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The Armorer's Fighting Style From The Mandalorian Explained

There's a lot about Star Wars that seems fun on paper, only to devolve into a hellscape nightmare when you put it into practice. Lightsabers, for example, are undeniably tubular in theory, but imagine the general population with access to what are essentially million-degree yardsticks.

Similarly, putting on Mandalorian armor and taking somebody's face to punch town looks like triple distilled badassery on screen, but the unfortunate real-world fact of the matter is that there are a bundle of complications inherent in dressing like Space Ned Kelly and throwing hands. Just ask Mandalorian stunt performer extraordinaire Lauren Mary Kim, whose work you've probably seen a lot of, even if you didn't know it at the time: She has 165 IMDb credits, spanning just 15 years. She has punched, or been punched, by every member of Netflix's Defenders, provided mocap for a slew of video games, and even did stunt work on GLOW. 

Recently, Kim had the distinction of performing that bonkers fight scene from The Mandalorian's first season finale, providing the body work for the enigmatic Armorer as she laid the pain down on a cadre of stormtroopers.

From the sound of things, the sequence was grueling to shoot, utilizing a series of one-shot takes from separate angles instead of cutting together a bunch of component pieces. Speaking to Corridor Crew, Kim described doing "400, 500 oners" under the armor, singing praises to Red Bull for keeping her upright. Rewatching the scene with fellow stunt enthusiasts, she also went into detail describing exactly which brand of martial art she used to give those imperial loyalists the hammer time treatment, and it wasn't Mandalorian karate. It was much, much cooler.

Bruce Lee would have been a Fan-dalorian

Kim identified the Armorer's martial art as Eskrima. Eskrima, also known as Kali or Arnis, is a traditional Filipino fighting style. Its practice predates written historical records, and its panoply of disciplines makes it difficult to sum up, but the basics go like this: Like many martial arts, Eskrima (also spelled "Escrima") seems to have developed due to necessity. It was an accessible, DIY fighting style, largely passed from teacher to student, utilizing simple, easily obtained weapons. Probably its most iconic aspect is the baston, or eskrima stick, generally used in pairs in a manner suspiciously similar to the way that the Armorer bashed in those stormtrooper heads in The Mandalorian. Other weapons used by practitioners include knives, lashes, staves, and even lengths of fabric.

One of the martial art's most well-known practitioners is Dan Inosanto, who Kim describes as her "guru." Inosanto has a well-earned reputation in show business as a top-tier Eskrima trainer, having previously collaborated with Bruce Lee, even fighting him onscreen in Lee's final work, The Game of Death. Lee can also be seen displaying the same fighting style in Enter the Dragon.

The Armorer isn't the first nerd-world celebrity to practice Eskrima, though. DC's Nightwing, one of Batman's menagerie of second-hand kids, famously uses electrical Eskrima sticks to beat down the criminal underbelly. Mockingbird, played by Adrianne Palicki in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., also used bastons on screen, and a young Matt Murdock could be seen training with them in Netflix's Daredevil.