UPDATED October 28, 2019 at 7:04pm EST
News is currently circulating about the death of stunt performer and martial artist Hans Wikkeling II as of Tuesday.
An update from a family member on Friday confirmed the cause of death was drowning.
“Hans passed doing what he loved to do, swimming in the ocean and on October 17th his body was found on the beach in Davenport, CA.” said Ahjahlia Hall in Facebook post. “It was deemed that his death was due to drowning.”
Folks were alerted of Wikkeling II’s mysterious disappearance on September 24 upon which friends filed a missing persons report prior to an October 11 update revealing a description of his 2005 Hyundai Accent GL in hopes of learning of his whereabouts. His body was discovered on Saturday, October 19.
Wikkeling II, originally from San Jose, California, grew up in the fandom with star properties such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and martial arts stars like Jean-Claude Van Damme and icon Bruce Lee, practicing martial arts tenaciously since the age of seven. Over time and having competed in various competitions around the world incluidng NASKA, he became a member of Isiah Flores’s Team Loopkicks and grew as a prolific pioneer and mentor in martial arts tricking among the likes of Steve Terada, Jeremy Marinas and Chris Balualua to name a few.
A member of Team Loopkicks and sponsored by Hyper Martial Arts early on, Wikkeling II’s pursuit of a professional career in stunts landed him under the auspices of fight choreographer and stunt coordinator Arnold Chon. Wikkeling II’s credits partly include Christian Sesma’s Luke Goss thriller AWOL-72, Micheal Ojeda’s Marko Zaror starrer The Green Ghost and Daniel Zirilli’s upcoming Hollow Point and Acceleration.
Wikkeling II was 36, and is survived by his extended family, and a close, loving and global community of professional and aspiring martial artists and trickers, many of whom he has inspired to this day.
“Hans was known by all for being a kind, loving, playful, free spirit, adventurer and a world renowned Martial Artist.” said Hall. “He loved his family first and became family to mostly all who knew him. He was a teacher, a mentor and a loving guide as well as a forever learner and a true lover of life. You cannot think of Hans without smiling at the way his gentle spirit touched both nature and people alike. Our hearts are heavy and it will take more than a lifetime to heal however we know Hans’ love for life and kindness is returned tenfold by all those who loved him as much as we do.”
“He was literally living the art, a modern day ninja, and a pioneer in the tricking community. He would always be up for a challenge and come with a unique, spectacular and better way of kicking and flipping.” said actor Jean-Paul Ly in a statement to FCSyndicate. “The ones who knew him, he was the king of doublelegs and illusion twists! But more than that, he was a dear friend who would always have your back, smile and remain upbeat no matter what. He will always be an inspiration in my life, a sensei and a brother. He had a great heart and we will miss him dearly.”
Martial artist and action actress Mackensi Emory shared her tribute to Wikkeling II in a Facebook post on Tuesday, reflecting on her own memories with her late mentor, describing him as a versatile source of inspiration. “He was one of my first tricking coaches when I was 9 with Loopkicks, I watched his tricking videos on YouTube/DVD so many times growing up, we’ve been on Team ProRank together, and we’ve been able to train and hang out in LA over the last couple years.” she wrote, in part.
Actor, stunt professional, fight choreographer and author John Kreng gave a statement of his own at length to FCSyndicate describing Wikkeling as “a world class talent and will certainly be missed”. Kreng goes on:
“I first met Hans at a stunt gathering a while back. He was very open, genuine and very much at ease with himself with the right amount of modesty and confidence and not an ounce of arrogance whatsoever. Which is very rare. I had the honor of stunt coordinating Hans on a project for College Humor. His wide range skillset, approach to performing the gags, his easy going attitude, made him a absolute joy to work with. The toughest stunt was for him to get kicked in the face and perform a ‘taco’ (a blind backwards fall) onto a table (with fake glass), while wearing a heavy bear head. His vision was extremely limited and his center of balance was thrown off because of the costume. To make things even more complicated, he had to fall between the cinder blocks holding up the fake glass that were only a couple inches wider than his whole body. If he missed, he would’ve landed on the cinder blocks and seriously injured himself. Sure enough he reacted to the kick, got some serious air and crashed, breaking the glass between the blocks. This was all done in one take, without any injuries! My major regret is I wished there were more jobs that I could’ve worked with him on. My sincere and deepest heartfelt condolences go to all of Hans’ family and his relations.”
Chon, who hosted a tricking gathering in Wikkeling II’s memory on Saturday at Next Generation Martial Arts in San Jose, California, forwarded his own words via social media writing in part, “Hans you will forever be in my heart and your fierce driving force will be in my spirit forever. Thank you for teaching me how to have true compassion for others. I’ll never forget what you use to always say. ‘If I can’t forgive others unconditionally how can God forgive me’! Until then lil bro. I love you and miss you. Ousssss ossss.”
In a later statement on Friday, martial arts athlete and stunt performer Gemma Nguyen shared her own testimony in a statement to FCSyndicate, describing Wikkeling II as “a warm hand that welcomed everyone he encountered with infectious enthusiasm”.
“I remember Hans in those early days of tricking,” said Nguyen. “His style, combined with his free spirit and energy, made him a one-of-a-kind person and tricker. From the first Loopkicks camp, to the competition circuit and eventually behind the cameras, I was fortunate to witness and share in his light. He could make anything seem fun, even sleeping on the ground piled in with 15 other people. Back then, we were all just happy to be a part of something new and exciting. And the community will always honor and cherish his memory. He inspired people to be unique yet genuine, and to find joy in one’s passion. He will be sorely missed, and may his spirit and philosophy live on in all of us.”
Stunt professional, Joining All Movement founder and operator Aaron Toney gave his own statement to FCSyndicate on the 28th this week, calling the late star athlete “the type of person who whenever we talked, we bounced off of each other with just thought provoking conversation.” Toney also paid tribute to his late friend and fellow martial arts cohort with Wikkeling II’s own beloved tagline, adding “Talking about being positive with the energy of JAM and the atmosphere. Him and myself, along with many others truly believe we have a very special gym, and Hans’s energy lives threw our gym and the many places he touched in his journeys. I will truly miss him, but will always think of him when I come through the doors…’Comin atcha! Comin thru!’…Love you brother!”
Fellow Joining All Movement founder, martial artist and stunt performer Travis Wong connected with Wikkeling II this past summer for a JAMcast interview in which Wikkeling II offered more about his martial arts upbringing, a synthesis of the art of tricking and memories while competing. Wong is re-issuing the JAMcast episode with a tearful, heartfelt tribute to Wikkeling II which you can view below as of last Friday.