Rachel was born in the Philippines to a Filipina mother and a British father.
IKF: What attracted you to Filipino martial arts (FMA)?
Rachel: I was attracted to the immediate use of weaponry and the techniques involved. Unlike other martial arts that start with empty hands and later add the use of weapons, FMA starts with weapons and later moves on to empty-hand techniques. I’ve always found that aspect of FMA training interesting and one that works well.
Another appeal is the diversity of weapons. FMA encompasses the use of an assortment of weaponry from bladed, impact and flexible weapons, including spears, swords, shields, whips, the sarong, ropes and the yoyo.
IKF: Who is your Guro and how often do you train?
Rachel: His name is Guro Victor Gendrano Jr. and he has been training in FMA over 30 years. Initially we worked together in guro Dan’s class at the Inosanto Academy in Los Angeles and now I take classes with him privately and at irregular intervals depending on my schedule. He is very talented with his style of teaching.
KF: How did you get cast in Die Another Day?
Rachel: I was cast from one audition for the Bond movie. For the audition, I brought along my nunchaku and asked if I could perform a martial arts nunchaku demo, which was somewhat in keeping with the character but not written in to the script. They let me and liked it! The demo really caught their attention—it was very much like a Bond Girl villainess so I got the role, I was told. It’s quite extraordinary how a couple of sticks and being a martial artist got me cast in my most notable character and changed everything. The knock-off effect of Bond has been remarkable.
Very nice, Rachel, very nice.
In what movies can we see FMA? For the answer, click here.
Photo credit: Rachel Grant’s official website