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Sterling grad honored for fight choreography

Kelly Carter took a punch to the face in the safest way possible, and was given an award for it.

Carter, 47, is a Sterling native and a 1984 graduate of Sterling High School. He was honored for his part in the short film “Bad Ass Bikers” by being named the Male Action Performer of the Year by the Action on Film International Film Festival in August. He also received an award for fight choreography.

He now lives in Marina del Rey, Calif., where, in addition to his work in films, he runs a holistic medical practice.

Carter moved to California in January 2002 in an effort to break into mixed martial arts, but said he had a “hidden agenda” to use fighting as a way of getting into the film industry.

Shortly after his California arrival, he met a chiropractor who helped him build a client list for his holistic health business.

“I still have the hay in my hair moving from Illinois,” Carter said. “And I’m working with some of the biggest stars in the world, working with them and training them.”

Carter started boxing when he was 8, in part, because he was scared of it and was getting picked on, he said.

Boxing was something he did with his father, Tom Carter, said his mother, Julie Falcon, who still lives in Sterling.

“I just support him in everything he gets into,” she said. “He just tries everything. He’s traveled, and he’s just had great opportunities traveling all over and doing things that a lot of people don’t.”

In “Bad Ass Bikers,” Carter takes a punch to the face. It was filmed with a slow-motion camera.

He got the call about the role while he was back in Sterling for a high school reunion, he said, adding that the phone call from director Nate Adams came on a Friday and he left for the set on Saturday morning.

Falcon saw the scene with Carter’s grandmother, who is 92, and said she had to warn her about what she was going to see and that it was done safely.

There’s some strategy to safely taking a punch to the face, Carter said. The key is to take the punch to the softer tissue between the cheek and jawbones. Also key for the scene was for Carter to not anticipate the punch.

“I just relaxed,” he said. “I was conditioned for it. I wasn’t scared of it. If I had been scared of it, I probably would’ve flinched.”

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