Today I’m talking to one of the young and rising martial arts stars in movie world Mike Moh, who just finished his work on a role of Ryu in upcoming Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist TV series, but mostly he known for his role as Danny Cho, the Kamen Rider Axe in Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight and stuntwork on Supah Ninjas.
Budomate: Mike, you are a 4th degree black belt in American Taekwondo, why you decided to practise martial arts?
Mike: When I was 12, I started in Taekwondo because it was getting a little ridiculous teaching myself moves after watching TMNT and Power Rangers. I also loved watching Jackie Chan movies with my Dad as a kid, it’s one of my favorite childhood memories.
Budomate: You were a part owner of Excel Martial Arts in St. Paul, please tell about that?
Mike: While I was in college, I went in on a 3-way venture to start a martial arts school. The other owners were my girlfriend (now my wife) and her mother (now my mother in law!). After about 3 years of doing that, my wife and I moved to Los Angeles and left my Mother in Law in charge of the school.
Budomate: You started you showbiz career with Rob-B-Hood movie alongside Jackie Chan himself. Please tell how did you get this role and how was it to film alongside superstar?
Mike: I believe it was the year 2005 when I was doing a big demonstration at a Taekwondo expo and Mike Chat (Founder of XMA and former blue power ranger) introduced himself to me. 2 weeks after meeting him for the first time, he called me and asked me to submit a tape for a Jackie Chan film. 2 weeks after that, I was on a flight to Hong Kong. It was wild! I was only there for 2 weeks but I learned so much from Jackie. The main thing being humility. The reason why JC is so successful is because he has no ego and works harder than anyone else on set.
Budomate: Did you always wanted to become an action star and actor or you saw yourself in different industry like for example Dolph Lundgren supposed to become an engineer?
Mike: I think every kid that partakes in martial arts dreams of being in movies and becoming a action star of some sort. At least I did…
When I was first exposed to Bruce Lee I told myself that I could do what he does. I never stopped believing that. However, I took some time off my martial arts training to earn a college degree because I felt that was important. I earned a degree in marketing and after my first Summer internship I knew that I would never be happy at a “normal” job!
Budomate: Later you landed as Danny Cho in the CW’s Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight and series earned Emmy for best stunt coordination. Please tell about that.
Mike: I had just moved to Los Angeles when I landed on Kamen Rider. My friend Matt Mullins who played the lead on the show told the producers about me and got me into the audition room. I was fortunate to get the role! It’s true what they say in Hollywood: “It’s who you know..”
Obviously you have to have the skills to back it up but it’s definitely a big part of finding success. Being my first big acting gig, Kamen Rider will always be one of my best experiences. I was so new to acting but everyone on that cast and crew was so awesome and we all got along really well. It’s a shame the show didn’t catch on in America as much as it did in other parts of the world. The good news is that our stunt team led by Dorenda Moore was awarded an emmy so that’s pretty cool!
Budomate: Do you continue to train in TKD or maybe you started to teach?
Mike: Yes. I will always train in Taekwondo. Or, at least until my body won’t allow me to! I recently opened my own school because it is my passion in life to teach.
Budomate: Have you tried other martial arts styles and which one is the most suitable for movie fights on your opinion?
Mike: I haven’t formally trained in any other styles but I have so many talented friends that have and we area always teaching each other so that has definitely influenced my martial arts style. As far as film fighting I actually think taekwondo prepared me extremely well because of all the flashy techniques taekwondo has to offer.
Mike: Any of those names you listed would be a dream to work with. I know friends that have worked with Mr. Stovall and would love to work with him in the future.
Budomate: Which recent martial arts movie you really enjoyed to watch?
Mike: The last one to really catch my attention was the Raid. That movie was bananas. Mad respect to all the martial artists in that production. Wow!
Budomate: If you will be give an opportunity to direct a kung fu movie who you will ask to play a bad guy?
Mike: I know where my strengths lie, and I’ve been on enough sets to know I wouldn’t make the best director. I fully realized this while on the set of Street Fighter. The director, Joey Ansah, has SO much on his plate in addition to acting in the project. He was able to balance it all and do it was vigor and a calm authority. I still don’t know how he did it!
But if I had to, I would pick the Rock to play my bad guy. He would make me look tiny and it would be a true-to-life David vs. Goliath battle!
Budomate: Living in martial arts world who you can call the next biggest martial arts star?
Mike: Wow.. that’s really tough. I would say now that Jackie Chan and Jet Li are getting up there in age, no one has really definitively taken the mantle of being the next true martial arts superstar. I don’t know why that is. But I do know part of it is because there is so much talent out there today. I like to think that I am a part of that next wave but I have a long way to go!
Budomate: I know you have a wife Richelle and son, will Chasen be involved in martial arts too as a part of family traditions?
Mike: My son Chasen is almost 3 and is already kicking, punching, and having fun with it. My daughter Maya is only 7 months so she has a bit of time. I don’t want to force either of my kids to do it, but if they show an interest I am going to take them to their full potential for sure!
My wife, Richelle, actually outranks my in Taekwondo. She was a black belt when I first started. She doesn’t train anymore but she could still kick some butt if need be!
Budomate: Please tell about Street Fighter: Assassin’s Fist TV series which you just finished working. I know producers were fundraising to make it happen. How did you meat Joey Ansah and other crew?
Mike: SFAF was the best project I’ve ever been involved in. The fact that we were able to film this was a miracle considering all the challenges that the producers were faced with. In the end it was all worth it as what we have in the can will really surprise a lot of people.
I was actually lucky to be a part of the project. I believe a fan mentioned my name as a casting suggestion on the SFAF facebook page while they were casting. Joey then messaged me on facebook and I sent in my audition tape. A month later he gave me the good news that I was his Ryu. If you’re reading, thanks Bruce for suggesting me on facebook!
I met Joey, Christian, and the crew for the first time in Bulgaria 2 weeks before the cameras rolled!
Budomate: What fans can expect from new Street Fighter?
Mike: Something better than the movies the Hollywood system has given us. A LOT better! It’s going to appeal to casual and hardcore fans of the Street Fighter universe and to fans of quality storytelling and action fans alike.
Budomate: Please name three movies which you can call a classic of martial arts genre.
Mike: Enter the Dragon. Not everyone will agree with me on this one but I LOVED Rumble in the Bronx. I will round it out with The Matrix.
Thanks for interviewing me, I appreciate the support!
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