In Part 1, I described a recent photo shoot I did with Mark Guyon, professional MMA Fighter. In part two, I asked him some questions about MMA, Wing Chun Chinese Kung Fu and photography.
Q: Your opponent for the fight is Sean Stolarczyk. Can you tell us more about him?
A: He is American. A good wrestler and a background in Karate, and overall he has more experience than me in MMA.
Q: Tell us about your preparations for the fight
A: Unlike my opponent who is full time into martial arts, it is very difficult for me to train properly due to my busy schedule with my job. Therefore I have taken 3 weeks leave in order to focus on the fight; it’s not much for a proper fight camp (normally around 8 weeks) but it’s better than nothing. I have just trained in Thailand for a bit more than 2 weeks, and I hope these last few days of weight control and full rest before the fight will be more beneficial to me than in the past, when I used to work full time the days before fights and only took leave on fight day.
Q: What inspired you to become a professional fighter?
A: First of all, especially for the people who are not very familiar with the martial arts world, I would like to make clear what “professional fighter” means. For sure I do professional fights, yes. But it does not mean it’s my full-time job and I only do this. I am first of all a simple business school educated man and I work in an office.
“Professional” fighting is only a level, not a status. It means you compete at a high level and you fight in professional rules (different rules, protections, time limits, etc…)
I believe it’s a must for every martial artist. The techniques you learn in the training situation, you must be able to demonstrate that you are able to use them in a real situation.
Of course an MMA fight is not a real situation like in the street in real life, but it is the type of competition which is the closest to it. Coming from traditional Wing Chun Kung Fu, I used to have a different opinion about competition, I thought they were not necessary and too violent. But when I started to compete, I discovered that they are actually very important, and also they teach you a lot. No matter if you win or lose, you always learn something. And you improve your technique and teaching, based on your very own experience. My inspiration comes therefore mostly from other fighters, and also martial artists like Bruce Lee, who started with traditional Wing Chun. For me, he was the first real mixed martial artist. He already demonstrated some mixed striking and grappling skills in his movies. The only difference is that at that time, it was not called MMA, and therefore the sport did not exist and was not organised properly like it is today.
Q: Wing Chun is a martial art that’s not only rich in Chinese tradition. How did you find out about Wing Chun and why do you like it?
A: The first time I learnt about Wing Chun was by watching traditional Hong Kong Kung Fu movies while I grew up in France. Then I discovered it was possible to learn Wing Chun in Europe, so I started it and trained every week day and became quickly addicted. The main reason why I like Wing Chun is that it is based on principles more than rigid pre-defined techniques. The objective in Wing Chun is to be efficient and to do whatever works in a real fight. It’s not to jump everywhere and make nice moves which look good. We do not want to look good, we want to be efficient, we want to be strong and be able to defend ourselves when we are in danger. We want to know which technique works better than others. It is like a science.
In this way, Wing Chun is very similar to MMA. Looking for what really works. The difference is that Wing Chun is for the real fight in the street with no rules, whereas MMA is a sport and it’s for a fight with rules.
Therefore, for me, MMA is part of Wing Chun. If you want to be good at Wing Chun, you have to be good at MMA. To be good in the street where there are no rules, you first need to be good in a sports environment where there are rules and safety measures so you can train safely, but at least you can try to apply your skills. If you never apply, you never know if it really works.
Q: The first time we did a portrait shoot, we went on location in picturesque Dragon Park in Tin Shui Wai. For your second portrait session, we shot in my private studio in Causeway Bay. In what ways did you find the experience different to outdoor location shooting and what do you like about the different style of studio shooting?
A: The outdoor experience at the Dragon park was in a place more in the nature with a traditional Chinese style in the background, which is nice for Kung Fu shoots and the spirit behind all this. On the other hand, the studio shooting is more professional and allowed us to make better settings with the lights etc… and the photos are probably easier to photoshop and use for different purposes.
I think both types of shooting are important to have in any martial artist’s portfolio.
Q: What is about quality photos that help show people your skills in MMA fighting and martial arts?
A: I think quality photos need to look good of course, but also say something else about the spirit or philosophy behind it. For example I like photos which show a traditional Chinese background, but I also like “tough” MMA photos. They can also show a spirit of hard work, dedication, and someone who never quits and always keeps fighting. A photo with blood can show nothing but a bad looking injured fighter, or it can show a fighter who is tough and keeps going on. A photo with muscular guys can show nothing but just muscles, or it can show someone who has obviously worked hard to get in shape. Photos should show the positive values of martial arts.
Q: Which is your favourite shot from the new series and why?
A: My favourite shot from this new series is the one with the simple standing pose and a black background, the one I used as new profile picture in my social networks. It looks good but also looks quite mysterious and looks like something is in preparation and coming out of this darkness.
Q: How do you think these photos communicate to others a bit about your personality?
A: I already like taking pictures of many things and I am very active sharing photos already, but I think these professional photos communicate something deeper, which I cannot do with only my phone camera. And also I wish to show that Martial Arts is also a journey to have fun and share your adventures with your entourage and anyone else interested or potentially interested in martial arts. My personality is not closed, secret, avoiding the public and just thinking about training and fighting. I want to share my lifestyle and I hope to help and inspire others. Some people see my personality as hyperactive because I do so many things at the same time (office work, martial arts, busy social life, etc…), I always share a lot of things. But I want people to know that it’s ok, and that you can have different lives in one life!
Tickets at HK$200 up to HK$1,000 are currently available online at www.urbtix.hk for the upcoming fight at Queen Elizabeth Stadium on Friday 31st July 2015.
Or Join Marc’s Wing Chun classes. Adult and kids classes to be resumed in September in Discovery Bay, more info coming soon at www.marcguyon.hk
And stay tuned for the next shoot with Marc which will take place after the fight.