Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Growing up, Matt Emig was inspired by the “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” So much so that it led him into a life of martial arts.
Now Emig, 27, can say he has given back to the franchise that meant so much to his youth.
In the latest reboot of the franchise, Emig plays the stunt double for Master Splinter.
“It was a great experience; it was awesome because I started martial arts because of the ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles,’” Emig said. “Now they’re back, and I got to play Master Splinter by doing the stunts. I did the action for him as the stunt double. It was a really cool experience; it was my first big film, so that was awesome also. Plus, being a ‘Turtle’ fan for life, it was like coming full circle.”
Last week Emig visited Premier Martial Arts on Martintown Road to help inspire the future generations of martial artists. Master Aaron Hensley, Premier’s president, said Emig inspired many of his students without them ever seeing him.
“They watch him on YouTube, and they see what he can do,” Hensley said. “They grow up wanting to be just like him.”
Emig said this was his third visit to Premier. He teaches extreme martial arts, and that also happened to be what he did in the film.
“I come in, teach at the school and help out with the students,” he said. “I enjoy giving back a lot. When I was younger, there were a few people I looked up to that were the top champions on the competition circuit, and they also went on to do films. It really inspired me and motivated me. Now that I am in that position, I know I have to give back.”
During the course of a year, Emig said he makes around 10 stops throughout the country. With the film’s release, he is in much higher demand. However, he is embracing it and joked that he still isn’t at the point where folks can recognize him on the street.
“I’m not quite Chuck Norris or anything like that,” he said.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @TheScottRodgers.