Sunday, January 31, 2010


I received an invitation for an interview for YLE Radio Savo radio channel. Although, it is a regional station in Mid-Finland it has around 70 000 listeners. The story was focusing in my professional life as a stuntman, actor and as an entrepreneur. It was only for 10 minutes but it really felt like 2 minute interview!

If you feel really lucky with the Finnish language, please hear the recording of the interview from the link below. See also the video where I demonstrate little bit of Acrobatic Body Control!

YLE Radio Savo with Tung Bui

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Concealed Lives turning in to Public Life

Concealed Lives (FIN: Salatut Elämät) has been the 2nd most viewed TV program since it was first broadcasted in 1999. It only seconds to the Daily News, which is amazing as Concealed Lives is a drama series (soap opera). With average of 800 000 daily viewers for the last ten years it means that being an actor in it exposes you to ca. 1/5 of the Finland's population. Concealed Lives to us actors turns in to Public Lives, and the public's opinion of us actors is sometimes surprisingly based on the fictional character that we portray on the television.


My adventures on the show begun in September 2009. My character, Noa Okada, was an 18-year old exchange student from Japan. His father was a Japanese but his mother a Finn. As Noa's mom was very strict on teaching him the Finnish language, his spoken Finnish was perfect. This made my acting million times easier! As I was chosen to act Noa's role, his background got additions with active training in martial arts and gymnastics. See the example videos below to see, how these characteristics were used in the show.

  • Noa vs. Miro

  • Noa vs. Miro on the dance floor

  • Noa chose to come to Finland as he wanted to experience himself what it means to be a Finn. He was excited about everything! This included going to the sauna and drinking heavily with the boys with dramatic results ;D In real-life I have seen exchange students coming to Finland, and these two activities are one of the first things to introduce to a new visitor! The dramatic results are based on the person himself ;D

    Noa also started to have feelings towards his first friend in Finland, Oona Kiviranta. Oona was friendly towards him right from the beginning and made it easy for him to get used to the Finnish culture. Oona was also very interested in Japan and Japanese youth culture, therefore they had a lot in common. But Oona already had a boyfriend, Miro Holm. Their relationship was having difficulties as Miro had to put business before their relationship in many occasions. Still, Noa tried to behave himself in an honorable way all the way to the end. Huge problems begun when after a sushi dinner, arranged by Noa to Oona, both of them got accidentally drunk. Miro's mother Isabella Holm didn't approve Oona's and Miro's relationship, therefore she was willing to sabotage it as much as possible. Eventually, Oona kissed Noa, which totally surpised him as well. The truth didn't hold for long, and the true drama begun with drastic outcomes. After all, it is a drama show :)

    After a very special exchange student experience Noa left back to Japan on the episode that was broadcasted on 18th January 2010. Towards the end he and Oona continued to be just friends. In the last scene between these two youth they said farewells in a positive manner.


    Noa, as a character, was designed to be a good guy. He was well raised, and he considered himself to be a descendant of a Samurai. Therefore, he always tried to be as honorable as possible. Nevertheless, he was still a teenager in a foreign country with its own culture, which created conflicts in his own mind and in his life in Finland. As much as I've paid attention to Noa's popularity in real-life, he has fans who like him, people who dislike him, and people who couldn't care less. No matter popular the character is, they have at least all these three groups of viewers.

    In total, Noa was seen on 37 episodes between 11.9.2009 - 18.1.2010. Acting in Concealed Lives has been my most visible role so far in my acting career. Yet, I consider it to be just one great job among the many other jobs I've been privileged to do as a stuntman or as an actor (see my CV). I couldn't tell beforehand how the publicity from Concealed Lives would affect my life, and now as it is over, I can't tell yet how it will affect from this day onward.

    What I know, is that deep down as a person, I haven't changed much (my subjective opinion). I've gained tremendous amount of new experiences and knowledge regarding actor's work and living as a more public person. But I've always worked hard to make my dreams come true, and as I'm still on the same path, I continue to work hard :D

    I've enjoyed mainly positive publicity, and I am very thankful for everyone for that. I do my best to keep my image as positive as possible now and always! I am a happy person, and I love sharing this feeling to others as well! The more I share, the more I get in return. The Circle of Happiness where no one has anything to lose! :D

    What I'm going to do in the future hopefully can be read every now and then from here, in this blog. How will I look, I don't know. Below are various pictures from my professional life over the years. I know it's me in them, but sometimes I think I look cooler in the pictures than in the real-life, hahahah ;D

    Story of me in Ekonomi magazine. Photographer Tommi Tuomi (2006).

    Acting as a Ninja Pirate in a corporate video. Photographer Paavo Mikkola (2007).

    Actor/Stuntman for the Leet Promotion Video (watch it from here). Photographer Robert Örthen (2007).

    Stunmant in Nissan Tiida TV commercial (watch it from here). Photographer Boyd Benkenstein (2007).

    Parkour model in Salcomp Inc. company's Annual Report publication. Photographer Mikko Tikka (2007).

    Model for the Extreme Running mobile game promotion materials. Photorapher by Joonas Mäntynen (2007).

    Personal promotion picture. Photographer Sirpa Heikkilä (2007).

    Stuntman for a TV commercial. Photographer Antti Lahtinen (2007).

    The Cat with my mom from the Alice in Wonderland theater play. Photographer my sister (2007) :D

    From Nokia N79 Active Promo video (watch it from here). Photographer Timo Lampinen (2008).

    From Yakuza Diaries - Blooming Flower short-film (watch it from here). Photographer Mika Laurila (2008).

    Personal Promotion picture. Photographer Jere Hietala. Visualization by Jay Style (2009).

    See more pictures and videos of me from my website WWW.TUNGBUI.COM

    Wednesday, January 13, 2010

    YOUR MOVE Youth Campaign

    After 6 years of extremely active training I received my 1. dan black belt in karate in year 2000. With the help of friends I founded the Finnish Parkour Association in 2003. Our vision was to share information about the sport for the Finnish public. In addition, for the ones who wanted to train the sport we wanted to offer teaching and training possibilities, thus I became one of the first teachers in parkour in Finland. These days many of my old students have surpassed me skill wise, but I'm very happy about it as now many of them have become parkour teachers themselves. In my opinion, putting the good forward is the best that everyone can do ;D My path with the Finnish Parkour Association ended in the beginning of 2006.

    Later that year, in the summer, I received my Master's degree from the Helsinki School of Economics. Instead of having a more common career path I decided to become a stuntman. I can never thank my mentor H-P Virkki enough for giving me all the support in my career as well as in my personal life. Although, it might appear that things have gone really well for me, there have been times when I have really thought of giving up my dreams and going back to a more stable life-style.

    I guess life just wanted to play tricks with me because during these times of insecurity I was blessed with good fortune. I got the role of Noa Okada in the most popular Finnish TV drama, Salatut Elämät (Eng: Concealed Lives). Since September 2009 my character has been seen on nearly 1 million Finns' television sets. Some people even recognize me in the local grocery store. So far, all experiences have been positive and I am very thankful for that!

    Sports, health and well-being has played and important role for me since childhood. I am happy that I have been given an opportunity to share my knowledge and life experience to the Finnish youth through the Nuori Suomi (Young Finland Association), a respected non-profit organization that is partly financed by the Ministry of Education. I am involved with the Your Move youth campaign that aims to improve the sporting activities in schools. Instead of adults making all the decisions and actions, Your Move campaign activates youngsters themselves to do as much as possible by themselves.

    My role as a Superfan of the campaign is to inspire youth for taking action. In general Superfan is a person who is known and respected among the youth; usually they are somehow related in sports or in the entertainment industry. I am looking forward to attend various events arranged by the youngsters themselves!

    My first task was to help Nuori Suomi with the Suomen Urheilugaala 2010 event (Best Athlete Awards) that took place on 11th January 2010. The main organizer of the event was Finnish Sports Federation. For Nuori Suomi the event was a great way to inform top athletes and their various associates about the Your Move youth campaign. By giving Nuori Suomi access to my personal contact network they got Will Funk For Food (WFFF) locking crew and mr. Elmeri Rantalainen to perform in the event. Both of them are known for the Finnish public from the Finland's Got Talent TV show. In addition I helped recruiting three talented parkour boys, Riku and Werner Gröhn and Winston Spennert, for the same event. Riku had already worked with Nuori Suomi before so everything worked smoothly!

    In overall, attending the event itself was a blast! All the hard work everyone had done paid off as most of the over 1000 invited guests came, there were thousands of people in the audience, and probably a few hundred thousand Finns watched the show from the TV! I am really honored to been given a chance to work in these kinds of massive 'good feeling' events :D

    See the pictures below what happened in the event (from our point of view):

    Will Funk For Food (WFFF) performing at the day event.

    WFFF boys and the Nuori Suomi people working on the Your Move campaign.

    Your Move team at the Urheilugaala's evening event at the Hartwall Areena. I was the photographer ;D

    From the left: Superfan Motoriikka Miikka (Winner of the Finland's Got Talent show), Laura Lepistö (European World Champion 2009 in figure skating), Superfan Elmeri Rantalainen and me.

    Your Move Expo Area.

    Elmeri signing autographs.

    Parkour boys Winston and Werner performing at the entrance of Hartwall Areena. Picture taken by the 3rd parkour boy, Riku.

    Elmeri performing on the main stage.

    Motoriikka Miikka performing on the main stage.

    Tuesday, January 5, 2010

    Mid-Body Control from the Mid-Finland Perspective

    I'm glad that in my line of work I also get to travel around and see the world. Last summer I was in Hamar, Norway for couple of weeks training Theatrical Fencing in a workshop organized by the Nordic Stage Fight Society.

    Me and the actor Elmer Bäck performing our Broadsword scene.

    The beginning of this year I found myself in Kuopio, a city with ca. 90 000 inhabitants located in Middle-Finland. Kuopio is known for its ski jumping activities among many other things! One of these are its well organized martial arts activities, hence Kuopio has many practitioners training various Eastern and Western styles!

    I had the chance to come teach Acrobatic Body Control (ABC) for the Tenchikan aikido club. We agreed that the first time would be an introduction class, and only after that we would talk about the future trainings. After all, I can never tell beforehand whether ABC is good for them or not, so better try it out first! :D

    I was happy to see that 22 brave adults came for my ABC class! Even one aikido gentleman from Helsinki who happened to be at that point in Kuopio decided to pay a visit to my class. Few weeks earlier I had taught his son when I had an ABC class for Akari aikido club's kids' group. What a nice coincidence, although I'm these days rarely surprised anymore how small this world can be, especially Finland :D

    Sami Poutiainen, my contact person from Tenchikan Aikido club had done his work well, as most of the practitioners knew beforehand who I was. Yet, there were still few persons who didn't have any idea who I was which gave me a good excuse to give them a 3 minute presentation about who I was and why I was there :D I also mentioned my mentor H-P Virkki, as with his 25 years of experience in aikido training, he is well known and respected among the aikido people. After the class I was even asked to give H-P regards from Tenchikan aikido club! Well, I can only be grateful for H-P's personal achievements as the world looks so much more welcoming when standing on a giant's shoulders ;D

    After the introduction speech I started the class with a warm-up routine. In addition of making people move their body to warm their muscles, I also ask them to make vocal sounds. This ensures that they are breathing consciously, and in addition it activates the body from within. And if people are not used to making vocal sounds during a warm-up it also has the effect of activating (or mixing) ones mind.

    I believe that learning acrobatic techniques requires 80% of the mind's capacity and only 20% of the body, therefore freeing ones mind is essential in learning advanced body control. Please note, that this 80/20 rule is just a theoretical relation. Mastering acrobatic techniques still requires high-level physical skills. But like in any other physical discipline, a true Master is not known only for his/her physical skills.

    Although ABC has the word acrobatic in it, its main focus is still in Body Control. And in my philosophy a normally functioning body CAN be controlled well at ANY age but how to get to that 'good body control level' varies between everyone. The feeling of having a 'good body control level' can still exist for two different persons at the same time, even though the other one can do a somersault and the other one can just walk in an ergonomic way. After all, there are many ways to get to a top of a mountain. Enjoying and learning from the climb (process) is the most rewarding experience at the end of the day :D

    ABC focuses right from the beginning in developing the mid-body. Instead of just training the muscles e.g. doing lots of sit-ups, I use movement techniques that as a side-product strengthen the muscles surrounding the mid-body. In the introduction class I used walking techniques, two-legged bouncing techniques and movement techniques that required both arms and legs put on the ground. As I said in the beginning, ABC is difficult to explain. Even seeing someone doing it won't give much. Only trying it out yourself can you truly tell what it really is about ;D

    Many of the techniques put some stress to the muscles around the hip bone, therefore I also emphasize the importance of stretching. Due to time issues I try to stretch mainly the muscles that are involved in the movement. Back muscles are used nearly in any kind of movement, therefore I always stretch them respectively.

    1,5 hours went by fairly quickly. I enjoyed teaching the class, as I felt that all of the attendees had the right attitude for it. Attitude to constantly learn something new is what keeps people going forward (sometimes by first taking few steps backwards). And when I feel people really want to learn for the right reasons, I really want to give them as much as I think they can possible learn in such a short time.

    I thank all the attendees for the warm welcome and for the great learning spirit! Hopefully, I'll be seeing the Kuopio's Tenchikan aikidokas again!