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Thread: Celebrities studying martial arts?

  1. #436
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Continued from previous post

    11. Do you plan on writing more films of your own in the future?

    I do! I do feel like I’m just stepping into my own as an actress first. So at this time I will probably focus on working more as an actress first and trying to gain more experience. But that is also the best time to be, in a way, interning and learning as much as I can about the writing side of things and producing side of things. I just love filmmaking as a whole, and telling stories, and telling peoples stories. And so, any way avenue I can to do that, I want to learn and I want to experiment with it. But I also have that type A personality, so I want to learn more before I put myself out there.

    12. What kind of films do you hope to write in the future?

    I think the sky is the limit. Wherever I am at my life, I’m always gravitating towards different stories and different genres. So, this could very well change in a year. But I do know that at some point in my career I do want to be, in some capacity, involved in a project to do with human trafficking. I’ve read so much about it, so many autobiographies on it, it’s really a problem in the world that hits me very hard in my gut and my heart. So, I would love to be able to tell that story and shed a little bit more light on that problem in the world. That is one that I know for sure I want to do. When it comes to other things, I don’t know. We’ll see what catches my eye at the time.

    13. All your roles in movies such as ‘Man of Steel’, ‘Wonder Woman’, ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’ and ‘Army of the Dead’ depict strong women. What are your thoughts on the impact these characters can create in women and children around the world?

    My hope is that when people, especially children, see these kinds of characters portrayed more frequently, they will know how possible it is to become that, to be that, and to feel that internally. I don’t want those characters, strong women, to be perceived as something new and exciting. I feel like it should just be how things are. And so my hope is that for kids, they wont see these films as being anything new or out of the ordinary. Because women can be just as strong and capable as the men, and so if it’s shown in a movie that makes sense. Art is a reflection of life, and life is a reflection of art. And so, I just hope that it all becomes normal eventually.

    And then also, I as a human being have been affected by the characters I’ve played and I feel like I have gained a lot when it comes to my own sense of strength or self worth. So, I hope that kids watching it can absorb some of that energy and take it with them as they grow up too.

    14. The world is coming to know you as a Martial Artist and Canadian Actress, but your IG bio shows us that you’re a lot more than that. Tell us more about these descriptions on your bio.

    It’s so funny, that bio! I was just giggling so much as I wrote it because it feels ridiculous. The first few things, the ‘Amazonian’, ‘Kryptonian’ and ‘Edenian’, those of course stemmed from roles I was able to play, that I felt so grateful to be able to be a part of. In the DC world, as an Amazonian or Kryptonian, those are both such strong races. And to be able to portray a woman of Kryptonian or Amazonian blood, I felt was a true honour. So of course I want to lead with those. And Edenian from ‘Mortal Combat Legacy’, that was one of the first major roles that I had and Katana was such an iconic character that I hold that experience very true to my heart. So those top three are very genuine, nice ones. The rest are me being very silly and a total nerd. I probably stayed up too late and thought that rhyming was fun. I would have added a lot more if there wasn’t a limit on it.

    15. Your social media posts show that you want your fans to see your “authentic self” by posting a ” Classy” picture alongside a “not-so-classy” picture with the #notthiscoolinreallife. What’s the story behind this?

    Other than the fact that I just get such a kick out of it and I think it’s funny, I love seeing other people post real pictures so I want to be a part of it. But I feel like I’m becoming acutely aware of the amount of [followers], especially young girls and especially after ‘Wonder Woman’, looking at my material and looking at the things that I put out there. And I’m very aware of the effect that social media has on all of us, but especially on our youth with depression, comparing themselves, and unrealistic standards. I would like to transform the way that we use social media. Because I do think it can be a beautiful thing in a way of connecting people, a way for a regular person to have a platform to speak when they have something important to say. I want to be a part of that movement in transforming it and not encouraging these unrealistic standards; Making it okay and a positive thing to show yourself in maybe in not the best light, or what people may consider not the best light. So, I just want people to know who I really am. I might put on makeup or get dressed up for interviews, or I might look super cool on screen after sitting in the hair and makeup chair for two hours and have a designer customise wardrobe perfectly to my body. But at home and in my regular life when I don’t have those luxuries, I don’t look like that and that’s not the way I live my life. And that’s okay. I want them to know that that is okay. You can be you and have friends and be liked. You don’t need the makeup and the costumes.

    16. What’s your reaction to this year’s Oscar winners?

    I am overwhelmed and overjoyed for the amount of representation and diversity we saw in not just this years Oscar nominees, but the winners! As a woman and person of colour myself, I feel grateful that new precedents were set and we as an industry may now hold ourselves to a higher standard.

    17. If you had to describe the movie industry in one word, what would that word be?


    18. What more can we expect from you in the future?

    You can certainly expect more silly pictures on my social media! You can also expect that I’ll always be striving to create a better, healthier image of women and people of colour, minorities, and anyone who has ever felt left out or like the black sheep. I work towards inclusivity and I want my work to reflect that. So that is what people can expect from me.

    19. What message do you have for all your fans in Malaysia?

    Hello, it’s so nice to see you again! It has been way too long since I’ve gotten to visit. But I hope that by reconnecting even through a zoom interview, you feel my love all the way from Los Angeles and Canada, and I hope to come see everyone again soon.

    Malaysia hopes to see Samantha soon too! We are already excited for what she has in store for us next, whether it be another silly picture, a jaw dropping stunt on camera, or a moving film on human trafficking.

    If you haven’t watched her thrilling zombie-heist-action movie yet, check out the trailer for “Army of the Dead” here:
    I need to tune into Samantha Win.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  2. #437
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Sydney Sweeney

    Yes, Sydney Sweeney is Also Trained in Mixed Martial Arts
    by Carolyn Twersky

    Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images
    The more the world falls in love with Euphoria star Sydney Sweeney, the more we get to learn about her. At first glance, the actress is your typical Hollywood starlet, breaking into the industry thanks to her buzzy TV show, good looks, and impressive acting skills. But there’s so much more to know about Sweeney. Before her life in Los Angeles began, she was just a small town girl in Spokane, Washington, who spent her time with her parents and brother, and training in mixed martial arts.

    Yes, not only is Sweeney a successful car mechanic, a fact that came to light when fans found the actress’ secret TikTok last month, but she’s also an MMA fighter, and apparently a pretty good one at that. Sweeney revealed to Marie Claire back in 2018 that she started practicing the sport when she was 14, and competed in her first competition at 18.

    “It was a grappling competition against all guys a weight category above me, and I got first place,” she said. “Those guys were probably saying, ‘Oh, we didn’t want to hurt her,’ but they were definitely trying. Everyone broke a sweat!”

    When she visited The Kelly Clarkson show last year, Sweeney revealed she can thank her parents for her many interests. "My mom and my dad would tell me to try and fall in love with as many things as possible,” she said, and she took that advice and got involved in the world of MMA to the point where she even got the opportunity to train with some of Ronda Rousey’s senseis. “[I was] like very into it.”

    Unfortunately, her acting career has gotten in the way of her MMA training. Sweeney confided in Kelly Clarkson that she often isn’t allowed to practice while she’s working. “Unfortunately, you sign a little piece of paper that says you’re not to do X, Y, and Z and I am all of X, Y, and Z,” she coyly explained. It seems like, right now, though, Sweeney is not working on a project, or at least, she has gotten permission to pick up the hobby again. On Tuesday, the actress shared a post on Instagram featuring a compilation video of her training. “Missed this,” she captioned the post showing off her MMA skills, and begging the question, what can’t Sydney Sweeney do?
    I've only watched a few episodes of Euphoria and don't remember her from it but that's more on me than her.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  3. #438
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Kristi Yamaguchi

    Kristi Yamaguchi Takes on Kung Fu
    The Olympic figure skater took up the Chinese sport during the pandemic
    by Lynda Lin Grigsby, AARP, May 10, 2022


    Kristi Yamaguchi knows what it means to be the best and has a gold medal to prove she was the top female figure skater at the Winter Olympics in 1992.

    But that was then. Today, Yamaguchi is breaking into a new sport: kung fu, the Chinese martial art that can be every bit as graceful as figure skating but also a lot more aggressive. The champion on ice is training to become a kung fu master on land.

    Those who practice kung fu consider it exercise, self-defense and a way of life. Yamaguchi, 50, started her practice in 2020 at the height of the pandemic, when gyms and ice rinks were closed. And even for a former Olympian, getting the hang of the sport wasn’t easy.

    “Like a month or two in I was like, ‘Oh, wow! This is very humbling!’ ” Yamaguchi says from her home in Alamo, California. “Once you’ve been in Olympic-athlete shape, after that you just always feel out of shape.”

    Old work ethic, new sport
    Figure skaters like to say the ice rink is a cryogenic freezer. Yamaguchi is proof of concept. Today, she may not style her shoulder-length black hair in the bouffant she sported back in 1992, but she looks remarkably the same as the day she glided to victory in Albertville, France, wearing black and gold sequins.

    To the centuries-old practice of kung fu, Yamaguchi brings a decidedly modern (and intense) approach to training. She attends group classes at Richard Lee’s East West Kung Fu in Alamo up to three times a week and takes monthly private lessons, says Janice Fitzsimmons, her black belt instructor.

    This level of dedication isn’t surprising. During Yamaguchi’s competitive figure-skating days, every triple lutz and salchow was the product of a well-cultivated work ethic. As Christy Ness, who coached the Olympian starting at age 9, often said, “There’s no secret to success. It’s just plain and simple hard work.”

    And yet, being named “best in the world” can sometimes be a burden, creating unrealistic expectations for athletes who struggle to find purpose after realizing a dream like medaling at the Olympics. Yamaguchi avoided that potential pitfall by redefining herself as a wife, mother and philanthropist, and in 2008 by competing on Dancing with the Stars (she won, of course).

    “I think a lot of people, when they’re kind of settled in their life, they may not be so willing to try something new,” Fitzsimmons says. “She takes it on, and she’s good with becoming uncomfortable to get more comfortable.”

    Yamaguchi has an orange-2 belt, a beginner level in kung fu. She is on track to earn a purple belt by the summer, which will put her two belt levels away from her husband, Bret Hedican, an NHL Stanley Cup champion, former Olympian and fellow kung fu enthusiast. In a family of elite athletes, Yamaguchi says the competition is friendly.

    “I can visualize them sparring,” jokes Dale Minami, a family friend as well as Yamaguchi’s lawyer.

    A new perspective on age 50
    Last July, Yamaguchi turned 50, entering a new decade that finds her busier than ever with Always Dream, her 25-year-old foundation that promotes early-childhood literacy. Busy but also mortal. The aches and pains that creep into her hips and joints could be attributed to all those years spent leaping, spinning and contorting her body in supernatural positions — or simply to being human.

    “The body definitely feels different than it used to,” she says. “I’ve kind of resigned that there’s probably no more pain-free days left.”

    In addition to kung fu, Yamaguchi stays active by going for hikes and walking her dog, Tank, on the hilly streets of her neighborhood, which, for a time, started to feel unsafe to her. Since the pandemic, anti-Asian hate crimes have exploded, a trend so alarming that she felt compelled to take a self-defense course with her two teenage daughters.

    Unfortunately, the legacy of anti-Asian sentiment runs deep in her family. Yamaguchi is Yonsei, or fourth-generation Japanese American, and her grandfather George Doi served in Europe with the 100th Infantry Division’s Quartermaster Company during World War II. While he fought for freedom overseas, his family was imprisoned at Amache in Colorado, one of 10 U.S. internment camps built during the war to incarcerate 120,000 Japanese Americans in the name of national security after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.

    Kristi Yamaguchi holds up her gold medal after her performance in the ladies skating event during the 1992 Winter Olympic Games in Albertville France

    Kristi Yamaguchi receives her gold medal for her performance in the ladies skating event during the Winter Olympic Games in Albertville, France, in 1992.

    That legacy made Yamaguchi’s triumph in 1992 all the more poignant. Just a generation after her mother, Carole, had been born behind barbed wire at Amache, Yamaguchi made history as the first Asian American Pacific Islander gold medalist at the Winter Olympics. She continues to be a motivating force for new generations of AAPI figure skaters, including Karen Chen, who calls Yamaguchi an “inspiration and role model.”

    But looking ahead, will there be a black belt in Yamaguchi’s future?

    “One step at a time,” she says. In East West Kung Fu’s 55-year history, dozens of students have earned black belts, but only an elite group of 20 have risen to world-class status. Will Yamaguchi be among the elite in kung fu? The journey would be long, but Yamaguchi quickly shifts into a champion’s mindset.

    “I never sold myself short as far as facing new challenges and figuring out what’s next.”

    Lynda Lin Grigsby is a contributing writer who covers race and the Asian American Pacific Islander community. A former editor of a national AAPI newspaper, she has had her work also appear in Parents, Pasadena Magazine and the Pacific Citizen.
    Kristi is from Fremont where KFM HQ is.

    And we know Richard Lee. We worked with him on the 2001 U.S. Open Kuoshu/Martial Arts Championships.
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

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