In honor of the upcoming martial arts tournament in Middlesboro this Saturday - The Battle of the Cumberland Gap IV - Sensei Mike Taylor has booked Cynthia Rothrock, one of the most famous female martial artists and action film stars in the world, to attend.
Rothrock said she has been involved in martial arts for more than 38 years. She holds five black belts in various Far Eastern martial disciplines. These arts include Tang Soo Do (Korean), Tae Kwon Do (Korean), Eagle Claw (Chinese), Wu Shu (contemporary Chinese) and Northern Shaolin (classical Chinese).
According to her website, Rothrock is known as the undisputed “Queen of martial arts films.” With her international exposure, she soon propelled into celebrity status and within two years became a household name in martial arts circles.
In addition to being featured on the cover of virtually every martial arts magazine in the world, Rothrock has been featured in over 300 stories and articles in national and international publications, according to her online biography.
According to her website, “cinematically Rothrock burst into the scene like a stick of dynamite starring in a Kentucky Fried Chicken commercial in the early 1980s.” From there she started starring in action-adventure motion pictures worldwide.
She spent five years in Hong Kong starring in countless Asian produced motion pictures. According to Rothrock, two of her favorite movies she has starred in were a United States motion picture in 1996 called Sworn to Justice and a Hong Kong motion picture in 1989 called Lady Reporter.
Rothrock says her favorite celebrities in which she has worked alongside are Stacy Keach and and Kevin Sorbo.
Rothrock states, “Martial arts has changed my life in various ways. I started when I was young and before I started doing martial arts I would give up on things that were not easy to do such as sports and other activities. Martial arts has given me the idea to set a goal and to achieve it and not to accept failure.”
“I always try to instill this in my 13-year-old daughter and I have to remember it took me awhile to get this far,” she said. “You always have to try your best no matter what it is. It is a mind set. You can do whatever you want. You just can’t give up.”
Rothrock says her favorite thing about martial arts is the ability to defend herself and teach others how to defend themselves. She said she looks forward to vising Middlesboro this weekend because she loves to meet new people. Sightseeing in this part of the country will also be on her agenda, she said.
Rothrock just returned from Russia on Monday where she was invited for a film festival for an award for top action star. Rothrock’s future plans include, a martial arts banquet in Phoenix, Ariz., in November. She is also going to Prague for a demonstration at a martial arts gala.
Taylor said he wanted to invite Rothrock to his tournament is because when he attended the martial arts award banquets in Atlantic City and Pennsylvania this past year Rothrock presented the awards. He said despite being a famous celebrity, she was humble and nice toward everyone there.
“She is so famous, but still has that small town girl personality to present awards and help out women and martial artists all over the world. We are trying to promote the ‘Battle of Cumberland Gap IV’ and she is a great representative of martial arts and women everywhere.”
“We are hoping that her appearance will boost attendance at the festival, as well as the tournament. She has agreed to speak to some women’s groups in Middlesboro while visiting here. One of the things that we are lacking in the tournament is the appearance of women. We are trying to promote their attendance and appearance in martial arts,” added Taylor.
The tournament is Saturday at Middlesboro High School, with registration starting at 9 a.m. and the tournament beginning at 10 a.m.
Modified IIKA rules will be in effect. Metals for first through fourth place will be awarded in all divisions. There will also be special awards for kids participating.
The cost is $5 for spectators and $40 for one, two, or three events (fighting, kata and weapons).
“If enough interest is expressed, we will consider a grappling and a continuous fighting event,” said Taylor.
Call Mike Taylor at 606.269.2727 for more details.
Chase Smith is a staff writer for the Middlesboro Daily News. She can be contacted at email@example.com.