2023 / 66 min / USA / Documentary
Directed by Sean P Fahey
Cast: Eugene Thomas
Semi-retired Chicago security guard Eugene Thomas reflects on his life, music, and martial arts practice. Oh, and that decade between the 80s and 90s when he was an international celebrity, starring in a dozen ninja movies filmed in Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand, and Hong Kong. Also featuring Ron van Clief (The Black Dragon), For Kicks is a unique window into the history of black martial arts in movies.
In For Kicks, Thomas shares his story and we will learn from fellow actor, Ron Van Clief, professor Bryant Murakami, actor/producer Toby Russell (Ken Russell’s son), and filmmaker Floyd Webb who will zoom in on the cultural significance of the black martial arts cinematic experience, from Blaxploitation, to Hong Kong’s booming action film market, to the formulation of the black martial arts icons, like Ron Van Clief, Jim Kelly, Jim Brown, Fred Williamson, Carl Scott, Thomas Eugene Trammell, and others who blazed the trail and created an excited genre of martial arts action cinema.
We will learn about the storied history of black martial artists who paved the way for the many action genres today. And we will learn about how music and martial arts inform Thomas’ spiritual inward journey as a lifelong practice.