Action in the Arts
on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments
by Erica Linthorst
If you have been looking for more action in your martial arts, then the place to be was Suffern, NY (August 6-8) at Soke Michael de Pasquale Jr’s Action Film Academy.
Throughout the weekend, he ran rigorous training for about 50 or so eager participants – kids and adults, from varied backgrounds and geographic locations. His goal “…to bring stunt work to the East Coast [since most of it is in Hollywood].” He proudly allowed “There is nothing like this out here.” While de Pasquale’s professional bio is lengthy and broad – he started at Kim’s Karate when he was 4 years old – one of his most heartfelt efforts has been delivered through his support of the International Brain Research Foundation. (http://www.ibrfinc.org/).
Working harder than hard, he takes a moment to smile , chat with me, and tell me he really wants everyone to have a good time, learn something, and get ready for skits that might potentially propel them into an action film.
People are grouped and move station to station learning acting in action – dive rolling, archery, falling, jumping from balconies, trees, off the trampoline while shooting. They run over couches, tumbling them a la Jackie Chan to “shoot” the attacker from behind the protection. They kick in doors, kick down barrels then repeat all the motions again and again. They smile, they’re intense; they gulp down water to replenish and keep alert. These are the hopefuls, excited to be here and learn, and hopefully land a job.
Toni and Michelle give it their all – from beginning to end of the day. Both are amateurs with no credits to their names…yet!
Each person there has a story to tell. I first spotted Brian Chenworth on the trampoline and thought “This guy must have been a gymnast.” Not at all: he’s been doing Karate since he was 4 years old, and made it into movies as an actor (“The Getaway Car” and others). He came to the Action Academy to build his resume and “expand [his] craft.” One thing he mentioned was that producers and directors appreciate actors who can perform their own stunts.
He looks like he’s ready to take on the world with intensity!
Next, I spotted a person I would ordinarily have overlooked. From a distance she appears older than most other participants and doesn’t look to be in fighting form. When I sidle over to Heather Baade to find out what brings her here today, a totally different picture emerges. First, I catch her tumbling the couch, turning to shoot, and hurdling tires to perform a final dive roll over tires. She finishes with a smile of satisfaction, ready to do it all over again. She’s come up from Austin, TX where she’s worked for years with Won-Ik Yi and others at the Fighting Stunts Association. In her college years she was introduced to TaeKwonDo and has also taken up Muay Thai boxing. Previously, she attended this academy in 2004 and now, recovering from a serious head injury, she sees this as an opportunity to jump start her re-entry into the arena and celebrate her return.
Then, there Sensei Thomas A. Renner – social studies teacher by day and, in his own words, “samurai by night.” In high school he was all about acting, took up Ju Jitsu and Iado (Japanese sword art). When he’s not working (off-teaching hours) with Art Camacho, Lorenzo Lamas, Sasha Mitchell, or Don “The Dragon” Wilson, he wears his single-father title with pride and manages to run the Kazan Dojo in Deer Park, NY.
At the end of my time on-site, I realized that things and people are not always as they appear. Although everyone does not always wear their ambitions / hopes / dreams in the open, it doesn’t mean they don’t have aspirations and goals and the desire to work toward them. Lesson learned!
Soke dePasquale Jr. takes great care in making certain that participants are safe and understand what they are doing. For more information on his activities go to http://www.depasqualejujitsu.com/#loaderdone.