“At the end of the day if you don’t have hope, you have nothing.” – Ernie Reyes Jr.
My guest this episode is Ernie Reyes Jr., a martial artist, actor, and fighter. He is known for his work in films like The Last Dragon, The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Surf Ninjas, and the Rundown starring alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. I first remember being wowed by Ernie as he burst on to the television screen in the 80’s tv series Side Kicks. At the age of 6 he joined his father’s famous West Coast Demo Team, he would also go on to a 3-0 professional Kick Boxing record in Strike Force. He is a father, a stuntman, and action film maker.
This episode is filled with inspiration, wisdom, and the artistic expression of martial arts in film and in life. My key takeaway is that we must value the gift of life and live it to its fullest. We dive deep into Ernie’s battle with Kidney failure and how it transformed his life. Martial Arts gives us the ability to face challenges on and off the matts. Ernie describes how he used his martial arts training to stay mentally focused, make himself comfortable in uncomfortable situations, and operate from a hope driven mindset as he went through the process of kidney failure, to dialysis, to receiving a kidney transplant, and to making a healthy recovery.
We also discuss his friendship and training relationship with the Diaz brothers, what makes great fight scenes, and what it takes to be a good teacher and a great martial artist.
Ernie has been a true inspiration to many, first sparking the martial arts interest for generations of kids and adults, and now showcasing the power of the arts, and how to keep hope in the face of darkness. Tune in this is a great episode with a Martial Arts Cultural Icon.