By Mathew Robson
Bridgend’s Dave Wong is something of a celebrity in this Welsh neck of the woods. Starting his Martial Arts training at the ripe young age of 28, he has a few unique life experiences to boast since those early, physically enduring days. It was poor health that forced Dave’s mind to the physically punishing trials of the martial arts universe; “I was overweight (18 stone)” he explains, “I had tried Judo as a teenager but found it too tough”.
Never one to give up too easily, he swiftly and determinably built up an enviable skill set of martial arts prowess. As everything is a means to an end, Dave set his sights on the jet set world of modelling and movies, “I initially had the idea of doing some photo modelling work, but eventually fell into film and TV extra work . . . and then came some theatre”. His first big break came with an audition for the Sean Connery vehicle Entrapment, “though I didn’t get the job” he laments.
“I’ve had a few drama workshops” Dave explains, but his true passion remains martial arts. Since his early days, and unfortunately unsuccessful auditions here and there, his career has picked up its upward trajectory. Boasting a filmography that now houses such prestigious titles as the latest Bond flick Skyfall and the new Tom Cruise starring role Edge of Tomorrow (initially bestowed the laughably dubious title All You Need Is Kill), Dave Wong has begun to leave his mark across the globe. “Some of these roles have taken me to exciting new countries, it was both exciting and scary at the same time” he says.
“If you can imagine I’d only ever seen some of the stars I’ve worked with on screen, so to meet them face to face was intimidating.” Not to be accused of remaining idle for fifteen minutes of the year, Dave has also taken on considerable external projects of his own unbeatable enthusiastic volition.
The celebrated, and multi talented, Zara Phythian has been working alongside Dave Wong on an upcoming film project. “I’ll be playing the villain” he tells me, “it’s due to start shooting sometime this year”.
As well as being a 13 time multi style martial arts champion, Zara has worked closely with Dave on establishing the well respected Sen Martial Arts Academy in Pontyclun. “It was set up over a year ago with the help of Zara and her partner Vic”, he explains “We have a little team to help run it. My daughter and I run the children’s classes and adult Karate classes, it will eventually be a full time academy with other classes being taught”.
“We hope to offer our students variety under one roof, hopefully have a few champions who might make martial arts a career, and who know, may become martial arts movies actors”
The Sen Martial Arts Academy will soon be working alongside the Fusion Arts Foundation on a number of stretching workshops commencing on March 9th. It’s aimed at “the older person who thinks they’ve left it too late to be flexible”, he says “I’ve also planned to run stage/film combat workshops”.
As is often the case with life, you are often dealt a surprising and unfortunate hand. Earlier this year Dave was forced to close his academy over the upcoming months. “Basically, it’s making a loss and I can’t afford to cover that loss anymore”. Fortunately, being the energetic optimist that he is, Dave isn’t giving up easily “I’m thinking of starting up again, just on a much smaller scale, I plan to devote more energy to film and TV.”
So, what does the future hold for martial artist/actor/entrepreneur/producer Dave Wong? “I am working on some personal film projects of my own at the moment” he explains. Keep your eyes and ears peeled for him, he’ll be on a cinema screen, in a martial arts academy or globetrotting to your part of the rock soon.
The future is looking bright for Dave Wong.