This past Friday evening the History Channel on cable tv launched a new program, Human Weapon. The series is based on two Americans who travel through Asia exploring martial arts. One is a mixed martial artist, the other a wrestler and former NFL player, and the hook for each episode is a competition between one of them and a local champion in the indigenous art being studied. The conclusion isn't really in doubt, since they come across as enthusiasts taking on professionals, but the real interest isn't in the result so much as the exploration of martial culture.
The first episode was on Muay Thai, a promising start because the series immediately began with a lesser known art, compared to karate or taekwondo. The show did a decent job showing different schools and philosophies of training, ranging from modern sport to military to traditional combatives. It was the latter which for me provided the most interesting bit, as it showed the depth of the art as it is still practiced for survival in remote and self-reliant locales.
Even more intriguing were the trailers for next Friday's episode, which will highlight Filipino martial arts in the Philippines. Such coverage is unusual here in the U.S. and this looks to show rare glimpses into the hard-core traditional training that few Americans appreciate.
The Human Weapon airs at 10pm Pacific time and, if consistent with the first episode, will repeat again at 11pm.