Under: Celebrities
14 Mar 2009


I was in High School when this movie came out, Billy Jack. I remembered it as one of those old hippyindian protest films but just watched it again here. At the time I watched the movie, the USA was in a time of turmoil on many fronts. I used to watch the evening news and heard the body count of the day in the Vietnam war (or the second Indochina war).


While I did not get into the politics of the whole war – hippy thing as I was a military brat, I did notice how people treated the veterans poorly at the time. Let me just say that the military is never the problem. An old saying I’ve heard and still rings true today is that old men make wars, and young men fight them. I am happy today that message seems to be understood.


As I was watching the movie I realized why I liked it – there was a former Indian Green Beret that was trying to protect the reservation, Indians, and hippy school from the bigoted local towns people. It made for some interesting situations where Tom Laughlin had to use his Hapkido skills! I’ll examine some of my fist attempts as self-defense and how this movie highlighted some of the reasons a populace has to learn self-defense. Here is a quick clip of Billy Jack’s famous kick!




That was a great kick! I remember the first time I threw a kick on another guy. I did not have any formal training at that point but I had read some books. A kid that took lessons from Adams Kenpo Karate, asked me what I would do if someone attacked me. He knew I did not have any formal lessons.


It was kind of funny but he got back in a rear horse stance and put out a couple of half-fists with a growl! I stood their in my neutral stance with my hands at my side and then lifted my knee to deliver a fast snap to his knee! He yelped in pain and rolled around for a while. :)


Let me just say I am glad it did not go any farther as I did not really now anything at that point. Billy Jack did a good job of demonstrating some good karate skills that motivated me to see how one could use a karate self-defense! Later after watching the Kung Fu TV series, I took lessons at my high-school (Issian Ryu, and Chito Ryu). Later I took Lima Lama from the base karate club and finally ended up signing up at Tracy’s Karate in 1974/1975 (my first Orange belt certificate is dated 11/5/1975). Here is a home music video of Coven’s, “One Tin Solder” song.



One opening scene of the move showed the town rich guy had arranged a hunt of mustangs so he could sell the meat for dog food! Billy Jack came to save the day. This movie was about standing up for what was right as much as it was a protest movie. I too remember the days of horse meat dog food and wondered why laws were passed to outlaw the practice. I don’t like to see animals suffer any more than I like to see people suffer.


There were some tough scenes to watch in the move and in the end Billy Jack was holed waiting to die. Luckily for us he made a deal and went on to create more movies on this genre. I came out of the move much as I did from the Rocky series – fired up and ready to learn how to fight like that!


So in real life one has to pick their battles but one should also take a stand and fight for what is right – however you chose to do so. One of the hardest things you might have to do someday is come to the rescue of another in the time of need. Self-defense training is one way you can prepare.


I was reading the other day on the Black Belt Mama blog about a post entitled, “The Trouble with Getting Involved” where she had to interceded on behalf of a college kid getting beat up surrounded by a crowd of people! That was the right thing to do but it was not an easy thing to do. Sometimes doing the right thing is not going to be easy.


Back when I still owned a karate school, I was kind of the go-to person whenever trouble started on our block. One evening my two neighbors started arguing about what, I cannot recall. Things were hard and both of them were out of jobs. Well soon to my surprise and in front of their (and all of the) families, they pulled out crow bars out of their trunks and started to swing on each other!


I had just been like all of the rest of the onlookers, thinking that one of them might start throwing punches and it would soon be over but crowbars in front of me? I jumped in between them without thinking because this was unacceptable to me. I was not going to stand by and watch my neighbors kill each other! Luckily for me they respected me enough to stop and knew that I could probably stop them if I wanted. Things turned out ok.


So I can stay that movies like Billy Jack were a turning point for me. I started thinking that sometimes yes, one person can make a difference. Hopefully your challenges in life will not be nearly so dramatic as Tom Laughlin’s character, Billy Jack had to face but I hope that you too can rise to the situation if needed someday.


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One Response to “Billy Jack; How to Fight against Adversity with Self-Defense?”

  1. Sly Says:

    Ah…Billy Jack. Yes, I recall those movies too, but more, Tom Laughlin’s fighting skills. It still excites me to watch this man kick the hell out of the bad guys and fight for justice. Go Billy, go Billy, go Billy….