"I love fighting and I think it helps..."
Latin action star Hector Echavarria is the real deal. He not only plays characters that are lethal weapons in film and television, but he is a true undefeated world champion Martial Artist, sporting a record of 25-0-1 with 24 knockouts in his fights with the World Karate & Kickboxing Association, International Sport Karate Association and Vale Tudo. A superstar in his native Argentina, as well as in South America, Turkey and the Middle East, this WorldBlackBelt Founding Member is now bringing his show to America with the release of his latest movie “Extreme Force.”
Known worldwide today as one of the stars of the Latin American action television series Brigada, Hector actually started his Martial Arts odyssey as a result of being a sickly child in a small Argentine town. “When I was born I had asthma,” Hector remembers. When I was just 4-years-old I was introduced to an exercise called Tai Chi Chuan by a Chinese doctor who did acupuncture. It was really like a game to me that I played with my dad, I did the crane, the tiger and all the other animal movements.” I also did the breathing and meditation exercises.
Always searching to fill his voracious Martial Arts appetite, as a teenager Hector would spend his days going to the Kung Fu studio at 5:00 p.m., the Taekwon-do studio at 8:00 p.m. and then finish up with training at the shotokan studio at 9:00 p.m. Remarkably, Hector earned his black belt in Taekwon-do in only one year.
Success has frequently come quickly to the multi-talented Echavarria. In 1986, the producers of Miami Vice were looking for an actor to be in the opening episode of the season. 500 actors auditioned, but Hector got the part. Not long afterwards Hector landed his starring role in Brigada, the Argentine version of the popular America action series “A-Team.”
Of all the masters that he has studied under, it was the great Ed Parker who made the biggest impression. Hector recalls “I was having dinner with Mr. Parker one evening and he told me, ‘You know, Hector, there are three kinds of people in life: the one who looks at what somebody else is doing; the one that talks about what somebody else is doing; and the one who actually does something.’ Even though he is gone I feel his words and spirit still guiding me.”
When Brigada ended Hector immediately went to work on feature films like Sacred Seal and Devil’s Turf. Despite his incredible success in television and films, Hector continues to fight professionally, seeing it as a plus. “I love fighting, and I think it helps my acting career because when the audience watches me they know I am not pretending, but that I can really do it.”
Hector believes the key to his success in the Martial Arts and as an actor is in his attitude. He notes that before he invented the light bulb Thomas Edison unsuccessfully tried thousands of materials to see which would glow when a current was passed through. “One day a reporter asked Thomas Edison, how he could keep going after so many failures, and Edison replied ‘Failures? What are you talking about man? I know a thousand things that won’t work.”
“You have to stick things out, hang in there, and finish what you start. It is all in how you look at things,” says Hector. As for how he deals with problems, Hector’s positive philosophy is that “every time God wants to send you a present, he wraps in up in a problem, so the bigger the problem, the bigger the present.”