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Ron Smoorenburg
Who Am I movie poster cover

An old breed of martial arts films with senselessly impossible stunts and hyper fights that seem to display an almost surrealist nature about them. The old school Chinese cinema fans among us will surely remember those martial arts classics like Police Story, Armor of God, Drunken Master and Who Am I? Who were those Foreign guys that action legends like Jackie Chan would ultimately, take the risk of fighting on film?

Ron Smoorenburg

Hong Kong back in the early eighties was the place to be for any wanna-a-be martial arts stars. Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen, Sammo Hung were the names on everyone’s lips and if you could get them to notice you, this could be a springboard to higher roles, not just another ultimate bad guy, but just maybe transcend into mainstream cinema.

Ron Smoorenburg

Ron Smoorenburg
Ron Smoorenburg set his stop-watch to see who can whip Jackie Chan in their fastest time in the martial arts classic "Who Am I?"

Late afternoon, I met Ron Smoorenburg Actor, Martial Artist and Fight coordinator. We had arranged an interview deep in Bangkok on the top floor of a local hotel. Ron Smoorenburg first went to Hong Kong way back in the early 80’s with nothing more than a few hundred bucks and a vision. After leaving his modest home in Rotterdam he followed his childhood dream of becoming a Martial Arts action movie star.

This is before the luxury of online auditions, posts and countless groups allowing for easier connections and endless free self-promotions. This was the time of going door to door, making calls and in some cases just walking straight on set with no appointment at all! That’s exactly what Smoorenburg did! Times were hard and Ron was under pressure and with no money, the time was now or go home and maybe never realize his childhood dream.

Ron Smoorenburg
Jackie Chan vs. Ron Smoorenburg

Fate took a turn; the production company was indeed searching for a foreigner with a Russian-styled look for a coming film with the man himself Jackie Chan entitled “Who Am I?”. Ron Smoorenburg landed the films climactic end fight opposite another Chinese action star.

As I sat with Ron, he appeared relaxed with a settled energy. Like many Actors in the movie world their always seems to be an image; a public persona, which one can only see from a far, but with Ron Smoorenburg, one gets the feeling that he was being himself and did not mind letting his guard down as we began our verbal back and forth. Ron proceeded to tell me about when Tony Jaa was kind enough to kick some of this teeth out! It was in mid-flow of a the now infamous mass-attack fight scene in the epic “Tom Yum Goong”, when Tony Jaa’s character is attacked by a plethora of manic gate-keepers all dressed in trendy black suits. As Tony Jaa span around whilst executing an atomic 360 spinning head kick; Ron found himself about half a meter out of place.

Ron Smoorenburg

He was too close to Jaa’s impending whirlwind of movement which, resulted in a heavy shin kick to the jaw of big Ron which resulted in a parting gift of a few missing pearly whites, which were sent first class to tooth-heaven via Jaa’s instep. “They are like movie souvenirs”, Ron tells us with a cheeky grin. The injury stories continued as Ron proudly shows us some kind of knee dislocation from another stunt mishap.

From hearing these tales of risk taking at its best, one may think, that Ron Smoorenburg has taken more knocks than a blind cobbler’s thumb, but for such a long career in this game, Smoorenburg has fared remarkably well. He seems to not sigh away from his mistakes or on set injuries, but simply sees that as part of the trade. Like badges of honor or reminders for next time.

Ron Smoorenburg

Ron Smoorenburg Has Worked with Many Stars

Ron Smoorenburg

Gary Daniels, Jackie Chan, Steven Sagal, Tony Jaa, Micheal Jai White, Scott Atkins, Doonie Yen are just some of the stars he has worked with. He still regards Jackie Chan as one of the most challenging individuals that he has ever worked with.

“Jackie Chan is very demanding; he told me, if I hit him, he would fire me!”, Ron explained, as we asked what Jackie was like to work with on set. “Life can be tough for anyone hoping to make it in the action fight movie world”, Ron continues, “It’s not easy getting parts and the industry is filled with obstacles and politics!”

Ron Smoorenburg
Ron Smoorenburg showing his famous super-high kick post interview
© TonyStokePhotography2017

We asked about Ron’s personal training. He stretches every day. Smoorenburg has the world record for the highest jumping kick, so his high kicking ability is very much his trade mark. He even released a DVD about his daily routine which is filled with his training methods and tips for keeping psychically and emotionally fit for action films. We moved onto spirituality.

“You know I can feel someone’s energy, if someone is not right with me!”. Ron continues, “We all contain certain energy’s and that its really up to us to channel that energy into what we want. If we focus on the negativity, that’s what we will receive. Focus on what you want, not what you don’t want and you will get it with time and persistence.”

Ron Smoorenburg
Ron Smoorenburg rehearsing Kali stick & knife training with Author TonyStokes
© TonyStokePhotography2017

Ron’s been in the industry for over 25 years and has a clear vision of what he wants to active. “I want to make films like Rocky with that positive and uplifting message”, Ron tells us in an excited furry. As the interview is in its latter stages, we dive deeper; reaching for his true feelings about the industry and where he feels its all heading. “Bruce Lee was also a big influence in my life”, Ron tells us with a meaningful glare. “He had something special about him”.

It’s clear that Ron draws from many sources and not just martial art movie stars or other actors. His interests are as wide as they are diverse. He’s also a keen graphic designer and artist. “You can exercise your body, but you need to train your mind too, it’s all life skills, they all work together”, Ron explains as we swiftly bounce onto yet another subject.

Ron Smoorenburg
Ron Smoorenburg on set of 'Tom Yum Goong', with Tony Jaa and Thai Stunt Legend Pana

Ron Smoorenburg now spends most of his time working and living in Bangkok, Thailand with his wife and Son. He can be found jetting off to China, India and sometimes Europe if he finds roles that fit his path.\

Ron Smoorenburg can be contacted at – http://www.ron-smoorenburg.com/

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