I think it's been firmly established that Taylor Swift's cameo-packed video for "Bad Blood" was certainly badass. But the question now becomes: Just how good are Tay and Co. at actually kicking said ass?
According to Goju-Ryu master Sensei Chuck Merriman -- who has served as bodyguard for the likes of KISS and Diana Ross (and, full disclosure, this reporter's karate teacher) -- not so good.
"I watched the video a couple of times and looked at it from a technical viewpoint and from a choreographer's viewpoint," Sensei Merriman told MTV News. "In either case, there wasn't much action to judge from -- however, technically, it was substandard. From the choreography angle I thought it was just so-so. If I was Taylor Swift, I'd ask the stunt coordinator for my money back."
Merriman's biggest issue with the video was that the actors were not actually executing any moves to speak of, and were, rather, just performing fight-like sequences for show.
"I used to teach Broadway dancers in New York and their kicking and karate kicks are two different things," he said. "They kick for visual -- they want it to look nice instead of practical. What I took from this is it’s just a visual thing -- imitating the technique rather than actually doing it."
If Tay is planning to make a sequel to the original video, Merriman suggested she start taking classes -- specifically in Taekwondo. "They stress kicking and kicking is very -- even in tournaments -- kicking gets more points than punching because it’s more visual," he said. "In other words, a high kick to the head is more spectacular than a punch to the body. And Taekwondo is very geared towards that musical interpretation."
He suggested that Tay take classes with Jhoon Rhee, who famously put martial arts to music in the form of a kind of ballet.
"It’s impressive -- but certainly not from a practical standpoint, actually learning how to defend yourself and everything," Merriman said of the martial art. "I would say definitely defense-wise, she should learn traditional Okinawan karate."
Perhaps from a certain Goju-Ryu master who was once a bodyguard for KISS?