One of Shihan James Bamford’s favorite quotes is:
“Life is an endless mountain; it’s not about reaching the top, it’s about the climb.” And aside from the mountain of martial arts, another figurative climb that Bamford has made has been the Hollywood hills. Bamford has made a name for himself in film and television as a stunt performer, coordinator, and fight choreographer. His credits include The X-Files, Final Destination, The Chronicles of Riddick, X-Men 2, Blade: Trinity, X-Men: The Last Stand, and Fantastic Four: The Rise of the Silver Surfer, just to name a few.
The 5th-degree black belt in Karate, whose system is a combination of Shotokan and Shorin-Ji Kenpo with infusions of Muay Thai Boxing and Eskrima, has served as stunt double for bold-face names such as Mickey Rourke, David Duchovny, and Benicio Del Toro. The Leo Awards, an organization recognizing excellence in film and television in British Columbia, has nominated his stunt coordination three times, with Bamford earning two wins. He also has ventured into directing episodes in DC’s television universe. His greatest known and acclaimed work is on the DC series Arrow, with Bamford being a fan favorite at several comic conventions.
Bamford was born in Victoria, British Columbia, in 1967. A self-described “mutt” of Sicilian, Belgian and Norwegian ancestry, he was adopted at birth by a “tough love” father and “loving, kind” mother. His father was a longshoreman and a member of the sports hall of fame for Victoria’s Shamrocks Lacrosse in the 1950s. He grew up in the small town of Sidney on the outskirts of Victoria. It was tough, and he was burdened by a trio of bullies picking on him starting from kindergarten. When he sought to bypass the bullies by taking another route home, his supportive but survival-sensed father made him take the same route every day regardless. He describes his dad, who died before Bamford reached 18, as a boxer and a tough-guy type you would find in Westerns. But the tough love worked.
At age seven, he began to become more athletic, engaging in Lacrosse, American/Canadian football, and other contact sports, but it was at age ten that an outing changed his inner viewpoint. His uncles took him to a drive-in screening of Bruce Lee’s "Enter the Dragon," and he entered a new phase of his development. His interest in martial arts was sparked and he began training at the Bateson Karate School, founded by Shihan Linden Bateson. In hindsight, he realized that he was shy as a child and didn’t like being afraid of bullies. The arts made him feel safer. He trained in Karate, with an infusion of Muay Thai, Taekwondo, and Eskrima with Senior School Sensei Michael Puckette, who went on to become a full-contact fighter who did very well. In addition, his father’s admiration for Muhammad Ali fed his interest in boxing. He counts Joe Lewis, Bill ‘Superfoot’ Wallace, and Benny ‘The Jet’ Urquidez, among some of his heroes.
Written Glen Beck
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