David Leong has made teaching stage combat a successful career and he owes it all to one man. Zorro. The young David Leong was mesmerized by the masked vigilante and, from an early age, knew what he wanted to do. So, he read a book, So You Want to be Errol Flynn?, and went from there. Later on he had the opportunity to work closely with Patrick “Paddy” Crean who trained actor Errol Flynn and that’s when he realized he could make a living teaching actors how to fight. And a living he did.
David’s career spans more than three decades in higher education and professional theater. He’s coached or choreographed the fights for 19 Broadway shows, including Billy Elliot, The Civil War, and Macbeth. He has coached the likes of Val Kilmer, Woody Harrelson, Sigourney Weaver, Kevin Spacey, Christopher Walken and many others. David also holds the title of Certified Fight Master, a distinction held by only twelve other people in the United States.
Full Frame’s Mike Walter caught up with David in Richmond, VA at the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where he’s been a Full Professor, Chair, and Producer since 1996.