The Close Combat of Star Trek

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Although we rarely recognize it, mythology continues to be strong part of our culture. Folklore has evolved significantly, as America’s legendary heroes have been frontier trappers,

cowboys, policemen, soldiers, masked men, caped

superheroes and science fiction men-of-action

such as Buck Rodgers, Flash Gordon, Han Solo, and

of course…Captain Kirk of the Starship


Replacing Indians (the Native American kind), “commies”, and Nazis with Aliens as the bad-guys, and foreign lands as undiscovered planets, from September 8, 1966 – September 2, 1969, Bill Shatner kicked extraterrestrial ass for 79 episodes using World War II Judo and Jujutsu.

Amazingly, with all the far-out and high-tech

phasers, photons, and other assorted high tech

junk they could have used to save the day, Kirk

and his boys often reverted back to the

hand-to-hand combat moves they must have learned

from their great-great-great-great-great-grandfathers.

(That, or in the future the military actually

bought a clue and decided to start teaching what

actually works again!)

Now, whether you’re a pointy-ear-wearin’

“Trekkie” or not, definitely check out an episode

or two next time your surfin’ by the Sci-Fi


You’ll notice that the aliens that the crew

encountered were often physically dominating and

at times much larger and stronger, therefore

calling for a smarter and more effective approach

to combat than the wildly thrown “haymaker”


While actual terms like close-combat, martial

arts, Jujutsu or Judo were left out of the

script, the knowledgeable observer will

immediately recognize where the devastating edge

of hand strikes, brutal kicks, and ferocious

throws come from. In the famous episode “Arena”, Captain Kirk has

to fight the reptilian commander of an enemy

vessel in one-on-one combat. Kirk attacks the

alien with a flurry of blows including all those

found in the WWII military combative systems we


In “Day of the Dove”, Kirk and the rest of his

crew are pitted against Klingon warriors in

close-combat as both sides are restricted to only

their own respective warrior codes for guidance.

My own personal favorite, “Bread and Circuses”,

Kirk, Spock, and McCoy use fists, swords, and

anything and everything else they can get their

hands on to battle technologically advanced


Although there is no real Vulcan neck pinch, Gene

Roddenberry and the others who helped to create

Star Trek were products of a generation that knew

how to fight. In fact, Roddenberry himself had

law enforcement experience and piloted a B-17 in

the Pacific during WWII.

During this time, the United States military

practiced hand-to-hand combat training based off

of what was taught by W.E. Fairbairn and other

pioneers of REAL close-combat. After the war,

many military veterans became Hollywood stunt men

and when fight sequences were setup, did what

came natural to win a fight…Their training from

actual combat.

While many fight sequences of the 60’s were still

choreographed in the classic style of the Western

barroom brawl, only Star Trek utilized these

authentic, proven combat methods in the majority

of its scenes.

As time marched on, and the world became

“sissified”, martial arts shown in TV shows and

films changed dramatically in order to appear

more impressive to the audience. After all,

nobody likes to see the hero drop his opponent in

only a few “ugly” moves (Except for maybe Austin

Power’s recent “Judo Chop”…Edge of hand anyone?).

No, they want high-flyin’ wirework, drunken

monkey foolishness, and ridiculous

split-the-crotch-of-my-pants high kicks.

But given a real, drag out, no-holds-barred,

fight for your life, I’d put my money on Kirk and

his “Crew” as opposed to Neo, Morpheus and the

rest of those Matrix computer geeks any day of

the week. (And Kirk would have beat the snot out

of that flashlight-wielding sissy Vader too)

write by Artemis

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