James, tell us a little bit about your background as a martial artist. What are your disciplines, and how long have you been practicing?
I have been involved in Martial arts for 45 years, ever since I watched the Movie “Enter the Dragon” with Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali Fighting in the early 1970s. I first started with Boxing then added karate. I was bullied when I was younger because I was so much bigger than the other kids they figured I would hit them but I didn’t because i knew i would be blamed. I did eventually stand up for myself and was suspended from 8th grade for throwing another student while they were still sitting at their desk as they had been bullying me for years. The principle said to my father he was proud I finally stood up for myself but still had to suspend me.
I wrestled and played football in High School and College. In High School I was again bullied freshman year but eventually stood up for myself sophomore year and I have never been bullied ever since.
At the end of high school I started competing in powerlifting and got very strong and fit and carried that through my college football experience and even played some pro football after college in Canada and tried out for NFL teams.
When I reached my mid 20s, I started to take boxing more seriously and actually was in the Golden Gloves. In the early 1990s I fell in love with Mauy Thai. I loved the elbows and knees and then my Martial Arts interest exploded when I watched movies like “Blood Sport” and “Best of the Best”. I was hooked for life.
See I am a true Ronin no one master and know many ways of combat.
Who were your sensei’s, where did you begin your path as a martial artist, and at what point did you begin to create your own brand of martial arts and where do you now host your lessons and schools?
When I was 6 years old my father was hired to landscape Muhammad Ali’s Home in Cherry Hill NJ on Barbara Lane. He moved here to intimidate Joe Frazier before their fight. My father actually brought Mohamed Ali to our home. He was a giant. My hair was long because my aunts were hippies and the Champ leaned down when meeting me and said “who is this little girl” I punched him right in the face bit of course at 6 years old he felt nothing and laughed. But really only a few people in history ever hit the Champ and didn’t get hit back lol. I was blessed to be able to train with legends like
*Ron Van Clief the Black Dragon,
*UFC Legend Dan the Beast Severn,
*Relson Gracie and even the
*Black Samurai Shadoshi Rico Guy who taught me to respect the sword. About 20 years ago I met sifu Alan Goldberg who has been a mentor for
Me all along the way. To this day I train combat sports athletes in my gym and I promote combat sports events around the world and I produce all of the Warrior Island Comics, TV show and Movies
Warrior Island sounds and looks like a fun concept. How did the idea originally formulate, and how were you able to implement it into a reality show and then a comic book? Which came first?
In 2010 I was covering the UFC and Bellatore MMA leagues for the media and a show called the MMA & Sports Xtreme show and MTV. I noticed a lot of disrespect and poor behavior from the head of the snake to the tail. Fighters getting arrested and promoters treating fighters poorly and fans acting stupid. The traditional values of Martial Arts had been lost. I was blessed enough to befriend UFC and Martial Arts legends Ron Van Clief and Dan “the Beast” Severn as well as Relson and Renzo Gracie. We sat and talked many times for hours about how we can make a difference and came up with Warrior Island and the Tiki Code ! Follow the Code and Change Humanity ! From there in 2012 we started our own combat league called Global Proving Ground and held events around the world. We have published 12 comic books distributed at comic cons and martial arts tournaments and some comic book stores. We are in the 4”3rd season of our TV show and working on our Video game and animated series.
Your entrepreneurship is multi-faceted and very ambitious. How are you able to balance all of it? What’s the most challenging aspect to the whole endeavor?
We have bootstrapped the business from the beginning with a few investors here and there but our profits are increasing and the future is Bright for the Warrior Island Universe.
What’s the plan going forward with Warrior Island and the comic book series?
We are working on our first graphic novel from the first 12 comics in the Warrior Island series. Additionally we are working on an animated series based on the comics and a video game.
Talk a little bit about your writers and artists for the comic book. How were they chosen, and how does your fan base point the way forward, story-wise and contestant-wise?
Our Screenwriter is Sheldon Lettich who has written Hollywood legendary movies like Bloodsport and Lionheart as well as The Quest and Only the Strong. He is now writing the Warrior Island screenplay to become a Major Major a motion Picture.
I write the comic books and we have 4 artists that create the art. Our Lead artist is Julian Aguilera followed by Peter Cacho, Chucky Penero and Jabaar Brown. We are very blessed to have such a great team.
To someone who has never watched Warrior Island, how would you describe it to them?
On a mysterious island Grand Masters of martial arts teach the Tiki Code to Warriors from around the world. These warriors are voted on by the fans to go to Warrior island on our custom voting platform, through tryout videos on our YouTube Brand Channel. The fans watch the live competitions on Season 1 of Saga 1 of the show. After the top 16 fighters are voted into the show we then show their lives and training in season 2 of saga one one the TV show as they prepare to go to the Island. These fighters from around the world appear in our comics and shows and soon video games. I’m season 3 the fighters compete to become the ultimate island warrior. Follow the Code Change Humanity!
There’s a movie on the horizon, and we’d love to know what that will be like. Is it closer to Mortal Kombat / Bloodsport than to something like American Ninja? Who would ideally be your dream cast for the film? What sort of creative input will you have?
Well my dream cast would be Bruce Lee and Chuck Norris but we have amazing Talent lined up. I would tell you but then I’d have to kill you lol kidding
You also have a youth-oriented version of the Warrior Island concept, right? I keep hearing about “following the code.” What is “the code,” and where does it lead to?
Our Tiki Kid Dojos teach the code to the next generation thru our patches and comics and activity books.
What are your plans for your brand and how can people get involved in “following the code?”
Everything Warrior Island can be found at WarriorIsland.com.