ByJerome Maida, writer at
Jerome Maida

Even in a film with over a dozen martial arts Grandmasters, World Champions and Living Legends, "The Martial Arts Kid" Co-Producer Ryan Westheimer says Eric Kovaleski stood out.

"Eric only worked a couple days, but his skills are amazing", says Westheimer.

Indeed, Kovaleski's real-life accomplishments seem to back that assessment up.

The Dickson City, PA resident, Kovaleski has an impressive list of accomplishments.

Kovaleski, who started training in the discipline of Tang Soo Do at the age of three and is currently the youngest Grandmaster of Tang Soo worldwide, has made the cover of the March 2014 issue of "Tae Kwon Do Times". It is comparable to a football or baseball player in our area 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.

"Again, I'm not a martial artist, so to see what these people can do..their abilities - and they're so humble and quiet about it", says Westheimer. "Then they do their thing and it blows you away".

In the film, Kovaleski is one of the bullies who make life miserable for the titular kid, Robbie, played by Jansen Panettiere.

This leads to him getting into trading kicks and punches with the "Queen of Martial Arts films herself, martial arts/action-movie legend Cynthia Rothrock, who plays Robbie's aunt.

"He was unreal and completely professional", says Westheimer of Kovaleski. "You know, a lot of these guys have (a big) following, have accomplished some amazing feats and (earned) awards - and this, that and the other..(but) every one of them - you'd never know it."

"He was just so humble", says Westheimer. "(He) just did his job and did it brilliantly."

Kovaleski's other real-life 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.

"The Martial Arts Kid" is scheduled to hit theaters in 2015.


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