AR: Thank you for joining me Mark!
MS:Many thanks for this interview Jeff!
AR: How long have you been training in the martial arts for?
MS: It’s now around 36 years I’ve been training very passionately and intensely martial arts. Before I could join a real martial arts school, I was as a young kid, imitating movements from books in my small room. I had to use a dictionary since I only found some books in french or English, and at that time I only spoke Flemish. I still remember that I got a small picture of Bruce Lee on my wall, which I faced when I was training.
When my parents finally allowed me to attend martial arts classes, I started with Karate and some 4 years later I started Taekwondo because I loved a lot kicking when I was young. I did a mix in boxing, Taekwondo and grapping before I finally discovered the marvellous southern Chinese martial art, Wing Tsun ( at that time in the nineties, Germany was the top country of the Leung Ting Wing Tsun style ). I decided to quit Belgium and live in that country which had the best Wing Tsun schools in Europe.
My Wing Flow System is, I could say a derivation of this Wing Tsun style which I discovered some 25 years ago.
Although I still train daily martial arts, I never get enough nor get bored of training. As a martial artist, there is always something to improve. If you have a personal plan and training methods, then you can continue to grow and love training in a healthy way.
AR: You have won some competitions, right?
MS: Yes, being a kid, I won a regional Karate Kata championship and I did a little dozens of Taekwondo youth championships. But after this period of competition, I discovered the beauty of martial arts and didn’t train anymore for competitions. But this doesn’t mean I don’t like sparring…
AR: You have an incredible skill set. How do you stay so quick sharp?
MS: I always trained very hard and intensively. When I was young I trained a lot kicking, used a lot the boxing bag and did weight lifting.
Over the years my body changed, my vision changed and my training methods changed (especially after 45, you feel the change, whether you want or not). I believe that when you build your body and mind 10, 20, 30 or more years then you actually obtain something which will stay in you.
My daily training method focuses among others on specific power and economy of motion ( which is the basic for speed in motion ). I created some special methods with elastics some 5 years ago which forms the core of my training for kicking as well my sensitivity power.
AR: You are making quite an impact in the movie industry, how did you break into movie roles?
MS: I met Ron in Thailand upon an invitation of him and the first project i did was the short movie, “At the Edge” which I co-wrote with a Belgian director, Lorenzo Vanin, and for which I received the award of Best Actor National Short film at the Move Me Productions, 10th Edition- Belgium.
Ron presented me to Byron Gibson, who at that time was finishing the film English Dogs. He wanted me to be part of this movie and asked the production to modify the script so that I could do two fight scenes with Ron.
Ron presented me also to another director, Dean Alexandrou, who was finishing his movie and who also wanted me in his movie, Haphazard, where I played an Asian killer, Sal-Inja.
I also played a very small role in an American movie.
AR: You have a role in the upcoming movie English Dogs In Bangkok, can you tell me about your character?
MS: Yes, I was very happy to have the role of Inspector Somchai who is an ambitious policeman. He doesn’t like guns and knives. And loves to arrest criminals by crushing them with his swift elbow techniques. He hates the European gangsters that have come to his country, little does he know that his superior Inspector Connors from Ireland has business interests with Joe a Pimp who was a former partner of Dutch the man Somchai has to arrest.
AR: You also have your own feature, Emerging From The Shadows which you wrote and direct. Can you tell me about it?
MS: It’s a short movie i wrote and wanted to film in italy, Abruzzo.
The story goes like this: Takeshi was forced to leave Asia after a tragic incident. He studied different languages in order to be able to live in Europe a new life and tries to forget his past. But after three years this peace is suddenly disturbed.
For a personal reason, Martello, an Italian gangster boss and his assistant Muto, together with the help of Karyudo, an ignorant but powerful hunter, track this Asian man in the Italian woods.
Takeshi has no other choice than to confront his past and protect his life. It’s a very low budget project, but made with a lot of passion.
I was very happy when I talked to Ron about this movie, he could join and helped me a lot with the filming and editing. There are some new Italian actors who helped to give a certain character in this short.
AR: The trailer looks unreal! You vs Ron Smoorenburg was a selling point for me. How did you and Ron meet?
MS: Yeah Ron is pure quality in the movie business! Ron Smoorenburg discovered me 4 years ago through social media. He saw some videos of me and was impressed by my skills and charisma on screen. We kept in contact and around 1 year later I decided to take a break in Europe and go to Thailand to meet Ron and to invest my time for my personal training. I stayed 3 months and these were literally 3 magical months.
For the fight scenes with Ron: we have a very good energy together and the movements “flow” really great, as we are very well compatible when we create our fight scenes.
AR: You also have a movie listed called Kung Fu Bodyguard. It sounds really fun and has a good cast! When does filming begin?
MS: Yeah it’s taken from a book with the same name, Kung Fu Bodyguard, written by the talented Ramona Lee Soo-Jun. There are some big names in it and I will be playing Agent A. It has been delayed due to the coronavirus, but it’s actually in pre-production and will probably be filmed next year, 2021.
AR: Do you get to have a few combat scenes?
MS: Definitely! I will be able to show my skills and I am sure it will be great!
AR: Once again you are partnered with Ron. You guys need to do an old school team up movie, right!?
MS: hahaha, it’s true that many productions i did, were with Ron. Maybe one day we will do something as a reminder of the great things we did together 🙂
AR: With Covid-19 having halted the world, how did you spend lockdown?
MS: I was very active with first of all my personal daily training. It also gave me the opportunity to revise my Wing Flow System and to be again more active on social media and lay contacts for movies and martial arts.
AR: Are you currently working on projects you can tell me about?
MS: I am still finishing my short movie which I want to finish before the end of August.
I was also contacted by a French director for a small video project, which will take place this summer.
And a new association has been created for my martial art and everything related to movie projects.
AR: Thank you for your time Mark, keep up the excellent work and keep safe!
MS: Many thanks and to you!