Joaquin Marcelo started studying martial arts at the age of six. In 1993, he was the first person outside the United States to be accepted by Ted Wong (one of a few people to receive rank in the art of Jeet Kune Do direct from Bruce Lee), as a private student.
He currently has a third degree of Jeet Kune Do certificate by Wong, being the everlasting student in Europe.
Marcelo has been a student of teachers such as Ed Parker, Jerry Poteet, Dan Lee, Ted Lucaylucay, and Tim Tackett. Also, between 1988 and 1991, he trained in the Inosanto Academy from Dan Inosanto, being one of the very few to be fed from the knowledge of the two principal sources of Jeet Kune Do in the world.
That's why he was the actor chosen to create the moves of Bruce Lee for Digital Legends and Indiagames’s Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior beat-’em-up for iPad, iPhone and iPod touch.
Pocket Gamer: Why did you take the role as the main mocap actor for Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior?
Joaquin Marcelo: It was attractive for me to be part of the mocap sessions for Bruce Lee. I have studied several martial art styles, and the art and philosophy of Bruce Lee, so it's always been something I've felt identified with.
Therefore it was an honour that the developer [Digital Legends and Indiagames] thought about me to make Bruce Lee's movements for the game.
Have you ever done this sort of thing before?
Never. This is the first time I've done this. The experience was really satisfactory, both in terms of the working level and also in terms of my relationship with the team. We had a really good time.
How do you feel the game and the players will benefit from your movements?
The goal was to re-create as accurately as possible the movements Bruce made in his films. By doing this I believe the players will feel more identified with the game.
On the other hand, let me tell you that the practice of the Jeet Kune Do art by Bruce Lee is not just about imitating his moves. Lee did not believe on traditional styles, his JKD is an art where the practitioner has the freedom to express him or herself and adapt the techniques of punch and kick to their own peculiarities.
But for the game, the objective was that my moves were as similar as possible to those of Bruce Lee - something I tried really hard to do as best as I could.
How does this affect on the overall quality of the game?
It's important that the player is as identified as possible with the game they have in their hands so it appears as real as possible.
For me, being as accurate in the moves I performed, would transmit to the players the feeling that they are, in fact, controlling Bruce Lee.
You've been inspired by Bruce Lee's philosophy, so what did Bruce Lee teach you?
Bruce Lee inspired me deeply in several aspects of my life, even at a professional level. I was a flamenco dancer for many years and currently I am a choreographer and director in musicals.
The philosophy of Jeet Kune Do guided my path in the flamenco and dance world, and where many people had a wrong attitude, I followed the way of JKD, and must admit that it has worked really well. JKD can be applied on aspects of the combat but as well on many matters of your daily life.
How was working with Ted Wong (pictured)?
I feel privileged to have had the chance to train so closely with him.
I learnt a lot from him, but maybe the biggest take-away was the importance to understand simplicity. Bruce Lee himself defined his art as "simply simplify" and when you clearly understand this message, it will bring you a lot of good things during combat but also for your personal life.
Do you think you'll get involved with games again?
Absolutely! Given the experience with this first mocap, I would do it again without any doubt.
It's always gratifying to work with a great team, and moreover, if this can help gamers to identify with what they saw in the Bruce Lee movies and enjoy the game even more, then the satisfaction is doubled.
Thanks to Joaquin for his time.
Bruce Lee Dragon Warrior is out now for iPad, and due soon for iPhone.