With Ahsoka finally taking flight on Disney Plus, one noticeable martial arts connection is impossible to miss for fans of classic kung fu film.

Of course, the link comes as no surprise, considering that Jedi are patterned after samurai, and that Star Wars heavily borrows from samurai stories; The Mandalorian borrows plotlines and scenes from Lone Wolf & Cub, as well as a major storyline from Blade of the Immortal.

The original Star Wars movie was partly inspired by the Akira Kurosawa film The Hidden Fortress, which it also heavily borrows from. Fortress is something of a martial arts film — or more accurately, a film with some martial arts in it — about transporting a princess out of enemy territory and into safety.

Yet, this Ahsoka connection is not a plot, is not a scene, and is not an idea. It’s actually a person.

That person is Diana Lee Inosanto. She is the daughter of Filipino Martial Arts master Dan Inosanto, and the goddaughter of martial arts film legend Bruce Lee.

Dan Inosanto and Bruce Lee filmed what is considered by many to be one of the most entertaining kung fu fight scenes ever for the major motion picture Game of Death.

The 1978 movie stars Lee in a posthumous role, scenes of which he filmed before he began work on Enter the Dragon. His character must take on a master of a different martial art on each level of a pagoda. Lee filmed three scenes on three floors, ending with the final floor called “The Temple of the Unknown,” which featured his real-life student, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

The first floor — which was supposed to be the third floor, but the first two were never filmed — showcased a fight between characters played by Bruce Lee and Dan Inosanto. These two martial artists were obviously good friends, and although Inosanto was technically a student of Bruce Lee — ultimately going on to teach the art of Jeet Kune Do that Lee created — the two learned from each other.

The scene, known as “Temple of the Tiger” in martial arts circles, features Inosanto using eskrima sticks only to segue to nunchucks. Popularized in film by Bruce Lee, who is believed to be the first person to use them in a featured film, nunchucks became Lee’s hallmark weapon.

In “Temple of the Tiger,” Lee counters Inosanto’s nunchucks with his own nunchucks. Lee’s motorcycle outfit in the scene is arguably his most iconic look as he fights in the yellow jumpsuit with black stripes. After a display of who has the best nunchuck routine, a perfectly placed comedic moment, they battle. The result is the first nunchucks vs nunchucks scene in a major film.

It’s so well choreographed by Lee that it’s almost impossible not to enjoy, though the uncut version as featured in A Warrior’s Journey is even better, thanks in part to two other characters who test Inosanto first.

The scene even made news earlier this year when it was revealed that a though-to-be lost one minute portion of the scene was found and released on a new version of Game of Death.

The missing footage features actor Chieh Yuan, one of the two who initially attack Inosanto, using a small but lengthy log as a weapon. For decades, it was known as the lost log scene but now, thanks to Arrow Films creating the upgraded version of the Bruce Lee masterpiece, the footage was found.

Diana Lee Inosanto, meanwhile, already appeared in an episode of The Mandalorian and showed off her martial arts skills in a fight with Ahsoka herself, played by Rosario Dawson. Now her character, named Morgan Elsbeth, has become central to the plot of the Ahsoka series. It’s Elsbeth’s ambitions to journey to another galaxy which effectively fuels the storyline.

One has to very strongly assume that, at some point, we will be gifted with a martial arts scene with Diana Lee in Ahsoka, especially considering the one we got from her in The Mandalorian.
Perhaps it’s time that Star Wars introduces its own version of nunchucks but, regardless, a Diana Lee fight scene — I would love to see one with Ivanna Shakhno who plays Shin Hati — will be more than welcomed. The force is strong with the Inosantos.

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By mrtrv

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