5 Ridiculous Martial Arts Myths You Won't Believe Are Real

#2. Drunken Kung Fu -- Not Just for Your Older Brother Anymore!

Maki Watanabe/Photo.com

Jackie Chan once starred in a Hong Kong action flick called Drunken Master in which he wielded the deadly art of intoxication. Seriously, he spent the whole movie getting spread-eagle drunk, and that somehow enabled him to kick even more ass. That is easily the least plausible of all Jackie Chan film premises -- and we're including that time he had a superpowered robot tuxedo.

YouTube
Actual film training regimen: filling shot glasses upside-down.

Shockingly, drunken kung fu is a legitimate martial arts style -- it's just that you're not supposed to actually be sloshed to use it. Every technique involves merely acting like a sloppy drunk so as to appear more vulnerable to your attacker. When you lure him in with all your swaying and stumbling and off-key renditions of "Build Me Up Buttercup" -- that's when you strike.

There are three types of technique that make up the bulk of drunken kung fu: drinking movements, waist movements, and falling movements. (Funny, we call them "the three stages of a Tuesday night.") These techniques, while looking like mere boozy gesticulations, are actually all disguised versions of basic attacks and evasions. This serves a two-fold purpose -- to confuse and surprise your enemy, and to instill within him a crippling and lifelong instinctual fear of happy hour.

There's also drunken monkey kung fu, which is impossibly even more terrific than what you're picturing in your head right now. The style was developed by a convicted murderer during a 10-year prison stint, which he devoted to studying the various personalities of monkeys. (Hey, between "watch monkeys fight" and "get your GED," we think he made the right call.)

#1. The One-Inch Punch

Ryan McVay/Lifesize/Getty Images

In Kill Bill Vol. 2, Uma Thurman's character is buried alive. She's an incredible martial artist, but the problem with lying on your back in a tiny box is that there's not much room to maneuver. The Bride has about 3 inches of striking distance between her fist and the coffin's lid, but she's so badass that she just punches her way out anyway. Total bullshit, right? Try it: Find something soft 3 inches away from your hand and smack it as hard as you can. Now, apologize to your slightly inconvenienced cat and carry on with the knowledge that it is impossible to harm something with your bare hands and 7 centimeters of range.

Miramax Films
You'll bleed from the cat scratches, not from the impact.

The truth is actually more incredible than the movie. Turns out Uma had distance to spare: You only need one angry inch to shatter a board.

Bruce Lee perfected the technique, rather uncreatively called the one-inch punch, because he was a fighter, not a wordsmith. Lee proved the legitimacy of the move on several occasions, demonstrating both in front of (and upon the asses of) cynics.

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And lest you think this was all rigged (although we wouldn't say that out loud if we were you; Bruce Lee may be dead, but that is a haunting you do not want to risk), the History Channel recently filmed a Shaolin monk demonstrating the power behind the one-inch punch on a crash test dummy. They concluded that "a 30-mile-an-hour car crash would be less injurious" than the blow.

That's right: One inch of monk is twice as powerful as a car crash. Ladies ...


Jacob frequently writes angry letters to his co-workers, whom he hates, on his blog Letters to My Coworkers, Whom I Hate. And he does that Twitter thing, too.

We have some bad news: while punching is even more awesome than Quentin Tarantino's wildest dreams, guns are actually a lot lamer. In real fights, trained shooters only hit 10% of the time at just TWELVE feet away. You can learn more by pre-ordering this text book written and illustrated entirely by the Cracked team! Hitting shelves in October, Cracked's De-Textbook is a fully-illustrated, systematic deconstruction of all of the bullshit you learned in school.

It's loaded with facts about history, your body, and the world around you that your teachers didn't want you to know. And as a bonus? We'll explain how the pilgrims were WAY kinkier than you've been lead to believe.

Related Reading: Cracked has other weapon myths to debunk- we've talked about guns 'till we're blue in the barrel. Punches may be awesome, but body armor and silencers suck a lot more than movies suggest. And did you know every Hollywood sword fight would end with a broken blade? Well you do now. And you're welcome.

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