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Chicago, Illinois, United States

Chicago, Illinois, United States
Band Comedy Broadway


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The best kept secret in music


"Martial arts group to take extreme talents to Gaum"

Sideswipe will perform at naval base, inspire students

May 18, 2007
By Emily McFarlan Staff Writer

This Armed Forces Day, Naperville martial artists will knock out audiences at a U.S. Naval Base in Guam.

Sideswipe, an extreme martial arts group with roots in Naperville, will perform Saturday for sailors stationed in Guam. The group will give motivational speeches and demonstrations at schools on the island.

"The schools are extremely excited about the visit, and the overall hype for the weekend is tremendous," said Bill Marx, a buyer for the Guam Naval Exchange.

» Click to enlarge image
Sideswipe member Seth Austin, right, gives advice to beginning karate student Antonio Vazquez, 7, at Sharkey's Karate Studio in Naperville.
Kate Szrom / Staff photographer

Marx invited Sideswipe to perform after seeing its 26-year-old founder Matt Mullins featured in the Discovery Channel documentary "XMA: Xtreme Martial Arts."

XMA is a combination of martial arts forms, acrobatics and gymnastics, often set to music.

"In a way it's kind of like a dance routine," Mullins said.

Mullins began choreographing XMA routines and performing them with friends from Sharkey's Karate Studio in Naperville about five years ago.

Sideswipe has since performed on TV shows such as "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," and during halftime shows for professional sports teams such as the Chicago Bulls.

The performance at Naval Base Guam has special meaning for the group and for Master John Sharkey Jr., who will travel with them.

Sharkey, 51, who started Sharkey's Karate Studio more than 30 years ago, has trained all Sideswipe's members. He also raised Mullins from the time he was 17 years old until he moved to Los Angeles.

"My dad was over there, and he told a lot of stories," Sharkey said. "I thought it was cool to have the connection with my dad and Matt being over there together."

During World War II, Sharkey's father, then 16, lied about his age to join the Navy and was one of only three survivors after his ship sank off the coast of Guam. After his rescue, Sharkey Sr. was awarded the Purple Heart.

That medal will accompany the younger Sharkey and Sideswipe to Naval Base Guam.

"Master Sharkey is who he is because of his father, and I like to think I am who I am because of him," Mullins said.

Naperville residents Brendon Huor and Seth Austin also will perform with Sideswipe in Guam. - Naperville Sun

"Sideswipe Team Performs at Jerry Lewis Telethon"

On September 6th 2004, Labor Day weekend, martial artists from Sideswipe had a chance to help thousands of people by performing live on national TV. The Jerry Lewis Telethon has raised millions of dollars to help people with neuromuscular diseases. The annual event runs for over 20 hours straight attempting to raise money for MDA. Along with their message, the Telethon presents a magnitude of world class performers.

Matt Mullins, Chris Brewster, Jackson Spidell, and Craig Henningsen of Sideswipe were ecstatic to be able to participate. "It is a 39 year legacy and we were proud to be part of an event that helped raise almost 60 million dollars for MDA" says Mullins star of the Discovery Channel TV show "Xtreme Martial Arts" and creator of Sideswipe.

Currently based out of Los Angeles, CA, Sideswipe has been performing for 3 years. They exploded onto the Hollywood scene by winning the Fox hit show "30 Seconds to Fame." The martial arts based group incorporates traditional martial arts, such as, Tae Kwon Do and Karate, with gymnastics and acrobatics, taking it to the Xtreme with highflying and innovative Performances. - Tae Kwon Do Times

"The Rise of a Next-Generation XMA Star"

Black Belt Magazine's Interview with Matt Mullins
October/November 2004 (Los Angeles, California)

Matt Mullins has trained in the martial arts for 10 years. He statred at Sharkey's Karate Studio in Naperville, Illinois, when he was just 13. "I started hanging out at the school before and after class," he says. "Then I started taking double classes, and then I was there all the time. I began teaching, and soon Sensei Sharkey took me under his wing."

During those early years, Mike Chaturantabut was also influential in Mullins' training. "He was how I wanted to be," Mullins says. "I wanted to be able to have as much focus as he did and concentrate on my training like he would. I wanted to be as dedicated to the martial arts as he was."

When Mullins moved to Los Angeles, he began learning taekwondo from Simon Rhee and wushu from Black Belt Hall of Fame member Ming Liu.

Mullins' diverse background makes him a perfect athlete for Xtreme Martial Arts. "I love shorei-ryu forms," he says. "I love the high-energy, high-jumping acrobatic maneuvers of capoeira. It's a nice combination of martial arts and acrobatics. I also love the fluidity of wushu – the grace of the kicks and the hand [techniques]. In taekwondo, I love the speed and power of the kicks. That's the great thing about martial arts: You're able to learn different things from different arts and put what you like together."

The level to which Mullins has risen using that modus operandi landed him a major role in a Discovery Channel documentary titled XMA: Xtreme Martial Arts. "When they started doing the casting for the project, they got 1200 submissions from different martial artists and about 600 videotapes," he says. "They started looking at those tapes and found that the quality of the martial artists wasn't exactly what they wanted. They had the coordinator, James Lew, suggest guys he knew. I went in and auditioned."

When he got the role, the focus of the documentary wasn't supposed to be XMA, Mullins says. It was intended to showcase efforts to use science to verify the claims often made in the martial arts.

"When we were looking for another character to work on my techniques with me, I mentioned Mike Chat as one of my instructors," he says. "They asked if he was good, and I told them he's amazing. So they called him, and he became the other guy in the documentary.

"They found out that at Sharkey's Karate Studio, we had an amazing lineage. So the wanted to show a human-interest story. The whole thing came together about basing it on my training and the transition from traditional martial arts to Xtreme Martial Arts. My goal was to make sure the martial arts were portrayed in a good way because it had done so much for me. I wanted people to know it's much more than fighting and forms."

Mullins views XMA as a way to inspire the younger generation to join the martial arts. But no matter how successful he becomes in his new endeavor, he will never abandon his roots. "If I do a lot of XMA training, I always feel the need to come back to my traditional forms, to get back to my basics," he says. - Black Belt Magazine


Still working on that hot first release.



THEATRICKS is a martial arts-based group that blends traditional martial arts such as Karate and Tae Kwon Do, with gymnastics and acrobatics, to create an extreme, high-flying display of talent, strength and stamina unlike anything else.

Five-time martial arts world champion Matthew Mullins initially created Sideswipe for team form demonstrations at karate tournaments, and later, corporate industrial shows. Just for fun, he entered the group in a talent search for FOX's short-lived show, "30 Seconds to Fame." Less than 24 hours after Sideswipe's winning performance aired, Matt and Sideswipe were booked on "The Best Damn Sports Show Period."

With the use of martial arts fight choreography in mainstream action-adventure films at an all-time high, martial arts choreography has become the main attraction. As THEATRICKS' lead choreographer, Mullins combines traditional forms with intense athleticism in each performance. "THEATRICKS is a collaboration of today's greatest young martial artists," said Mullins. "Each performer incorporates their passion for the art into the creative process, adding his unique attributes to each production."

Based in Los Angeles, California, THEATRICKS has been entertaining audiences across the country over the last five years, performing on television, stage, at sporting events, live action shows and karate tournaments. Noteworthy television appearances include "America's Got Talent," "Final Fu," "The Ellen DeGeneres Show," "The Steve Harvey Show," ESPN2's "Cold Pizza," "The Wayne Brady Show," and the Jerry Lewis Labor Day MDA Telethon 2004. Sideswipe has also performed during halftime at the NBA's Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks games, and created live action shows for Casio Electronics, Diesel Clothing, Intel, Nike, the 10th Annual American Choreography Awards, and for Des Arts Martiaux in Bercy, France, among others.