I’m often asked why Legend doesn’t produce more ‘modern’ programmes based on competition events that are current, or at least from the last decade. The answer is simple: resulting sales from current events would not even cover their production costs. The reason sales would be low is due to the fact that events today lack the thrill of the 80’s and 90’s – too much health and safety restrictions, and also the boredom factor. What is the ‘boredom factor’ you might ask: well for example, we have footage of one particular three minute fight, which features lots of ‘bouncing up and down’ but only five attempted techniques thrown in the three minutes. Eventually, the referee awards a point in the dying seconds for a snap punch that I personally wouldn’t have scored – neither did three of the judges – but I think the referee just wanted to get the ‘fighters’ off the area.
This example isn’t typical of most kumite matches today, but when you consider the above footage was from an international event, supposedly featuring some of the world’s finest Shotokan fighters; you can perhaps see how difficult it would be to produce an exciting programme. The best example I can offer is this: The Art of War programme, has had almost 1.5 million YouTube hits and sells worldwide to a very appreciative and eclectic audience. The rapid fire clips in this programme are taken from over 22 hours of original footage, that’s almost 1400 minutes of recorded material, to produce a 180 minute programme.
The last time we put a crew together for an international event, we spent four days in the USA setting up and recording the two day event. At the conclusion of the event, I already knew it wasn’t going to be easy at post production, but when we viewed what we had, we didn’t even bother going to edit – the fight sequences are best described as stultifying! The overall cost to Legend was (too painful) and of course those costs can never be recovered – although the rushes are archived, they are really useless.
So, why nothing new…? Well I think the above pretty much sums it up, and sadly I don’t believe we will ever again see the dynamic Shotokan events that we thrilled at in 70-80’s. A friend of mine, senior Shotokan instructor with prestigious history summed it up as follows, “These fighters are super-fast, but understandably don’t want to get hit themselves, consequently you have a very fast game of tick.”
We will of course continue to offer none Legend Productions DVDs such as Dave Hazard and Aidan Trimble’s excellent Applied Karate set, and Enoeda Sensei’s Master Class programmes, but there seems little else we would consider promoting. As for Legend producing any future competition based events, as stated above, we don’t believe that future events will ever have the dynamism of the past. There are lots of recent and well produced competition videos available on YouTube – but with all the best media production values and special effects available today - content remains is king.
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