Aug. 29, 2012 - Issue #880: LP
Legend of a Warrior - The men behind the Legend
Documentary marks a journey of discovery for father and son
In an attempt to reconnect with his father, and get to know the man behind the legend, Corey stepped back into martial arts, something he'd left behind 25 years ago. He would train as his father's student while reconnecting on a personal level, resulting in his first documentary, Legend of a Warrior.
"I think a big part of it was there was some resentment," Corey says of his decision to quit martial arts. "I think I felt abandoned a little bit by my dad, as my mother did, and I think because I was close with her and she was always around that I just naturally sided with her because I didn't really know my dad. I also really wanted to distance myself and carve out my own life."
However, Frank couldn't be happier that his son didn't choose the same path he did. He says the life of a fighter is a difficult one, and he's glad his son has found a career he loves and can follow his own path. There are times when Frank says he regrets not being there for his son when he was growing up, but at the same time, he was doing what was best for his family.
"In Chinese culture a man had to make a living to look after the family. He had to do what he had to do," says Frank, who willingly agreed train his son again and participate in the film, which is Corey's first documentary. "I regret it a little, but I had to do it."
Frank has been given a second chance at fatherhood not only with Corey, but also with his eight-year-old daughter Catharine, who he had with his second wife.
"I give her as much opportunity that Canada can offer, as much as she can do. I'm watching her grow up," Frank says.
Corey, who is now a father himself, says the journey to get to know his father, which took the pair from Edmonton back to the streets of Hong Kong where Frank grew up, taught him that despite his father's superhero status, he's still human.
"He's flesh and blood and that he's capable of great love and great sadness ... he's filled deep down with a lot of compassion," Corey says, acknowledging the trust his father put in him throughout the process of making the film and allowing him to do what he needed to. There were emotional moments for Frank, particularly in Hong Kong, and Corey did not want his father to feel he had been portrayed as weak. "I got that out of my head right away because, really, it makes him so much stronger because there's a certain strength in revealing yourself in such a way; that kind of honesty that he was capable of was pretty mindblowing to me."
Now that shooting has wrapped, father and son have left with a better understanding of one another, and a relationship that is stronger than ever. In additiont to getting to know the man behind the legend, Frank taught Corey a great deal about his Chinese heritage, which he is able to pass on to his own two sons.
"I think he was always ready to accept who I had become as a man. I don't think I was prepared to undersant how he had evolved over the time we had spent apart," Corey admits. "As much as he's changed, there's things about him that haven't changed at all and at the end of the day, the people you love are going to drive you crazy if you spend enough time with them, but you have to learn that that's them, and that's part of the reason why you love them."
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