ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

Though many involved with "The Martial Arts Kid" cite the script by Michael Baumgarten as the star, many would be disappointed if a a film co-headlined by martial arts/action-movie legends Cynthia Rothrock and Don "The Dragon" Wilson didn't include some kick-ass fight scenes.

Seeing as how this is Rothrock's first action/martial arts film as a lead since 2004's "Sci-Fighter", that anticipation has been amplified by a decade's worth of pent-up demand.

So the first fight scene starring "The Queen Of Martial Arts Films" would have a lot to live up to - and would, by necessity, have to be against a worthy opponent.

Consider that requirement fulfilled.

Eric Kovaleski, the youngest Tang Soo Do Grandmaster in the world today - he is a spry 34 - is the "bad guy" in the first fight scene in "The Martial Arts Kid".

This is Kovaleski's first substantial role in a movie - and he says the fact that it includes a fight scene with the legendary Rothrock makes it that much sweeter and special.

"I'm really excited", said Kovaleski shortly before his scene was to be shot earlier this month. "Grandmaster Cynthia Rothrock is like my sister. You know? I've known her since i was a child and I've always looked up to her and been amazed by her ability and her talents - especially in martial arts films."

"I always aspired to be like her", Kovaleski continues. "(So that) she gave me the opportunity to have a main fight scene in 'The Martial Arts Kid' movie, with her, (well) I'm very excited about that."

Though this is Kovaleski's first time in a movie, Rothrock has confidence in his abilities to pull the scene off, especially with the legendary James Lew helping coordinate things.

"I trust Eric 100% that we're going to pull off this really, really good little fight scene - and it's the first time you see me fight in the movie", says Rothrock.

"It's an honor for me to work with Grandmaster Cynthia Rothrock", Kovaleski reemphasizes. "I've always looked up to Grandmaster Don "The Dragon" Wilson as well and I've gotten to know (Don's brother, producer) James Wilson, who's such a nice guy, and I'm very excited to be part of the film. It's an honor for me."

Kovaleski recently made the cover of the March 2014 issue of "Tae Kwon Do Times". which is comparable to a football or baseball player making the cover of "The Sporting News" or "Sports Illustrated". Even the legendary "Black Belt" magazine regards "Tae Kwon Do Times" as one of the top five publications devoted to martial arts in the world - with correspondents everywhere from the USA to Australia to Nigeria.

Kovaleski's other accomplishments include: Competing on the National Karate Circuit for over 20 years, earning numerous national grand championships as well as a World Championship in Fighting in 1994. Additionally, he has won over 300 trophies in regional, state and national competition in both Forms and Fighting and has been inducted into many karate Halls of Fame and has been selected as the East Coast Representative for the World Tang Soo Do General Federation Moo Duk Kwan for Seoul, Korea.

Kovaleski has also been the recipient of many citations from the Pennsylvania House of Representatives , as well as the Governor's office naming "Pennsylvania Martial Arts Day" in honor of Kovaleski's event, the Legends of the Martial Arts Hall of Fame.

"I'm just thrilled that I get to do my first fight scene on film with Grandmaster Cynthia Rothrock. It's a huge honor for me", says Kovaleski. "Whether it's been growing up, watching her on television and her movies (or) learning that my father (Grandmaster Robert Kovaleski) and her were good friends, and that he was her first karate teacher....Now to star with and fight her? It's a dream come true."


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