Real People Through The Lens of Batman: Imi Lichtenfeld

BatmanKungFu

by Jeremy Defatta

Happy new book day, everyone! I hope you’re all doing well. This week, I’d like to keep looking at real people through the lens of Batman. This time, I have chosen another martial artist, but of a different sort—Imi Lichtenfeld (or Imi Sde’Or, 1910-1998).

Imi Lichtenfeld was born and lived in the then Czechoslovakian capital of Bratislava. He remained there until 1940, at which point it had been under German occupation for several lichtenfeldyears. He was the son of a police officer, jujitsu master, and circus performer, and he eventually went on to create the martial art called Krav Maga, which is considered one of the deadliest fighting styles ever devised and is practiced to this day by the Israeli Defense Force.

Several things here make me think of Batman when I read about Imi Lichtenfeld. He was trained in boxing, wrestling, Eastern martial arts, and gymnastics at a young age by a father who was also familiar with acrobatics and strongman techniques from his years as a circus performer. All of this contributed to the form of his fighting style. But what of its substance and philosophy?

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Real people through the lens of Batman: Martial arts master Ip Man

BatmanKungFu

by Jeremy DeFatta

Hello, everyone! I hope your week is going well. This has been a different sort of week for me, so today I’ll approach the Batman column a little differently. For at least a few posts, I’d like to use Batman as a historical and critical lens for viewing real-life figures.

Whether through their true deeds, through the mythologies that surround them, or through a combination of the two, there are many people the world over who are in some ways real world analogs of Batman. For my first foray into this effort, I’ll look at Ip Man.

Ip Man (or Yip Man, 1893-1972) was one of the greatest martial arts masters of the last century. He was grand master of the Wing Chun school, a fighting style originally created by a woman and intended to be learned quickly for self-defense. You’ve likely heard of him through one or more of the recent films based, with varying degrees of dramatic license, on his life and fights. You may also be familiar with the fact that he was Bruce Lee’s first master.

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