Thursday, January 29, 2009

RIP Helio Gracie

Helio Gracie is the man who founded the Gracie Jiu Jitsu (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) school of fighting. It was his family that gave us the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which proved that grappling and groundfighting can be effective against striking martial arts. From this, submission grappling is now one of the fastest-growing martial arts/combat sports today.

His passing away marks the ending of an era. No longer will we have that experience and authority with us. However, he has left us a great legacy and a large family, from which we will continue to learn and grow.

Helio Gracie on Wikipedia
Helio Gracie on the Gracie Academy website

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

2nd Worskhop Report

As anticipated, there was some attrition from the previous week.
However, we also got four new female auditioners and a whole bunch of new guys (in addition to the two returning females, and half-dozen returning males), most of whom had been in a kung fu class earlier. I found them changing in the bathroom and asked them if they would be interested in trying out for the movie, and most of them said yes. I think we may have a few keepers in the bunch.

Ron Gastelu of was kind enough to donate his time to shoot the video for this week's training, to add to what I shot. I should be able to edit it and post it up soon.

We learned some basics (guard, passing guard, mount, arm bar, rear naked choke, and triangle) and then went into some free rolling. We finished with a Royal Rumble Tag Match.

I am beginning to see some of the auditioners as specific characters. This is good, because it will give greater depth to the story, and greater potential for the audience to identify with it.

This Saturday is the last "open" workshop. After that, potential new cast membmers will be allowed in on a case-by-case basis. One thing that is disappointing me is the lack of trained female grapplers showing up. All the women so far have had some form of martial arts training, and several of them are showing great energy and dedication to learning the techniques, but I want to have a couple more cast members with more experience on the mat and in tournaments.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sammy Vergara inducted into Hall of Honors.

Sammy Vergara, the grappling trainer for "The Redemption of Captain Zorikh," has just been inducted into the Action Martial Art's Hall of Honors in 2009. He was also awarded for "Outstanding Achievements in the Martial Arts" and as an official ambassador for the martial arts.

I am insufferably pleased that this talented young man is working with this production. It gives me very high confidence that we will have an impressive levvel of grappling to display in the movie.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Report from United Filmakers & Actors meetup

Just got back from a "meetup Group" of United Filmakers & Actors, to find that my phone service was out, so I couldn't post a here it is now.

I was on FIRE that night. When it came time to give my pitch, I had the audience laughing and cheering. Afterward, folks came at me from all sides saying that they were interested in getting involved in this project. I wish I had recorded the evening, because it felt really good.

We will see how many of these contacts pan out. About a half-dozen people said they would come to this Saturday's audition/workshop, including fur or five women and a couple of skilled and experienced martial artists. This would be great for the production. I also talked with two music people, a location scout, a couple of producers, and a guy who says he wants to cast me as the lead in a comedy feature he has written.

It's all very exciting!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

First workshop report

It was a very productive first day. After Yours Truly gave a short speech outlining the background and objectives of the project, Sammy Vergara let a brief training session in some basics of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. We then did some free rolling and had a tag-in royal round.

Attendees present were:

Samuel Vergara
Edwin Echevarria
Anthony Batchelor
Willis Cruz, Jr.
Kirkland Campbell
Lady MacDeath
Natasha Missick
Vallen Pilgrim
Eric Ramey
Yousif Sarya
Katrina Segers
G.A. West
Devin Zhang

It was a small but spirited group, having fought through the snow to get there. Afterwards I conferred with Sammy, Edwin, and Lady MacDeath regarding the attendees and casting. I am confident that I will be able to find a role for each of them in the tournament scene.

Interestingly, all the men had at least some form of wrestling or grappling background, be it BJJ, collegiate, or pro, but only one of the women had done grappling before, though all had done some form of martial arts or combat sport. We still need more women, though. If this film is to have a scene at a non-gender-divided grappling tournament, we need a more equitable ballance of males and females.

Captain Zorikh's introduction to the first workshop attendees

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Purpose of This Project

Greetings, and welcome to the production blog of "The Redemption of Captain Zorikh." The picture of that handsome fellow you see is yours truly (about a year, 10 pounds, and two haircuts ago), Captain Zorikh. I am the writer/director/producer/lead actor/subject of "The Redemption of Captain Zorikh. Is this a vanity project? Heck yes, I won't deny it. But I would not feel right if that's all it was.

This movie is about athletic competition and the meaning of redemption.

Athletic training and competition is about working hard, having fun, and being the best there is at what you do. Redemption is about taking everything you are, have been, have done, have thought, have experienced, cashing it in, and finding out what you are worth.

We (the cast and crew of this motion picture) are in the entertainment business. We have the opportunity, nay the responsibility, to move and inspire people. It is the stated intention of this project to move and inspire people to work hard, have fun, and be the best they can be at what they do.

It Begins!

Welcome to the official production blog for the video project titled "The Redemption of Captain Zorikh. Here you will see updates on the production, view photos and videos, and hear the latest news.

You can see more about the project at and see the videos at