Fighting Spirit

Award-winning filmmaker Gulrukh Khan journeys into the world of martial arts

Posted: 02.09.12

What inspired you to create a documentary about martial arts?
The idea was something that came to me, rather than me having gone looking for it. During a visit to Turkey I met Sensei Zara Phythian, one of the most successful and inspiring female martial artists in the world and her partner Master Victor Marke. After seeing them practise martial arts I was so intrigued I had to explore the concept further.

Why did you name it Spirit2Power?
I wanted to emphasise how the spirit of practising martial art can transfer into something so strong and powerful. The message in the film is about unity, and the principle of oneness. I also wanted to strongly demonstrate how if you want things to change around you, you must make the first initial change yourself, which is a very powerful concept. 

Did the film inspire you to practise martial arts or yoga?
I do yoga and I have tried kickboxing and tai chi before; both of which I found very energising and fun, but there are many more types of martial arts I would like to discover and try. Yoga and martial arts are both similar in terms of energy work and spirituality. However, martial arts is more dynamic and active and includes various different styles whereas yoga is more concerned with practising different moves in a circumference area. Both are good for all round health and they help you construct a strong mind as well as a strong, fit body.

Why is so important to make people more aware of martial arts?
Martial arts have a history dating back thousands of years and I believe it is important to ensure it is not forgotten. Martial arts are meant to be practised in pairs meaning there is a big community spirit behind it. When practised properly it can change your body and health phenomenally. Take the Shaolin Monks who as a result of practising are now able to stand on their fingertips! It is also something both men and women can benefit from. I hope the women who star in the film become role models for other women.

What can we expect from the film?
One important issue that I wanted to highlight was that there are no barriers in martial arts, anyone can do them. I’ve included children in the film and someone who has mental health problems to show that whatever your age or situation, it’s an inclusive form of fitness for all lifestyles. 
It’s also a very visual film that looks beautiful. We shot in Turkey for the scenery the UK and the US. The film features over 23 experts from the field from all over the world who talk about all types of martial arts including Tae Kwon Do, Tai Chi, Kobudo, Kick Boxing, Karate and the Japanese Sword.

Interview by Kanchan Tooray
To find out more about the film Spirit2Power and to watch exclusive clips visit:


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