My favorite action movie stars are usually ones that are martial artists, but I am amazed by how some actors work so hard to transform themselves into martial artists for their roles. I like to watch the "making of" section of action movie DVDs to see how the actors trained to portray martial artists in movies. One of my favorite behind the scenes was for the movie Ninja Assassin, which was a mediocre movie, but the training and transformation that the pop star Rain underwent was amazing. I find it amazing when an actor with no formalized training trains so hard that they look as if they are trained. For instance, did you know that the actors in the movie the Karate Kid only trained for three months? Quite impressive. One of my favorite action stars is Toshiro Mifune. Mifune had no formalized sword training, but worked assiduously with the fight choreographer Yoshio Sugino, who was a student of O Sensei's, to make himself look as if he was formally trained in the sword. Many don't know that Mifune was an expert in Yabusame or horseback archery as well. One of my favorite scenes throughout all his movies comes from the movie Hidden Fortress directed by Akira Kurosawa. In the scene (below) he fights with a yari or spear with a rival leader. Sensei once told us that the spear duel in this scene was part of an old spear kata and it has something like 108 movements. Watching Mifune wield the yari one can see that he must have put in countless hours to make his technique appear at an experts level. They have to have. If you watch their footwork closely, it is balanced and they don't wield the yari with their upper bodies which both are indicative of being "trained." That is why this scene is one of my favorites. How did these actors become experts? What was the punchline to the old Carnegie Hall joke, "practice"? To become an expert at anything, one needs to practice.