Archive for March, 2009

Wushu Training Tips from Beijing China and the Beijing Wushu Team!

Wednesday, March 25th, 2009

Beijing Wushu Team WuDi

Beijing Wushu Team WuDi

Have you ever thought about going to China to train and learn wushu?

I am over here in China as I speak training in wushu.

The training is rigorous. We train 2 times a day. Usually once in the morning and once in the evening. Sometimes the coach switches it up and training is in the afternoon.

Most days training consists of basic kicks and going through your competition form (aka taolu), but some days the athletes need to relax a little and they play some sports or games to focus on conditioning. It can get boring to train the SAME exact thing 365 days a week! Other days we focus on speed training, weight training, or endurance training by going to the gym or track.

Now here are a few important tips about the trip itself. Try to bring currency both US and chinese RMB (ren men bi) BEFORE you come to China. It is a hassle to exchange or withdraw money when you are here. It’s not impossible, but you often need to have a passport or other forms of identification. Then you also end up waiting in long foreign exchange lines. (This just happened to me!)
Do not try to be clever and bring “travelers cheques” because no one accepts them or FEW places do and then you end up going to the bank and exchanging them anyways. Bottom line? Come with enough RMB for at least half if not all your trip (depending on how long you stay.)

How long should you stay? Well I think 3-4 weeks is enough for most people. If you are training hard.. that is a reasonable toll on your body and you will see some significant improvement. If you want to learn about more than just wushu and you want to study chinese and the culture, than thats another subject entirely.

Wushu Coaching – Go to wherever you might know someone or have a referal. You might be coming to China for the experience, but you still want to have good coaching. If you end up with a coach that doesn’t care about you, then you are losing out the full value of your trip. You might as well just spend that money on a good coach in the US who can offer you private lessons!

Methods of training – Don’t get too excited when you are here and injure yourself or over exhaust yourself. KNOW your limits and push yourself, but stay injury free and you will get the most out of your trip.

Other than that, its a great environment to improve because you will around so many high quality athletes, that naturally it will inspire you to improve and up your wushu level to reach theirs!

Spike TV Battles out – Who is the Deadliest Warrior?

Friday, March 20th, 2009

March 16, 2009 12:30 PM EDT

Premiere Episode Features Special Guest, UFC Legend Chuck Liddell

Nine One-Hour Episodes Of New Original Series; Premiere Starting Tuesday, April 7 On Spike TV

Users Can Visit Spike.com To View Full Episodes After They Premiere

NEW YORK, March 16 /PRNewswire/ — Who would win in a battle to the death — a Samurai or a Viking? William Wallace or Shaka Zulu? The Japanese Yakuza or the Sicilian Mafia? Spike TV seeks to finally put these age old questions to rest in “Deadliest Warrior,” an unprecedented, non-scripted series that pits history’s greatest warriors against one another to determine, once and for all, who reigns supreme.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20060322/NYW096LOGO )

Premiering Tuesday, April 7 (10-11p.m., ET/PT) on Spike TV, the debut episode, “Gladiator vs. Apache,” features the crowd-pleasing killer of ancient Rome going up against the fierce, unyielding scalp-picking Native American warrior. Modern day gladiator, UFC fighter Chuck Liddell, makes a special appearance in this episode to test the gladiator’s lethal weapons using his legendary striking abilities.

Each week, a new episode will pit two of the most feared warriors civilization has ever known against each other. To collect all significant data on these legends of combat, “Deadliest Warrior” assembled a fight club that consists of three series regulars: Geoff Desmoulin, a biomedical engineer and karate black belt who uses high-tech sensors to collect the data; ER doctor and UFC physician, Dr. Armand Dorian, who analyzes the lethal potential of each attack on the human body; and computer whiz, Max Geiger, who tracks all the test findings to ultimately run in a battle simulation program. Along with the use of 21st century science and the latest in CGI technology, each episode enlists warrior-specific world-class fighters and experts to provide insight into what makes these combatants tick, analyzing every facet of their unique skills of destruction, culminating in a head-to-head final fight between two legends of the battlefield that will produce the deadliest warrior.

Other highly-anticipated showdowns this season include: Pirate vs. Knight, Taliban vs. IRA, Yakuza vs. Mafia, Viking vs. Samurai, Green Beret vs. Spetznaz, Maori vs. Shaolin Monks, William Wallace vs. Shaka Zulu and Ninja vs. Spartan.

“Deadliest Warrior” featured content on Spike.com will consist of preview clips and highlight segments from each episode. Users will also be able to view full episodes of that week’s episode online after it has premiered on-air.

“Deadliest Warrior” is produced for Spike TV by Morningstar Entertainment (“Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force”). The series is executive produced by Gary Tarpanian and Paninee Theeranuntawat. Tim Prokop serves as supervising producer and director. Sharon Levy and Tim Duffy are Spike TV’s executives in charge of production.

Spike TV is available in 97.7 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks. A unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), MTV Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike TV’s Internet address is www.spike.com and for up-to-the-minute and archival press information and photographs, visit Spike TV’s press site at www.spike.com/press.

SOURCE Spike TV

Wushu Martial Arts Daughter – Chris Yen

Friday, March 13th, 2009

A Chinatown martial-arts prodigy, she fought her fate. Now she’s home.

By S.I. Rosenbaum / Globe Correspondent

Chris Yen Femal Martial Artist

Chris Yen Female Martial Artist

In Chris Yen’s earliest memory, she’s playing on the floor of her mother’s martial arts school in Chinatown.

In addition to his director, producer, and stunt director credits,

Donnie Yen has appeared in more than 40 films and TV shows, including:“Shanghai Knights” (2003), “Hero” (2002), “Blade II” (2002), “Highlander: Endgame” (2000), and “Iron Monkey ” (1993).

Chris Yen has appeared in:

“The Last Warrior” (2009), “Give ‘em Hell, Malone” (2009), “Rockville, CA” (2009) TV series, “A Good Day to Be Black & Sexy” (2008) “Adventures of Johnny Tao” (2007), “Black Rose Academy” (2004), and “Dragon Against Vampire” (1985).

The floor is sealed concrete, and painted with the Yin-Yang. Her mother, Bow Sim Mark, is teaching the meaning of the symbol to her students. Yen is about 4 years old.

The yin and the yang are opposites – hard and soft, black and white – but they’re not separate. They need each other to form that circle, Yen’s mother explained to her students. They need each other to create that balance.

As an adult, Yen’s path has taken her far from Boston. Now in her 30s (she declines to give her exact age), she’s an actress, writer, and kung fu artist in her own right, with a new movie coming out.

Yet a few weeks ago, she found herself back where she started: in her mother’s school, sitting across from Mark. She felt – not nervous, she said later, but cautious. Her mother was so private. How could Yen ask what she wanted to know?

Yen grew up in two worlds, and she felt she didn’t fit in either.

One world was Newton, where she lived and went to school. Her classmates spoke English and called her Chris. They couldn’t fathom her life, with its long hours of martial-arts training – they had never heard of wushu, the martial art in which her mother was a sifu, or master.

The other world was Boston’s Chinatown, where her mother taught martial arts. There, Yen was surrounded by American-born Chinese kids like herself. They spoke Cantonese, and they called her by her Chinese name, Chi Ching. They all knew who she was: Sifu Mark’s daughter, special and different.

Mark started training Yen in the martial art of wushu, a gymnastic form of kung fu, when she was just a toddler. By the time she was 6, Yen was helping her mother teach class, crisply correcting adult students four times her age.

Chris Yen Wushu Pose

Chris Yen Wushu Pose

“I was really strict,” Yen remembered. “I was a tough cookie.”

She was also lonely.

Yen had an older brother, Donnie, but he went to study wushu in China when he was 16 and Yen was 6. He became a famous kung fu movie star. Yen watched him on the big screen – a stranger, larger than life, a cinema idol.

Yen was poised to follow in his footsteps. At 10, she traveled to China; performing together, she and her mother were a sensation. “The Sweat of Ten Years Has Watered a New Blossom of Wushu,” a local newspaper wrote. Yen was known for her flying double back kick; she would leap into the air and arch her back so that both feet were pointing straight up toward the sky.

Around this time, Mark remembers her daughter writing her a letter, saying she wanted to quit wushu training. Yen has no memory of this. But the feeling grew in her as she got older.

In high school, she began to neglect her training. She stopped spending time in her mother’s school, and she stopped performing demonstrations with her mother.

“I struggled a lot, trying to fit in,” she said. “I was a very lost teenager.”

Mark remembers that period, too.

“She had other friends,” and she stopped practicing wushu, Mark recalled. “Of course I don’t happy. We talk a lot, but she doesn’t want.”

Mark, who is about 65 (her exact age is uncertain even to her daughter, clouded by differing reckonings of age here and in China), is a small woman with precise, graceful movements and a quiet intensity. She studied wushu for more than 20 years in the city of Canton, now called Guangzhou, before coming to the United States and founding her studio in Boston. She was one of the first female sifus of her generation.

She didn’t talk to her daughter much about her past, or her childhood in communist China. But Yen knew that her mother had expectations of her.

“She wanted me to carry on the legacy of her school, of what she’s built,” Yen said.

Yen wasn’t sure what she wanted, but she knew it was something else. She tried out clothes and boys. She tried out volleyball. She even tried other forms of martial arts, though she didn’t mention this to her mother.

“At first, it definitely felt like I was going behind her back and doing something totally wrong . . . to study with other people,” Yen said.

Mark didn’t say much about Yen’s experiments. She knew that ultimately she had little control over her daughter.

“I don’t have any choice, but I pull her come back,” Mark recalls about her daughter’s quiet rebellion. “She still a good girl, but I don’t like for her to go this way.”

Yen attended Boston College, and when she graduated in 1999, she left Boston to travel. She was living in Singapore in 2001 when she got a call from her brother, Donnie.

He’d acted in a film, years before, that had just opened in US theaters under the auspices of Quentin Tarantino, a longtime fan of Hong Kong action cinema. The film was called “Iron Monkey,” and Americans loved it. Tarantino wanted Donnie to come to the United States, and Donnie needed an assistant.

“He made me quit my job and come help him out,” Yen recalls. “For a few years I was living out of my suitcase.”

For the first time, the siblings got to know each other. Yen traveled with her brother to press events and movie shoots, flying to Los Angeles, Prague, Japan, Hong Kong. At Cannes, she met a director who was looking for a young woman with kung fu skills to play a part in a movie.

Yen agreed. It would just be for fun. She’d had a bit role in a movie once as a child, but she didn’t really know much about acting.

She fell in love with it.

In front of the camera, Yen found, she didn’t choose between being Chris from Newton or being Chi Ching from Chinatown.

She could be someone else entirely.

“It was another form, another outlet for expression other than martial arts,” she said. “You have these opportunities to play different sides of you.”

She began to study acting as seriously as she had studied wushu as a child. She got small parts in small movies, then bigger parts in bigger movies. Her latest film, “Give ‘em Hell, Malone,” will screen at the Cannes Film Festival. It co-stars Ving Rhames and is directed by Russell Mulcahy, who made “Highlander.”

She’s also working behind the scenes, as a writer/producer. One of the projects she’s working on is about a woman with split personalities: bubble-tea clerk by day, vigilante by night. Another one is about a girl named Chris who grew up in her mother’s school in Chinatown.

And there is one more story she wants to tell: not her own, but her mother’s.

Things have changed between them. No longer teacher and student, Yen said, they have become free to be mother and daughter.

Mark, too, feels that things are different. “Now is better than before,” she said. “She think I’m a good mother.”

Yen can’t carry on her mother’s legacy as a sifu, but she wants to preserve it in her own way. “It’s a very important quest of mine,” she said. “I need to write my mother’s story. . . . I feel like it’s my responsibility.” She is thinking about producing a documentary about Sifu Mark. Or possibly, someday, a feature film.

So when Yen came home to Boston for Chinese New Year last month, she found herself sitting across from her mother in the chilly school. Sifu Mark had never really talked about her past. Now, Yen asked her mother to tell her the story from the very beginning.

“Mom,” she asked, “where were you born?”

Movie Review: Street Fighter – The Legend of Chun-Li

Thursday, March 5th, 2009

Written by Chris Beaumont
Published March 03, 2009

Way back in 1987 a game arrived in arcades that would go on to spawn a series that would influence a generation of gamers and leave an indelible mark on virtually every fighting game that has come since. It is a game I’ve never played in any form. In 1991 the sequel was released, advancing the original and expanding what is possible in a fighting game. This was the one I played, the only one of the series. I wasn’t terribly good at it, but I was always game to give it a go. The games proved so popular as to spawn a live action film in 1994, starring Jean Claude Van Damme and featuring the last big screen appearance by Raul Julia. The film was not well received. Since then, the game series has been going strong and has now spawned a new film, not connected to the original game.

streetfighter10Among online communities the new movie has sparked much debate not only about its quality, or lack thereof, but about its adherence to canon. There are people who argue both ways, with no one able to produce rock solid evidence that they are right. I never played the game for the story, aside from who the “good guys” were and who the “bad guys” were, plus one M. Bison being the main bad guy. Seriously, sometimes discussion of canon within a series can get a little out of hand. If a film or show is part of a running series, it sure better follow the canon; however, there is another alternative. Different creators can have different interpretations of the source material leading to content that is not canon. There is nothing wrong with this, so long as the story told bears a passing familiarity to the source and that it stands up on its own. This movie, unfortunately, does not stand up.

This new film centers on, you guessed it, Chun-Li (Kristen Kreuk). We begin with Chun-Li as a little girl, her father standing dutifully by, wishing the best for his daughter. Things are going well for the family as they move to Hong Kong. Father and daughter are near inseparable, especially when he begins to teach her the art of Wushu.

The family dream does not last long as crime boss Bison (Neil McDonough) arrives with his henchman Balrog (Michael Clarke Duncan) to collect daddy for their own nefarious deeds. Young Chun-Li witnesses this, and is forever scarred. Well, one would think that.

Skip forward a few years. Chun-Li is all grown and seems to be doing fine without her daddy cheering her on. Following one of her piano performances, she receives an ancient scroll that instructs her to leave her life behind and go to Thailand, Bangkok to be exact. This is all the beginning of the end for the film.

streetfighter6Chun-Li sets out to find her father and uncover the secrets behind her disappearance. Before she is able to do that, she undergoes training from the mysterious Gen (Robin Shou) who shows her how to create a glowing energy ball using what looks like tai chi movements.

Meanwhile, Charlie Nash (Chris Klein) shows up. He is a hardened Interpol agent tasked with aiding Det. Maya Sunee (Moon Bloodgood) in tracking down the secretive Shadaloo crime syndicate, which happens to be headed by Bison.

Before long, Chun-Li and Nash cross paths with Bison just trying to kill them all as he goes about his real estate scheme, buying up the slums of Bangkok to build luxury estates. Gee, that sort of sounds like something Lex Luthor would do.

There are a couple of fights along the way, including one between Chun-Li and Vega (Taboo). However, they are rather choppy and wire-assisted. It was almost like they wanted to cover up the fact that none of the actors were real fighters. I smell a conspiracy.

Anyway, the film heads in the expected direction with the expected outcome, and a conclusion that is a tease ripped right from Batman Begins. Something tells me we won’t be seeing that payoff anytime soon as I have a hard time seeing the box office potential of this film warranting the further expense.

The story is peppered with voice-over exposition through Chun-Li. The problem is that a lot of it does not make sense, does not jibe with what we see, and is downright silly at times. It is almost as if screenwriter Justin Marks (this is his feature debut) wrote the screenplay, realized their were a number of holes, and then wrote the voice-over in an attempt to cover the holes.

A big problem is the scroll. It would seem to be an important point, but all we get initially is that it is pretty. Some time passes, would seem like months or more (the film does not seem to have a set rate for time advancement), and then she decides to dig it out. Initially the translation just says to go to Bangkok, but her voice-over indicates she must leave her comfortable lifestyle and live like a bum. It did not make a lot of sense and added nothing to the story.

That is just one example. Character motivations are fuzzy at best and they just seem to pop up wherever the story needs them to with no regards to actual development or connective tissue to link it all together.

What I was hoping for was a bad but fun movie. What I got was a bad but stupid movie. I could not help but shake my head at some of the silly things that happen. I guess this world does not require any logic in its inhabitants.

The acting is downright poor. Kristen Kreuk is certainly a pretty face up there on the big screen, but when it comes to acting, she leaves much to be desired; it always looks like she is acting. Neil McDonough fails to bring his A game, and I generally like him. I kept trying to figure out why he was using a sporadic, and poor, Irish accent. The rest of the cast is just there, not offering much to the whole.

Still, there is one performance worth mentioning. Chris Klein as Nash is absolutely hilarious. It was like he was playing a combination of Don Johnson and Clint Eastwood while suffering from constipation. I get the impression that he realized just how bad the movie was going to be and decided to take his performance to the edge and just keep on going. His wild character is charismatic and you will not be able to tear your eyes away from his personal train wreck.

Bottom line. Whether you believe this is canon or not, it does not matter as the movie is just flat out bad. It is so utterly, laughably bad that you will not have a clue as to what is actually going on. Can anyone explain the reason for the scroll? This movie will just enter the ranks of bad video game adaptations.

That’s one man’s opinion.

For those of you who have seen Street Fighter the movie- what did you think of the movie?

SPIKE TV STARTS SHOOTING ORIGINAL TV SERIES ‘SURVIVING DISASTER’ AND ‘DEADLIEST WARRIOR’ FOR 2009

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009

Released by Spike TV

Spike TV Green Lights Original Series ‘Surviving Disaster’ and ‘Deadliest Warrior’ for 2009

Network Announces Season 2 Renewal For ‘DEA’

NEW YORK, Oct. 16 — Spike TV has given the green light to two of its most ambitious new projects for series and has renewed its successful original series, “DEA,” all slated to premiere in 2009. Production on the new distinctive original series “Surviving Disaster” (working title) and “Deadliest Warrior,” and season two of “DEA” will begin this fall, it was announced today by Sharon Levy, senior vice president of original series for Spike TV.

“Spike TV is taking action-packed programming to an entirely new level,” says Levy. “We’re thrilled to be in business with some of the most talented and successful producers in the industry and bring this programming to viewers.”

In “Surviving Disaster,” Spike TV presents a series, unlike any other on television, that may actually save a life. What’s the best way to survive an earthquake, shark attack, plane crash, bioterrorism, hostage crisis or deadly tsunami? For the sake of viewers and their families, it’s imperative to know how to survive disaster, both natural and man-made, and former Navy SEAL Cade Courtley (Mark Burnett’s “Combat Missions”) is just the guy to lead viewers to safety in this elaborate step-by-step weekly series. With some of the most elaborate disaster simulations ever created for television, “Surviving Disaster” is a look at how people can arm themselves with knowledge that could save their lives in the event of disaster.

Ten one-hour episodes of “Surviving Disaster” will be produced by Wall to Wall Media (“Man On a Wire,” “Frontier House,” “Spymaster,” “Ancient Egyptians”) with Alex Graham and Jonathan Hewes serving as executive producers.

With the series “Deadliest Warrior,” Spike TV will settle once and for all the age-old bar bet of who is history’s ultimate fighting machine. Each week, this original, action-packed yet historical narrative series will pit two of the most feared warriors civilization has ever known against one another. Who would come out the victor in a battle of Genghis Kahn’s Mongol Barbarians versus Viking warriors or Roman gladiators against Japanese samurai? Utilizing the latest in CGI technology, Spike TV will enlist experts on these warriors to provide insight into what made these feared combatants tick and analyze everything from their weaponry to their unique skills of destruction. Each episode will culminate when the two legends of the battlefield go head-to-head in a final fight that will produce the deadliest warrior.

Nine one-hour episodes of “Deadliest Warrior” will be produced by Morningstar Entertainment (“Battleground: The Art of War,” “Manhunters — Fugitive Task Force”) with Gary Tarpanian and Paninee Theeranuntawat serving as executive producers.

“DEA” returns for a second season on Spike TV as the network once again was given exclusive access to follow a group of Special Agents and Task Force Officers in the DEA as they put their lives on the line in a daily battle against the ruthless illegal drug industry with individuals ranging from street level dealers all the way up to international traffickers. Production begins this fall for season two in a city to be announced at a later date.

“DEA” averaged 1.2 million viewers for its premiere season (April-May, 2008) and gave the network a 132% increase in viewership in its timeslot. “DEA” ranked #4 in all of cable in its timeslot among Men 18-34 and 18-49.

Nine new episodes of “DEA” will be produced for Spike TV by Al Roker Entertainment, Inc. and Size 12 Productions. Executive producers for the series are Al Roker for Al Roker Entertainment and Russell Muth and Hank Capshaw for Size 12 Productions. Co-executive producer for Al Roker Entertainment is Michael Kaufman. Tim Duffy is Spike TV’s executive in charge of production.

Spike TV is available in 97.3 million homes and is a division of MTV Networks. A unit of Viacom (NYSE: VIA, VIA.B), MTV Networks is one of the world’s leading creators of programming and content across all media platforms. Spike TV’s Internet address is http://www.spike.com.