Jeff Smith is among an astounding EIGHT martial arts Masters and Champions officially added to the cast of "The Martial Arts Kid", co-producer James Wilson announced yesterday.
The other seven are: Bill "Superfoot" Wallace, Olando "The Warrior" Rivera, Eric Kovaleski, Rick St Clair, Gerry Blanck, Glenn Wilson and Alan Goldberg.
"From the beginning we wanted to show there is an audience and a hunger for a film with real martial artists at the highest level", says the film's co-producer James Wilson.
James Wilson says that should have been clear from the the film's inception and with the casting of action movie/martial arts legends Cynthia Rothrock and Don "The Dragon" Wilson - James's brother - as the two headliners.
"If you look at some of the big martial arts movie stars in America, some are not true martial artists and even those that are - they are not recognized Masters or Champions", James Wilson says."We wanted to rectify that and have the martial arts in the film be authentic martial arts and to have recognized Masters and Champions."
Smith - along with the other seven names announced yesterday - certainly qualifies.
Smith is an American martial arts instructor, best known as the former seven-time PKA World Light Heavy Weight Karate Champion. One of his title defense matches was on the undercard for the Ali vs. Frazier "Thrilla in Manila" in 1975.
He currently operates a martial arts school in Virginia where he teaches Tae Kwon Do, in which he holds a 9th degree black belt. On April 6, 2007 Jeff Smith was inducted into the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame. He is the current COO and Director of Instruction for Mile High Karate, a nationally recognized martial arts franchise.
"The Martial Arts Kid" is set to start filming in the spring and will be released in theaters in 2015.