Stunt Performer Spotlight: Jimmy Manfredy
Tell about yourself and stunts! My name is Jimmy Manfredy, born in Hartford, CT and raised moving back and forth between the Bronx, NY and Waterbury, CT, when we weren’t traveling between military bases both national and international with my father in my early years of my life. At the age of five years old, my father Jimmy R. Manfredy Sr. decided that it was time to start my training in the martial arts. My father held a 4th Degree Black Belt in Tang Soo Do primarily, but also held belts in a few others like Kyokushin Karate, Judo, and Jujitsu (Japanese not Brazilian). He figured out quickly however that I wouldn’t be a very attentive student for him, so he sought out the help of a man named Wang Zhi Chen, a Kung Fu practitioner. Master Chen took me on as a student and taught multiple form of kung fu froms such as, Long Fist, animal forms, Sanda(Chinese Kickboxing) and Chin Na (Joint Manipulation); to one of my favorite forms of kung fu which is Drunken Boxing which allowed me to be more playful and unpredictable (I was a student of Sifu Chen until he passed in 1997 five months after my 17th birthday). In later years I sought out and continued training in other systems of martial arts, also finally taking my dad up of his offer to train me. But considering I was heavily influenced by the Bruce Lee movies my dad and I always watched together growing up. Before Sifu Chen passed, when I was 15 I began training Wing Chun as well (Sifu Hing Fai Chan) and after his passing I continued to train with Sifu Chan and also sought out other teachers of the Wing Chun system. Years later I moved on to other instructors none more currently notable than my current teacher Grandmaster Samuel Kwok (Student of Ip Ching & Ip Chun sons of the legendary Ip Man teacher of Bruce Lee.), so before I start rambling, I’ll end this part here, as you can tell I have a passion for the martial arts. What inspired you to become a stunt performer? Honestly this is an easy one I always loved Jackie Chan’s movies and the extreme stuff he did in them, to the point where I keep pushing my limits my martial arts training by adding free running and acrobatics and later creating more fight choreography styled routines for my martial arts schools demo team for tournaments. This made me believe and want to do it on screen as well which when I finally got my chance years later I found there was way more to it but fell in love with none the less. What’s is your greatest skill as a stunt performer? This is simple, listening, following directions, and teamwork! You can have all the physical abilities in the world but they mean nothing if you can’t understand what’s to be done cohesively with your team. What’s the best part of being a stunt performer? Being able to use my skills with great like-minded people to entertain others! What advice would you give other stunt performers? Never claim to know someone you don’t or that you have an ability you don’t (it’s a very tight community). Always be polite and professional with everyone (check your ego at the door). Invest and fill you stunt bag with everything you need for any scenario (if you don’t know what that may be seek out and surround yourself with others already in the industry and ask for advice). Train hard and pay attention! It’s about teamwork and being able to keep each other safe at all times! Anything else you would like to tell the community? This industry is a very important part of the entertainment and it has its own intricacies within it like most professions, so pay attention, work hard, most definitely play well with others and stay safe! I hope you find my humble opinions helpful and hope to work with as many of you as I can very soon!