Kwoklyn Wan talks about the Martial Arts Show Live, Working with his little brother Gok, and his new Movie Role.
- Kwoklyn Wan
Kwoklyn Wan, is one of the biggest names in the UK Martial arts scene today, as founder and original host of the very first Martial Arts Festival, and co developer of the biggest Martial Arts Expo in Europe-Martial Arts Show Live -he definitely knows his way around a dojo. Wan’s impressive martial arts credentials, and business ventures alongside his business partner Paul Clifton, has definitely kept the hard-working 38-year-old father of two, busy, he doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. February this year we saw Kwoklyn Wan on our tv screens along side his ‘Fashion Fix’ younger brother Gok Wan, using his experience as a bullied child into helping UK teenagers with their confidence issues, in Gok’s Teens on C4 . And now the most exciting news for Wan this year so far, that he has been cast in a british movie alongside some big names, which we couldn’t wait to find out about.
Well where do we start, you seem to have so many strings to your belt, lets start with the Martial arts,
What was your original vision and purpose of the Martial arts festival uk?
In 2008 we attended Leicester’s Riverside Festival, the sun was shining, and everyone was having a great time. I then bumped into some good friends of mine who were performing their Capoeira (Brazilian Martial Arts) as part of the featured entertainment. Everyone loved the movements, the music and the overall feel good feeling of a group of martial artists training and playing together in the glorious sun. From that point on I couldn’t get the idea out of my head about creating a similar event that’s main focus was the diverse world of martial arts but also catered for the non martial artist, and MAF-UK was born. We hunted out suitable locations and finally decided that Parklands in Oadby was the perfect location. It had a huge hall just in case the weather wasn’t that great and loads of outdoor space. We set the date for April 2009 and created the UK’s largest martial arts festival to date.
Did the Festival exceed your expectations?
Yes it did! We expected around 2,000 visitors as we had marketed the event everywhere. We didn’t quite expect the 10,000 that finally turned up and had a fantastic time.
Will there be a next one?
We have full intentions of re-launching MAF-UK but we have all been kept very busy with its sister show (The Martial Arts Show Live) which was created in 2010 at the NEC in Birmingham. TMAS Live is now in its 3rd year and has become the largest martial arts expo/show in europe. This May will see our biggest show yet incorporating 3 Huge Halls at the NEC on 12th & 13th May with a new addition being launched The MMA Show Live in one of the Halls. We have pretty much every single huge name you can think of from UFC fighters to screen action hero’s.
Your Martial arts company Urban Martial Arts, where can we find you?
Urban Martial Arts is located in Leicester city centre but we do have several franchise schools dotted around (Anstey, Aylestone, Wolverhampton, Welwyn and London) please log onto URBAN MARTIAL ARTS WEBSITE for full details.
Are there any plans to expand and open some new dojo’s?
We are in the process of restructuring the way Urban Martial Art schools are run but this is still A Plan in Action. We do have our eye on several new locations across the UK.
Where does your passion for Martial arts come from?
I guess it’s the crazy Kung Fu films my dad used to let us watch when we were growing up and the now, cult classic tv programs. I remember as a very young child playing “Monkey Magic” with my brother using a painted broom stick as my staff/pole.
You have a working partnership with Paul Clifton, and together you launched the Martial Arts show, tell us a bit about it?
Paul and I had our first meeting after my first event MAF-UK and hit it off pretty much straight away. It was decided then that we should launch a new show at the NEC as the midlands was lacking a first-rate martial arts event based in middle england. Paul being in the publishing industry for years would be the official media partner and I would concentrate on the logistical side of running the show.
How proud of that, are you?
We are both very proud that in less than two years we took a product that did not exist and turned it into the largest most talked about event in the martial arts calendar.
Are there any new Wan/Clifton projects in the pipeline?
We have literally loads of new up and coming projects ranging from Apps, to Film Production and TV. It’s all very exciting though at the same time all very tiring. All I can say is “Watch this Space”
How was it working with your brother on Gok’s Teens “The Naked Truth”? tackling teenage confidence issues ?
I loved every minute of it, Gok and I are very, very similar (being only 1 year apart in age), we have the same sense of humour, and our values and attitudes are almost identical, so, it was very easy working with him on camera. We were both bullied at school for being Fat & Chinese, so it was very easy for us to really understand the pressure and negative comments that these kid’s were being exposed too. It felt great when off camera the kid’s came up too us and said that we really had made a big difference to their life’s. I know that we shall continue to keep helping other children for the rest of our lives’.
You definitely seemed to put your heart into it, teaching the youngsters to love themselves again, did the teens, teach you anything ?
I guess the teen’s taught me that with the right kind of help and support we really can make a difference. These kid’s want to listen, they want to learn and they do want to be children and not have a care in the world. Gok is a great ambassador for this and I will support him all the way.
It seems that you are part of a very hard-working family, where did you and your siblings get this work ethic from ?
As we grew up, it was very evident that Mum and Dad worked their socks off to give us every thing we ever wanted. It was never thrown back in our face that they worked 7 days a week, nor was it a chore to them, “it was life” and that was that. So hard work is a mind-set, it’s only hard work if you make a fuss about it.
Soar Magazine was quoted saying you could be Leicester’s most successful brothers since David and Richard Attenborough, we think they might be right, what do you think ?
What a huge accolade! Gok and I have been very fortunate that we have both found jobs that we thoroughly love. Success is measured by three simple but very important factors. FREEDOM, RESPECT and PEACE. Once you have truly worked out what they mean you will have success.
Now, we spotted that you tweeted recently that you have been cast in a movie, how exciting!! what can you tell us about it ?
Yes I can. Bredrin filmworks are currently working on a new film called “The Law of One” it is a mixed martial arts film and has some big names attached (Top Secret). The Director was watching Gok’s Teens and spotted me, a larger than life character and liked what he saw. He contacted me and I sat a very short screen cast audition and was offered the part.
Who is directing the movie ?
The Director is Winston George Ellis who personally has appeared in Pirates of the Caribbean with Johnny Depp, and Batman Begins.
Who else is going to be in the movie?
My Character plays alongside Andy Beckwith (Film: Snatch) and the lead is Top Secret at the moment but they are HUGE!
When do you start filming?
We start filming in September at Wimbledon Studios London for 6 weeks.
You are another example of amazing success coming from hard work, and doing something you love, what advice would you give our young readers, who have a passion but just do not know how to get started ?
It’s not as hard as you think to get started, you just need to have the confidence to believe in the product you are creating and understand that sometimes if not all the time you will be required to work 7 days a week and for 16/18 hours a day. You will only get out what you put in and remember FREEDOM, RESPECT and PEACE.
Thanks for talking to us Kwoklyn, it’s been a pleasure.