Having taught, among others: Herb Alpert, Fred Williamson, Dennis Hopper, Lalo Schifrin, Sherry Caffaro, Mike Connors, Peggy Lipton, Raymond St. Jacques, Irene Tsu, Peter Fonda, Linda Blair, Al Ruddy, Lou Adler, Paul Williams, Ted Mann, James Cann, Phil Spector, Barry Gordy, Jeff Barry and Lorenzo Lamas, our featured martial artist has been dubbed “Sensei To The Stars”.
Research shows that Emil Farkas is more than that. A lot more.
Hungarian-born American martial arts instructor, author and fight coordinator Emil Farkas started his martial arts career while still a youngster, and before age 20 he had earned his black belt in both Judo and Karate.
Both his parents were Holocaust survivors, and young Emil was born in the Hungarian town of Munkacz right after World War II, and grew up in an Orthodox home.
When he was 7, young Emil started getting into fights with some of his Hungarian classmates and he decidedto study judo at the local sports club.
In 1956, after Soviet tanks crushed a short-lived uprising, the family fled and ended up in Toronto.
Farkas quickly learned that anti-Semitism had preceded him across the ocean and so he was driven to put all his energy into his judo classes and trained almost every night.
Several years later, the first karate instructors arrived from Japan and Okinawa and Emil Farkas was immediately taken by the athletic kick ing and punching techniques. He became so proficient that he earned his first black belt in judo at 17, and in karate at 18.
In the mid-1960s, the Farkas family moved to Los Angeles and 19-year-old Emil looked for a job to support himself while attending college. He became a bodyguard to music industry mogul, Phil Spector.
In 1970, Farkas’ career really started to take off. That’s when he founded his own school, the Beverly Hills Karate Academy, which he still runs today. The timing was also good to attract Jewish parents and their kids, especially after the Israeli military victory in 1967.
Working for Phil Spector helped Farkas meet actors and screenwriters in Hollywood. As martial arts movies started to become popular, Farkas was in constant demand as a stunt and fight coordinator, training stunt doubles, and working with cinematographers on “choreographed action” or fight scenes, in Easy Rider, Killer Elite, Mannix, Spiderman, The Hulk, Mission Impossible and The Fall Guy, just to mention a few.
Sensei Farkas used the long waiting time on the movie sets to write books on the martial arts. He has co-authored numerous books, including the authoritative “The Original Martial Arts Encyclopedia: Tradition, History, Pioneers.”
As a martial arts instructor, Farkas now focuses mainly on “street-effective self defense” through Shotoka, a branch of karate that Farkas developed.
Today he is one of America’s most respected martial arts instructors and is without a doubt internationally recognized as a leading authority on the martial arts.
Currently, Sensei Farkas holds a 7th degree Black Belt in Karate, 4th degree Black Belt in Judo and a 4th degree Black Belt in Ju-Jitsu.
Not surprisingly, he is also an accomplished expert in realistic street combat, having worked as a bodyguard for many years.
In 2000, Farkas and Benny “The Jet” Urquidez founded the Los Angeles Film Fighting Institute, which was one of the first schools of its kind in the United States to teach martial artists the intricacies of stunt work.
In 1995, Farkas founded his own federation, The United International Martial Arts Federation, whose goal is to promote traditional martial arts worldwide.
Emil Farkas has shared his vast martial expertise as a Hand-to-Hand combat instructor to the Canadian Army as well as Women’s self-defense instructor at UCLA.
He has been on the cover of all major martial arts magazines including Black Belt Magazine, Karate Illustrated, World Karate, Inside Kung Fu, Combat, Fighters, Official Karate, Combat Karate and Budo.
In 2000, Farkas was inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame.