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Extreme martial arts on the verge of mainstream invasion

Team Sideswipe at the cutting edge of burgeoning new martial arts scene

by Chanel Perez (

Extreme Martial Arts, or XMA, for those more familiar with the intensely acrobatic sport, is coming out of its training ground at the dojos and gymnastics schools, and leaking into mainstream pop culture all over the world.

Team Sideswipe, an extreme martial arts group based out of Los Angeles, is branching out of the martial arts world and solidifying their name in the entertainment industry. They are currently on tour with Britney Spears, have a series on the CW network, and, if that weren’t enough, their own Las Vegas show is in the works for Caesar’s Palace.

Extreme martial arts is fairly new to the martial arts world, but its popularity is growing quickly. The difficult feats performed by extreme martial artists can best be described as an incorporation of flips and acrobatics from breakdancing and gymnastics, all of which are performed to music.

“It’s a fusion of the traditional martial arts Wushu, Capoeira and Karate,” said Sideswipe member Seth Austin.

Extreme martial arts on the verge of mainstream invasion

Austin, a 20-year-old martial artist from Gilbert, Ariz., has been training in martial arts for 13 years and has a black belt in American Kenpo and a black belt in Shorei-Ryu. It wasn’t until moving to Illinois to train with Sharkey’s Karate that Austin began to practice extreme martial arts.

Everyone on the team trains at Sharkey’s Karate, and the results of their training show: They’ve competed on TV show “America’s Got Talent” a little over a year ago. Austin explained that Sideswipe also does shows for the Navy Exchange, too, and have performed around the world, Guam, Cuba, Spain, Italy, Greece, Istanbul and London.

If there’s any corner of the map that Sideswipe haven’t covered, they’ll be sure to do so soon: Sideswipe is currently on a world tour with Britney Spears. They perform in the circus portion of the concert and worked with several choreographers for the big event.

“They’re all professionals and for that portion they represented martial arts, XMA at least. They’re great at what they do.” said Adam Munoz, one of the newest Sideswipe members who watched the Britney Spears concert in Arizona on April 24th

Sideswipe has much more in store for them this coming year. After the December premiere of the Saturday morning CW series “Kamen Rider: Dragon Knight,” Matt Mullens, the star of the show and the creator of Sideswipe, told of new opportunities that began to fall into place. Sideswipe will be able to call Las Vegas home as they open their own show at Caesar’s Palace at the end of 2009. The details are still in the works. but there definitely will be a show, Mullens said. With the planned show, Extreme Martial arts will no doubt become commonplace.

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