Looking Back on 2014

nunchuku.jpegToward the end of every year, I take time to appreciate all the great things that happened throughout the year. This year, I figured I’d write a blog post to this effect and take stock of the highlights of my life in the martial arts and in my stunt career.

1. Becoming an International Martial Arts Instructor. Over the past year or so, my role as a seminar instructor has ballooned. Thanks to the publicity gained from publishing my book, When the Fight Goes to the Ground last year with Tuttle Publishing, I started taking my teaching skills on the road a lot more. After teaching at the PAWMA (Pacific Association of Women Martial Artists) camp last year, I received further invitations to teach down south. I taught at and attended my first NWMAF (National Women’s Martial Arts Federation) training camp, and was invited back to teach at PAWMA camp again in the fall. Furthermore, I was invited to teach at Wright Fight Concepts in New Egypt, New Jersey, once in the winter and then again in the fall. I also taught at a school in North Bay, ON, having been invited there by some fantastic instructors I met at the NWMAF camp, as well as a school in Seattle, thanks to some friends I met at PAWMA camp. This is, of course, all in addition to my annual teaching gigs at the Canadian Jiu-jitsu Union Winter and Summer Camps, which are always such a pleasure. And I’m finishing my year airborne en route to New Zealand where I’ve been invited to teach multiple seminars.

2. Introducing the Love of My Life to My Little Sister. After celebrating our 1-year anniversary of our Big Sister/Little Sister relationship, I introduced Ashleigh to Jiu-jitsu on her request. She has really taken to it, making a lot of progress, both mentally and physically. She even started volunteering with us, helping out with our kids classes. I’m happy to say that she also recently tested for and passed her yellow belt test, an achievement that gives me great pleasure.

3. Scoring Some Supernatural Stunt Work. This past spring, I got a credit stunt doubling on Supernatural. It was a fairly simple scene in which I got grabbed by the neck then slammed back on the ground while seated in a chair. You can check out the scene below. Moreover, I was invited back in the fall to help teach and choreograph a fight scene for a guest star on the show. This was my first fight choreographer credit, and it also gave me my 6th stunt credit, making me a full stuntlist member after years in the business. I am told by some that this accreditation will help me get more work, but time will tell. On a side note, this work gave me the opportunity to meet Jesse Blue, a fellow stunt performer and a fantastic Filipino martial arts instructor. We hit it off so well, I invited him to teach a couple of seminars at our dojo on the topic of knife defense, which were a big hit with all who attended.

4. Jiu-jitsu Tykes Program Launch. After a year of running our Ready-Set-Kiai classes for 3-5 year olds, we introduced a new class for slightly older children. We adjusted the ages of the RSK class to 3-4 then created our Jiu-jitsu Tykes class for 5-7 year olds, which launched this fall. We now have two thriving children’s classes and it’s great seeing those little ones making such great strides in their personal development.

5. Picking Up New Skills. I always strive to improve on my skill set and add new skills that are relevant to my martial arts training and stunt career. I thoroughly enjoyed training in Kirk Caouette’s Film Fu classes, as well as Kirk Jaques’ Action Beats classes, both of which focused on developing fighting skills for film. And thanks to some great seminars put on at the NWMAF and PAWMA training camps, not to mention a few YouTube videos, I added to my martial arts repertoire focusing on weapons (i.e. nunchaku, bo, escrima stick, sai, iron fan, etc.) and live training exercises (i.e. sticky hands, pushing hands, etc.). I’ve continued to explore these skills, introducing them to my students, and am looking forward to adding some clips of me doing them on my 2015 stunt demo reel. Oh, and I even worked on running and fighting in high heels, which wasn’t as hard for me as I expected, as you can see in the little fight clip below. And outside of the martial arts, I continued my training in parkour, which I consider to be quite complementary to the martial arts. It’s very challenging and a lot of fun, and I managed to learn a few new vaults and other cool movement skills over the year.

Overall, it was a fantastic year, full of travel, meeting people and making new friends, learning cool new things. I am truly grateful for everyone who helped make it such a great year. Happy New Year and all the best to you all in 2015! 😀

Now over to you. What have been some of the highlights of your year? Please feel free to share in the comments.

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