A New Zealand First: Chris Rahardja Interview


Chris Rahardja (pictured left with famous rugby All Black Jonah Lomu) is a young karate-ka with a big future. As well as competing and succeeding in many national and international tournaments, he is the first martial artist ever to be nominated at the prestigious Halberg Awards - New Zealand's 'Oscars' for sports people - all at the ripe old age of 17!

PA: Thank you for the opportunity to interview you Chris. How old were you when you started training and what got you interested in the martial arts and specifically karate?

Chris Rahardja: I started when I was five as my parents wanted me to do something and they thought karate would be good because it would teach me some good values and how to defend myself. Sport was not the first thing that came to mind really, I started competing when I was eleven so a good 6 years of traditional karate training before I entered tournaments. I started karate because Dad did kung fu back in Indonesia and he thought karate was a good solid, powerful style [PA: I think that is probably the same for most kids - they end up in something their parents choose for them. CR: Yeah, pretty much].  I am pretty grateful ending up doing karate as when I watch Taekwon-do I am glad I didn't do TKD cause watching it at the Olympics I was just not very impressed with it, although I have trained with the likes of Logan Campbell who went to the Olympics and his legs are super fast but when you are fighting someone it [TKD] just doesn't quite click for me.

Chris with coach Shihan Duane MonkPA: Which style do you study?

Chris Rahardja: Fushin Ryu Karate New Zealand, a Ryobu kai / Wado-ryu based style.

PA: How often do you train and what does your training consist of?

Chris Rahardja: Training changes depending on what I am doing, for instance last year leading up to the World's I was pretty-much training everyday, consisting of short intervals, short bursts but now at the moment it averages maybe 1.5 to 2 hours [per session] and can consist of kata - doing all my kata to try to get my fitness back up. I try to do weights 3 times a week maybe, focusing on upper body and legs to build strength and stamina, and then I have specialised kumite training on a Thursday night as well which is when the whole Auckland squad comes together which is quite good. I do three or four basic classes a week focusing on kihon, which is important for both kata and kumite and to get my core strength working.

PA: So you train everyday?

Chris Rahardja: Pretty much, I have a day off every second Sunday.

PA: That's a lot of training!

Chris Rahardja: Yeah, fitting it in with school is quite hard (laughs).


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An interview with Gerda Geddes

Interview by Ronnie Robinson

Gerda Geddes was the first person who ever studied and taught Tai Chi in the UK, she began training in Shanghai at a time when very few women of any nationality were able to study the art. For nearly 60 years Tai Chi played an integral part in her life and she remained actively interested and open in her heart and mind right to the end. She passed away on Saturday 4th March 2006 at age 89.

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An Interview with Grandmaster William C.C. Chen

Interviewed by Ronnie Robinson

Earlier this year, at Tai Chi Caledonia we were fortunate to have Master William C.C. Chen teaching. Grandmaster Chen has studied Tai Chi Chuan for over 50 years was a close student of Professor Cheng Man-ching and is world-renowned for his achievements in applying Tai Chi Chuan as an effective martial art.

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Postive Aikido: Henry Ellis Interview

Henry Ellis interviewed by Arthur Lockyear for Fighting Arts International - Issue 93

Where and when were you born, Henry?
I was born in Yorkshire, in May 1936 in a little coal mining village called Brampton, near Rotherham. A place where you had to fight your way to and from school each day.

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An interview with Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris Interviewed by Geoff Thompson.

m_chuck_norrisI was recently invited to teach a self-defence seminar for Mr Chuck Norris in Las Vegas Nevada. Whilst there he was gracious enough to do an interview with me for Front Magazine and pose with his Front Hero medal. When I offered him the medal and informed him of his cult status with the readers of Front he was genuinely delighted and said it was a great honour. When you get to meet celebs it is often a disappointing experience, the minds eye image you have of your screen idol is often blasted half to death in ego.

I am delighted to say that Mr Chuck Norris was ego-less, he was not a disappointment, rather he was a delight. I found Mr Norris to be a genuinely warm and humble man, very quietly spoken and courteous at all times. This is what he had to say;

Geoff Thompson: What was your first break in to the film business?

Chuck Norris: Well, really my first big break was a movie called Good Guy's Wear Black. This was a screenplay that I helped develop and write. I peddled it around Hollywood for four years before I was able to finally make it a reality (laughs). But before that I had a chain of martial arts schools that a company wanted to buy and go nation-wide with. You know, like a whole chain of Chuck Norris schools. I thought that maybe 500 schools was better than owning six schools (laughs), well turns out it wasn't. Anyway two years later I lost everything. It took me five years to get out of that whole and pay all the creditors back. In the meantime I was trying to decide what I was going to do with my life. I was teaching private students at the time and one of them was an actor by the name of Steve McQueen. He asked me what I was going to do and said that I wasn't really sure yet whether I was going to start over again or what. I had a family at the time so I was making it by with private lessons and seminars. So he said 'I would suggest that you try the acting field'. I said 'why? I've never had an acting class in my life. I never even did a high school play (laughs). He said 'well, acting is not just having lessons. You either have a certain presence that comes across on the screen or you don't'. And he said 'I think you may have it. I strongly suggest that you give it a try'. So, of course I tried to go to acting school but, you know at this time I had no money. Nothing. And I was checking into acting schools and they were just too expensive. Finally I found an acting school that I was able to take on my GI bill through the military. So I went back to school to learn acting. Then I went out trying to find work (as an actor) but I was competing against guys with years and years of experience. I said 'this isn't going to work'. So I wound up writing my own screenplay and finally, you know through sheer determination and faith I sold the idea and made it a reality. That was in 1977. That, really was the beginning of my career.

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