What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this documentary-style reality series focuses on martial arts, providing specific descriptions of fighting moves that younger viewers might easily want to copy. That said, the show does a great job of teaching history and culture along with fighting styles. Most fight scenes are part of practice sessions, but some professional bouts occur, and fighters are occasionally seen getting knocked out and bloody. Each episode ends with one of the hosts fighting in a real match, which sometimes results in injury. Discussion of war and combat is part of the history lessons. Expect a bit of swearing (the strongest words are bleeped), especially during the heated final fight.
What's the story?
Blending history with martial arts, HUMAN WEAPON tells the fascinating story of the history of hand-to-hand combat within its cultural context. Hosts Jason Chambers and Bill Duff serve as viewers' ambassadors to lands far and near, where they learn about new styles of fighting and eventually face off with expert opponents. Chambers and Duff are both experienced fighters and athletes, but each fighting method they encounter -- from Thailand's Muay Thai to Israel's Krav Maga -- tests their skills and bodies against experts.
Is it any good?
Human Weapon does a good job of integrating history and culture into the scenes of fighting practice. Digital images help viewers understand the specifics of the physical moves, as well as the scientific reasons for their effectiveness. The culminating fight adds an element of excitement and helps viewers experience the journey and lessons vicariously. The two men are enthusiastic and eager to learn, but they also show respect for the skills of their teachers and eventual opponents, as well as the cultures they encounter. In the Muay Thai episode, for example, the hosts begin in Bangkok, where professional matches are fought before huge crowds. They then travel to different parts of Thailand, where they learn about Muay Thai's predecessor (which was harsher and designed specifically for combat), as well as different branches of the current form. With each stop, Chambers and Duff pick up additional techniques and practice them with experts. Eventually, they bring their accumulated knowledge back to Bangkok, where they try to integrate them into their repertoire as they face off against a pro.
Other than some occasional profanity, parents' only concern is likely to be the show's focus on violent -- if controlled -- athleticism, and tweens and teens might need to be reminded that they shouldn't try the moves at home. But watching might encourage some young viewers to take martial arts lessons, which would be a great way to connect history with exercise (and learn self-defense at the same time).
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about fighting. Why is it OK for a professional fighter to punch someone inside the ring but not OK to do it to a random person on the street? Is fighting ever the "right" way to resolve differences? Have you ever seen or been in any real fights? If so, what were the circumstances, and what did you learn from the experience? What messages does this show send about fighting? How do the hosts view martial arts?