The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #221: A Conversation with Jeremy Lesniak from Whistlekick on Ong Bak

Episode #221: A Conversation with Jeremy Lesniak from Whistlekick on Ong Bak

This week’s episode was done in collaboration with Jeremy Lesniak, the founder and host of whistlekick, a martial arts supply company and a biweekly martial podcast.  Today, we’re talking about the 2003 Thai film, Ong Bak.


I remember being really excited when this film was just coming out, since my friends and I were heavily into martial arts, bboying, and gymnastics (basically, what would later be called tricking).  Here was a film right up our alley.  Given this was an era a few years prior to Youtube, someone scrounged up a trailer with a compilation of stunts from the film, and passed it around, and we watching it over and over.  Although you can watch the full clip on IGTV, I’ve isolated a few clips from a chase scene in the film below:



I found a few training sequences on Youtube showing Tony Jaa and the stuntmen practicing the street chase scene – incredible!

In case you missed the last time Jeremy and I did a movie episode, check out episode 210, where we were talking about the 1978 Shaw Brothers classic, The 36 Chambers of Shaolin.  As a way of tying these two episodes together, here’s an old clip of bboys Crumbs and Remind (Style Elements Crew) in what I used to call “Shaoling with Style,” graciously found and uploaded by a kind soul:

Is there a movie you’d like to see discussed here!  Let us know!




There are now Thirteenth Hour toys!  If you’d like to pick up one of these glow in the dark figures for yourself, feel free to email me or go to the Etsy store I set up ( and get them there.

If you haven’t checked out “Arcade Days,” the song and video Jeff Finley, Brent Simon, and I finished last winter, click on the link below to do so!

You can find more pictures and preview clips of “Arcade Days” on IG as well as this podcast’s FB page.

Empty Hands, the synth EP soundtrack to the novella, Empty Hands, is now out for streaming on Bandcamp.  

empty hands ep cover_edited-2.jpg

Stay tuned.  Follow along on Spotify!  There is also a growing extended Thirteenth Hour playlist on Spotify with a growing number of retro 80s songs.

Check it out!

As always, thanks for listening!


The Thirteenth Hour Podcast #39: Gymnastics and Acrobatics in The Thirteenth Hour

Episode #39: Gymnastics and Acrobatics

Today’s episode is all about flipping!  Although it’s pretty common to see acrobatics on TV and in video games today, at the time The Thirteenth Hour was written (1998), the whole extreme martial arts tricking community was still in its infancy, and it hadn’t really permeated popular culture to quite the same degree yet.  There were a few exceptions – video games like Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time and Tomb Raider (plus its many clones) that came out around then had flipping protagonists.  And there were Jackie Chan movies, plenty of older kung fu classics, and Gymkata showings on late night TBS.  But if you wanted to see traditional gymnastics, you generally had to wait four years for the Olympics.

I wanted Logan and the other Imperial Rangers from The Thirteenth Hour to learn acrobatics not only because of my own personal interest but because I thought it would make them more agile and help them push their limits.  In the book, they grumble about it a lot, but it’s hard to ignore the element of danger in learning movements that turn you upside down and occasionally have you landing on your rear, head, or neck if you’re not careful.  And although it’s totally anecdotal, I think finding your personal limits and working through the fear translates into better focus and confidence in yourself.

Here’s a representative excerpt from the novel:

“…That’s how we ended up in the tall, airy room that’d been built to train the Army’s special soldiers. The large room with mirrored walls was carpeted with thick, vaguely carpet–like mats. On those mats we were taught how to transfer the momentum of a fall to a roll without getting hurt, how to stand on our hands, and how to spring from our hands to our feet and back again. We were also taught how to flip in the air and how to run up a wall, flip backwards, and land on our feet. In the process, we were introduced to a new language, one born of bodies in motion.

So, it was awkward at first, but exhilarating in a way, and looking back, a lot of it had to do with conquering fear, so in that sense, it really was essential to our training. After several months of trying, I was able to fling myself over backwards and kind of land on all fours with all the grace of a drunken ape. And then one day, I succeeded in landing without putting my hands down on the floor …”

Logan flip

Sketched animation of one of the Imperial Rangers doing a front flip – note he gets plenty of air and does not bust his ass on the floor (that happens a lot, though).


Pixelart animation of Logan doing a backflip.  This was from The Thirteenth Hour game that didn’t get finished.

As always, thanks for listening!  Next week, part 2, focusing more on martial arts.


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