September 13, 2005

When Girls Stickfight

i watch stargate: atlantis on the scifi channel. on this show, there is a woman soldier, teyla emmagan, one of whose jobs is to train the international personnel of atlantis base in self-defense. i've been chasing down what martial arts she actually knows - since obviously it's a real-life skill, and it's shown every episode either in use or in training situations - and i found something on it. finally.

i also learned some interesting things about the actress who plays teyla emmagan, rachel z. luttrell, a canadian immigrant born in tanzania of a british-born louisiana father and a tanzanian mother. apparently she was trained at the russian academy of classical ballet and at the royal conservatory of music in toronto. and she just finished a summer at oxford in 2003 studying shakespeare.

and now she's a kali pilipino stickfighter and gongfuzhu!

Luttrell fights in Atlantis

Rachel Luttrell [...] told SCI FI Wire that she had to bone up on martial arts to play the leader of an alien world. "I do a lot of fighting. That will be a definite part of my presence on the show," Luttrell said in an interview on the show's set near Vancouver, B.C. "So I'm learning kali, which is a form of Filipino martial arts [stick fighting], and now I'm learning a bit of kung fu and … boxing and hand-to-hand and knife [fighting]."

Luttrell's character is a human on the alien world of Athos in the Pegasus galaxy who encounters a team of Earth explorers.

I come from a civilization which is, in comparison to Earth, slightly more primitive. We have some technological advances, like we can start fire with lasers and … stuff like that. And … we have a civilization that has reached a certain level of advancement. But we're kind of keeping that under wraps right now, because we're living under the threat of this horrific enemy called the Wraith. So we live in tents, and we move our settlements again and again and again to try and stay away from the Wraith. And essentially what ends up happening is … the Atlantis team members find us, and we end up battling with the Wraith, and my people end up having to evacuate the planet. And so we move to Atlantis, and I end up joining the team.
Luttrell, who had some training as a dancer, had to learn a variety of fighting skills to play the warrior.
I am the leader of my people, so I am a warrior, and I am probably, at this point, the one who knows the most about the Wraith. So I make a good addition to the team.
and she's a hottie!

anyway, she (and my wussiness, i'm supposed to be ogitchidaakwe here) has inspired me to look into exercise of the combatative type. i used to do uechi-ryû karate-dô as a child, so i know i can handle it; i miss the sweating and the body training, i really do.

i'm going to look into capoeira classes - and hope for some kali classes around here as well. the main cast members of stargate: atlantis who serve in combat positions, as well as any number of interested parties and all the Athosian refugees, practice regularly, and watching trained stickfighters beating the shit out of each other is pretty fun. clearly, they have had a lot of lessons. and ms luttrell seems like the kind of person whose brains, natural physical talents and previous experience with physical training translate into an easy confidence and rapid learning curve. (the actor playing major john shephard is no inexperienced hand at this, either!)

1 comment:

zmoney said...

Go for it! Martial arts rocks!