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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this docuseries -- which follows two American men training in various ancient martial arts around the world -- is a mix of entertainment and education. It includes graphic footage of initiation rituals, intense training sequences, and competitive fighting. Most of the fighting systems employ punching, kicking, and smashing; some also rely on lethal weapons (sticks, swords, sharp knives, etc.). Some of the instruction includes descriptions of killing an opponent. Younger viewers may need to be reminded that these moves should never be tried at home.
What's the story?
Docuseries FIGHT QUEST follows two American men -- Iraqi war veteran/rookie fighter Douglass Anderson and former history teacher/professional martial artist Jimmy Smith -- as they immerse themselves in some of the most ancient and dangerous martial arts systems in the world. The pair's physical and mental strength are put to the test as they learn the art of kung fu in China, practice grappling in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and learn to think like a killer while immersing themselves in the Filipino fighting style of Kali.
Is it any good?
Some of the martial arts featured in the series have been popularized by Hollywood films like Mission Impossible and The Bourne Identity. But Fight Quest shifts the focus away from these glitzy, stylized fight sequences to the raw strength and skill required to perform them. That said, while viewers do get some brief explanations about the various fighting techniques, most of the show centers on Anderson and Smith enduring grueling training sessions and sustaining various injuries as they spend a week learning methods that have taken fighters centuries to perfect.
Fight Quest's intensity makes it iffy for tweens, though teens should be able to handle it. But no matter how old viewers are, it's important to note that the often life-threatening moves featured on the show shouldn't be attempted without the supervision of a trained professional.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how these traditional fighting systems differ from what viewers see in popular Hollywood movies and TV shows. Why are ancient fighting styles considered artistic as well as violent? Families can also discuss fighting in general. Why is it OK for a professional fighter to punch someone inside the ring but not OK to do it to a random person out on the street? What messages does this show send about fighting? How do the hosts view martial arts?