Some of the advertising banners used to promote the event , for nostalgia purposes
After a drive to Heathrow Airport in London,which was OK,about a hour ,i parked up Checked in and waited for the flight 'to think i was going to meet all these Famous Martial arts stars in one place .Never before have so many Martial arts stars been together in Europe ,and not only that but all the people appearing have been in groundbreaking martial arts films.
Where would we be without the likes of No'Retreat 'No Surrender 1,2, & 3 ,or Tiger on The Beat ,China O'Brien ,BloodFist,Angel Town and many more .It's these films that the stars appearing at the show made ,and they are films that are classics and set many standards in fast furious Fight Action.
Taking Off i thought 'this is going to be wild.It was not long before landing in Berlin checking in to the Hotel ,The meet your Stars team had suggested the Adrema Hotel that sits on the river Spree.It was that i booked at a very good price and Four Stars to .As i arrived dropped of my bag while they got the room ready i thought i would venture around and get my bearings 'i turn around and there standing is Loren Avedon i smiled ,nodded ,he smiled and nodded back .As i went to go out A taxi pulls up a man gets out and walks to wards the door 'i didn't take that much notice ,then i hear the Words shouted''My Blood Brother '.I looked round ,you would,so now you have Loren Avedon and Keith Vitali standing outside the Hotel .(For those not in the Know 'Blood Brothers 'was the the Tag title of No Retreat 'No Surrender 3.
Now i new this was going to be good,but hey i had a day to pass i looked around the local area found where the places where meant to be .Namely the Shows Location (not Far 'just cross the road from the Hotel and your there) .Then i looked for the Dojo where some seminars would take place and found that too.So everything was all in one place,Now i just had to wait till morning and the start of Meet Your Stars 2010.
So Saturday Morning arrives ,everyone is out of bed and by 9.30 the ques at the hall to get in where building up ,People with pre-orders waiting to collect there tickets ,while by ten o'clock anyone wanting to just buy a ticket could just enter.So after another 10-15 minutes i get to the desk and collect my tickets ,thank god i thought ,as know i could get in and dry off after the skies opened in Berlin .
The Audience awaits
Entering the hall i mused around ,there where ample seating in front of a big stage and a large projector screen playing some film trailers above the stage.A photo booth had been set up for people with tickets for photo-shoots with the stars.At the side was a bar for refreshments and a few stalls selling DVD/VIDEO and merchandise.(There where stalls set up outside for some sellers that had not arrived yet)
Behind the seating there where Autograph tables set up where the stars would be to satisfy every fans craving for Autographs.
It must have been around 11'o clock that the show got under way when our Compares walked on stage to announce the stars ,one by one each star was announced as the compare reeled of a history of their films before the star walked on stage to people clapping and applauding .First up was Cynthia Rothrock .it was quite awesome as every couple of minutes another star would walk on stage (see photo above) Until by the end we had 11 celebrities from Martial arts cinema in front of you .Never before could you see so many stars in one place and be 20 feet away.
Keith Vitali on the far left,then Loren Avedon, Matthias Hues and Keith W Strandberg
Stallone may have made the Expendables with a all star cast ,but this was every martial artists own version ,but this time the stars where here live in front of us .The arranging of this must have been a nightmare ,but Lutz Von Shcumde TrzebiatowskI and Co had pulled it off.
Left to Right - Keith W Strandberg, Reese Madigan and Richard Norton
The Man behind the show - Lutz Von Shcumde Trzebiatowski
After the initial excitement our stars left the stage and the show would begin ,first up was the art of Wushu with David Turok and XiuHui ,which was very impressive. With shows of a varied range of arts appearing on stage from Japanese Swordplay to Tai Chi One of the most impressive was a group called Team Scoot a Stunt and Martial arts group that mixes Martial arts,break dancing,and stunts all in one as the promo's played to get everyone interested and wet their appetite the team run on stage and perform live for you in a show blistering kicking and and breaking techniques to leave you wanting more.
By now the stars where at their autograph tables to satisfy every fans wish for a autograph from their favorite star.With a selection of Photo's to choose from at 15 Euro each you have a signed photo or bring your own and have that signed as well for a fee.
Richard Norton and Cynthia Rothrock at the Autograph Tables.
Also the Photo booths where under way with every so often a star walking over for their allotted photo session ,here fans could have a photo with their favorite star or as the case for many a photo with each of them.Though the photo sessions did not seem that busy compared to the Autograph tables that where busy most of the day .Though when Cynthia Rothrock came over for her shoot the line seemed to stretch on forever.
Lining up for Photo's with the stars.
So with autographs ,photo's and stage shows appearing every half hour from the brilliant Wushu Twins and the unusual KFM that had a alternate way of fighting ,which many said looked like they where adjusting their hair all the time.
I remember talking to Keith Viltali and him saying it was quite strange but inventive .One of the best shows had to be Local instructor and World Champion fighter Andre Mewis who's Junior classes put on a show that showed real passion for the arts.
The Bachi-Ki-Do group put on a good show of Locks and take-downs on stage to .(See video of them below)
On top of this a few of the stars put on workshops for the fans ,being held at the Dojo of Andre Mewis ,which was just a 10 minute walk away from the main venue.On the first day Keith Vitali did a Workshop for the kids ,then Richard Norton was up and then Cynthia Rothrock who's Seminar i personally attended.
I must say the Andre's Dojo is a magnificent place to train ,giving a sense of being in a distant eastern venue ,with it's red and cream look with a boxing Ring,fully matted area and weapons and pictures and Certificates every where.
Cynthia Rothrock took us through a series of Stretching techniques to push us to our limits ,I'm sure every one came away with something new to try at home.After Photo's it was a rush back to the Hotel for the Dinner with the Stars.
On the 15th (Sunday) it was the turn of Jeff Speakman and Don the Dragon Wilson to teach the classes.
I attended the Class with Jeff Speakman ,demonstrating his Kenpo 5.0 ,where he gave us a insight in to his new techniques that would involve some ground work.Everyone enjoyed the class and at the end Jeff gave a demo of a Knife defense against knife ,but due to time constraints we had to end the class as Don was due on for his .
They where very good , watched some of the Don Wilson one ,he was taking them through some punching and kicking techniques.I spoke to some one after who was on it and he said it was a good workout after the bone crushing experience of Jeff Speakman.
Maybe the seminars should have been 90 minutes instead of sixty ,so as to get more of a experience ,i hope that if this type of event happens again then they can assign more time for the classes.
But all in all a brilliant time had by all.
Rushing back from the Dojo ,to get cleaned up and get back to universal Hall for the Dinner with the Stars.Inside they had transformed the bar area where earlier we had Stalls and photo booth set up to a restaurant feel with A Chinese style buffet and the ones lucky enough to attend got to mingle with the stars in a more less informal manner as they went around chatting to everyone taking snapshots and posing with the fans in photo's .It was definitely a laid back event that let the stars relax along with the fans ,and a good time was had by all .With limited seats available it was a very intimate event and one that made the weekend.
Saturday Night and the Days venue was turned into a intimate setting for dinner with the stars ,as everyone tucked into their Oriental flavored Evening.
Sunday the 15th was back to Universal Hall where the stars where back on stage for interviews and off stage for more photo's and Autograph signings.
Attendance seemed low as there where many empty seats ,but for those who did attend got to spend more time with our star guests.The stage shows continued ,with acts from the previous day returning to show those who had not attended on Saturday.Though it was good to see them again.The weather was a little better not raining the whole day ,so the food stalls out side got to sell some food .
I was lucky enough to find some DVD's that had English soundtracks or Subtitles ,so i indulged in purchasing a few.You had to be careful though as in Europe many films have their titles changed.Like 'No Retreat No Surrender'' is known as ''Karate Tiger '' in Europe.
Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton did a good interview session on stage ,which kept the audience glued to their seats.
Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton on stage.
Jeff Speakman gave a interesting insight in to his films and Ed Parker his Teacher .And Conan Lee gave a very animated account of some of his films and Experiences that at one point had me in fits of Laughter.
After getting some food and returning i watched some more stage shows ,got a couple of Photo's done and then i was off to the seminar with Jeff Speakman.By the time it was over so was the show by the time i got back .
So it was all over and a hectic two days it was and one that no one will forget.
Staying at the Hotel with stars made a nice bonus to the weekend and the following morning at breakfast i chatted to few of them ,and secured support for the site.I said my good byes ,they where going out for the day and so was i .
I left Berlin on Tuesday Morning ,i did see Conan at breakfast ,but i think most had a early start.
Here's hoping Lutz and his team can pull of another event like this soon as it was a blinding weekend .
Would i have added anything more ? well maybe ,for one i would have had the video screen running footage of the stars films as they entered the stage for the first time as this can get a audience excited and again in the question and answer sessions ,footage of the films being discussed would have added more to them and gave the stars a easier time in explaining them.
If i had to say about any disappointments ,well it would have to be the number of stalls selling memorabilia ,with Universal hall being so large ,parts where unused.maybe next time he can attract more sellers giving it a bigger scope.
I say next time ,because I'm sure the guys can do it again and K.I.T.G. will be their in force .I heard of a lot of people that wanted to come with others ,but not many new of the show .One guy i met only found out a few days before .
I myself if known earlier would have come along with a few friends ,but because of time they either had other holidays booked or could not get time of work.
So well done to Lutz and the gang and thanks to all the stars who made the weekend of 14th-15th of August one to remember for ever.
So here's to the next one .The Snake. 20-08-10
Team Scoot (above & below ) Take to the stage.
Traditional Tai Chi and Lion Dance
Don'The Dragon'Wilson & Olivier Gruner in a Question Time From the Audience
Cynthia Rothrock / China O'Brien '' Rage & Honor 2 '' Sworn To Justice.
Reese Madigan / American Shaolin.
Keith W Strandberg / Director ,Screenwriter and filmmaker .
Matthias Hues / No Retreat No Surrender 2 '' Dark Angel ''D-War '' Charlie Valentine.
Jeff Speakman / Perfect Weapon ''Street Knight ''The Expert ''Deadly Outbreak''
Bachi-Ki-Do ,one of their videos
Andre Mewis Dojo
Cynthia Rothrock and Richard Norton at Andre Mewis dojo
So all is left is to thank the stars themselves for making the weekend what it was.For all who attended it was a chance to meet the stars they have been watching for years .But even more it was a chance to make friends with others and also the stars who extended there warmth to all who attended.
I have often said martial arts brings people together ,and the friendship the stars showed was magnificent.But then they are all Martial Artists first and with that we all share a common interest.
My thanks go to you all Cynthia,Richard,Loren,Don,Conan,Keith V,Keith W,Matthias,Jeff,Olivier, Reese , Lutz,Stuart and Saj my friends and fellow martial artists.
Having attended the show one of things i wanted to do was do a feature on these Martial Legends, Now i already had done a dedicated feature on site with Cynthia Rothrock prior to the show after contacting her on her facebook page
After getting the OK with each of the stars at the event and keeping in touch afterwards i was able to over a course of about a year do a site feature on each of the stars at Movie Con , tying it in with a feature page and reviews of some of their films, Plus also putting together a dedicated site banner where they where the star of the month .
Unfortunately i did not get to secure the OK with Jeff Speakman , due to him leaving Germany earlier then some of the other stars. Though we will do a feature on him in the future. Also we have yet to do a feature on Matthias Hues, one of the main things for us is sourcing the films to tie in with the feature , i was lucky enough to have quite a few of the films of the other stars anyway. But i am sure it will also appear in the future.
The features also take a bit of time to set up and get all reviews in place as well ,and also getting the OK to make it official .
But on site now we have features on Cynthia Rothrock, Richard Norton,Loren Avedon,Keith Vitali,Don Wilson,Conan Lee and Olivier Gruner.
Click any of the Banners below to go to each of the stars feature pages on site now.