Monday, July 1, 2013

Jim Kelly: "Too busy looking good".



     If you are a martial arts movie fan than you know the line in quotations after the name above, and you know the name.  Jim Kelly played Williams in Enter the Dragon, in my opinion the greatest martial arts film with great martial artists in it. Characters like Black Dynamite and Afro Samurai always make me think the creators of these characters must have had Kelly in mind during their inception of these newer characters, caricatures of Kelly at his best.

    Holding a black belt in Shorin-ryu Karate he was a world champion competitor and awesome athlete in general.  For me, his scene against Han in Enter the Dragon is very symbolic of the mental struggles many martial artists have when it comes to competition and winning or losing.  Han asks him how he deals with the possibility of defeat and Kelly's character tells Han he does not waste time worrying about being beaten, when Han asks why he responds with; "I'll be too busy looking good".  I always took that as advice to have fun training and above all learning since every defeat is a learning experience.  If anyone came close to stealing the show from Bruce Lee in that film it was him and his skills were definitely good enough to play Martial Artist heroes in other films like Black Belt Jones and Hot Potato.  He died this past weekend on June 29th due to cancer, I don't know why he disappeared from films after the 70's, I do know he made a lot of appearances at various conventions and I really wish I had made it to one of them now.   Nothing makes you feel old like hearing about legends like this passing on, but we shouldn't waste our time feeling bad for long...it distracts us from looking good.

If you want to see his stuff these are on Netflix:
Enter the Dragon (1973)
Three the Hard Way (1978)
Black Belt Jones 2 (1978)
Black Samurai (1977)

It may be a little cheesy to some, but he was worth watching when he did his thing.

Rest in peace Mr. Kelly