Esau McKnight is a 5th- degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do/ Karate with over 40 years performing in tournaments, stage shows, TV, and film. He has been inducted into the Martial Arts Hall of Fame 4 times. As a teenager, he was always interested in martial arts. Bruce Lee was his idol. He was 17 years old when he began his journey into martial arts. He enrolled into Kim Soo College of Tae Kwon Do\Karate under the leadership of my Grandmaster Kim Pyung Soo. His love for Martial Arts lead him to Hollywood where he has worked as a stuntman and a celebrity bodyguard.
Esau says, "Martial arts training strengthens the mind and body coordination. It also heightens the inner spirit." In regards to his career, acting came first. He started out doing public service announcements roles as a villain for Crime Stoppers of Houston. From that point, he went on to background work. Because of his skill level in martial arts, he had the opportunity to audition for non-speaking roles in Criminal Minds, the Mentalist, Jerry Seinfeld and then movies such as Nutty Professor where he was a stuntman. Esau has worked as an actor/comedian Dave Chappell’s stand-in, as well as for actors Kenan Ivory Wayans, Damon Wayans; and Avory Brooks from the show Star Trek Deep Space Nine. Some of his other movies were The Green Hornet, Spy Hard, Iron Man 2, and Bat Man Returns.
In his first movie, Esau McKnight played an extra in the role of a Ninja killer in the action movie “Pray for Death” with International Film Star Show Kosugi. He worked with film star Don Dragon Wilson and the legendary Jim Kelly. He has also worked on a Steven Seagal film. He says that he was fortunate to have them share their wisdom on acting and stage presence with him.
Sho Kosugi, Van Damm and Jet Li are some of his favorite actors that he has worked with in film.
Esau McKnight has competed in local and state tournaments and was undefeated in the sparing and specialty division. His brother Master Don McKnight and I had a performance team called the McKnight Brothers, “Brothers of the Martial Arts”., and they choreographed live action fight scenes to music. He has been inducted into multiple Martial Arts Hall of Fame organizations five times.
Esau loves acting or and action roles. His desire is to be a day player on a soap opera or a sitcom such as CSI.
Being in the right place at the right time, Esau McKnight did executive protection for the actor Will Smith, and worked private mansion parties in the Malibu area and as a licensed guard at major hotels and major celebrity events. He has also driven for Bill Cosby, Joan Rivers, Bobby McFarin, Pamela Hasselhoff, and Regis Filben. He worked as Nicole Kidman’s chauffeur in the film “Big Little Lies” and Esau had a principal role in the movie “Blade” with Wesley Snipes.
Esau says that his mother was very inspirational and taught him to do his best and said to him, if you fall, get back up. Also, Grandmaster Kim Soo told him when he was a white belt, that he had something special and he believed if Esau continued to train hard and pursue entertainment as an actor, that he would be successful.
Esau McKnight is currently working on a Shunny Bee action pic called “Fight of Fury”, as a mafia goon, and just had a role as a roman warrior in a movie about Jesus. His role as a warrior was to offer Jesus water from his sponge using his spear. Esau also produced and directed his own martial arts instructional DVDs.
To prepare for his roles in film, Esau watched films and prepared for his roles utilizing monologues and acting techniques. He has taken stunt classes to prepare him for booking actor/ stunt roles. He has trained under some of the best in Hollywood…John Kreng, Ernie DeSade, Melissa Tracey, Jeff Wolf, Simon Rhee, Eric Lee, Art Camacho to name a few.
By Jules Lavallee