Aikido of San Jose @ the movies 1985
<Jack Wada as Underworld Death Dealer and Harry Concepcion as Bunny Rabbit from Donnie Darko, ASJ Fright Nite 2006>In 1985 Aikido of San Jose participated in the filming of the movie “Hawkeye”. We were approached by George Chung, then of America’s Best Karate, to participate in this film. George was a national forms champion and was running his own series of schools. He was at that time making films with a martial arts and action slant to them.
So we were asked to play the Las Vegas Grand Temple, where the character George played was to test for his black belt. Some of the students then of ASJ participating were Lou Bermingham, Nick de la Torre, Sunny Skys, Steve Mattern………As I remember the scene we were in was shot somewhere in Campbell. Coffee and doughnuts were provided. I was given a speaking part, the master of the Grand Temple. I get to interview George’s character. One of my first exposures to martial arts was in the first episode of “The Avengers” to air on American TV in March of 1966. Mrs. Peel was helping to investigate a series of murders where the victims, necks were broken by a strike from the side, ie a karate chop. So she enters a dojo and asks to become a student. The sensei is played by the British actor John Hollis(Patrick Stewart before Patrick Stewart). I decided to play my role based on John Hollis’s interpretation of a Japanese sensei.
Just to do the little bit we were in took hours and hours of rehearsal and filming. All in all it turned out to be quite fun. But I have a healthy respect for anyone who is seriously trying to accomplish anything in film.
At that time the 49ers were coming off their second Super Bowl. Also appearing in the film was All-Pro Ronnie Lott. I believe at the time he was studying with George. George later went on to become a conditioning coach for the 49ers. In fact it was through George that we got to appear in the half-time demo at Candlestick Park in 1994.
The film had a local premier in Los Gatos. I was recognized once while walking the streets of Japantown by someone who had seen the video of the film. Here is the brief footage of our appearance: