burma Dominiquie Vandenberg French Foreign Legion Gangs of New York Jesse Johnson Legion Maxx Martin Scorsese Mortal Kombat Pit Fighter Thailand The Honourable True Legend

Interview with Dominiquie Vandenberg – Kung-fu Kingdom


In terms of army service, there are a number of branches which might be notorious for producing a few of the toughest soldiers to ever walk the Earth, and undoubtedly, the French Overseas Legion belongs among those ranks (no pun meant). That’s a proven fact that Dominiquie Vandenberg can certainly attest to, having spent five years in the Legion and seeing fight in a number of the most war-torn corners of the planet. Following his time within the Legion, Dom would later compete professionally in Muay Thai and Burmese boxing in Southeast Asia, and both career paths made him greater than ready to dive head-first into the world of motion films.

Starting with a minor position in 1995’s “Mortal Kombat”, Dom has lent his immense skills as a martial artist and battle choreographer to such hits as Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York”, and Yuen Woo-ping’sTrue Legend”, alongside with his many collaborations with stunt veteran Jesse Johnson, which embrace “The Honourable”, “Pit Fighter”, “Triple Threat”, and the upcoming “Legion Maxx”. By means of all of it, Dom has firmly adhered to the warrior code and strict ethics that has continued on by way of his service in the Legion and life-long dedication to martial arts.

In the present day, Dom sits down with KFK to share his story, together with his beginnings in martial arts, his time within the French Overseas Legion, experiences within the film business, in addition to a take a look at what fans can anticipate from “Legion Maxx”!

Hey Dominique, welcome to Kung Fu Kingdom! It’s great to attach, how are you?

Hi Brad, I’m doing great, thanks.

Wonderful. Nicely, earlier than we dive in, just to get your views briefly, what do you consider the identify Kung Fu Kingdom (KFK) and what do you think of our mission to inspire 100 million individuals throughout the planet to get into martial arts?

I just like the identify. It’s very catchy and most people recognize what Kung Fu means. I’ve enjoyed studying your interviews and I like what you guys are doing. It’s very cool, fantastic to see ardour like that. The mission is a superb endeavor since martial arts could be practiced everywhere in the world. Publications like Kung Fu Kingdom deliver individuals together as a group and buddies whether or not you’re wealthy or not, it doesn’t matter in any respect. Neither race nor religion matter for working towards martial arts.

Beginnings & influences in martial arts

Thanks, that’s precisely the message we purpose to spread. Okay, let’s kick off with your beginnings in martial arts. when did you first start training and what totally different disciplines have you educated in?

My journey with martial arts started with training judo at age 4 as a hyperactive child. At age eight, I began coaching at a unique dojo in conventional judo which targeted on Newaza and throwing.

Additionally they had courses in freestyle Greco Roman Wrestling which I began training and competing in. At age 9, I started coaching in karate and a few years later, I began training at SGF Sint-Truiden and Topkick Hasselt, training many types like Dutch kickboxing, fight sambo, savate and Muay Thai. With my local groups, I typically went to take some seminars at places like Chakuriki fitness center in Holland on the weekends.

I favored full contact preventing, but missed the karate budo spirit in combat sports. After turning into a class junior fighter and champion, I found Sankukai karate and then the Kundokan Karate Budo groups. The karate groups practiced full contact preventing and but in addition taught the which means of Budo Karate.

Wonderful. You’ve gone into quite an eclectic martial arts combine! So, which three martial artists would you credit score as having impressed and influenced you probably the most?

I might say Miyamoto Musashi and two of my Karate senseis, Mikio and Gomyo Hiroshi.

On being in the French Overseas Legion & preventing in Thailand

You spent some time within the French Overseas Legion; what are some your most memorable experiences with them?

I made a decision to hitch the French Overseas Legion after I obtained badly injured in a automotive accident. It broken my left hip and broke my leg somewhere else, and my docs advised me that I might not be capable of compete in martial arts anymore. I turned suicidal and depressed for a while. Across the time, I read the “The Book of Five Rings” (Go Rin no Sho) by Miyamoto Musashi and other books about conflict and warriors. I also stumbled onto a guide concerning the French Overseas Legion and skim the The Battle of Camarón story about Captain Jean Danjou. Those warriors spoke to my soul and I noticed that I might reside the lifetime of a modern-day samurai in a place just like the Legion. Before I knew it, I used to be hobbling along on my limpy leg in primary coaching.

The legion instructors did not assume that I might make it, however respected my tenacity. At the finish of primary training, I completed within the prime five, which meant I might decide my posting of which regiment I needed to go to. The other guys forward of me have been all elite troopers in several nations earlier than coming to the Legion. I decided on the 2 REP, the one Airborne Para Commando and special forces educated regiment within the Legion. The two REP was like an MMA camp for soldiering since most of its men served with elite, para or particular forces models of their nations before coming here.

That’s fairly a method to rework a misfortune into one thing constructive. On that word, after leaving the Legion, you also competed professionally in Burma, along with collaborating in a number of underground fights. What fascinating tales are you able to relate about your skilled preventing career?

After the Legion, I went house to Belgium for a number of weeks, however I felt like a stranger in my own country. I could not relate to anybody anymore. So when a good friend from the Legion referred to as me for a job, I turned an unbiased soldier in Yugoslavia, Africa and Burma. After getting shot on one of the unbiased jobs, I assumed that it was time to cease dwelling by the sword. I ended up shifting to Thailand the place I decided to stay in a Muay Thai boxing camp.

Thailand was a well-known place for me since I had been there preventing in a Lethwei Burmese Boxing match on my first depart from the 2 REP. I met Stéphane Nikiéma, a French Thai boxing champion who was coaching at the Yoki Fitness center in Bangkok. I requested him if he knew any good boxing camps in a extra rural space away from the town.

Bangkok was too polluted and noisy for me. He informed me concerning the Samasit Boxing Camp within the north and a few French bar owner named Daniel, a struggle promoter. Daniel took me to the Samasit camp the identical day I acquired there and launched me to the camp’s proprietor. That same day, I sparred crazy onerous with some robust Thai boxers back-to-back they usually accepted me. Again then, very few foreigners have been preventing in Thailand and fewer have been dwelling in boxing camps and preventing there.

My training companions have been Noi, Wonderboy, Olando, Ramnamoen and Superleck, the legendary Thai champion who beat Ramon Dekkers in his prime. The dwelling circumstances have been primal, like one bucket to shower with and another bucket to scrub yourself after utilizing the bathroom, and the bathroom was only a hole within the ground. You have been also sleeping with seven different men in a small room with a mosquito internet in the course of the brutal scorching Thai summer time without air con. After I gained some fights in local areas, I beat Sedack who was the North Thai champion. From then on, promoters and scouts stored coming to my camp they usually needed to signal me. I had little interest in that or preventing in huge stadiums. I favored with the ability to pack up and depart, having no attachments dwelling like a modern-day Ronin.

Film career

Nomad warrior type…Shifting forward to your work in films, your first break in the movie business was in 1995’s “Mortal Kombat”, the place you play a preventing monk who will get frozen by Sub-Zero. What memorable tales are you able to relate about engaged on “Mortal Kombat”?

I was new to LA and working as a bouncer at a very rundown nightclub referred to as The Gate. I used to be also working for Benny The Jet as a sparring companion for his prime fighters. Someday, a casting woman got here by the Jet Middle and requested me to return in to learn for a task.

It was my first job within the film business where I met Jesse V. Johnson on “Mortal Kombat”. We hit it off instantly.

On “Gangs of New York” with Martin Scorsese

It’s undoubtedly a really memorable scene within the movie. You additionally appeared in and served as struggle choreographer for Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York”. What memorable tales are you able to relate about making the movie with Mr. Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Daniel Day-Lewis. Did they bear any training for the movie?

The legendary action director Vic Armstrong hired me to train Leo, Daniel and another actors for the film. I had worked with Mr. Armstrong’s brother, Andy, on a Tim Burton Timex business marketing campaign. After coaching Leo in Catch Wrestling, I was requested to fly to New York to satisfy with Martin Scorsese. Martin and Daniel favored the tapes that I had put together with many aged preventing types and cool choreography for the film they usually requested me to grow to be the coordinator for the fights. Leo favored watching all sort of combat sports activities, and Daniel was more into boxing and educated pretty significantly.

That’s so fascinating, Vic’s a real legend.  Shifting on, certainly one of your first films was 2002’s “The Honourable”, which was directed by Jesse Johnson. What tales can you share about making the film with Jesse?

After I got here again to LA from “Gangs of New York”, I obtained many presents to coordinate for giant movies however nothing was fascinating sufficient for me and I made a decision to offer appearing a attempt. After taking appearing courses and lots of auditions later, I made the decision to do my very own film with Jesse with the money I had saved up from unbiased soldiering. The movie was originally referred to as “The Doorman”, but we later re-cut the movie and altered its title to “The Honorable”.

On “Pit Fighter”

Talking of Jesse, you later appeared in 2005’s “Pit Fighter”, which he additionally directed. What behind-the-scenes tales can you relate about making the movie with Jesse, stuntman Andre “Chyna” McCoy, Steven Bauer of “Scarface” fame, and the then-unknown Scott Adkins?

“Pit Fighter” was the first studio film I starred in. It was low price range but did very properly for Fox, and Spike TV needed to do a collection concerning the film. Chyna and Steven Bauer have been cool to work with. Chyna has been all the time supportive of our movie tasks. Steven taught me plenty of appearing recommendations on set. I didn’t get to speak a lot with Scott, but we’re all the time friendly and respectful to one another. I assume we’re both quiet individuals on set. Many martial artists like us visualize their moves before we movie them many occasions in head. Since we are talking about Scott, I just lately saw his newest film “Avengement” with Jesse and I used to be blown away by his efficiency as an actor. He reminded me of Tom Hardy in “Bronson”. Sensible!

On his ebook: “Iron Circle: The True Life Story of Dominiquie Vandenberg”

Certainly “Avengement” is off the hook and Scott as ‘Cain’ does a cracking job on it! On that observe, you also revealed an autobiography, “Iron Circle: The True Life Story of Dominiquie Vandenberg”. What are you able to share about how your guide happened?

I wasn’t actually thinking about writing an autobiography, there are too many things that I could not speak about actually until I needed to look over my shoulder for the remainder of my life. My pal, Rick, and I simply completed writing a script around the time, and he inspired me to do it. We initially had a subtitle “Inspired by the life story of Dominiquie Vandenberg”, so we might get away with out mentioning particulars or utilizing real names and locations. After we turned the first draft to the writer, they introduced other writers to wash it up they usually took numerous liberties to make it out like a Hollywood B-movie. Thank God, they did not change anything concerning the Legion stories.

On “True Legend” with Yuen Woo-ping & David Carradine

Intriguing. You additionally appeared as a fighter within the climax of 2010’s “True Legend”. What fond reminiscences are you able to share about making the film with Yuen Woo-ping, Vincent Zhao, and the late David Carradine?

It was cool to work and have a drink with David Carradine. I watched him in the “Kung Fu” collection once I was a toddler. While in China, I truly received very sick with pneumonia nevertheless it was still fun wanting back on it regardless. I saw Vincent solely as soon as on set, since his stunt doubles have been working with us more often than not on the struggle scene I was in. I keep in mind Woo-ping managed the set like a basic and smoked like a chimney while directing.

I see. Shifting ahead, you also lately appeared in the martial arts ensemble movie “Triple Threat”. How was your expertise making the film with Jesse and its large martial arts ensemble?

Jesse and I had already began filming a part of “Legion Maxx” when he obtained “Triple Threat”. Jesse requested me to return and play a small half. I labored principally with Daniel and Ron Smoorenburg on the set. Both of them are actually respectable guys and consummate professionals with no ego. It was cool to see Tony Jaa and Iko Uwais preventing Scott and displaying totally different types of martial arts. It was awesome to see Jesse direct all these guys. I used to be super excited for Jesse to do this challenge as an in depth pal. General, Thailand was a humbling experience.

On his upcoming film: “Legion Maxx”

Cool. You’ll quickly be seen in the upcoming “Legion Maxx”, which re-teams you with Jesse Johnson. How was your experience of creating it and what can you share concerning the movie and its concept of a warrior priest?

I created the Maxx character originally in a comic book ebook referred to as “Vive La Mort”. I pitched it at Magic Leap Studios, an AR/VR studio company that I was working with. They have been originally in search of content for comedian books and/or games. But when Google, Alibaba and other major corporations began investing money into Magic Leap, the content material turned very politically right and the “Vive La Mort” venture was put aside because of the hyper violence. So I decided to take the Maxx character and construct an unbiased film story round him. At this level, I had in all probability spent about two and a half years working with a writer and a director, debating over three totally different scripts and two filming places. I had to name it off and regroup our production workforce from the start.

Meanwhile, Jesse’s schedule turned obtainable for guiding a movie. He and I’ve labored for many years together, so the method of pre-production went in a short time and smoothly.

Fascinating backstory. So, what was probably the most challenging struggle scene within the film?

There were a couple of. One particularly was a scene the place Maxx kills a bunch of dangerous guys inside an SUV with weapons and shotguns going off inside the small confined area. The knife struggle scene by the river was additionally difficult because we had to race towards the sunset. We filmed the scene in simply thirty minutes or so which is remarkable. Once we movie an unbiased motion film, we all the time should struggle with time. Time is cash and we actually had to watch ourselves utilizing time to shoot every struggle scene. As a martial artist, I need to good all of the bodily performances and as an motion movie director, Jesse needs to capture the moment fantastically. Luke LaFontaine and Malay Kim really had my and Jesse’s back like an excellent workforce of soldiers.

Really, the whole movie was difficult due to the price range and time constraints we had. I truthfully assume that Jesse is among the only a few administrators out there right now who might pull it off with those circumstances. He has years’ of expertise of creating unbiased movies and understood the significance of preparation. We decided to forged skilled actors somewhat than recognizable entertainers so we might attraction to audiences with a strong story and lifelike brutal action. The good performances of Carmen Argenziano (the older priest) and Louis Mandylor (LeClerc) have been very gracious in letting me shine. For the position of Maxx, I studied Toshiro Mifune’s body language. I also watched Tatsuya Nakadai’s strange stances and physique stillness in “The Sword of Doom”, and I asked Jesse to film the film like a Sergio Leone Spaghetti Western. The mud ended up being the costliest particular effect we spent cash on. (Laughs)

A multi-layered process together with a real battle towards the weather, but it turned out rather well! Have been there any injuries or mishaps that occurred whilst filming?

Nothing dangerous that I can keep in mind. Perhaps some bruises and some jammed guns, but we have been lucky there have been no vital accidents.

Dominiquie’s Prime 5 martial-arts movies

Nicely, on that notice, what are Dominiquie Vandenberg’s Prime 5 favorite martial-arts films?

Wow, that’s a hard one! My all-time favorite films are “Seven Samurai” and “Yojimbo”, both directed by Akira Kurosawa. But Kihachi Okamoto’s “The Sword of Doom” and Masaki Kobayashi’s “Harakiri” are additionally a few of my favourites. I liked a variety of the previous Japanese Samurai movies, they have a classy subtleness. I additionally really like “Enter the Dragon” and “A Force of One”.

Enjoyable & leisure

Trendy tastes. Shifting into fun and leisure now, what’s one geeky or peculiar thing that folks don’t find out about you?

I actually love reading and writing poetry. It all started from reading Haiku poetry. Afterward once I was in the Legion, I read Alan Seeger’s poetry. He was a legionnaire that died in World Conflict I. His most famous poem “I Have a Rendezvous with Death” was JFK’s favourite poem and is now used in many video games. It provides a chilling feel once you hear it or read it out loud. Jesse let me put one in every of my poems in the long run credits of “Savage Dog”. Many extra might be found on YouTube.

I also have a deep connection with canine and animals normally. I want their company over most humans. Once I first got here to LA, I received myself a dog so I might politely decline invitations from merc associates. I had a cause to remain residence, as a result of my doggie needed me.

Fairly an insight. So, for those who might be a superhero, who would you be and what superpower would you most wish to have?

I favored Spider-Man quite a bit once I was a kid, but I used to be additionally interested in Batman’s dark aspect within the unique comics. As a superpower, I would really like the power to stop wars or remedy young youngsters from most cancers. That might be awesome.

Subsequent tasks & message for KFK readers…

Definitely would! So, what other tasks do you could have in the works following the release of “Legion Maxx”?

My hope is that folks actually take pleasure in “Legion Maxx”, and we’re capable of make it right into a franchise or a TV present. I additionally want to produce the “Forever War”, it’s the story of a Holocaust survivor who joins the Legion to seek out the Nazi that killed his household. I additionally hope to publish a warrior’s poetry guide in the future.

Hold us posted on these. So, what warrior-wisdom quote or philosophy has helped you develop into who you’re at present?

“No warrior should be willing to die with his weapons by his side, without having made use of his tools to the fullest of his capability.”

Tools for thought…Nicely, as we prepare to wrap up now Dom, what particular message would you wish to share with Kung Fu Kingdom readers and your fans around the globe right now?

In case you have a dream, never surrender on it! You solely have this life once.

Properly stated. Thank you so much for the privilege of talking at this time Dom, it’s been an actual pleasure to get to know you so a lot better. We want you all the perfect of success with “Legion Maxx”, and sit up for seeing your other upcoming action tasks in 2019!

Thank you Brad, I actually recognize the chance to speak with Kung Fu Kingdom!

We hope you appreciated this interview with Dominiquie Vandenberg. What did you consider his appearances in “Mortal Kombat”, “Pit Fighter”, and “Triple Threat”? Which other martial artists that served within the army would you wish to see featured on Kung Fu Kingdom? Tell us in the feedback under;  Like, share and be a part of in the conversation with us on Fb and comply with us on Twitter & Instagram. Stay tuned for more info on the release of “Legion Maxx” as it arrives and within the meantime…ENTER YOUR LEGION of selection by clicking into the Kingdom Of FU critiques, Prime 10’s, grab yourself in new KFK merch and subscribe on YouTube for extra nice action!