The Challenge: Ask an expert something you are curious about in his/her field.
A few years ago I met a very talented man named Jason Huett. He is a 3rd Degree Black Belt and founder of Kicks Unlimited. Jason’s vision is to develop the greatest martial arts system in the United States—one where kids and adults of all ages could learn not only the martial arts, but also life skills in a positive and service-oriented environment. The thing I remembered right away about Jason is that he told me that he used to be a real Power Ranger. I also found out today form his website that he has worked as a professional stuntman in Los Angeles for the movie Legally Blonde and the ever popular ER.
Well, needless-to-say I had a few things I was curious about in his field. So I called him up and fumbled through the reintroduction of myself, after having only talked with him for two minutes two years ago. He was super nice and very open to answering my questions.
I asked him to explain for me about his style of martial arts. He called it “extreme martial arts.” He said that in the 80’s with the Karate Kid movies martial arts became more popular. His style combines some of his acting and stunt experience involving entertainment and it also combines some acrobatics with martial arts. I asked him about the choreography of the Power Rangers. Is it all choreographed perfectly and how long does it take to learn it? Jason shared that for the TV show they would get on set that morning very early, choreograph the scenes for the day and then shoot the scenes the same day. For the live performance shows he would do for Power Rangers, the moves were choreographed farther ahead of time. They would try to “mix it up” here and there to keep adding harder moves and to add variety to their performances. Jason also shared that the talent in Hollywood pales in comparison to the talent in the Karate schools across the country. The teachers in his classes are some of the best talent there is out there.
Of course by the end of our ten minute conversation I was wanting to see some of this talent in action. Jason invited me to stop by anytime to watch any of the classes or even the tournaments. He also directed me to the NASKA website.
I have to say that this experience really got me out of my comfort zone and got my curiosity peaked into an area I know very little about. Jason’s profession is fascinating and it is neat to hear home much creativity and personal style he has put into his profession and business.
On Challenge #17 I took the time to learn a magic trick (they’re illusions, Michael). I only had 30 minutes and no chainsaw, so I wasn’t able to figure out how to saw Kim in half. Safely, that is. Today I turned my attention back to magic. I happen to know a magician, and I figured that this was a pretty good time to ask a burning question:
Where do magicians get the ideas for their tricks?
Are there special books they can buy? Do they create their own original tricks? Do magicians get together at conferences to learn new tricks? Here’s what Robert said:
All of the methods you asked about I do. There’s no easy way to answer your question. Yes you can buy tricks and illusions and probably make them work OK. Remember though, it’s kind of like buying PhotoShop. You can probably make it do what you want. But there are countless nuances and techniques that transform it from a software program into real magic. I’ve been doing magic for 31 years and I’m still learning.
Best secret…it’s not about the tricks or fooling people. It’s about connecting with people and having fun.The real secret is to make stars out of your audience members.
Interesting comments, I thought. (Thanks Robert!) Upon further review, I uncovered a magazine devoted to magic and quite a few web sites that turned up conferences. I’ll be meeting with Robert in a few weeks, and I have a few follow up questions to ask him then. So far I have not been able to dig up a book that will show my how to saw Kim in half. Safely, of course.
So, who was most creative with today’s challenge? Who went beyond the comfort zone and put the biggest hammer on Adultitis? Who did a better job of capturing the spirit of childhood, Kim or Jason? Cast Your Vote!
Tomorrow’s Challenge: Audio Sneak Peek