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One other rumor that compliments information on training for the upcoming film is talk about Makiya Yamaguchi, a student of Shorinji Kempo, a Japanese martial art that is both a fighting style and a religion. Here, as Ray Park did with Ewan McGregor, Liam Neeson and stunt doubles, another experienced martial artist may have a profound influence on what is seen on the silver screen. Gossip on the internet has revolved around four possible cultural influences -- Chinese, Filipino, Korean, and Japanese. The first three may, in the end, have only a minor impact on Episode II Jedi fencing, while Japanese influences will probably get the rubber stamp from George Lucas, who made statements to Japanese audiences during the premiere of The Phantom Menace regarding the influence of Japanese culture on the next film. Specific references seemed to indicate his desire to employ Japanese actors. Into this fans and the media read “Japanese kendoists or swordsmen.” Lucas has always admitted his indebtedness to the samurai films of the late director Akira Kurosawa, and he promises more of a Nipponese influence in his next two installments. No practicing martial artist can deny the profound influence Ray Park’s wu shu background has had in Episode I. An experienced martial artist can see it in his stance, his precision, and acrobatic movements. Chinese staff, whose closest influence on Ray Park can be seen in Mortal Combat, gave significant inspiration to fighting in Episode I. Similarly, Chinese broadsword stances and movement will remain an indelible mark on the apprentice Sith Lord. But what happens in Episode II may be light years apart from the fighting we saw in Episode I. Darth Maul represented a sort of rogue training in lightsaber fighting, a style which Qui-Gon Jinn ascribes to that of a Sith Lord. Did Maul begin training at the Jedi Temple? Or did he go through training with a secret master? What has his role been before his climactic demise? [If Darth Maul’s “Journal,” a children’s book, is to be believed, Maul was found as a boy and brought up by Sidious who taught him in secret. -Ed.] So will Chinese martial arts have an influence on the next film? Possibly a good deal more than was previously thought. Rumors have vacillated back and forth on whether Park will return. Definitely not as Darth Maul, Lucas insists. Will he help

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A Fans Guide to Star Wars  

A Fans Guide to Star Wars  

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