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Mark Stas

Emerging From the Shadows – Article

By | Movies | No Comments

Emerging From The Shadows

Ronin Cine Asiatico

We already know that martial cinema is relegated to series B, leaving the long-awaited blockbusters in the eighties and nineties.  But always, whether from this humble blog, in my monthly section in Acción magazine, in my articles for Dragonz Magazine, Helios or A Base de Golpes and even on social networks, I try to give them the place they deserve, and, above all, everything, to support that independent cinema that presents us with films or short films that try to restore the shine to a genre that fascinates me.  That is why today I bring to the blog this short film by Belgian Mark Stas, founder of the Wing Chun Wing Flow System style in 2017. Mark had already been seen in some independent feature films such as Haphazard (2019), English Dogs (2020) or Borrowed Time III ( 2022), and now he presents us with this work that he has written, directed, produced, edited and choreographed with the support of Ron Smoorenburg.  A work that I have already advanced that I liked a lot and that brings us a story and concepts that deserve to become a feature film to be able to enjoy the speed and technique of what should be a star of the genre.  The short presents us with a dramatic story, with Takeda, who will leave his native Asia after a tragic accident to start a new life in Europe to forget that past that has broken his heart, but that will force him to emerge from those shadows, as indicated by the title, and face a mafia group looking for an Asian who killed his boss.  Along with Stas we have the aforementioned Ron Smoorenburg in addition to Max Repossi and Danny D’Orazio, few characters for an intimate story but who knows how to balance with action, and that is more than praiseworthy.  On many occasions it is said that martial films do not have actors as protagonists, and in this case, Mark manages to give us a dramatic beginning, totally convincing with himself remembering his loss and demonstrating that even in a short film it is possible to act.

A concise script, but one that knows how to develop the story and the characters thanks to its ability to synthesize, combining the drama of the protagonist with the criminal plot and martial arts.  Not in vain has he won several awards such as best first-time director, best short film, best short film actor and best action at various festivals such as the ‘Tokyo Film Awards’ or the ‘Las Vegas Movie Awards’, totally successful.
This balance between genres stands out along with martial arts to confirm an excellent job by the debutant director, demonstrating that genre films can be made without ignoring character development and a good story.

And work like this deserves the reward he is receiving, as well as continuing to cement Mark’s future film career.  On his YouTube channel, which you can see here, you can confirm his speed and great technique, something necessary for martial cinema, but also, thanks to the opening sequence, Mark shows a completely believable dramatic side, and this is not always seen in the genre, accustomed to stony action heroes, who perform in physical action but not always with skills as a quality actor.

Returning to the action, also having Ron Smoorenburg both as an actor and as a co-choreographer, we enjoyed the various confrontations, and a lot, together with Max Repossi, a wonderful martial artist who was starting in the cinema but who sadly passed away in April 2021 due to a heart attack, and to which the short is dedicated.  Fluid fights, well shot and edited that also show that Mark knows how to place the camera and show how fights should be, something that we do not always find in first-time jobs.

The concepts that the short film shows could well be developed to become a feature film or a television series or mini-series, and seeing the direction it is taking through festivals, I would not be surprised if a producer realizes the potential of Mark Stas, both as an action actor as well as a director, and this step in his promising career, of the fruits that he deserves.

Original article in Spanish:

Blog: Why repetitions?

By | Martial arts training | 3 Comments


Who didn’t dream of performing martial arts movements just like Bruce Lee? His movements seemed like second nature, effortless, beautiful but deadly.

One of the keystones is…repetition.

Movement is a way to change the size and shape of muscles, which can change how tendons, ligaments, and bones interact in movements.
Repetition of movements is the best way to create a blueprint of martial arts movements you’re learning, which is then stored in your brain. This builds a bridge between thinking and doing – so you no longer need to think about the movement.

Neuroscientists call this muscle memory. Some say when athletes stop training, they lose muscle mass, however, when they start to train again, the “muscle memory” kicks again and they regain muscle even faster than the first time. Any movement of the body relies on the brain, and repeating an exercise enough times triggers patterns in the brain regions responsible for your motor skills.

Some researchers believe it takes between 400 and 30,000 repetitions of an activity to create a new synapse in the brain and to become second nature.

Your muscles can’t actually remember information. Muscles, which are controlled by your brain,  contain neurons that are attached to the nervous system: these are connected to motor learning.

(Motor learning is generally defined as a set of processes aimed at learning and refining new skills by practicing them).

They say it’s better to practice daily in shorter sessions, rather than in one long session. Make sure you’ve mastered the technique first – the last thing you want is to be obliged to correct a mistake to your muscle memory, which will require a loss of time to correct and re-learn.

My experience is that the longer you can stay focused, the longer you can train in one session to learn new skills. If your concentration is quicker lost, then the effective learning duration in one session will be shorter. Without concentration during learning and improving new skills, the easier to create bad habits and wrong movements.
During my martial arts career, I learned that concentration and an eye for details are of utmost importance if you want to excel.

The rule of 10,000 hours of practice has been popularised by Malcom Gladwell in his bestseller “Outliers: The Story of Success”.

A learning challenge you can use is: The 6-hour rule, which involves spending six hours a week, or one hour each day, focused on specific learning.
This means spending time to give your full attention to learning and development, without getting distracted by other things.
When first learning new techniques, the movement is often stiff, uncontrolled and doesn’t feel good. With practice, execution of the new movements becomes smoother and without conscious effort.
I remember when I learned a new combination or a new part of a form, when I came home, I practised immediately these movements, continued practising it every day till I felt comfortable with those new movements. Quality matters so much if you want to reach higher levels.

When a movement is repeated over time, the brain creates a long-term muscle memory for that task, eventually allowing it to be performed with little to no conscious effort.

Muscle memory may last up to 15 years, or possibly forever.


  • When you learn a new movement, start slow. Do not rush.
  • Muscle memory is difficult to reverse, so practice correctly from the beginning.
  • Practicing things incorrectly may result in you repeating the same mistakes over and over again. This will be a waste of your time and effort.
  • Practice with a teacher who has a sufficient high level and can give you corrections.
  • Don’t try to correct all details in one time, focus on one point at a time.
  • When training alone, use a mirror and observe your body gestures and angles.
  • Break difficult movements into small parts and take each part slowly until you are able to do it very well.
  • Repeat first slowly the movements, verifying every joint, muscle status, sense of stability and the feeling you have when executing.
  • Every movement is important: put passion into every movement. train with your mind and body. It’s not only a mechanic matter.
  • Always be sure to take your time and master each step before moving on to the next: move slow to evolve fast.
  • Of utmost importance: be patient with your learning process. Progress is individual. It is not competition against someone else.

Mastering martial arts takes time and practice. You will not become a Master overnight, but that shouldn’t stop you from putting in the hard work and dedication to improve your skills.

One of the most important things to remember when practicing is to stay motivated and focused. This means setting realistic goals for yourself and staying committed to your routine.

Stay hungry and cherish your personal training moments, as one day you will look back and be proud to be a dedicated martial artist.