A Kung Fu Pander

Alta, NorwayDuring a recent trip to LA, after filming my third appearance on Fight Science for National Geographic, I found myself an unexpected guest at the USA Wushu Training Centre.

The academy was founded and is run by Eric Chen. Eric is a wealth of knowledge of martial and film techniques and styles, as well as being the best Wushu instructor I’ve ever met.

Eric is also trainer to the stars. He has worked with many of Hollywood’s A-listers, including Jet Li and Jackie Chan. It would have been enough of an honour to just train at the centre, yet I found myself not only teaching lessons there, but actually staying at the centre itself for the remainder of my stay in LA.

This was not organised in advance. Accommodation was only provided for the duration of the shoot, which only lasted half of my trip, leaving me time but no place to stay. In my typical fashion, I trusted things would work out perfectly.

I must admit, aside from filming Fight Science, my other motivation for this trip was the chance to spend time with my brother in arms, Joe Perez, who will always be extremely close to me (not too close depending on what I have eaten).

I had last played with Joe in waist-deep snow in Norway while filming a Nazi Zombie movie together (seriously). It was Joe who introduced me to Eric.

It turned out that Eric was organising my weapons for Fight Science, and we hit it off (not literally, for once).

It was an absolute pleasure to feel instant camaraderie with someone who felt the same old-school martial spirit that I try to live my life by.

As if Eric’s friendship was not enough, then he offers me the apartment at his training centre! This was above and beyond the call of duty. I silently gave gratitude to the universe for coming through for me, yet again.

I offered to teach a series of seminars to Eric’s students during the remainder of my stay as a way of physically expressing my heartfelt appreciation.

This was certainly no chore, as Eric’s students were not only extremely well trained and talented, but also retained an abundance of respect that I have not seen at other schools where I have taught.

Staying and teaching at the National Wushu Training Centre was a great experience on many levels.

I realized that when I was a child I had dreams of having a martial art studio that felt like this. The centre looked like one should look. The perfect blend of old and new, with heavy hints of Asia and all the functionality of a high tech film studio.

I was like a kid in a candy shop. I worked off my jetlag by spending a couple of hours having midnight training sessions in the open expanse of the centre every day. I had fallen through a rabbit hole into martial wonderland.

After I returned (reluctantly) to New Zealand, I was honoured by a video one of the students had created, combining footage of some of my classes at the centre.

Looking back on my trip, I was reminded of two valuable lessons.

One is do not underestimate the importance of your surroundings for a healthy and creative mindset.

I am positive the centre itself helped refuel my motivation to pass on my learnings. I returned not only invigorated to continue my teachings, but also to recreate a similar environment here in New Zealand.

The second lesson I was reminded of was to trust in the universe and realise that it starts within.

Perfect Mindset = Perfect Manifestation

Class 1 of ......

11 Responses to A Kung Fu Pander

  1. Jon says:

    Hey Glen

    Been watching your clips on Youtube they have really intrested me. Thanks for being such a great inspiration mate

    Take it easy

  2. Erik says:

    Wow. That was the BEST video I’ve ever seen! I hope whoever shot and edited that got paid a whole lot. Probably didn’t though.

  3. Wilder says:


    What up man!

    I’m Matt Emery’s student who worked with you on his short film. Not sure if you remember I was the skinny white guy you demonstrated many a joint lock on. It’s been a while but you were a real inspiration for me over those four or five days I got to work with you. I just recently saw the video from NWTC, and was like WHAAAAT?!! Glen was in town, teaching, at NWTC and I missed it. Nooooo! 😦

    I love their facility and everyone at that school has always been very cool to me the few times I’ve been there. It is truly like a kids dream martial arts school.

    I’m glad your trip worked out. I can’t wait to see the new fight science. Let a brotha know next time your in LA. I’d be honored to train with you anytime you’re around, if you’d let me. I don’t really have an apartment for you or anything cool like that, but would definitely buy you a beer or a sandwich or something. You’re awesome and a serious source of inspiration for me. I’m super happy to see you’re still kicking ass and crackin jokes.




  4. J J says:


    Any plans of teaching or seminars in Europe?

  5. Louise says:

    Good evening, dearest Glen :

    So deeply sorry to hear about your broken elbow. My thoughts are with you. If I am not mistaken, I believe it happened three weeks ago. Please take good care of that wound.

    Also, so unbelievably thrilled to read that you made your third appearance on Fight Science for the National Geographic Society. Fight Science is actually where I first “met” you. Thank you for being such an inspiration to me, and above all for being such a great teacher (even from afar).

    Best regards,
    (from one of your biggest fans in North America)

    Quebec City
    Province of Quebec

    P.S. Please pardon my English, as my mother tongue is French. I am one of those French Canadians, so … 🙂

    Anyhow, a sincere thank you for reading my comment.

    Till later,

    : Louise …


  6. Louise says:

    Still good evening, Glen :

    You wrote : “Staying and teaching at the National Wushu Training Centre was a great experience on many levels.”

    I am speechless just thinking about it. What a fascinating experience it must have been. And moreover, on many levels, as you well said it.

    Best regards from Quebec City,

    : Louise …

  7. Italo says:

    Hi glen, I hope you come here in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil to show us all your skills in martial arts. I’m a great fan of ninjitsu and your job. Success for you!
    A Question… when you broke your elbow and film you was wearing a shirt of São Luis do Maranhão Brazil. Is that correct? In the video was you and Bren Foster…
    See ya.

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