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The Cosplayer who Trains in Martial Arts & Stunts – Dash Malone [Interview]

Ninja Moon

Cosplayer, martial artist, acrobatic stuntman, filmmaker and traveler… These are just a few words that describe Dash Malone.

His exploits include:

  • Traveling to Asia to train in martial arts
  • Running a fight club while in university
  • Filming a stunt-filled parody series called Ninja Moon.

But, this interview won’t cover his experiences in those areas; we’ll leave that for the future.

Instead, we focus on how Dash makes his training lifestyle work. And, delve into a stunt injury that took away his sense of identity for a while.

Here are his responses about making training work, what makes him tick and, how we all have that capacity to overcome our challenges to train.

Dash Malone Interview

What do you train in? What’s your purpose?

Currently, I am doing a program where I do metabolic circuit training, HIIT workouts and strength training. I will do one of these for two weeks and then switch. I do stretching and light calisthenics to warm up beforehand.

Ultimately my training is to help express my human body through choreography and martial arts. I have been working out for many years but my workouts are very different lately.

Spider-man cosplay with acrobatics
Spider-man cosplay with acrobatics

I am training for a Spider-Man cosplay project that will be released soon. To get ready for my role as Spider-Man, I am training in aerial silk and rope as well as going to recreational gymnastics classes to get back some of my acro(batic) skills.

Unfortunately, right now, I don’t have a heavy bag or other tools I would like to use practice martial arts. But I am fortunate to have opportunities to train in both aerials and gymnastics.

What happens during an average training session?

Everyday my training could be different depending on what opportunities I get. If I get to attend gymnastics or aerial classes I may not go to the gym. If the weather is nice I may train in the park that day. I endeavor to be consistent stretching and doing short, intense daily workouts. Because I am over 30 I like to do shorter workouts of a high intensity.

How do you make training work despite other priorities?

Right. I am very happy to have some free-time to train and work on creative endeavors.

Dash Malone - Wall flipWhen I was teaching in China with my wife it was a lot harder to find time to train. I found my duties at work very draining and I could only visit the gym 3 times a week.

Even though It was difficult to find time to be physical, I remained consistent in my workouts. And, I was able to regain some acrobatic skills I had lost (such as my wall-flip).*

This was very motivating to me and now that I have some more time I am trying push my self harder and reach new goals. It can still be difficult to train as much as I would like but I try not to get discouraged If I cannot exercise and I remind myself that at this age I need a lot of rest as well.

*Dash explains how he lost his acrobatic skills from an injury, later on in the email interview.

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What prompted you to begin training? What’s the story?

When I was in Grade 9*, I had begun doing chin-ups and pull-ups because my father had installed a chin-up bar outside my room with different rungs in it. I had never been a very physical child and the most ripped part of my body was my thumbs from all my exploits in video game worlds. I got into the habit of hanging upside down on the bar after a set of pull ups.

Dash MaloneOne morning I jumped up to hang on the bar but it was not properly attached. I fell from a height higher than myself and broke my back. Although I was on my back for a great deal of time it gave me time to think. As I watched films, read comic books and played video games I realized all my heroes were all in excellent shape.

When I started walking I was determined to go beyond recovery and become better than I had been before. Bruce Lee quickly became my greatest hero and inspiration and I began researching about martial arts and fitness.

*A person in Grade 9 (Canadian schooling system) is roughly 14 years-old.

Were there some challenges that stopped you from training for awhile?

The biggest obstacle to my training was an injury to my ankle. When I was shooting for short action web-series called Lupin and Easton a trail gave way under me and I fell. I slid a great distance in the jungle and I managed to save my camera but I dislocated my ankle. It was very painful to walk out of the jungle on my injury and I never truly recovered from it.

Lupin and Easton
Lupin and Easton

Because I began studies at University shortly after this it became difficult to find time to train. The arches in my feet fell in 2010 and I am only just starting to recover them to my satisfaction.

After my arches fell I lost a lot of my acrobatic skill for a long time. Now, at my age I am very careful in training. Recently I achieved a goal of doing both 50 pull-ups and 50 chin-ups in one set but I quickly found I was doing too much pulling and it was causing a strain on me. I incorporated more pushing exercises into my workouts and I have also cut back a bit on the number of reps I am doing.

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What happens in a week in your life? How do you make it work?

It’s hard to find time in the week to work on my creative endeavors and to train regularly. I sell gadgets and toys on Ebay and I try to find work in performance, film and video when I can. This can take up a lot of time but I find lately I have had more time to pursue personal goals than in the past.

Do you see yourself still training when you get to the next stage of life?

I believe martial arts will always be part of my identity and my lifestyle. I know I will not be able to do the same kind of activities when I am older. My metabolism and my body in general is already very different from when I was 20. I hope I can continue to adjust my training and techniques as I grow old.

What are three things you’ve gained or learnt since you started?

Ninja MoonI have learned a great deal over the years and I am very grateful to all my teachers. The three physical skills I am happiest to have learned are my Nunchaku skills, my wall flip and my striking skills.

When I was teaching in Japan and I became unable to do my wallflip because of my fallen arches I became depressed. I felt my wall flip was part of my “Ninja identity” and I was so happy to have regained that ability this past year.

My greatest lessons in martial arts philosophy were taught to me by my Jeet Kune Do instructor (Dennis J White), my Muay Thai instructor (Wirasai Mantha), and by the writings of Bruce Lee particularly those in the Tao of Jeet Kune Do.

More About Dash Malone – Editor’s Note

Expect to hear more about Dash’s other experiences in the future. So, in the mean time, please follow him on Twitter (@NinjaSaizo) and take a look at his quirky YouTube channel.

Here’s the video he was filming when he got injured.

Also, leave him a comment if you have any questions.

About Logen Lanka 173 Articles
Logen is a the founder and editor of WayOfNinja.com. Before his shoulder injury, he was actively involved in street calisthenics, Aikido and obstacle course racing. He has also served his 2-years conscription with the Singapore Armed Forces as an Armoured Infantry Trooper.