I’ve been doing martial arts for a LONG time, as long as the median age of some of my readers. And I’ve had a lot of role models and inspiring people who have helped me along the way. As a child, I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t inspired by some of the on-screen talent that I’ve seen. Some have been traditional, some have been a bit more, shall we say eclectic? And I feel that once in a while, I should pay homage to some of these martial artists, for they’ve done what many have dreamt about through their teens: they became famous.
There’s something of a stigma against on-screen martial artists. And this is for good reason. A lot of what we see on screen isn’t genuine, and is usually choreographed and arranged before being filmed. But once in a while, a little light shines through. And by “little,” I am referring of course, to one of my childhood idols, Michele “The Mouse” Krasnoo…
Due to licensing and copyright laws, I won’t be sharing an image of Krasnoo, but she can be found easily by Googling her name. Krasnoo is originally from California and began studying the Korean art of Tang Soo Do in 1980 when she was just 6 years old! She reached black belt level by her early teens, which although I’m typically not a fan of, she made it work for her.
Over the years that followed, Krasnoo studied and became proficient in a few other styles of martial arts (sound familiar?). She got into acting and became known for her intricate martial arts forms and the colourful use of uniforms. In 2006, she was inducted into the Black Belt Hall of Fame. She’s also proficient in various weapons.
I first saw her on screen in the mid-80’s when No Retreat, No Surrender was released on tape (it was probably Beta cassette, just in case you’re interested in guessing how old I am!) I’ve seen her in a handful of other films, and she became a favourite of mine. I found myself able to relate to her because of her dedication, her study of multiple styles and the fact that she gained her nickname (The Mouse) due to her short height of 5 feet. Considering I’ve felt small through a good portion of my life.
As of the early 2000’s, Krasnoo held a 5th-degree black belt in Tang Soo Do, 1st-degree black belt in Shorin-Ryu, which is a similar style to my own Uechi-Ryu, 1st-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do and a black sash in Wushu Kung Fu. She holds a ridiculous number of championship titles and despite her on-screen time, is a traditional martial artist in the most rudimentary of ways.
Krasnoo has moved on in her life, married with children and all. But she still does some acting and has been a source of inspiration for this martial artist for years. I still watch Kickboxer 4 on occasion and enjoy watching her kick the crap out of people three times her size. We find our role models in the least likely of places, but we take ’em where we can get ’em! ☯