Kung Fu Fighting!

As a kid in the 70’s and 80’s Saturday was the prime TV watching day. We had cartoons in the morning, followed by my favorite, Kung Fu movies. I loved watching Kung Fu movies on TV. I got a good workout while trying the crazy moves, and improved my reading compression thanks to subtitles. Now that I think of it, I was doing remote learning long before 2020.

Last weekend I watched the movie IP Man for the first time on Netflix. Turns out, IP Man is based on a real person. But in typical Kung Fu fashion, some of it seem to stretch what is possible just a bit. That is when I really understood what a legend is in storytelling.

The Definition as I understand it

Thanks again to Robin Schulte for her list of definitions, I know the following about legends – they have some basis in historical fact, which may have been distorted or exaggerated as they have been told over the years. Legends seem to be connected to a real person, doing real things, at a real point in time. What makes them different than facts, is that parts can be exaggerated for effect. Take the Ip Man movie I watched. The main character (Ip Man) is real. He really did practice and teach the Kung Fu form Win Chun. He really was in China when the Japanese invade. The exaggerated parts come when we cut to the scenes of him taking on 10 – 20 people at time. Great for the overall story. Deep down, though, I have doubts that part really happened. 

How legends fit into storytelling

Legends seem to be a great way to bring facts to life. Give people some fact, with just enough exaggeration to make it interesting. It’s like they are a tamer version of Tall Tales and Liar’s Stories, which I’ll talk about in a separate post. Legends, as a type of story, definitely fits into folk lore as a way to tell about the culture and beliefs of a group of people. From watching the legend of Ip Man, I can see a glimpse of the Chinese culture and some important themes. Just like any good story, legends are stories with purpose.


What is a legend?

What is a legend%3F

The Difference between Myths and Legends

The Difference Between Myths and Legends

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