The Mystery of Chessboxing: Classic Kung Fu Style

From the finishing what I started department…

The original “Chessboxing” is not the weird sport I posted about a few months back. Are you surprised that there’s more than one way to crossbreed Boxing and Chess?

Mystery of Chess Boxing is a Kung Fu film from 1979 (aka “Ninja Checkmate”) and it has everything you want in a 70’s Kung Fu flick, and nothing more. All the hallmarks of the genre are here: bad dubbing, slapping-tin-pan-fight-sounds, zooming closeups on the eyes of the villain, and some mad eyebrow hair in the bargain. It also features something called “double horse style”, which sounds smutty (though there’s also a hybrid astrological equivalent).

The Mystery of Chessboxing movie

The movie is also an inspiration for the Wu-Tang Clan rap group (whose Da Mystery of Chessboxin’ on the album Enter the Wu-Tang features samples from the film). Wu-Tang member Ghostface Killer even took his name from the film’s villain.

Mystery of Chess Boxing DVD Cover

Here’s the video for the Wu-tang music video.


Actor, nerd, poet, producer, writer mikl-em made his name short so you wouldn't have to. In addition to his blog you can find his writing in "Hi Fructose" magazine and witness him almost life-sized in various plays at The Dark Room Theater in SF's Mission district.

He tends to write about theater, humor, San Francisco culture and history, and stuff that's just plain weird. He thanks Scott for sharing the keys to the Laughing Squid virtual HQ and promises to uphold whatever it is that the mirthful cephalopod would prefer to be uplifted.