Kuro Obi - Black Belt DVD Review: Kuro Obi - Black Belt

Most martial arts movies today are filled with incredible stunts that are performed by actors with little to no martial arts training.  This is wonderful and great for the genre of martial arts movies, but I always wish that the quality of the martial arts techniques in those movies was a little bit better.  Occasionally I come across a movie that really impresses me.  Kuro Obi is one such movie.  The scenery is stunning and it has a great story, but the real kicker was that half way through the story I realized that the two main characters were real martial artists.  I stopped the movie and Googled the actors and sure enough both were not only trained martial artist but teachers as well.

The movie takes place in the 1930s and is about three students named Choei, Giryu and Taikan who are the students of a Karate master who dies as the Japanese army attempts to take over their dojo.  The story follows the three students as they follow two diametrically opposing paths as they compete to be worthy enough to inherit their teacher's belt.  Choei and Taikan join the military where Taikan follows a more corrupt path as he brutally beats every opponent as he fights his way to the belt.  Giryu, who is injured, finds himself on a soul searching journey where he struggles to understand his teacher's last teaching where he forbade him from using Karate to attack.  The story's final chapter has Taikan and Giryu finally fighting each other for their teacher's belt.

The martial arts is excellent in this movie.  The scenery itself is reason to see this movie but the Karate is spectacular.  Taikan is played by Tatsuya Naka who is a 7th degree black belt and teacher at the JKA Shotokan in Tokyo.  Giryu is played by Akihito Yagi and he is a 7th degree black belt in Goju-ryu Karate and a 3rd generation teacher.

You can see the end credits of the movie here where Tatsuya Naka and Akihito Yagi are demonstrating their Karate katas: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYUxr4Qaq3Q