Profiles and Interviews With Interesting New Yorkers

Stunt Man And Martial Arts Master Felix Cortes Builds His Name

By Nick Christophers

Determination and drive are two things Felix Cortes does not lack. When only thirteen-years old he was told by his instructor Panana Tuhon Christopher C. Sayoc Sr. in his first class that he will offer him one week before he quits. Well, Felix put it into his mind “I’ll show him!” That is exactly what Felix did even when the training intensified, he pushed himself even more to prove his Master wrong.

Felix who learned the Filipino style of martial arts is originally from Arecibo, Puerto Rico. He would build on his training and eventually opened his own school in 1992 in District Heights Maryland. The school was called Arnis Tae Kwon Do Academy. Felix would travel to the Philippines to train and teach FMA in 2017 after he was invited to the Russian House in the Philippines FMA & Silat training camp by his student and good friend Alexander Pisarkin.

Felix has developed a different approach to teaching martial arts. He has harped on a comprehensive curriculum that focuses on practical application by providing the tools to exceed his standards.

“Our training focuses on developing conditioned responses through the quality and excellence of our training. Utilizing a thought provocation and correct response method of learning to ensure personal growth. Students will begin to feel a vast sense of Self-Confidence, Empowerment as well as developing Physical & Mental Awareness. The quality of your training depends on the quality of your thoughts, the ability to visualize your goals, committing to them and having the willingness to succeed. We share our vision and continue to develop students and instructors to improve our program with teamwork integrity, and loyalty, so we all contribute as individuals and future leaders in Filipino Combatives Global (FCG).”

His expertise earned him the Action Magazine & the World Martial Arts hall of fame award and was featured in Britain’s Martial Arts Illustrated Magazine. Felix also expanded his knowledge of the arts by offering his expertise as a stuntman in many movies. Felix’s first taste of the film world was on the cult classic movie “Toxic Avenger 2” where he played a cab driver. He would follow that up with a project with Sony Pictures entitled the “Underground”, and “Escape from Safehaven” aka Inferno in Safehaven. In the short film “Boniato” he played the lead character which was in the Top 10 list at the Midnight shorts at the Sundance film festival and it also won best film at the Urban Action Showcase in NYC.

In addition, he was casted in two action projects “Survive the Game”, and “Fortress 2”, both starring Bruce Willis. As a stuntman he worked on the film “Wonder Woman 1984”. When it comes to TV shows he had offered his stunt skills to projects like “Outsiders S2”, “Dare Devil S3”, and the “Punisher S2”. Felix has been busy with stunts recently for Apple tv+ Echo 3 and the newly released feature movie “Plane” starting Gerard Butler. Lastly, he starred in the project “Johnny Z” as a Filipino martial arts master (Jonray). The release date for that film has not been determined yet.

After so many students have come through his doors at his school there was won student Ron Zwolak who was exceptional. Ron competed as a junior in AAU tournaments, and he won bronze, silver, and gold medals. Also, his novice competition team have done very well in The North American Sports Karate Association tournaments (NASKA). In addition, William Raymond

and Theo Johnson were top rank members of our school competing in the North American Sports Karate association tournaments.

Presently, Felix is working on stunts for a new Tyler Perry movie and there are many more opportunities in Television, and Film on the horizon. He has come very far from the scenic island of Puerto Rico to gracing film screens to shaping better lives for young men and women nationally.

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