posted on 2-9-2003 at 08:35 AM
The Klingon martial art of Mok'bara
One of our forum members requested information regarding the ancient art of Mok'bara (sometimes also spelled as moQbara') in one of the other threads; but I decided that it would be best to start it as separate thread in the most appropriate area, as I can see this one extending into a potentially lengthy discussion...
My own family line, the House of Kasara, actually used to hold regular Mok'bara lessons/sessions here in Montreal. We had a gorgeous site for it, on top of an older and very elegant stone apartment building located on the slopes of Mount Royal, overlooking the rest of the city and the St. Lawrence River -- very inspiring. The rooftop had been "decked" over in large pale gray patio slates and a sort of outdoor "dojo" had been constructed with a pair of very oriental curving roofline "gates" at either end of the practice area, and an elevated area done in layers of patio stones (4' high) which almost resembled a throne area, from which one could sit back and watch the lessons as well as enjoy the view... It was.. well, very Zen!
As far as we know, we are the only house to have actually offered these lessons "in real life". As a result, you will see a reference to it on our family website http://www.housekasara.org/kasma.html
, when referring to the KasMA, better known as the "Kasara School of Military Arts". In summary:
The KaSMA also offers a series of Mok'bara courses that are open to the general Klingon populace, as a public service to the Empire.
For the uninitiated, Mok'bara is an ancient form of martial art, that aids in the development of concentration, coordination, flexibility, strength and speed. It is widely practiced throughout the Empire by Klingons of all ages and genders. Most Klingons begin their introduction to Mok'bara at a very early age and continue receiving instruction in it throughout their lives.
Mok'bara participants traditionally wear a loose-fitting cream-white uniform, with a coloured shoulder stripe that denotes their skill level. After decades of instruction, practice, dedication and skill, only the highest level of Mok'bara veterans are finally recognized by the title of "Da'Har Master".
Other interesting facts concerning the "creation" of this particular martial art within the Star Trek universe:
* When the Mok'bara method was conceived, the writers came to Dan Curry (Co-Visual Effects Supervisor for TNG) who lent his expertise to the design and use of the Klingon bat'leth. He designed the movements seen within Mok'bara and coached actor Michael Dorn. Whenever 'Worf' is seen doing Mok'bara exercises, Curry is off-camera doing them as well, to help visually guide the actor on-camera. Curry studied with both Thai and Chinese instructors and holds a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and Korean martial arts.
* According to the Star Trek Encyclopedia: Mok'bara is a ritual Klingon martial-arts form, resembling terrestrial tai chi. Worf taught a Mok'bara class to his Enterprise-D shipmates most mornings at 0700. ("Man of the People" [TNG]). Worf taught the Mok'bara to his fellow captives at the secret Romulan prison camp in the Carraya System in 2369. The exercises, designed to enhance one's agility in hand-to-hand combat, helped to revive the dormant warrior spirit among the captives there. ("Birthright, Part II" [TNG]).
* An excerpt from the Mup'wi, the newsletter of the Klingon Imperial Weapons Guild:
The Mok'bara or Klingon fighting style requires weapons that have a certain *flowing* quality to them. In all of the blades seen there is always a scimitar like shape. You rarely see straight edges accept in small knives. In a study of similar cultures who used edged weapons there is always an axe or axe-like implement. The feudal Japanese who the Klingons are most often compared to used several types of axes for tools and for weapons. With the right type of design, this style of weapon could be quite formidable in the hands of an accomplished Klingon Warrior. According to Okrand the traditional Klingon warrior's arsenal included the ax, an implement with heavy, flattened blade mounted crosswise at the end of a handle. The general term for ax is 'obmaQ. Its handle is its DeS and its blade is its ghIt. (Okrand's Klingon for the Galactic Traveler)
For the primary blade I chose a shape similar to the bat'leth's main blade. The sweeping arch will enhance the natural moves of the Mok'bara. In order to keep the weight of the weapon down the blade itself was given a thin profile and this portion of the axe is offset to place the cutting edge of the blade in the same alignment as the bat'leth's main blade when held in one hand.
Willl post more info on this topic in the future, as my very rare free time might permit...