Akihiro Yuji Noguchi knows a thing or two about stunts: he’s been doing stunts or directing stuntmen for three decades. And not just any stunts; Mr. Noguchi was involved in one of the most stunt-laden franchises to ever exist, Power Rangers, first as an actor and then as 2nd Unit Director.
You can see the latest fruit of his labor, Power Rangers: Dino fury, available to stream now on Netflix. We’ve already spoken with Mr. Noguchi about the show and how he plans stunts, and in the third and final part of the conversation, we asked him how he trains and trains when he’s actively doing stunts in the 90s.
“In action training, all movements begin with muscle relaxation,” he says, “When you want to perform sharp techniques, increase the rate of muscle strength utilization from 0% to 100% , instantly.” How do you train to achieve such levels of muscle activation? Does Mr. Noguchi have any advice for budding stuntmen? We asked him.
Akihiro Yuji Noguchi training and workout tips
“My action is based on Gōjū-ryū, traditional Japanese karate,” says Mr. Noguchi, “When I practiced my hand and foot techniques, the main idea was how to make the karate technique beautiful in video .While shooting the video of myself, I repeatedly checked and fixed my front and side shapes in front of the mirror.”
He was also checking each of the foot techniques, such as the front kick and roundhouse kick, and the hand techniques, such as pushing, punching, blocking and dodging, to see how make them look the most powerful and fastest. As Mr. Nogischi explains, “martial arts fight scenes are a combination of basic techniques.”
“If each technique is executed well, it would be a compelling fight scene when combined,” he adds, “Also, I think I spend more time analyzing how to use my body than the technique it does. -even, like moving smoothly and quickly when connecting technique.”
But Power Rangers action scenes aren’t all karate kicks and punches. To be able to jump high and do all kinds of somersaults, actors must also become familiar with a unique training tool: the trampoline.
“Another part of my routine was trampoline practice. I trained on the trampoline carefully because if I made a mistake in the landing posture, it would lead to a big accident,” Mr. Noguchi gives an example, “However, if you’re scared you can’t do anything, so you need courage.”
He also repeatedly practiced the techniques he wanted to do on set, such as double front flips and double backflips: “The Power Rangers put on a mask and perform the technique, and that visual restriction also reinforces the fear. [in the perfomer]it is therefore essential to develop a physical sense and a balance that does not rely on vision.”
Asked about notable performances he has done in the past, Mr. Noguchi said he was most proud of one of the streaks he did as the Black Ranger in Mighty Morphin Alien Rangers.
“In this action sequence, I used a trampoline to show a double backflip and a double front flip and half twists,” he explains of the weird stunt, “At that time, I don’t think someone did this technique with a mask on. It was a ninja character, so I think it was a perfect technique.”
Another notable scene he has fond memories of was In Power Rangers Lightspeed Rescue, where he placed a mini trampoline on top of a truck (!). The car then exploded and he landed doing a double front flip. “It’s my favorite high drop, and I’ve shown it in other works,” he concludes.