It was someone else’s idea to cast her as Chun Li, but Morgana Mou (牟丛) is an aspiring model, actress, and martial artist. She has a demo real online which hopefully I can embed from Youku.com. Given how popular my blog is for some keywords I decided to share her clip. Chun Li despite being an iconic video game character has never been a success on the big screen. I don’t know if Morgana is the one to reverse that trend, but some think she looks the part, I’d need to see her in costume or at least with the correct hairstyle.
Given the success of the first Street Fighter movie and how I’ve never seen it, and given they tried to make a Chun Li movie before with even less success, which I’ve also never seen, perhaps Morgana can appear in the next Gina Carano film. “Haywire” I’ve also yet to see, but “Expendables 3″ or the next, next Gina Carano film might need a villain or a sidekick. Maybe Quentin Tarantino will make a Fox Force Five film? There was a rumor, he was remaking an old Russ Meyer film. Maybe Morgana could find a part in Kill Bill 3? In case the video doesn’t work, let me also dig up a photo. I have no idea who holds the copyright for this image, I cropped it to fit beside the text, but the Chinese were already fighting over whose watermark should appear. I of course wish Morgana luck, but I can’t help but recall what happened after I posted a picture of another Asian lass who studied martial arts… Hopefully Morgana Mou makes better career decisions than Hitomi Tanaka.
Some video game to film adaptations have worked out well, I read that every “Resident Evil” movie has made more money than the one that preceded it and all together they raked in hundreds of millions of dollars. Maybe Morgana should appear in some Kung Fu Zombie film, zombies have box office klout. I wonder what Steven Chow is up to? I can see him doing a Kung Fu Zombie film. Zombie films usually make money as you just hire extras and stunt men to play the Zeds. Zombies have even proven to make good television. If you want to see a great martial arts film with a strong Asian female protagonist, I highly recommend “Chocolate”.
Morgana or 牟丛 which is her name in Simplified Chinese characters has her own Weibo page which is one of the more popular Chinese social media networks. My Chinese isn’t good enough to actually participate in Chinese social media, but I keep an eye on it from time to time primarily through English language websites like the Hao Hao Report and Tech Rice. This post seems to be in the vein of the former. Using Baidu I was able to find a lot of photos of Ms. Mou. Like a lot of Asian women she is prone to posting pictures of herself on social media. Although not a Chun Li costume the second picture shows how she looks in character. She’ll probably regret getting that tattoo as it will have to be covered up with makeup in most roles.
Late last night while watching martial arts clips on YouTube I stumbled on a breaking demonstration done by a Japanese woman in an evening gown at some convention. My Japanese is actually better than my Chinese so I quickly found out her name, Rumi Maeda or 前田瑠美 in Chinese characters. She is a Japanese actress, singer, and martial artist. She has had a non-headlining role in a Japanese martial arts film called “High Kick Girl“. It stars the first ‘Karate Idol’, Rina Takeda. The Internet keeps getting bigger as there is now a website devoted to Japanese cinema in English with all this information. Rumi is about my age, one year younger, and of course has a homepage complete with photos. It also had even more YouTube videos such as the one embedded below:
Rumi has a blog if you want to see pictures of her getting her hair done.
Now that I have a trailer for a Japanese and a Chinese martial artist and aspiring actress, I should probably find a Korean woman too. Korean is the East Asian language I studied the least and I never could get the hang of typing in it, I think I’ve mostly forgotten how the alphabet works even though it is based on logic and not on memorizing characters and stroke order. My brain still hasn’t recovered from all the abuse it was put through during and after my MBA. I know there is at least one moderately famous Korean women’s MMA fighter, I don’t know if she has acting aspirations.
Seo Hee Ham (함서희)
Seo Hee Ham is a Korean MMA fighter who fought Megumi Fujii once along with many other Japanese female mixed martial artists. She has a blog, but more importantly for some of the people who surf the Internet for dubious content, she has great abs which you can see whenever she poses during the weigh in or after a fight.
She also can look cute or 귀엽다 or 乖巧 or most famous of all かわいい. If you put the Korean, Japanese, and Chinese word for cute into Google image search… I shudder to think. Actually it was a big disappointment, best to stick with one Asian language at a time if you’re obsessed with all things cute.
The Japanese and the Koreans historically used the traditional Chinese language character set, though people are becoming more reliant on computers and cellphones for reading and writing them. Use of Chinese characters in Korea is less and less common. It is still a sign of a good education to be able to read and write Chinese characters though. The meaning of Chinese characters isn’t always the same across East Asian lanaguages and the pronunciation is definitely different. For instance 腹筋 is abdominal muscles in Japanese but apparently not in Chinese. It might be 腹肌 in Simplified Chinese Characters, but it might also be some sort of compound phrase like 胃部肌肉, this was never vocabulary I needed to know in school. I did have the foresight to learn the Korean word for abdominal muscles, 왕짜, which is going to lead to some strange keyword referrals.
Women’s MMA like most women’s sports especially professional sports does not pay nearly as well as the men’s leagues. Though I guess Rhonda Rousey changed that to a degree. Combined with the fact getting punched in the face repeatedly is generally not enjoyed by the vast majority of the human race it is a strange career choice for an attractive South Korean woman. I swear Koreans practice looking cute in the mirror as they have certain poses and faces they always make.
Finding a training montage of Ms Ham will take some work, but during the researching of the Korean portion of this post I learned that Kim Ok-bin (김옥빈) studied martial arts as a youth. She has been in a movie directed by Park Chan-wook which I have seen. Park Chan-wook isn’t known for making martial arts movies though, what he is famous for is ‘the vengeance trilogy’ the best of which out revenges Kill Bill and stars Lee Young Ae (이영애). I can’t type much in Korean but I can cut and paste.
Updated with More Kung Fu Chicks!
I have to resist posting yet more content that will attract dubious keyword referrals, but today over on MMA Mania, the MMA blog I’ve been reading the longest, is a post about Nicole Chua who is set to become Singapore’s first female mixed martial arts fighter. Singapore is a pretty diverse place for Asia, but their official immigration policy is designed to maintain an ethnic Chinese majority and they are famous for some of their strict laws against things like gum chewing. Nicole is set to fight someone from India.
Most people think of China or Japan as the birthplace and hotbed of martial arts and that everyone in India is a pacifist like Gandhi. However India has a lengthy history in the martial arts particularly in wrestling/grappling. India had secret self defense techniques that were only taught to members of the upper class. The Sikhs in particular have long martial tradition and a fighting style that has almost died out that involved not only unarmed combat but the use of a variety of unique weapons.
I still don’t think women’s MMA will become a mainstream spectator sport, but apparently I was briefly proven wrong, but the benefits of martial arts are many and varied. Some people feel the need to test themselves in competition, others are more interested in fitness, self defense, personal improvement, or the more spiritual side of martial arts.
Update November 2014
Seo-Hee Ham has signed with the UFC. She will be moving up a whole weight class to fight at 115 pounds. I don’t think it will be easy for her but I wish her luck. The UFC obviously wants to do a fight card in Korea in the future but with the Korean Zombie on military service they lost one of their best Korean fighters. They still have Sexyama.
Mizuki Inoue lost over the weekend. She is a Japanese MMA fighter who is only 20. She is from Toyohashi where I used to live in Japan. She too looked small for her division and I think she is bigger than Hamerderlei. Both will probably get a chance in the UFC. Rin Nakai’s chance did not go well but she too is short and smaller than some of her opponents. Leaving Asia to train in North America will become necessary just like the Brazilians and Europeans have found out. Wrestling is so important in the cage as is finding good sparing partners.
Update January 2016
This post has become surprisingly popular. I live in Shanghai now and a lot of women study kickboxing at my gym for fitness, but actual professional women’s cage fighting is still a niche sport, getting punched in the face is just not so fun sometimes as Rhonda Rousey found out this year. I swear one of trainers at my gym can do a lot of the kicks that Morgana Mou does, finding fit Asian women is definitely easier if you actually live in Asia, there are many of them on Weibo or in your local fitness club, but embedding photos let alone video from Chinese social media is still a challenge.
People also continue to learn that #instafame isn’t all that it is cracked up to be and that it is very hard to become anonymous once you achieve infamy online. I am not a big Instagrammer but I do have a fitness pinboard that folks who enjoyed this post may find interesting.