Enter the Brothers: Senior TCF majors practice martial arts, do stunt work

Holly Jackson

Twins Kevin and Calvin M. Ross are black belts who hope to one day produce their own action films. CW | Holly Jackson

Laura Testino

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Now, as college seniors, the Ross twins do flips off the steps of Gorgas Library while finding the best camera angle to complement their martial-arts-inspired fight choreography. The two are pursuing degrees in telecommunication and film y with the hopes of doing stunt work and eventually producing their own action films.

“Normally, when parents want their kids to do something, they just say, ‘Hey, I need you to do something,’ but our dad would get us together and say, ‘Hey, I have a mission for you,’” Calvin M. Ross said. “So he started everything. It wasn’t just doing something, but it was always a mission that needed to be completed.”

Having a determined mentality toward everyday tasks translated to martial arts training, which the twins began at a young age. They followed in the footsteps of their father Calvin L. Ross and their two older sisters, Joyce and Carol, who also studied martial arts. Like their father, the twins and their sisters earned black belts.

“Our dad showed us a movie with Bruce Lee, called ‘Enter the Dragon,’” Kevin Ross said. “He showed that to us when we were about 5 years old, and we just kept imitating that and went 
from there.”

The twins’ father also inspired their interest in film by giving them a camera in high school. Once Kevin and Calvin M. Ross began to make short films featuring their martial arts skills, everything changed, they said.

The twins created a name for their martial-arts-inspired films during high school and have since changed to their current name, The Blasians. The name incorporates their family heritage by representing their black father and Filipina mother.

Calvin L. Ross met his wife, Maribel Ross, during the 1980s when the two were serving in the army. Their backgrounds in the army influenced their children to stay disciplined and organized, the twins said.

While Kevin and Calvin M. Ross maintained the family traditions of discipline and martial arts, they decided to pave a separate path for themselves in college by pursuing film. Originally, they came to college to pursue degrees in nursing, a dream of their father’s and the area of study pursued by their sisters. They switched during their freshman year and have been making films inside and outside of class since then.

Maya Champion, a professor in telecommunication and film, has had the Ross twins in class and has been their academic advisor. Kevin and Calvin M. Ross both have a great sense of humor, but are also disciplined students with good technical skills in film, she said.

“[Kevin and Calvin M. Ross] are just really respectful and they have really good hearts,” Champion said. “They are so nice, help other people, and are just funny guys, and talented. They are definitely good to each other and help each other.”

While they’ll probably be cast together for the beginning of their film careers, Champion believes that they may find their own paths as well. Kevin Ross, who is minoring in creative writing, enjoys the writing aspect of filmmaking, while Calvin M. Ross, a digital media minor, generally works with the photographic elements.

“I’m more of the writer, and [Calvin M. Ross] is more of the photographer, and I’m glad it’s that way so that we’re doing the same thing,” Kevin Ross said. “So if we’re writing a script or something, I’d write the script, and he’d be the director of photography. So it’s a good team.”

The Ross twins also translate their teamwork to the martial arts movements that are often captured on camera. They are trained in capoeira and hapkido styles and are expanding their skills with each practice, they said. Executing fight-scene choreography requires the twins to each memorize a sequence of movements and execute them with perfect timing.

Diandra Milliner, a senior majoring in general health studies, often trains with the Ross twins. Milliner completed her senior year on the University gymnastics team last May and continues to practice her gymnastics technique along with working on new martial arts skills with the twins on the Quad or in the combat room of the Student Recreation Center.

She began training with the twins over the summer, and is working to master contact elements of fight choreography, Milliner said. Like Kevin and Calvin M. Ross, Milliner hopes to use her skills to work in film doing stunt work.

“They’re very driven, and that’s what I like about them,” Milliner said. “We talk a lot about how it’s really nice to surround yourself with people who share the same dreams and want the same things as you. So I think that’s nice. I’ve been surrounded by that my whole life in gymnastics, but outside of that, it’s hard to find people who are so driven like Kevin and Calvin are.”

The twins’ passion and determination has impacted Kevan Phillips, a senior majoring in biology and their roommate since sophomore year. Phillips remembers seeing Kevin and Calvin M. Ross on the pull-up bars of their middle school gym. They grew their friendship on the basketball court and carried it over to college.

Phillips often watches the twins working on their martial arts on the Quad as well as in the apartment, and has enjoyed working with them to create short films for Campus Movie Fest in previous years. The films always tend to be symbolic or have a deeper meaning, he said.

Another video project Phillips remembers is one that Kevin and Calvin M. Ross put together for their mother, who passed away earlier this semester. Maribel Ross was diagnosed with breast cancer five years ago, and the twins put together a video of her during her treatments. Phillips could tell the twins were proud of the project, he said.

“[The video] was very touching, very sad, but also very sweet, because you knew that they were right there for their mom at all times,” Phillips said. “Family is very important to them.”

Phillips wears a pink breast cancer awareness wristband in honor of Maribel Ross. He has noticed that the experience has influenced the twins to appreciate each day, he said.

“One thing my mom always said while going through her cancer, was that she never complained about cancer,” Kevin Ross said. “That’s one thing I take, I never complain.”

Kevin and Calvin M. Ross auditioned for American Ninja Warrior this past summer and plan to audition again this summer. They have also appeared as extras in movies in preparation for their hopes of moving to Los Angeles after graduation and doing stunt work for movies.

Their work can be be found online at www.the-blasians.com . They are also on Facebook as The Blasians, and are on Instagram under the handle @the__blasians.