41-year-old Australian Bren Foster is mostly known for his roles in TNT series The Last Ship as Wolf Taylor. Also, in martial arts movies such as Force of Execution with Aikido master Steven Seagal. What some may not know, Bren is a legitimate badass on-screen and off. With over 35 years in a mixture of martial arts from his 7th Dan Black belt in taekwondo, having trained at a high level in kickboxing, karate, BJJ, silat, Muay Thai, boxing, wrestling, and Filipino martial arts. Bren is a true definition of a martial artist.
I was fortunate enough, to get the opportunity to chat with Bren about his life in martial arts.
You hold multiple black belts notably in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and taekwondo. How old were you when you started these disciplines and how long did it take you to achieve the honor?
Bren – I originally started at 6 years old with Karate. I then moved to hapkido, Taekwondo, and Hwarangdo achieving black belts in those arts. Early on I had a very heavy influence through these arts on kickboxing- Bill Wallace and Benny Urquidez style. I had five kickboxing matches before the age of 13. I became enamored by the beautiful kicks of Taekwondo and was really motivated to really improve my kicking ability and have been working to improve Taekwondo as a combat kicking system moving away from the sport style as I want to preserve the combat element of the Taekwondo as an effective art. Currently, I now hold a 7th Dan black belt in Taekwondo, I’ve been training Taekwondo for over 35 years.
I started Brazilian jiu-jitsu in 1999 with UFC veteran Anthony Perosh who was a purple belt at the time. There were about 5 of us in this small sweltering hot hall out in the sticks of Australia. It took me 18 years to get my black belt, as I was living in another country to Anthony, and I would only accept my belts from him although I was training diligently at Hollywood BJJ academy. Also, I’d had injuries and surgeries that definitely made me miss chunks at a time of BJJ training so BJJ was very much two steps forward one step back over the years but I love it to death and will always study it as long as can still move.
In recent years there’s been a number of people from the film industry that try to involve themselves in MMA. With your background did this ever enter your mind?
Bren – I have a very traditional martial arts mentality. I believe in respect and honor and the way one carries themself is a representation of the art they practice. for that reason as much as I love the evolution of MMA and consider myself to be a true mixed MARTIAL ARTIST adhering to traditional values, I’m not sure the trash-talking, false bravado by some people in the MMA world is something I’d enjoy being around. So don’t really have an interest in the media-hyped MMA world but training MMA HELL YES!!
Out of all the characters you have portrayed on screen who do you feel would handle themselves the best in the MMA?
Bren – Hahhaaa it’s close call between Roman Hurst from Force of Execution and Wolf Taylor from the last ship. No quit in either of these characters. The younger was Roman Hurst but you can never underestimate experience which Taylor has! Let’s call it a tie between these two characters! But there is another badass coming in July ;-),
I remember seeing on your Instagram back in December. You had the proud moment of putting your son Jaylan amongst others through their black belt exam. Can you tell me how that felt to have done that and how did it compare to you succeeding yourself?
Bren – It was a very proud moment. He did exceptionally well in the test. 36 candidates attempted the test and only 17 passed. We have a very hard test. I refuse to give black belts away, there are certain requirements that MUST be completed in order to pass. My son Jaylan scored the highest in the grading not because he was my son, but because he performed exceptionally. He was 18 years old before he graded for his black belt and that’s fine by me. I had shoulder surgery 4 days before the grading. However, with a little help, I took my arm out of the sling and did my best to tie that belt around his waist. It was a highlight and one of the most emotional moments of my life.
Out of all the people you have worked within the film industry. Who do you consider to be the most skilled martial artist?
Bren – Well in aikido it would have to be Steven Seagal. In wrestling and MMA Randy Couture. In Filipino martial arts Ron Balicki. I don’t think I can put it down to one person. Different people are better at different things than others.
What do you contribute your successes in life to?
Bren – Most important is the belief that you can do it. What you hold in your mind is your innermost deep power spurring you on to go go go. It’s telling you to move to strive. Unfortunately few people take those thoughts and act on them. However, the few that act on them generally arrive at success. Success is no more than doing the things you know you should do whether you feel like or not and ensuring it moves you toward a worthy ideal, progressively moment to moment. I try my best to live this way, I’m human and I waiver at times, but the discipline from martial arts has helped to always get me back on track- so day to day I try my best, so I guess this attributes to success.
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