Without fear, the use of the lei tai in the film is very simple, due to its early 20th century setting, with most lei tai fighting being shown on an elevated platform a few feet above ground level , as well as one of several floors. In the appearance of the lei tai in one of the IP Man 2The fight scenes in , his version of a lei tai are much more modified, given the inner setting and the need to build a bit more of a fighting platform on the fly. However, IP Man 2Table fights work the same way as lei tai fights in Without fearwith both fighters trying to force the other while standing on the table.
Both Without fear and IP Man 2 are important films in the individual careers of Jet Li and Donnie Yen. Before the release of Without fear, Li has publicly stated that this will be his last epic historical martial arts film (although he has continued with action films in modern settings). Meanwhile, IP Man 2 scored an on-screen rematch between Yen and Sammo Hung after their first cinematic fight in the 2005 action movie Sha Po Lang (a.k.a Killing area.)
With the place at once Without fear and IP Man 2 occupy in Li and Yen’s respective careers, both films’ use of lei tai rigs for many fight scenes gives them an extra historic punch for martial arts fans. IP Man 2set decades later Without fear, takes a slightly more off-the-cuff approach to introducing a lei tai into his fight scenes. Even undergoing such adjustments, IP Man 2 used his adjusted lei tai rig for several excellent martial arts fights as well as Without fear done with its classic version.
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