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Interview With Fist of the Condor star Marko Zaror
by Bobby Blakey

Most people associate the martial arts genre with Asian cinema, but there are not only varying arts around the world; there are also rising action stars as well. In 2006 unknown director Ernesto Diaz Espinoza teamed up with then unknown star Marko Zaror to unleash the first South American martial arts film Kiltro. Since then Zaror has gone on to cement himself as a martial arts action star appearing in films such as Machete Kills, Redeemer, Undisputed III: Redemption, Savage Dog and so much more including the massive hit John Wick: Chapter 4. Now he is reteaming with Espinoza once again for the martial arts film Fist of the Condor and I had the chance to sit down with him once again to discuss the film, training and more.


Bobby: I know this is one of many times you worked with Ernesto Diaz Espinoza. Where did this project this idea come from?

Marko: It came from when we were in quarantine, thinking that it was going to be the end of the world. We thought, this is said, movies are gone. There's no more film industry, people cannot go to the theatres. I was in this beach house doing quarantine isolated, because there was no one could be in that town from Santiago because it was like a beach town. I was just hanging out there waiting to go back to my house home in LA. A friend of mine invited me and that week turned into two weeks, three weeks, four weeks, and then things start dragging. We didn't know what was gonna happen. So a lot of meditation and a lot of rethinking life, a lot of training, you know, every day with these beautiful scenarios. I started thinking that if this is the last thing I do, I want to be able to put on camera, my journey as a martial artist. A way of saying thanks to all my inspirations, people that inspire me and movies, the fans, and myself when I was 15 year old. I thought what would be the movie that I would love to see as a guide or as a as inspiration. People like Bruce Lee, you know, were films that inspired my life to follow this journey. I needed to pay forward to them, you see what I'm saying? Doing my own version of this because of you guys in a very honest way.

Bobby: My wife were talking to my wife is also a black belt and she's also Hispanic, so for her, it kind of connects differently. Like I'm all about the martial arts. You inspire me watching your films, but it connects to her on a different level of seeing a Hispanic hero being the martial artists lead. I know this is a Spanish speaking film, but how important is it for you to try to keep your culture in that as you're developing these kinds of projects, as opposed to just making another generic Hollywood action film?

Marko: I think both things are very nice. I love to do both because one has

this very honest expression of who I am as a martial artist and as a human being. It gives me the opportunity to come up with our version on this world. It's important for me to keep doing the movies in my country and with my culture, because I believe that was exactly why they told me to do American movies. They see that there's someone doing something that is original and that is honest. That is something that filmmakers understand on how hard it is to make a movie and to accomplish something like that in the film industry.

 I believe they appreciate that. They want to see a story that belongs to the same world, but from a different perspective. Because as a Latino its always going to be different. We don't have the Shaolin temples, we don't have the background of martial arts, but we do have a lot of martial artists, and we love martial arts, and we have different experiences, and we train different styles and we have different scenarios, different actors, different personalities. So the flavor that we're going to give to the same movie is going to be totally different. It's going to real closer to a lot of different audiences around the world that are in a similar situation and I think that's the beauty of it. When you were watching a martial art movie from China and these temples are beautiful and that is so cool, but at the same time, it's so different, right? When I saw Van Damme doing a martial art movie that was a little closer to me, because “Oh, he's not Asian. He's a guy that also inspired like me to do martial arts, and then he become a martial artist.”


That's cool. Being a Latino from Latin America and hearing our music and see in our scenarios and all that it's even more of a connection with someone that is Latin that trains martial arts. I think that that's beauty of it because no matter where you are in the world, you can express yourself as a martial artist, and share with the world and people will appreciate it because at the end, martial arts is a universal language. We are all connected through martial arts, you know, it's like, no matter where you are, if your martial art is weak, like I saw your home workout space and that could be my house. You know, I feel like, like I'm home, you know what I'm saying? That is something very beautiful that we are able to connect to the world through martial arts. No matter what race you are, what color you are, religion you have, if you're a martial artist, we're going to be brothers in a way or another. We're going to understand each other in a different way than a regular person that does not follow the martial arts journey.

Bobby: It helps that we are probably the only group of people that can actually beat each other up and then we laugh about it and hug it out then grab lunch.

Marko: (laughs) Exactly! That’s a good day.

Bobby: I've always been massively impressed by your outstanding martial arts skills, but you don't see a lot of people of your size doing the trick type kicking and stuff that you do a lot of times. When you have to do a fight scene with somebody, you have that longer extension, so is it harder to adapt to different size people when doing your various kicks?

Marko: It's not that hard, man. I believe it's all about rhythm and distance. If you're doing a quick combination, like punching, kicking, of course with the kicks you're always going to feel like you're too close. If you're engaging with a person that you want to kick, I might knee them instead of kicking them. So that requires a bit of mobility and tempo and distance, but besides that, it's not a bad you know. I always train to measure to have that distance control and to carry myself and my weight doing all the things that I do. To do a jumping spinning kick with 210 pounds and six foot two is harder than being half the size and half the weight because the power that requires to lift is exponential. That requires a very disciplined and athletic training. I train doing plyometrics, box jumps with elastic bands and weight training so I can get my legs to carry my weight to be able to do what I do. That's the difference from these natural sized people who just flip and do the stuff you because they're in the correct size so it doesn't take as much power. When you get out of that norm, then it gets a little more complicated, more complex. So it requires more work.

Bobby: That's kind of me, because even though I'm like five, seven, I've always been very stocky build, I'm kind of short, but I jump high, but I have to hit people that are taller so I have to find different ways to get that explosion on the jump.

Marko: You were telling me that you always be kind of big, that means that your muscular, you're more like in a fast twitch power body structure. So you know, your muscles are built to explode. So if you keep focus on losing the weight, you're going to be able to fly I'm sure. If I'm working on explosiveness and power, and my goal is to develop as much strength power relationship with my body I can become very powerful. But if that power comes with a little bit of weight, then you need to do the math and see if that is a benefit or not because maybe being too powerful and becoming a little heavier, is worse than to stay leaner lose some power. Then your relationship is going to be even better for you to move and jump. So that's the fun fine tuning that you have to do. It's training and dieting. Nailing the nutrition to a point where your body is like a machine that every weight that you have there is for a purpose and even muscle. If you do the wrong training and you develop more muscle than you need, that muscle is going to bother you.

Bobby: One of the things I really loved about this movie is that it reminded me of those old wuxia Kung-Fu movies and has its own style that is the focus that everyone wants to defeat. Did you sit down to create some sort of a new style as an amalgamation of what you already do or was there a set goal of what the fist of the condor will look like it?

Marko: When we decide to make this movie, I gave all my notes to Ernesto and we decide the condor because our national animal. I started experimenting a lot with animal flow in the last couple of years of my training so I was already kind of training that way for a couple of years. I've done MMA, Tae Kwon Do, acrobatics, boxing, and now with animal flow. So my training has became like a free movement thing. When I start adding the Condor, then I started adding the open hands, movements on the ground and going to the air. I wanted to have this language and put it into this movie, being able to execute some choreography using this language. It was a nice challenge.

Bobby: This movie looked like it was building towards you fighting your brother and you play both parts. I was excited to see that play out and I didn't get that fight. I was very upset. Was it always supposed to be that way to set up a sequel or more of some kind of metaphor on the journey?

Marko: That's what we want. We want people to support this movie to show the love so we can do the second one to have that fight. We have the story, so we want to start writing and we hope we can be shooting this movie next year. That's going to depend on the support of you guys. Get that DVD, Blu-ray, check it in Hi-yah, give good reviews and the more you guys show the support, the more chances are that we make this movie. It all depends on you. We always want it to continue the story because there's so much world to build on this and we're trying for the comic book and all that. You know, we really want to expand this world and bring more martial artists from around the world and having our own world of characters and this Legend of the Fist of the Condor. This warrior that needs to protect it and then you have people from all over the world trying to get it so inviting different martial artists actors, inviting different talent to kind of like, have some fun.

Bobby: I was always bummed because I was hoping there was going to be a sequel to Redeemer, because I love that movie so much. At least knowing that there's this one, even though it's not the same story, it still kind of has that same vibe of the old school martial arts, makes me happy to know that there's potentially more to come and I'm going to do whatever I can to help get people to see this and promote it.

Marko: Get the DVD. That will help us you. I'll tag you on Instagram and we promote it. You know, that's how we do it.

Bobby: Absolutely. Is there anything you have coming up you can tell us about? I heard rumblings that you're doing a movie Diablo, with Scott Atkins. Is that true?

Marko: We have plans to shoot that movie. I cannot talk much about it, but it’s going to be amazing. We're looking forward to shoot that movie soon.

Bobby: Again, I'm a huge fan and it's an honor to get to speak to you again.  You continuously inspire me with every project.

Marko: Thanks, man.

Check out Fist of the Condor available now on Blu-ray and DVD as well as streaming on Hi-Yah!

Enter for a chance to win a copy of the Blu-ray here now.

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