Entertainment through action

Workshop with Byung Gil Jung of Action Boys

It is not everyday that you get to wake up to an invitation to help co-facilitate a workshop with an international action director and ex korean stuntman. The boys at AFA were lucky and blessed to have been given that chance, find out what they thought.

EDWIN: It was an eye opener working with Korean director Byung Gil. We had a mini exchange session about the differences in styles between locally and Korea. Learnt quite a bit of stuff from the interaction. Stuff on how to make things look more realistic while minimizing the impact to the fellow actors. Coming from a martial arts background, I was ingrained in making my punches crisp and compact. However, for the sake of films, movements have to be exaggerated and loose. Learnt from Byung Gil a couple of drills on how to loosen up before a fight scene. Besides learning from him, I got to help out and teach too. Knowing and teaching is two totally different things. Overall it was an enriching and fun experience.

Edwin leading the warmup

RAY: It was very surreal working with the Korean director Byung Gil, at the stunt workshop. Edwin, Val and myself were invited as co facilitators of the workshop. It was some sort of exchange program and Val and I worked out a simple fight sequence to show the other attendees. Edwin was the main choreographer for this.I feel that this workshop was very useful and I’m surprise at the amount of students who attended the workshop! A lot of them were very much into action films.

I learnt a lot from Byung Gil and it has helped strengthen my basic skill and made me more knowledgeable about the world of stunts and action films.

Ray assisting the warmup

VAL: I’m all for improvement and growth. This opportunity that we were so blessed to be given by Sunny Pang was exactly about improvement and growth. Language barriers aside, watching how the korean stunt people train and work professionally is inspiring and at the same time very scary.

I remember a scene from ACTION BOYS where a guy had to fall off from a height of two stories onto just a table. I could sense the pain and clearly the performer was in a state of constant fear. Fear is after all an enemy as well as a foe. But the thing that caught my attention was his professionalism and willingness to go all out for it. Even though he showed fear, he was discipline enough to calm himself down and execute the stunt, throwing in added emotions after the impact itself just to sell the shot!

During the workshop with the korean action director, I learnt a lot about movement and also my own personal flaws when it came to flow and technique. All these years after performing and doing live shows I thought I was a decent on-screen fighter. However after trying out some new improvements to the way I would swing for a punch, I realized my mobility in my hip was extremely limited and that made my punch look fake.

As tiny as this flaw may seem, it actually is important in the long run because this small little part activates a bigger mechanism; namely my own body. I’m naturally a pretty impatient person, but this experience has taught me a lot in terms of on-screen fighting and performance. There is indeed a lot more to learn and the process is ever evolving.

Overall, I did enjoy the one day workshop and found it very enriching. Special thanks to the people at SMU for making it happen. Sunny Pang for allowing me to go through this experience and not forgetting korean action director Byung Gil.

Group shot with Byung Gil Jung in light blue


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