If you’re looking for inspiration from someone who focuses supremely on all-around fitness training, you need look no further than Rudy Reyes. Born in 1971, Rudy Reyes is not only a champion Kung Fu artist, but also made his mark as a Recon Marine, the elite of Marine Corps Special Operations Reconnaissance. This led to Reyes’ recent television series broadcast by HBO, Generation Kill. With this series, he’s now launching his acting career in which he shares what he experienced during his time training with the military.
Budomate: Mr. Reyes, how and when did you start your long way in martial arts? Was it like interest after watching some movie or you step into sport because of bulling in childhood, or maybe it is a family tradition?
Rudy: I was influenced by Bruce Lee when I was younger, like most boys who grew up in the 70s. However, since I had a difficult childhood, I used what I had watched from Mr. Lee and used them in my everyday troubles. I would practice what I could, what I learned from watching Bruce Lee martial arts movies, and eventually used my skills to protect myself and my younger brothers from the trials of everyday life. I guess you could say that I was self taught in the beginning, but in 1986, at the age of 15, I enrolled in Kung Fu at the local YMCA under John Reider.
Budomate: When did you join the Marine Corps? I know a person has to apply and be selected to be a candidate, do you remember tests, which one was the most difficult?
Rudy: I joined the Marines in 1998. The test to become a Recon Marine, the Marines’ Special Forces unit, are arduous. This however, is only the first step. Once you pass the test to become a Recon Marine, you must attend Recon school at Camp Pendleton for a year. Becoming a Recon Marine not only test your body, but your mind as well. You are subjected to grueling physical conditioning, then spend hours in a school like setting to learn all the skills you need to become an elite warrior. My nickname given to me during this time was “Just Happy to Be Here,” for my unending enthusiasm. I take every challenge thrown at me as a life lesson.
Budomate: After your military life in the mountains of Afghanistan and sands of Iraq you put the surviving skills into personal trainer career, what gives a zest to your trainings?
Rudy: I love helping other people. I am a caring person and want to help in the way I know best, through physical fitness. Training and conditioning to me is more about personal growth and betterment than physical appeal. I test my body and mind to challenge myself, to push myself beyond the place I’ve gone before. While I do give you exercises to do, I am right there with you, encouraging you along the way. When training with me, you have your own coach in the corner motivating you to do your best.
Budomate: You acted in the HBO miniseries Generation Kill. How it happened and are you going to continue your acting career?
Rudy: During my first tour in Iraq, journalist Evan Wright was embeded in my Recon battalion. Mr. Wright’s experience was eventually turned into Generation Kill. At first, I was asked by producers of the show to be a military adviser and as a trainer for the cast. From these positions I eventually was asked to be an actor on the series, ultimately portraying myself.
Budomate: Like Mark Valley (West Point, Served in Operation Desert Storm) from Human Target TV Series, you were the only soldier cast to play in HBO tv series. How do you think why producers involve real soldiers in action movies now?
Rudy: The real soldiers add realism to the roles they portray.
Budomate: Why you decided to get on board of The Next Dragon TV Show?
Rudy: Janell Smith had stumbled upon my bio and knew immediately that I was exactly what she was looking for in a host. She contacted my representative, and soon I called her. I have always been attracted to the spiritual side of Martial Arts, and this show seemed to be a perfect balance between spiritual and physical.
Rudy: I enjoy watching MMA/UFC and support all of the fighters!
Budomate: There is already 12th season of Ultimate Fighter reality show on TV, do you want to do something like that with The Next Dragon?
Rudy: We hope that The Next Dragon will highlight many great fighters and martial artist. This will be a good platform to showcase all.
Budomate: Do you agree with meaning that Bruce Lee was a some kind of founder of MMA when started to blend the best from different styles?
Rudy: Yes, Bruce Lee’s style is mixed utilizes the best of all forms of fighting! His philosophy was to keep what is useful and discard what is not necessary.
Budomate: And our traditional question – Which 3 martial arts movies (made in US) you can call classic for today?
Rudy: Enter the Dragon. All films with Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris who were pioneers in US for martial arts/action films.
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