Preparing For Silver Screen
by Brian Barr
After winning 10 Tae Kwon Do national championships, four world championships and claiming numerous other prestigious titles, it seems as if there is little else for Quick Kick Chucky 'Lee' Currie to accomplish. He has been announced as the next Bruce Lee by Chuck Norris, defeated Jean Claude Van Damme in fighting competition, served as a bodyguard for Richard Pryor, and performed his tae kwon do forms routine for Michael Jackson at his mansion in Southern California. But at age 32, Currie is looking to take his talents to Hollywood and follow in line behind the likes of Lee, Norris, and Van Damme as the next big martial arts star on the silver screen. "Everyone I meet tells me that with all my talent I should be in films," Currie said. "I was supposed to have a few roles in some big martial arts films in the past, but none of them ever worked out. I know my big shot is coming real soon. I feel everything I have accomplished up to this point in my life has been destiny, and I believe I'm destined to make it in movies as well." Currie said that he has recently been in touch with Warner Brothers' martial arts film star Steven Segal, who is planning to cast Quick Kick and his fast feet in his next film.
"I was supposed to be in Segal's last film," said Currie, who was dubbed as the fastest feet in America by Karate Illustrated Magazine in 1983. "But the film was really over budget and they couldn't afford to add me to the cast. I've been told to stay in shape and be ready by the end of this year to appear in his next film, though. The people at Warner Brothers have been very positive and supportive of me, so I feel very good about the prospect of working with Steven in a film." Quick Kick got his first taste of the big screen in 1986 when he had the opportunity to perform in the film "Ninja Busters." "It was really a great experience," Currie said. "There was enough footage of me in the film to introduce people to who I was and what I could do with my martial art skills. The film played at the three day Martial Arts Film Festival, so I got a lot of public exposure." The funny thing about the whole experience, though, is that I actually never saw the footage at the festival," said Currie. "I showed up late with some friends and missed my part. But after the showing of the film, I was standing out in the lobby and all these kids see me and say, 'It's that really fast guy from the movie.' They all swarmed around me and wanted my autograph, and I kept asking, 'How was it? What'd I do? because I hadn't even seen my part yet."
Currie, a Chicago native and current resident of Ceres, began learning martial arts at the early age of six. The young "whipper snapper" moved to California a few years later, earning his first black belt at age 10 and competing in his first tournament four years later. He won three first place trophies at a tournament in Oakland, beginning a very prosperous career in which he would collect over three wheelbarrows filled with trophies. "I remember after that tournament about 10 different people involved in the martial arts business asked me if I wanted to teach," said Currie. "Here I am only 14 years old these people want me to teach. It was just incredible." It would be only four years later, at the age of 18, that Currie would accomplish a feat even more incredible by winning his first four tae kwon do world championships. He won his last world championship in 1989. "That first world championship made me kind of a celebrity," said Currie. "I was acknowledged as one of best martial arts figures in the world, and I never fought anyone buy the best in the world from that point on." Although this title introduced Currie to the rest of the world, Quick Kick believes he made his mark in martial arts by introducing music to the tae kwon do forms competition.
"I came out and didn't my routine to the music from Bruce Lee's 'Enter the Dragon' before a huge crowd at Berkeley High School one time," Currie said. "My routine synchronized to the music as if I were totally possessed or something. The crowd went crazy after I finished and music ha been a part of forms competition ever since." Currie believes by brining music into the forms competition, he took martial arts to a whole new dimension. "The traditional forms competition was so boring before I started this newer creative style." said Currie. "You should have seen some of the judges when I first started it. Some of them just sat there and stared like they never seen anything like it before. It was a real trip. They looked at me like they were trying to figure out what in the world I was doing."
"The change was good for the competition," he said. "with the music added to the forms competition, life and energy was introduced to something that was completely lifeless. It was like I plugged the energy into the competition and brought it back to life and allowed each individual to express himself as a real person through the musical routine." Over the years Currie has also earned a living by teaching tae kwon do street-fighting applications. His ability to teach has been passed down during more then 25 years of martial art training from such great instructors as Byung Yu and and Ernie Reyes. "I can't give all the credit of my success to myself," said Currie, I've had some great instructors, received a lot of support from the United Martial Arts Federation and been graced by God with my talents. Like I always say, 'All the glory to God.' After all, its his kingdom." Although Currie has been concentrating on his teaching and preparing for his big shot on film as of late, he still gets the taste for competition. Currie will be competing in the "Battle of Champions".