The Action Martial Arts Hall of Honors Mega Weekend bills itself as â€œThe Ultimate Destinationâ€? For Martial Arts and once again lived up to that billing.
By Jerome Maida Freelance writer for the Philadelphia Daily News Action Martial Arts Magazine's "Hall of Honors" Mega-Weekend bills itself as "The Ultimate Destination For Martial Arts - and for the 13th year in a row, proved that was not hyperbole. "The greatest thing about it is we have probably the top martial arts people and champions at one time coming to our event", says organizer (and
publisher of this magazine) Alan Goldberg. Indeed, with most other events, martial artists as legendary as Cynthia Rothrock, Don "The Dragon" Wilson and Bill "Superfoot" Wallace would be the main maybe only - headliners. At the 2013 Hall of Honors , they were merely an impressive part of an incredible lineup that included nearly 24 world champions and MA stars. "Hall of Honors was a fantastic event. It keeps getting better and better every year, even though it seems almost impossible to do", says Rothrock, who has made every Hall of Honors since it's inception and convinced friend Kevin Sorbo ("Hercules: The Legendary Journeys") to attend this year. "It's the biggest martial arts event in the world and a very classy event. Alan knows how to do it right." "There were successful (vendors) and Thousands of people were there", says Rothrock. "There were new stars..some new fans...some new martial artists...There's really something for everybody and it's just such an amazing time and the only thing that upset me was that it seemed over so quickly! Alan makes this unique and apart from every other martial arts event in so many ways." Don "The Dragon" Wilson agrees. He says he has been to every one except the first one and last year's, which he missed because he was working on a film. He credits Goldberg with being the main reason for his anticipation. "I went to it (the second year of the event) and I saw what a great guy Alan was. He is the (definitive) Master of Ceremonies, you know?", he says. "It's a great event that's true - but if he was like an egotistical kind of jerk or whatever, it would not maintain the success it has year after year." "He treats us (martial arts celebrities) so generously", Don Wilson continues. "First of all, (most promoters) if they get an audience, it's
all about them. You know what I mean? They get an audience (and) they're the ones that are going to be holding up the microphone and talk about everything and talk about what they did - I call it, 'Me,
me, me'. That's what usually happens. Alan is the only one that is just the opposite", Don Wilson goes on. "For him, it's all about his his, quote, 'Celebrity Martial Artists' (that) he brings in. It's about them, their accomplishments...taking care of ALL the people that are there and making sure they're comfortable. I travel all over the world - and there's just never been a better host of an event than Alan Goldberg." "The event experience is great and it's a great venue. Of course those are big (reasons) I came out. But I've been to other big events and other nice venues and they did not have a quote 'Master of Ceremonies' like Alan - and if they didn't pay me the money, I wouldn't go", Don Wilson says with a chuckle. "With them, if I didn't get big bucks, I wouldn't go. But Alan's is a different thing." "You may be able to to do it once or twice, right", asks Don Wilson. "Maybe three times, because it may take a while to reach so many people - to find out that you're just an egotistical guy, right? It may take a while, but you can't get to 13 (shows and foll everybody). He's been doing it every year and everybody loves him more every year and that's why every year the show's sold out and the dinner's sold out." Don Wilson also says the amazing collection of talent Goldberg assembled for the event - which includes not only Rothrock, Wallace, Sorbo and himself, but stunt woman and threetime WKA World Kickboxing Champion Cheryl Wheeler-Duncan; Olympic gold-medalist and WBO Heavyweight Champion boxer Ray Mercer; stunt woman and 9-time world champion martial artist Christine Bannon-Rodrigues - is a huge reason he made sure to
come this year. "He had some different celebrities. so I got to spend some time with Kevin Sorbo and Mark Grove, a guy who I've worked with in films before and that's different for me", says Don Wilson. "Usually it's the same - the usual suspects - and I see the same people. But it was all different this year because he had some different guests and he did some different things. BannonRodrigues also felt the breadth and depth of talented stars on hand helped make the Hall of Honors a unique experience. "The Action Martial Arts Hall of Honors is always such a fun event", she says. "(I got) to see all my friends from all over the country and (was) making new friends as well!""Mr. Goldberg always outdoes himself from year to year!", Bannon-Rodrigues continues. We all put this date aside, a year in advance, and do all we can to be there! Hats off to Mr. G for all his hard work and for bringing so many Martial Artists together under one roof! And also for his hard work at getting new celebrities to be guests each year!" Bannon-Rodrigues was one of over 20 world champions out of a whopping 60 martial artists total that gave free seminars. Don Wilson was another "You can't do it, right?", he asks rhetorically. "I teach them the technique, show them what soft areas of the body are there that you can hit...then if someone attacks as soon as they walk out the door after "The Dragon"'s seminar, they can utilize what i teach right then. It's not going to take them years...(it will only take) an hour." Don Wilson says what he teaches is very simple: You figure out what your target is and go for it. "That's what I taught", he says. "I still believe that the core of martial arts is self-defense. (That's why)