Having an interest in martial arts and journalistic pedigree in bodybuilding, the loss of two highly influential people literally within the course of 48 hours was quite simply, a shock to the system.
On one hand there is the effervescent Australian Brad Allan, who held the distinction of being the first ever Westerner (ie non Oriental) member of the famed Jackie Chan Stunt Team; having graduated from this group into choreographing numerous big budget Hollywood films, including the upcoming MCU martial arts film ‘SHANG CHI & THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS.’ Nicknamed ‘The White Tiger’ and touted as Jackie Chan’s favourite protégé, Allan possessed a real passion and zeal for martial arts and action cinema.
On the other hand, there is the influential American John Meadows, the incredible IFBB Pro Bodybuilder, and sought-after Coach; Meadows affectionately known as ‘Mountain Dog’ was loved by the industry as much as for his kindness as much as his amazing physique. His knowledge made him a bodybuilding Grand Master of sorts, think a real version of Mr Miyagi or Obi Wan Kenobi – with the best in the business proactively seeking out his tutelage.
But over a week ago, both men have since passed, and which has justifiably left many shaken as well as saddened by their sudden departure. They leave behind families, friends and legions of fans who were inspired by the excellence that they presented.
Brad was only 48 and John was only 49, both men were pioneers in their respective fields and amassed large followings due to their high level of expertise.
Indeed, speaking about both men in the past tense still feels so foreign, given that their impacts are well recognised in their spheres of influence; as well as the fact that both were so dynamic. It’s shocking to realise that these candles were unceremoniously snuffed out, as there were many who wanted to learn from men of such high calibre.
My own pedigree in martial arts action and bodybuilding journalism, had me ponder how to best write a tribute that would combine two contrasting disciplines and respectfully refer to the massive contributions of both men. Yet, I admit I was at an impasse of sorts, thus lost for words.
However, thankfully one of my favourite YouTubers known as VIKING SAMURAI (VS) composed an amazing piece which not only paid tribute to both Allan and Meadows; but honoured them with a soulful and moving piece, entitled ‘Paying Respects to Brad Allan and John Meadows + Viking Samurai’s Rant on Life & Death’.
Effortlessly combining the two icons of their respective (and contrasting) disciplines, in such a manner not only provided keen insight but also effectively prompting us, to quietly reflect.
As young people would say ‘it hits you in the feels’, and as such the piece is easy to recommend without any caution or preface – other than to say that it offers value because of the earnest quality; but that high quality is a signature of all of the works that are presented by VS. And given that VS has a background as a bodybuilder and martial artist, I feel that he is the ideal candidate to provide this reflective and inspirational work, honouring both men.
Although it has been a week since the untimely passing of both great men, but that shouldn’t diminish the importance of quality tributes such as the iteration created by VS. In fact, I have watched it numerous times simply because the way it is presented, has me pondering my own mortality and (dare I say) the meaning of life itself.
Indeed, VS’s editorial tribute further expanded upon the latter premise – that it is not so much FINDING meaning in life, but rather CREATING meaning through everything you do. That adding value isn’t replicating, duplicating or engaging in anything that is so by-the numbers, but rather treating learning as an ongoing quest and with the best outputs being that which you impact on others. As VS emphasised:
“LIVE A MEANINGFUL LIFE, DO WHAT YOU LOVE, LIVE WITH PASSION AND SHARE THAT PASSION WITH OTHERS”
It was the legendary Bruce Lee who himself said:
“The Key to Immortality is first having a life worth remembering.”
Indeed and by both axioms, the key realisation is most evident and thus cannot be ignored. Two industries may have lost two important titans, but the memories they leave us in all forms of media will mean that they will live on forever – and continue to teach us to aspire towards excellence, no matter what course one pursues.
RIP MOUNTAIN DOG AND WHITE TIGER