"The Academy awards of Martial Arts" is returning to Atlantic City this weekend!!
The safest place on Earth to be this weekend - or possibly all year -is once again likely the Tropicana in Atlantic City, where hundreds of martial artists and fighters - including dozens of legends, champions and all-time greats like Christine Bannon-Rodrigues, Don "The Dragon" Wilson and Cynthia Rothrock will be gathering for the Action Martial Arts Magazine Mega Weekens - a.k.a. The Hall of Honors - which has become one of the most exciting and compelling events on the planet.
"It's the largest martial arts event of it's kind - there's nothing else even a quarter of what we do in size", says Alan Goldberg. "We are one of the largest entertainment events even in Atlantic City. The greatest thing about it is we have probably the top martial arts people and champions at one time coming to our event."
That would include the legendary Bannon-Rodrigues - a 9-time World Champion best known for acting and being a stunt double in martial arts/action films, including being the stunt double for Alicia Silverstone's Batgirl in "Batman and Robin" and Hillary Swank's Julie pierce, the "Kid" in "The Next Karate Kid".
"I plan to be there as usual", exclaims Bannon-Rodrigues. "I'm just looking forward to visiting old friends. I'm also looking forward to seeing the private showing of the "Martial Arts Kid."
Bannon-Rodrigues says she goes all around the world and attends many similar events, but that the Hall of Honors in Atlantic City every January is an event she clears her schedule for.
"It's the one time all year that many of us are at one place, one event at the same time", she continues."I get to see so many good friends. Some of them I only see in Atlantic City once a year! Others I see a few times through my travels throughout the year."
Bannon-Rodrigues also feels that Grandmaster Alan Goldberg is to be commended for putting on such a classy, memorable vent every year.
" I'm always treated well by Mr. Goldberg and his staff..(and) I'm not really the type that needs to get special treatment".
Bannon-Rodrigues says she will also be giving one of the 63 free seminars given by Grandmasters and World Champions from all over the globe.
"I beleive I'm scheduled to teach a seminar. I can teach almost any topic from Forms, Weapons, Hard or soft style, Self Defense, Fighting, Stretching and kicking", she says. "I like to just see what my attendees are interested in. Most of the time they want me to work with them on fighting drills / techniques. I'd like to teach something different, maybe self defense techniques or a form, but I play it by ear each year."
"I would hope, at the end, the attendees of my seminar learned something from me, something to take back and use themselves or share with their students", says Bannon-Rodrigues." I hope that they may discover I'm just a little quieter than most, but down to earth and love to help others learn and reah their goals. I hope that especially females, will see that anything they set as a goal is reachable!"
"I am most looking forward to just seeing everyone" Bannon-Rodrigues exclaims! "The Hall of Fame banquet is always a lot of fun, but just socializing and enjoying everyone's time throughout the weekend, whether it be at the dinner, the cocktail party or the trade show is the best".
Of course, one of the highlights of this year's show is that there will be five private screenings of the highly anticipated film, "The Martial Arts Kid", which has over a dozen Grandmasters and martial arts champions among it's cast, including Bannon-Rodrigues.
"I'm looking forward to seeing it", she exclaims. "I know they have been working hard on the final, cut product. This will be my first time seeing a screening of the film"
" It was an honor to make an appearance in the movie. Don (Wilson) and Cynthia (Rothrock) are great friends, as well as (Producer) James (Wilson) and (Producer) Cheryl (Wheeler). Working on a film is a lot of fun, but when you can do it alongside good friends, its just that much more enjoyable!"
James Wilson, Don's brother is a Producer on "The Martial Arts Kid" and says he is looking forward to unveiling it to the select crowd at Hall of Honors this weekend.
"'The Martial Arts Kid' is looking great", says James Wilson. "The sound is nearly finished, just a few more tweaks with music and a scene or two will be tightened up, but the film is complete and we are pleased. IWe have a family film with an anti bully message, good fight action and humor too. This is a very entertaining film. We will have a minimum 5 "private screenings" in AC. We are having to be choosy because there is only room for 28 at a time. We hope to gain a lot of grass root support from these screenings to prominent martial artists & press. Don Wilson, Cynthia Rothrock, TJ Storm, Matthew Ziff, Inga Van Ardenn, Jennifer R Fraser, R Marcos Taylor, Jeff Smith, Christine Bannon Rodrigues, Marissa Jade, Ewart Chin, Jody Nolan, Barry Broughton, Lorraine Ziff and others will be present. It's going to be fun!"
Bannon-Rodrigues says the appeal of the Hall of Honors can be summed up by the appeal of their Awards Banquet on Saturday night.
"It's nice to see soooo many Martial Artists get recognized for their hard work and years in the arts", she says. "So many different styles all come together in one room".
Other celebrities slated to make an appearance include Cary Tagawa, Martin Kove, Michael Jai White and Joe Piscopo.
A 3-day pass can be had for as little as $44. There will be a 3-day trade show, 100 vendors, selling everything from weapons to clothes to merchandise, 70 free seminars, from learning how to run a martial arts business school to a self-defense class to an MMA class, Free Friday Night Dance Party free entrance to 6 different tournaments and more..
Indeed, this is truly an international event. Australia , Ireland , China,
Ukraine, France, Azerbaijan, Latvia, India , Uzbekistan, Switzerland, England, Scotland. Canada, Turkey , Trinada , Kazackstan & Russia are just some of the countries that will be represented this weekend.