Tell about yourself and your background! *
I was a former taekwondo champion in the US and I became Japan's first black stuntman. In addition to still working as a stunt performer, actor and motion capture artist in Tokyo, I went on to form Japan's first English-speaking stunt team, and also formed Quiet Flame Productions, which offers English-language training in stunts and fight choreography. I'm also an animatronic puppeteer.
What inspired you to become a stunt performer?
At the time that I started my career in Japan, there wasn't anyone here in the entertainment industry that was my size and build; so I was a natural fit for bad guy roles; but that also meant that there was no one who could double for me for the fight scenes. It meant that I constantly had to do all of my own stunts. Eventually, I started going back and forth to the states to get proper training and more experience as a stunt performer, and expand the scope of what I can do. I've been working as a stunt performer internationally for almost 20 years now.
What is your greatest skill as a stunt performer, is there a stunt behind it?
Coming from a martial arts background, fight choreography is my physical skill; but more than that, I would say my greatest skill is being a team player. Stunts is absolutely all about the team; not just the performer doing the skill. Happy to lead if that's what most appropriate, but also happy to be a safety and move mats if that's what it takes to get the job done.
What is the best part about being a stunt performer?
By far, the community. Everyone comes from different athletic backgrounds, different martial arts backgrounds, and different sports histories, but we all have commonality in our discipline to master what we do. I've never met another stunt person that I couldn't relate to on some level, and it's great to share knowledge, info, skills and stories with everyone.
Tell your all-time favorite stunt story!
My favorite experience as a stunt performer was doing motion capture for the video game, Left Alive. I was doing the body and facial motion capture for three of the main characters, and in the game, two of them meet, and one shoots the other in the head and kills him. I got to play the character who was doing the shooting, and then turn around, and be the character who was being shot; ending with a high fall. It was such an awesome experience.
What advice would you give other stunt performers?
Take care of and prioritize your body. You only have one; and keeping it strong and healthy is a big part of ensuring you can have a long career. Even when you get injured, with proper care you can almost always recover. Also, don't ever forgot your end-game. When you start your career, envision where you want to be in 10 or 20 years and don't ever lose sight of that; whether that be a 2nd unit director, action director, stunt coordinator, or anything else. Love every minute of being a performer, but also remember that the stunt world is bigger than just being a performer. There's a lot you can do in this space beyond using your body.
Anything else you'd like to tell the community about?
Anyone coming to Tokyo is very welcome to drop me a line. I'm always happy to hear from and train with other members of the stunt community.
Please share your social media handles and how we can follow you!
Please include any links to stunt reels or videos you'd like to share!
My current reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sfjlZAxTNJ0Quiet
Flame's Reel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfDqtsz5SRE