Lee Charles is a fulltime professional martial arts instructor, personal trainer, well being coach, stuntman and actor. He is also a multi title holding Kickboxing, Karate and Shan Shou Champion. Lee has fought for his country several times and is a former World Silver Medallist. Currently Lee is an Inter-nation student of Sensei Benny “The Jet” Urquidez.
Paul: Hi Lee, how’s it going? It’s good of you to give us the time to do this interview.
Lee: No problem Paul, its an honour to do so.
Paul: Did anyone or anything in particular motivate your interest to start training in martial arts?
Lee: When I was about 6yrs old, I remember my father bought a video player and he went the video shop and hired “The Big Boss”, all the family come round as not many people had a video during that time and we all sat and watched it. From then on all I wanted to do is be Bruce Lee, so my journey began.
Paul: You train with Benny “The Jet” Urquidez, a true iconic figure in martial arts and action movies. What can you tell us about meeting and training with this remarkable fellow?
Lee: I have been quite honoured to be taken on by Sensei Benny and his wife Sara as a student of theirs. I have managed to train in Hollywood, London, Bulgaria and I brought him to the Wirral where I live. The training I have undergone under his supervision has been truly amazing, I mean to be training with the greatest kick-boxer of all time is a dream come true. People only see sensei as the guy who fought Jackie Chan or the world champion kick-boxer, when you meet him you realise he’s much, much more than this.
Paul: You’ve made some really impressive achievements in your competitive martial arts career. What have been some of the most memorable moments for you?
Lee: Now that’s a difficult question, it’s hard to say really as a lot depends on how I have fought and felt at the time. That and because of the people I have had chance to compete against and become friends with. All honours aside though, it was properly when I fought on my own show and I had Benny the jet watching. There was no title involved, but he was present and I got to show him my stuff.
Paul: You are also a martial arts instructor, personal trainer, and well being coach. As well as the physical martial arts training, what do you strive to pass onto your students?
Lee: The Bushido way, I think that this has been lost over the last several years due to different things, but all my students need to not just learn the martial arts but also understand it, understand its true meaning and the way it affects your life.
Paul: Would you like to see your students follow in your footsteps into the world of action movies and stunt performing? Would you coach them in these fields also?
Lee: Yes I would love them to, personal achievement is always good but when you see your student’s progress then that is true achievement. Seeing them develop and helping them to do this, guiding them. This way I know that I have done something right in my life and that truly makes me happy. at the end of the day, I was given a great opportunity and who am I not to help pass this on.
Paul: When did you first feel the desire to use your skills to explore the world of action movies and acting?
Lee: I sort of fell into it whilst in Hollywood training with sensei Benny, I was lucky enough to train with him at his stunt and acting school and it just went from there. I had always had a keen interest in the movies (well watching at least), and I got to an opportunity to work with sensei Benny on a Hollywood movie and from there I was hooked.
Paul: Moving onto your role in the movie Furor. How did you become involved in this project, and what was your reaction when you first read the script?
Lee: I knew Guv and Zara from the martial arts community and we had spoken and become friendly over a period of time and from this, things developed. They knew I had done the work with Benny and I guess things developed from there. When I read the script I thought yeah, this is something I really want to be involved with, its very strong and powerful.
Paul: Without giving too much plot away, what can you tell us about the character you play in Furor?
Lee: I play Leonard Parks, and he is a bad dude, ha ha. He basically works for Mr lung and we do what he says… I’m afraid you’ll have to watch the movie guys!!
Paul: Was it a challenge to play role of a character with such an evil streak in them?
Lee: I seemed to slip into character too easily, or so I have been told. After reading the script and speaking with the director I knew how I would like my character to come across and hopefully I have achieved this.
Paul: Again without revealing any of the plot to us, have there been any moments so far during the filming of Furor that will stick in your mind?
Lee: There is one moment, which I’m sure your all gonna get to find out about. One I’m not gonna live down.
Paul: Given the opportunity, whom would you most like to perform alongside out of any action movie star, and why?
Lee: Jackie Chan, I mean he’s the god of action movies, what he’s done for cinema is truly amazing, he set the standard for all off today’s action movies.
Paul: What are your own hopes for the future? Will you continue to compete and teach as well as pursue an acting career?
Lee: I think the competing may take a back seat shortly, for me to concentrate on my academy and acting. Hopefully I have put in a good enough performance to merit more opportunities.
Paul: Thanks again for sharing your time with us Lee. I have no doubt we will be seeing your name a lot more in the world of action movies.
Lee: No problem, thanks for the interview and I know all you guys and girls will love this movie. Thanks to all the cast and crew for their constant support and help throughout the movie. Peace guys!
By Paul Reeves